Guards - Albania Cemeteries list

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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    TIRANA PARK MEMORIAL CEMETERY
    • Country: Albania
    • Locality: unspecified
    • Location Information: The Cemetery is situated in the Great Park of Tirana, on the main boulevard, close to the Hotel Sheraton and the Main University Buildings.
    • Historical Information: Following the end of the war in Europe, an Army Graves Registration Unit entered Albania with the task of concentrating the remains of Commonwealth Servicemen, lost in the struggle to secure Albania freedom, into a site chosen in the capital, Tirana. However, due to the political situation in the country, this task could not be completed, though 52 sets of remains were recovered in the short time available. Eventually, in 1955, after repeated requests to enter the country were refused, the Commission took the decision to commemorate the 38 identified casualties on special memorials erected in Phaleron War Cemetery in Greece. This situation remained thus until 1994, when a change in the political situation in Albania allowed a Commission representative access for the first time. He discovered that the original individual burials had been moved by the Communist authorities to an unmarked collective grave located under a path near the university buildings in Tirana. At the beginning of 1995, the 38 special memorials were removed from Phaleron and re-erected as close as possible to the site of the mass grave, in an area designated the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery. In 1998, following a study of the Graves Registration unit files, it was possible for the Commission's records staff to confirm the identities of a further seven casualties previously buried in Tirana War Cemetery as unknowns. There is also 1 special memorial here, an alternative commemoration to a lost grave in Shepr, Albania.
    • No. of Identified Casualties: 46

    1. 62269 Arthur Frederick Crane NICHOLLS, GC, Coldstream Guards & Special Operations Executive
    Citation: The following details are given in the London Gazette of 1st March 1946 : "Awarded the George Cross for most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner." Brigadier Nicholls parachuted into Albania in October 1943 as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission which organised resistance activities. The Mission was attacked and broken up by the Germans in December and from then on Brigadier Nicholls lived as a fugitive in the open mountains in freezing weather. He continued leading the remnants of the Mission but was suffering from frostbite so severely that he ordered an inexperienced man to amputate both his legs without anaesthetic. He was pulled over the mountains lying upon his greatcoat by two members of his party. He was determined to reach a British Mission to make his report upon which the course of the war in Albania would depend. He succeeded in this but had gone beyond the limits of endurance and died from gangrene and heart failure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2024
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Nicholls, Arthur Frederick Crane
    Rank: Major
    Service No: 62269
    Regiment: Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Non-Combatant Gallantry
    Award: The George Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 01 March 1946
    Date 1945-1946
    Catalogue reference WO 373/69

    THE GEORGE CROSS (Posthumous)

    62269 Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) (Acting Brigadier) Arthur Frederick Crane NICHOLLS, COLDSTREAM GUARDS

    Brigadier NICHOLLS was parachuted into ALBANIA in October, 1943, as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission. The Mission was attacked and dispersed by the enemy in December and from then until the end of January, 1944, Brigadier NICHOLLS was a fugitive in the mountains in conditions of the most extreme hardship and suffering. He took over command of the remains of the dispersed Mission when, under close hostile fire, his Brigadier was wounded with two others and gave orders that they should be abandoned to the enemy.

    Brigadier NICHOLLS at that time was suffering from extreme frostbite in his feet, both of which had burst, but despite the increasing severity of his handicap, for which no medical aide was available, and in the face of conditions which made human life barely tenable, he maintained his determination to carry out his task of getting into touch with an Allied Wireless Telegraphy set in order to regain contact with his Headquarters in Italy.

    When he could no longer stand, he ordered his Second-in-Command to take over and march South, leaving him (Brigadier NICHOLLS) with two Albanian peasants to make what progress they could to the North in the hope of finding an Allied Wireless Telegraphy post. For fifteen days Brigadier NICHOLLS traversed enemy occupied territory by being dragged over the snow and rocks on his greatcoat and later by riding a mule.

    When Brigadier NICHOLLS had made contact with the British officer whom he sought, he was starved, verminous, half-frozen, with a dislocated shoulder and his feet only recognisable as such by the exposed bare bones. He made his report upon which important questions of Allied strategy and policy depended and was planning a reorganisation of the Mission (the remainder of which was located and rescued as a result of his efforts) when, after a journey of further hardships to base, he died on the 11th February, 1944, of gangrene and heart failure.

    Brigadier NICHOLLS despite his terrible sufferings realised throughout the supreme importance of getting into touch with his Headquarters. He set an example of heroism, fortitude, courage, leadership, the will to win, and devotion to duty which has seldom been equalled and never surpassed. He carried on far longer than could normally be considered humanly possible and this undoubtedly caused his death.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Name: NICHOLLS, ARTHUR FREDERICK CRANE
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Brigadier
    Regiment/Service: Coldstream Guards
    Secondary Regiment: Special Operations Executive
    Secondary Unit Text: attd.
    Age: 33
    Date of Death: 11/02/1944
    Awards: G C, E R D
    Additional information: Son of Joseph Crane Nicholls, and of Josephine Crane Nicholls (nee Campbell); husband of Dorothy Ann Violet Nicholls (nee Schuster), of Swinbrook, Oxfordshire.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Cemetery: TIRANA PARK MEMORIAL CEMETERY

    Citation: The following details are given in the London Gazette of 1st March 1946 : "Awarded the George Cross for most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner." Brigadier Nicholls parachuted into Albania in October 1943 as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission which organised resistance activities. The Mission was attacked and broken up by the Germans in December and from then on Brigadier Nicholls lived as a fugitive in the open mountains in freezing weather. He continued leading the remnants of the Mission but was suffering from frostbite so severely that he ordered an inexperienced man to amputate both his legs without anaesthetic. He was pulled over the mountains lying upon his greatcoat by two members of his party. He was determined to reach a British Mission to make his report upon which the course of the war in Albania would depend. He succeeded in this but had gone beyond the limits of endurance and died from gangrene and heart failure.

    Photo from Findagrave

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    :poppy:

    That is one of the most heroic acts I have ever heard of.
     
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    It certainly is an amazing example of devotion to duty Geoff.
     
  6. 591-research

    591-research Junior Member

    I would like to advise that unlike most Commonwealth war cemeteries, you cannot easily get access to the Tirana one. It is in a really nice place, near the top of a hill in the park, and you can get quite close, but there is a wrought iron fence, thigh high, around the plot. I did manage to climb over and photograph all the CWGC graves, but ripped my leg in doing so. A handsome scar that serves as a reminder. Having done myself damage on the CWGC fence I decided against risking anything worse getting in to the German memorial plot, though there are some photos of it too.

    Adjacent to the small CWG plot is the much larger collection of memorial slabs for the German Army losses in Albania. Thousands of names engraved on both sides of each slab. A very poignant reminder of just how many of them also lost their lives in the small country of Albania.

    It too was behind a wall and a locked gate.

    This gem of a blog explains the marvellous CWG memorial's shady history
    Our Man in Tirana: A Block of Granite


    here is the link to my photos of the memorials taken last year
    https://picasaweb.google.com/WAR.GRAVES.PHOTOS/TiranaAlbaniaCommonwealthWarGraves#5486965128326032882
     
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  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    591
    many thanks for your post with links, and for your efforts at Tirana - scar and all.
    Welcome to the forum by the way.
     

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