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Cemeteries and Memorials

• Cemeteries, • Allied War grave headstones, • The Netherlands: Standard issue headstones, • Special Memorials, • Special cases, • Production of the headstones, • Great Britain + Canada: Standard issue headstones, • Special designs, Special cases, • Custom additions, • 4. Joint grave types: Type 1. Connected casualties, • Type 2. Unconnected casualties under one stone, • Type 3. • Unconnected casualties under multiple stones, • Australia, New Zealand, • Mixed Commonweath nationalities or services, • Commonwealth Special Memorials, • For graves that were lost, • Believed to be, • Known to be buried in this cemetery, • Believed to be buried in this cemetery, • For graves that exist elsewhere, • For graves that no longer exist, • For graves that never existed, • For servicemen found but still listed as MIA, • For servicemen who were cremated, • Unofficial special memorials, • USA, • Poland, • Russia, • France, • Belgium, • Czechoslovakia, • Norway, • Jugoslavia, • Libyan Arab + South Africa, • Greece, • Hungary, • Romania, • Italy, • Unknown •

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1. Cemeteries

Below all 58 cemeteries are listed, in which Dutch RAF aviators are buried at the time of writing. In occupied territory, many were initially buried, identified or not, close to the crash site. Several were reburied more than once, and up to four times, as far as known. As some smaller cemeteries are difficult to find, address details and maps are included. Of course everybody local knows the spot - but not those who come from afar and wish to find it... For the larger cemeteries, the locations of graves of the Dutch RAF aviators are indicated on a map. Finding a grave in a large cemetery, that uses a grave numbering system that became chaotic as the cemetery expanded over time, can be very difficult. Staff may not be available to help the visitor; a register may not be present, or not within reach, and grave numbers may not be indicated or readible at all. For all these reasons author decided to include cemetery and grave location data, made as accurate as possible at the time of writing.

Photographs were taken with permission in writing from CWGC & OGS.

Memorial plate at Hamburg Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Dutch Section Ohlsdorf 051208-1

1. Allied War grave headstones

A distinction should be made between initial grave markers, usually wooden, later metal crosses, and the graves given to the casualties when the Allies had come to grips with the enormous task of finding, identifying, sorting, concentrating, and reconcentrating the millions of World War 2 casualties. In the Chapters above, pictorial evidence has been given, when found, of initial grave markers. Below is a catalog of final headstone appearances, as these can be found today.

Nationalities of the dead buried in War graves are mostly instantly recognizable by the shape of the standard issue headstone. In this way Dutch graves can be found in large Allied War cemeteries, even if a cemetery register is unavailable. Below we give a pictorial catalog of headstone shapes. Many of the headstones depicted belong to RAF aviators. Author does not claim to have found all types in use.

Standard issue headstones were given to many of the War casualties, that could be buried. When the family of a casualty wished to have a burial in a family grave, or otherwise under family control, then the appearance of the headstone is different from the standard issue one. Where relevant to this study, photographs of such headstones are given.

One special case has been found. An unknown British aviator died near Wapenveld, Gelderland, NL. Directly after the War, the locals gave him a Monumental grave of their own design. The grave was located prominently directly right of the entrance, now called the old gate. This grave persisted; it was not replaced by a standard issue headstone. Pictorial evidence follows below.

Aviators from France, when not buried by their families, received a variety of headstone designs. See also the Chapter on French casualties from the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

1. The Netherlands

1. Standard issue headstones

Standard issue Dutch War grave headstone, also called 'stichtingssteen', with half-circle top, Dutch lion, and the text 'KONINKRIJK DER NEDERLANDEN'. The cross at the top indicates that the person buried was of Roman Catholic persuasion. Grebbeberg 060317 headstone with cross

Dutch war grave headstone with Hebrew text for a Jewish serviceman. All Jewish servicemen buried in Dutch War graves received this text on the headstone. Orry-la-Ville 050702 Cohen

In the Loenen Field of Honour the stones have a different appearance. They are placed horizontally on the ground. They are cut from Vaurion chalk-stone, with the edges chipped off.

Cluny chalkstone with chipped edges, placed horizontally on ereveld Loenen. Loenen 060413 Bockma J

2. Special Memorials

Dutch military headstone, in fact a Memorial, for a Dutch RAF aviator whose remains had to be present at the crash site, but could not be found. Loenen 041030 Knapp AK

Standard issue OGS headstone, in fact a Memorial for J. Weber, who is missing-in-action. On Oslo Sørkedalen Kirkegård Source: OGS Oslo Weber J

3. Special cases

Dutch headstone for a body that washed up on the Frisian Isle of Ameland. The body could not be identified, not even as Allied or German. Hence this rather basic headstone. Adding to the misfortune of this casualty, not even the date that the body was found, or was buried, was recorded. Ameland 080530 14-6 onbekende soldaat no date

One of 11 graves in Vlieland cemetery, of bodies that washed ashore and that could not be identified to service or nationality, but that are most likely WW2 servicemen. In Vlieland these graves still have the plain wooden crosses as issued initially. Vlieland 080531 7-1 onbekend 29

4. Production of the headstones

The headstones for Dutch Wargraves are produced by the 150 years old family company Timmerman Natuursteen BV of Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland, NL.

Timmerman 070816-1

The white Stichtingsstenen are cut from Cluny chalkstone. The pink stones used in ereveld Loenen are cut from Vaurion chalkstone. Both types are soft, requiring replacements every 10 to 12 years. Replacements are made at a rate of 120 to 150 each year. The lion crest is carved using a copying mill; the bronze copying template is shown below. The recessed areas, marked with '0' in the template, are chipped out with chisel and hammer.

Source: Jan Dekker, Chef werkplaats Timmerman Natuursteen BV, 16/08/2007

Bronze template used to copy-mill the Dutch lion crest into the standard issue headstones. The areas marked with '0' are chipped out with hammer and chisel. Curiously, the '0's are not chipped out. The meaning, if any, of the six fields that remain, is unknown. Timmerman 070816 matrijs OGS

Stone carving is one of the oldest professions. For many centuries, the technology remained the same, basically a hammer and chisel affair. In the 20th Century the copying mill was introduced, allowing faster and more uniform production of text engraving in stone.

A straight copying mill. The burr is guided by a pinion that is manually traversed through a bronze text template. Timmerman 070816-9

Current technology uses an automated sand blasting machine. The design of the engraving is produced on a computer. This allows for an infinitely greater choice of letter fonts and sizes. The design file is send to a plotter carrying a small knife. The plotter cuts the design in a self-adhesive plastic foil. The foil is placed very carefully on the stone. Where the foil leaves the stone exposed, the corund particles can do their work, blasted at the stone at very high speed. The resilience of the foil destroys the particle's kinetic energy, so that the stone under the foil remains untouched. This process, as fast and accurate as it is, still requires a day to produce a stone of the size used in the Soesterberg Monument.

Anton van der Welle (left) and chef werkplaats Jan Dekker applying the sandblasting mask to stone Nr. 3 of the Soesterberg Monument. In the right background we see two piles of Vaurion chalkstones, intended for replacements on ereveld Loenen. Timmerman 070816-4

Automated sandblasting machine, processing stone Nr. 2 of the Soesterberg Monument. Timmerman 070816-3

Vertical stones are mounted on their horizontal baseplates, using steel bolts fixed with chemical anchors. These anchors supersede the molten lead of the past.

2. Great Britain, Canada

1. Standard issue headstones

The CWGC uses a white Portland stone in all cemeteries mentioned in this study, except for a number of headstones in Scotland, which are grey.

A standard issue British RAF headstone, with RAF crest.

RCAF headstone, identical in layout with the British one. Leubringhen 060207 Berg CM

A British RAF headstone for a Jewish serviceman. Headstone - British - jewish.jpg

Post-World War 2 RAF headstones usually have a top with three curves, as shown on the left and right in the picture above. The headstone in the center is the exception. The headstones shown are grey. In Scotland both white and grey CWGC headstones are seen. Leuchars 080205 post War CWGC headstones

2. Special designs

A locally designed grave for an unknown British aviator, Wapenveld, near Heerde, Gelderland, NL, placed prominently directly right of the old main entrance. Wapenveld 070711 unkn RAF no date 1

If the family wishes a burial in a family grave, or in a grave of the family's design, then this wish is followed.

Morpeth RAF private grave 080203

Wick 080207 RAF private grave

Headstone as used in Vredenhof Cemetery, Schiermonnikoog, NL. This cemetery dates back to the 1850's, as a private initiative to bury the multitude of bodies that washed ashore on this Frisian Isle. In 1920, Sake van der Werff, owner of a hotel on the island, started to look after this cemetery. In later years he was supported in this work by his son Tjeerd Jan. They saw to headstones of the design depicted above, that was used for all casualties, all nationalities, both World Wars, for all of the about 110 graves in this cemetery. See the list of burials of unknown Allied airmen for more information about this unique cemetery. Vredenhof 080529 2A1 unkn RAF 5-7-1945

This unique design was found in Aabenraa Kirkegard, Jutland, Denmark, amongst 137 standard issue CWGC headstones. the story behind this design is not yet known. Aabenraa 080629 Hutchinson A

Custom designed headstone for a RAAF fighter pilot Guy Rawstron Branch, found in Quiberville Churchyard, Seine Maritime, France. Quiberville 080731 Rawstron G

3. Special cases

The French Sergeant P.L.M. Morau, who died during a collsion with the Dutch RAF aviator H.L. Pronk, was buried under a standard issue RAF headstone. Hawarden 080201 Morau PLM 2

A standard issue RAF headstone for a Polish aviator. Bayeux 070131 Ulasiuk F

These Commonwealth RAF headstones for non-Commonwealth RAF aviators are seen rarely.

4. Custom additions

Family and friends may have added memorial plates to a standard issue CWGC headstone.

An additional memorial plate at the foot of a standard issue CWGC headstone, found in Esbjerg Fovrfeld Cemetery, Denmark. Esbjerg 080629 McCallum GLK special plate

4. Joint grave types

A joint or collective grave is a grave in which the remains of more than one casualty are buried. The following types of joint graves can be distinguished:

Type 1. Connected casualties

Graves of a crew, for instance airmen, that could not be identified individually. They received individual headstones, placed close together, or one or two headstones, carrying all the names. "Joint" or "collective" expresses that these casualties belong together, connected by their craft or in other ways by the place, time and circumstances of their death.

A headstone for three British RAF burials, airmen that fell together. It is called a joint grave, indicating that the airmen's remains could not be identified individually. Fontaine-la-Louvet 060212 -3b

A British headstone for two men, one RAF, one Royal Engineers, who died on the same day. The crests of their respective services are intertwined. Headstone - British - dual 2.jpg

A joint grave for members of a bomber crew, that could not be identified individually. The joint grave is recognized by headstones placed close together. Reichswald 080223 joint graves

If headstones of a joint grave are set out alphabetically, this indicates that none of the crew members could be identified individually. This layout is also used if some of the crew members could not be identified.

Type 2. Unconnected casualties under one stone

Casualties buried in one and the same grave position, with one headstone carrying two or three names. The casualties are not connected by time or circumstances of death. The mutual grave was made because burial space was felt to be limited at the cemetery involved.

The grave of an unknown Polish airman, dated 19/09/1940, and F. Sobieralski, who died 06/05/1944. They are not connected by time or circumstance, merely by service. Space is indeed very limited in Noordwijk General Cemetery, Zuid-Holland. Noordwijk 050707 Sobieralski F

Type 3. Unconnected casualties under multiple stones

Casualties buried in a collective grave of type 1, without a clear connection by service, or time or circumstances of death. The reasons for this illogical burial scheme are unclear. It may have come about as a result of Wartime initial burials by confused cemetery personnel, leading to a burial situation that was maintained by the CWGC when post-War rearrangements with proper headstones were made.

This small CWGC plot in Oostvoorne NH Churchyard, Zuid-Holland, shows three joint graves. Oostvoorne 070513-2

Left to right one consisting of two headstones, one of four, and again one of two.

The leftmost one holds the remains of two aviators from the same aircraft, making it a type 1 joint grave. The other two are type 3 joint graves:

- Four headstones, for two unidentified casualties from the Royal Navy, one unidentified and one identified casualty from the Royal Air Force.

- Two headstones, for two identified casualties from the Royal Air Force.

Placing the stones close together suggests a connection between the casualties, as in a Type 1 joint grave, but there is in fact no connection except the area in which the bodies were found.

3. Australia, New Zealand

A Royal Australian Air Force headstone. (fo.-robert-clive-fidock-raaf-460-squadron-lancaster-iii-p125-ar-l.jpg)

Royal New Zealand Air Force. Headstone - RNZAFb.jpg

4. Mixed Commonwealth nationalities or services

Headstone of a Royal Navy Leading Seaman and a Royal Air Force Flying Officer Noordwijk 061210 RN Evans CA

& RAF unknown F/O. 28-6-1942

Headstone for an RNZAF and a RAF aviator Noordwijk 061210 Taylor RW & Young HS

Headstone for a RCAF aviator and an unknown RAF airman Noordwijk 061210 Crowe JFK & RAF unknown 20-11-1942

Headstone for three members of a mixed crew, two RCAF and one RAF. Space was felt to be limited at Noordwijk General Cemetery. Hence three names and no crests Noordwijk 061210 Messham Murphy & Neubert

Crests of RAAF and RAF intertwined in a Rheinberg, Germany, headstone. Rheinberg 070106 RAF & RAAF

Crests of RAF and RCAF intertwined in a Heteren, NL, headstone. Heteren 070406 RAF & RCAF

5. Commonwealth Special Memorials

1. For graves that were lost

Special Memorial for a bomber crew, whose field grave in Germany has been lost. Reichswald 060321 Memorial

2. Believed to be

Headstone of the grave believed to belong to a certain serviceman. Identification has not been 100%, but CWGC decided that this is better than the phrase 'unknown'. Bayeux 060910

3. Known to be buried in this cemetery

Headstone of a servicemen known to be buried in the cemetery, but as an unknown in an unknown grave. Reichswald 070320 Pedersen NPW known to be buried here A variant of this text is also seen: 'buried elsewhere in this cemetery'

4. Believed to be buried in this cemetery

This mutual Special Memorial was erected for five RAF/RAAF aviators who are assumed to be buried here. The burial ground dates from World War 1, when a POW camp was nearby. In WW2, 515 casualties were added, of which 50 were recognized as military. There are no individual graves here. Parchim 081009 Special Memorial

5. For graves that exist elsewhere

A Memorial for a group of British soldiers, who died as prisoners of War, and whose graves are known. These graves are in Valenciennes and in Le Quesnoy, France. Valenciennes 060921 Special Memorial

6. For graves that no longer exist

Special Memorial in Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire, GB, for servicemen who are stated on the Memorial to be buried elsewhere. However, in the CWGC online database it is mentioned that the Memorial was erected because the graves could no longer be maintained at those cemeteries. Meaning that the actual graves no longer exist. Harrogate 080210 Special Memorial

7. For graves that never existed

Names of servicemen who are missing-in-action are engraved on the pedestal of this Cross of Sacrifice in Aberdeen Aberdeen Special Memorial

8. For servicemen found but still listed as MIA

Of the crew of Halifax NA508, that crashed on 17/06/1944 in South of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, only J.P. O'Meara could be found & identified, in the early fifties. Several years later, body parts were found of the rest of the crew. These were buried in a joint grave, right in the left picture, text made visible in the right picture. This joint grave does not carry the names of the individual crew members. They are still listed as MIA in the CWGC database. Bergen op Zoom CA 061123 unknowns RAF & RAAF 17-06-1944

9. For servicemen who were cremated

Most RAF aviators who died and were not missing-in-action, were buried. Only a few were cremated. They are remembered on a Memorial plate, in the UK cemetery that holds over a thousand graves of their colleagues. Harrogate 080210 Memorial plate for the cremated

10. Unofficial special memorials

Flight Sergeant Thomas Fetherston is officially listed as missing-in-action. However, his ID bracelet washed up on the Frisian Isle of Ameland. When The Fetherston family was informed of this, they expressed the wish that a memorial headstone be erected at Ameland cemetery. Matching F/Sgt. Fetherston's private initiative to have an ID bracelet made, Mr. G. Molenaar of Ameland saw to the production of this memorial headstone. It is placed in the Commonwealth War graves plot, perpendicular to the other, standard issue CWGC, headstones. Ameland 080530 Fetherston memorial

6. USA

A standard issue headstone for an American aviator, in this case also a RAF aviator who flew with the 2nd Tactical Air Force Neupré 051226 Wright JW Headstone - USA.jpg

A standard issue RAF headstone for an American, flying with the RCAF Reichswald 070320 Buskirk DB van USA

USAAF Signal Corps crest on a Commonwealth shape headstone for Sgt. J.J. Hannon, buried amidst the RAF crew with which he died. Dürnbach 070325 USAAF with CWGC headstone

Right the grave of another American attached to the RAF Heverlee 081005 West D (USA)

7. Poland

A standard issue headstone for a Polish RAF aviator. Brest 060215 Kozlowski TW

Right a rare standard issue British headstone for a PAF aviator Banneville 070131 Lawrenczuk B 6B8

One variant of headstone for Polish RAF aviators in the care of OGS Breda 050604 Gzell HL

A headstone in the care of the Polish Government, in Lommel, Belgium, headstones renewed in 2000. Headstones for Polish servicemen buried in Germany come in a variety of shapes. Lommel 051107 Mochnacki Z

Headstone for a Polish Jewish Servicemen, in Lommel, Belgium. Source: Jos van Alphen. Headstone - Polish jewish.jpg

A standard issue RCAF headstone for an aviator from Poland, who held the Canadian nationality. F/O. T.E. Chmielowiec was 180 Sqn, that flew with 320 (Dutch) Sqn in the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Brookwood 070123 Chmielowiec TE

A standard issue RCAF headstone for an aviator from Poland, who held the Canadian nationality. F/O. T.E. Chmielowiec was 180 Sqn, that flew with 320 (Dutch) Sqn in the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Brookwood 070123 Chmielowiec TE

A standard issue RAF headstone for the British Airgunner Sgt. E.C.A. Barnes, and the Polish Pilot F/Lt. E.F. Krzeminski, who died 15 months later than Sgt. Barnes. A Type 2 mutual grave. Space must have been felt to be at a premium in Numansdorp cemetery, Zeeland, NL. Numansdorp 070328 Barnes & Krzeminski

8. Russia

A headstone for a Russian soldier Rusthof 060802 Rus

Headstone for a Russian soldier, buried in Bayeux, France. Bayeux 060910 Russian

The grave of a Russian soldier, buried in Valenciennes, France, with a French military headstone.

Valenciennes 060921 Russian

A variant found in Esbjerg Fovrfeld Cemetery, Denmark Esbjerg 080629 Samaev Russian

9. France

Two types of headstones for French RAF aviators.Above is a headstone in the care of OGS. The information given on the headstone is very basic.Kapelle 050714 Allain J

This one is in the care of the CWGC.Right Dieppe 060210 Marin P

The grave of Robert Roussalie, who flew with 2 TAF. He is buried in the plot in Bordeaux Nord Cemetery with French WW2 casualties. The headstone carries no reference to his function as an aviator. Bordeaux 060915 Roussarie R

The Pierron family grave in St. Pierre d'Irube Churchyard. The headstone carries no reference to Jean Pierron, one of the French 2TAF aviators who lost their lives in combat. St Pierre d'Irube 060915 Pierron J

Headstone for a French casualty, as found in Schoonselhof, Wilrijk, Belgium. The red, white and blue roundel means 'Mort pour la France', a War casualty. This roundel can also be found on family graves in France. Schoonselhof 060908 French

Headstone of a French 2TAF aviator of Jewish persuasion, found in Kapelle Champs d'Honneur Militaire Français, NL Kapelle 05714 Schteinberg G

French servicemen can also be buried inside the War Monument on a cemetery in France. The leftmost plate at the bottom of the Monument indicates the grave of 2TAF aviator R. Gibert. The style of this Monument speaks of World War 1. Casualties of WW2 were added. Joué-les-Tours 060920-3

Headstone for an unknown serviceman from France, found in Dieppe Janval Cemetery Dieppe

Janval 080731 inconnu Francois

10. Belgium

Headstone for a Belgian soldier that washed ashore in Friesland, NL Harlingen 061119 unknown Belgian no date 2

Belgian style headstone for a serviceman from Belgium Longuenesse 070315 Belgium

CWGC style headstone for a Belgian RAF aviator Hannover 080703 11D13 Andre

French style headstone for a serviceman from Belgium, found in Dieppe Janval Cemetery, France Dieppe

Janval 080731 Lehr P Belg

11. Czechoslovakia

Headstone for a civilian casualty from Czechoslowakia Rusthof 060802 Tjechoslowakije

12. Norway

Grave of a RAF aviator from Norway Dunkirk 070122 Leifseth H Spitfire pilot Henning Leifseth's grave is the only Norwegian War grave that remains in Northern France; all others were repatriated. Source: Joss Leclercq

Grave of an aviator from Norway, found in Reichswald War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany. Reichswald 070320 Bakke FO

Hannover 080703 11F14 Hulthin LF

13. Yugoslavia

Headstone for a casualty from Yugoslavia, possibly a civilian, as found in Rusthof Cemetery, Amersfoort, NL. Rusthof 060802 Joegoslavie

14. Libyan Arab, South Africa

A most remarkable headstone, for a Libyan Arab freedom fighter, buried under a Commonwealth War grave headstone. Bayonne 060915 Libyan Arab

Headstone for a Commonwealth casualty from South Africa. Bayonne 060915 South Africa

Headstone for a Commonwealth casualty from South Africa. Enschede 070821 Higgins SAAF

15. Greece, Hungary, Romania

Headstones for casualties, possibly civilians, probably not men enlisted in the German Army, from Greece (left), Hungary (center) and Romania, all found in Rusthof Cemetery, Amersfoort, NL. Rustof 060802 Griekenland, Hongarije, Roemenie

Headstone for a sailor from Greece Becklingen 080703 16A11 Greek MN

16. Italy

Although Italy was on the Axis side for most of World War 2, some Italians were buried amongst Allied casualties rather than amongst the German ones. A sample headstone:

Bayeux 070131 Italian

17. Unknown

A War casualty about whom nothing is known. No name, no nationality, no date. Oye-Plage 080730 nationalité inconnu

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