OPERATION AMHERST: French SAS in Holland, April 1945

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by stolpi, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    French Military Cemetery Kapelle

    This weekend I visited the French Military Cemetery at Kapelle in SW Holland (in the Province of Zeeland). Here all soldiers who fell under the French flag on Dutch territory and were not repatriated to France found a final resting place. Over 600 French soldiers lost their lives in, near or above the Netherlands in May of 1940, when French troops entered Holland as Allies, and the war years thereafter. Their names are commemorated on the central monument on the cemetery. Many were reburied in their homeland after the end of the war, a large number (104) remain unknown.

    Kapelle cimetiere.jpg

    In May 1940 French troops entered the southeastern part of Holland by way of Belgium in an effort to stem the German advance. Near the village of Kapelle they fought a stubborn defensive action on May 16th (the Dutch Army had capitulated on the 14th, but the capitulation excluded the area of Zeeland, where the fighting continued). On initiative of the major of Kapelle, Mr. W. Bierens, the French casualties, who lay unattended on the battlefield, were collected by the local population and laid to rest on a temporary field of honor on the edge of Kapelle. By the evening of May 17th, 1940, a number of 65 French casualties had been collected. After the war the cemetery at Kapelle was officially designated by the Dutch authorities as French Military Cemetery. It was officially opened on May 16, 1950. The cemetery contains 217 French soldiers, 20 Moroccans and Algerians who fell in French service and one Belgian soldier.

    Kapelle memorial 1945.jpg
    All names of the fallen French soldiers on Dutch soil are commemorated on the central memorial. Among them also the soldiers that were repatriated to France after the war.

    See also: French War Cemetery Kapelle - Kapelle - TracesOfWar.com
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
    ecalpald, JimHerriot and CL1 like this.
  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Eight SAS paras, who fell during Operation Amherst, found a final resting place at Kapelle. Their graves are easily recognizable because of an attached small round grey shield with the SAS badge:

    Kapelle detail 1.jpg

    Kapelle detail 2.jpg

    Note that three of the French SAS paras still rest in graves in Drenthe: Lieutenant De Sablet at Bovensmilde (see: OPERATION AMHERST: French SAS in Holland, April 1945); Sgt. Ravanel at Smilde (see: OPERATION AMHERST: French SAS in Holland, April 1945 and Sgt. Ragnacci at Beilen (see: OPERATION AMHERST: French SAS in Holland, April 1945).
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

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