Dutchman serving in the 53rd (Welsh) Division

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Jan B, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Jan B

    Jan B Member

    A further search, supported by the Dutch Military Recovery and Identification Service, learned that there were reports made of the digging up of mass graves and the reburials of the victims in anonymous graves (often on local cemeteries). Very often these reports also included an list of the identification information (Häftlingenummer).

    Often the digging up happened shortly after the retreat of the German troops. An inventory of the British Military Zone in 1950 showed that in Niedersachsen a majority of victims in the known mass graves had been reburied before June 1945, many even already in April 1945. The British Millitary Authorities were organizing and overseeing these reburials.

    After the war it was decided that all reports with information of civilians killed by German troops were to be send to the International Tracing Centre (ITC) Arolson in Bad Arolson. The reports of the French and the British were handed over to the ITS. But also the local authorities were ordered to hand over all the relevant information available in their archives. This explains why, in 75 years, there are hardly any documents found in local archives with information on these reburials.
     
  2. Jan B

    Jan B Member

    I will try to find more information. But don't be to hopeful. My grandparents lived in Haarlem during the war, were involved in the resistance, died in imprisonment and it is almost impossible to find something about them, so probably I will have to visit the archives of the NIOD, looking for the history of parts of the resistance in Haarlem. But please be very patient.
     
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  3. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Haven't read the whole thread, so not sure how relevant my reply will be. I know of at least one foreign soldier (a Frenchman), who joined G Company, the 8th Rifle Brigade, during the campaign, and (judging from Casualty Lists and CWGC-records) not only got a uniform but also a British (Rifle Brigade) army number. Sadly, he did not survive.

    8RB - Clermont 1.jpg

    8RB - Clermont 2.jpg
     
  4. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I'd say in this case he joined up in 1940/41 rather than during the NW Europe campaign, if he joined up in 1944 and was issued a number it would in theory be a GS Corps number as Rifle Brigade blocks (and other regiment blocks) were only issued up til part way through1942
     
    8RB likes this.
  5. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Cheers Jan, I have just been trying some digging and think his Grandfather was Swiss born and died in 1943 - I cant see it as being a particularly common Surname in the Netherlands (you may tell me otherwise) and I did see a couple of people of the same name in Haarlem on Facebook who I may chance my arm messaging in case they are related and know anything about him
     
  6. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    You're right of course! Should have noticed myself (see post #23), that he "joined us early after the fall of France".
     
  7. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    It is interesting that he joined the British Army rather than a Free French unit - I wonder if he was already living in the UK. Having said that I just looked him up on the CWGC and he seems to be from Montreal, I wasn't expecting that
     

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