Monday, 15 June 2009

Cannock Chase - Military Cemeteries

Cannock Chase Commonwealth Cemetery

This cemetery contains at first glance a curious mixture of WWI & WWII German and Allied soldiers. There are 388 graves of men, 287 of them German serviceman. There are several WWII RAF but the majority of the Allied dead are from the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, judging by the dates, late 1918 - early 1919, I assume they were victims of the Spanish flu. There are a number of German POW graves dating from 1948.

Located a few hundred yards away, down a quiet country lane, is the Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery.

The cemetery contains the graves of 2143 servicemen of the First World War and 2786 of the WWII bought here from all parts of the UK. 5 of the dead from 1914-1918 and 90 from 1939-1945 are unidentified.

German servicemen from both wars, mainly prisoners of war, were transferred from their burial places to the Chase Military Cemetery between 1964 and 1966. German servicemen buried in British Military Cemeteries and in war grave plots in civilian cemeteries were not moved which explains why the German remains were not moved from the Commonwealth Cemetery up the road.

The remains of the crew from four airships (SL 11, L32, L31, L48) were relocated from Potters Bar, Great Burstead and Theberton to Cannock and lie in a special plot. Field Marshall Ernst Busch is buried after dying in capivity but perhaps the most notorious person to be buried here is the SS General Maximilian von Herff.

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