German Military Cemetery Staffordshire
Many of you will know I am quite interested history, especially military history. While doing a little research I discovered a German Military Cemetery in Staffordshire Britain. Not something I had ever considered but probably should have. All wars result in casualties on both sides and while there were no land battles in Britain, there was the war in the air and at sea, not mention Prisoners Of War.
My interest piqued I took a trip to Staffordshire to shoot some images at the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof. The cemetery contains the graves of 2143 soldiers of the first world war and 2786 soldiers of the second world war. All the headstones are very similar but unlike British CWGC headstones they don’t seem to say, with any consistency, which branch of the armed forces the personnel served with or their unit, though they do indicate rank.
In 1959 the UK German government came to an agreement for the care of the graves of German nationals who lost their lives in the United Kingdom during the two World Wars. The result was the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof at Cannock Chase Staffordshire. This resulted in the transfer of all graves in the UK, not already effectively maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to this central cemetery. This transfer of graves of German servicemen and civilian internees from both world wars was arranged by the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfursorge). The inauguration and dedication took place on the 10th June 1967 and is immaculately maintained by the CWGC.
A few notable graves to look out for amongst the photos for are….
Generalfeldmarschall Ernst Bernhard Wilhelm Busch
holder of the Pour le Merite (Blue Max) and Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. He commanded troops during the invasion of Poland, the Battle of France and the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa). His final command was Army Group Northwest. His task, to stop Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s advance into Germany. Busch surrendered to Monty on 3 May 1945 and died of heart failure in a prisoner of war camp in Aldershot, England.
SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Maximilian Karl Otto von Herff.
Originally in the Wehrmacht Herff was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1939. He served with the German Afrika Korps, was then promoted to Colonel and commanded “Kampfgruppe von Herff”. In June 1941 was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for his service in North Africa. He transferred to the Waffen-SS and joined the Nazi Party in 1942. From August 1942-1945 Von Herff was ‘Chef fur Personalhauptamt’. The man in charge of the office responsible maintaining the service records for all commissioned Waffen-SS and Allgemeine-SS personnel. Captured in 1945, and held at Grizedale POW camp he died in Conishead Priory Military Hospital as the result of a Stroke.
Four Graves Containing the Remains of Four Zeppelin Crews
Tablet marks the four graves containing the remains of Four Zeppelin crews Shot down during World war one with each Crew being buried together.
A small black and white photo at the bottom of the headstone marking the last resting place of Eugen Geyer and Franz Andele. Both were members of the German Luftwaffe
Cannock Chase War Cemetery Staffordshire
Before reaching the actual German Military Cemetery you will encounter Cannock Chase War Cemetery which is closer to the road. Cannock Chase War Cemetery contains 97 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, most of them New Zealanders, and 286 German burials. There are also three burials from the Second World War.
Images © Paul David Drabble
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