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Joe Potter

Unnamed German graves

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Joe Potter

Hi All,

The Mystery Deepens, the CWGC have just informed me that they have no record of any German burials at All Saints, Tarrant Monkton, BUT, their records are only as good as the information given to them, so, if they were not told, they would not know, I have a case in Kent with two Luftwaffe Officers from 1940 buried in the same grave, the CWGC's initial response was "These two Officers are not, and never have been buried in this grave" but when I produced the burial register, this changed to "We have no record if these burials" so we shall see, thanks to all for your comments and suggestions.

Joe

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The Majors Batman

Just to throw my two pennyworth in just to illustrate, I was that way a few weeks ago and took this picture.

Tarrant Monkton used to be my escape route from Blandford Camp through the watersplash.

post-34992-000307100 1291913149.jpg

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NigelS

Dave (Croonaert), as a matter of interest why were some German burials not moved to Cannock Chase; was it down to family choice or for other reasons?

Having now seen a close up of the cast metal cross (thanks, The Majors Batman), that looks more likely (with refurbishment) to be an original marker; maybe there were originally 4 like this and only one now remains, or maybe there only ever was the one.

NigelS

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chrisharley9

Nigel

Whilst I cannot answer why a numer of German burials were left were they where there are several places in East Anglia where they were left to rest. All seem to be formal war graves plots. Lowestoft, Bircham Newton & Felixstowe immediately spring to mind

Chris

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Joe Potter

HI All,

As for why some were moved to Cannock, and others not, this was an option given to local authorities and churches in the early 1960's, also any families that could be traced traced were given the same option, several had their family members returned to Austria and Germany, may I ask that we, as an interested group make a concerted attempt to resolve this case, there is no glory in this, except putting the records straight, any volunteers? also we would need a coordinator,.

Joe

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domsim

Hi folks

No use for this particular topic but a good general research tool for Dorset is the online parish clerk site here

Dorset Online parish clerk site

My home town of Dorchester has German WW1 graves in the grave yard at St.George's Church, Fordington. They were prisoners of war at the POW camp at Poundbury.

All the best

Dominic

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domsim

I was down at the Dorset History Centre last Friday and had a look at the Tarrant Monkton burial register and there is no record of these Germans being buried, in the register-very strange.

All the best

Dominic

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auchonvillerssomme

Hi All,

In 1918 four soldiers that had died in the influenza pandemic while being held at Blandford POW Camp, were buried in nearby All Saints Churchyard, Tarrant Monkton, as unknowns, the obvious question is why, surely their names and POW numbers must be recorded somewhere, but where?

Is it possible to find a register of prisoners at Blandford in 1918?

Thanks

Joe

Joe apologies if this is a daft question or if it has been answered, but how do you know that

'In 1918 four soldiers that had died in the influenza pandemic while being held at Blandford POW Camp, were buried in nearby All Saints Churchyard, Tarrant Monkton, as unknowns'

What is the reference, is the information contemporary? Because there are no dates on the grave markers, not even anything to narrow it down to WW1. Another avenue might be local undertakers.

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domsim

I have a copy of the Swiss Legation Inspection report of the Blandford POW camp and its outlier at Milldown saw mill dated March 1919. They mention the flu epidemic in both camps with cases from Milldown going to the camp hospital at Blandford camp but no deaths of Milldown Germans as of March 1919. The Blandford Camp report mentions one prisoner death at Blandford in the period October -November 1918 and two other deaths but these prisoners had been moved to Dorchester for treatment (presumably they were buried in Dorchester?)I would suggest the Blandford death is probably the November 1918 one in Nigel's list (Max Heinitz).

A quick check of the Blandford cemetery listing shows that the RAF and army units that had taken over the huts from the prisoners at Blandford were being decimated from October 1918 to early 1919 by the epidemic. About 32 burials there, mainly RAF are probably due to the outbreak and this probably isn't all the actual number of British deaths, as the parliamentary figures in Nigel's mail make clear.

The Swiss report of March 1919 says the prisoners were moved from the huts into warm and comfortable tents over the winter and ironically this was probably the reason they did not suffer the deaths of the British, they were almost quarantened from the main camp. So a problem-only 1 recorded death by the swiss up to March 1919. Unless the Tarrant Monkton men died after March 1919? A quick search of Blandford deaths after March 1919 doesn't throw up any obviously German names. I think newspapers may be the answer to solving this at least as far as dates are concerned?

All the best

Dominic

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domsim

Also as a matter of interest the entry in the burial register for Sapper Alfred Howell R.E. (died 17/05/1917) here:

Alfred Howell CWGC entry

The CWGC record does not have his age and says he is Alfred A Howell. In the burial register he is Alfred Thomas Howell and his age is given as 39 years old.

Thanks

Dominic

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Old Tom

A few days ago a friend who, together with his forebears, have lived a few miles from Tarrant Monkton for generations, knowing my interest in WW1, asked if I had heard of these graves. They seem to be a well know local curiosity. This thread seems to have dried up. May I ask if anyone has looked at the burial records in the local archive? They should provide an answer.

Old Tom

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Old Tom

I paid a brief visit to Monkton a few days ago. I noted that the graves are at the edge of the grave yard and in the same alignment are two CWGC headstones for soldiers of the Somerset Light Infantry who died in April 1916. I also noted that the German marker had a few British Legion poppy crosses, one annotated in German. The setting is very attractive and worth a visit if you have time to spare on the Salisbury to Blandford road. Thed church and the pub share a car park.

Old Tom

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Guest

I have a copy of the Swiss Legation Inspection report of the Blandford POW camp and its outlier at Milldown saw mill dated March 1919. They mention the flu epidemic in both camps with cases from Milldown going to the camp hospital at Blandford camp but no deaths of Milldown Germans as of March 1919. The Blandford Camp report mentions one prisoner death at Blandford in the period October -November 1918 and two other deaths but these prisoners had been moved to Dorchester for treatment (presumably they were buried in Dorchester?)I would suggest the Blandford death is probably the November 1918 one in Nigel's list (Max Heinitz).

A quick check of the Blandford cemetery listing shows that the RAF and army units that had taken over the huts from the prisoners at Blandford were being decimated from October 1918 to early 1919 by the epidemic. About 32 burials there, mainly RAF are probably due to the outbreak and this probably isn't all the actual number of British deaths, as the parliamentary figures in Nigel's mail make clear.

The Swiss report of March 1919 says the prisoners were moved from the huts into warm and comfortable tents over the winter and ironically this was probably the reason they did not suffer the deaths of the British, they were almost quarantened from the main camp. So a problem-only 1 recorded death by the swiss up to March 1919. Unless the Tarrant Monkton men died after March 1919? A quick search of Blandford deaths after March 1919 doesn't throw up any obviously German names. I think newspapers may be the answer to solving this at least as far as dates are concerned?

All the best

Dominic

Any chance of a copy of this? I am trying to gather together as much information about this POW camp (Milldown) as possible, in view of a School project which will try to draw together all the information we can find into some written format.

Bruce Hansen

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NigelS

Just been revisiting this thread in connection with another, and I came across this pdf Memories for the Millenium of Tales from the Tarrant about the Valley and its village Peoples, which I don't think has been mentioned before, which includes an alleged eye-witness account of the burials:

 

Four German POWs who died in the internment camp created one of the the great Monkton mysteries - their final resting place is in the churchyard under a black metal cross carrying the inscription "4 Unknown German Soldiers". One day, maybe, more about their lives and tragic endings may be revealed.
All that is known is the recollection of an elderly Monkton resident who saw four coffins carried down from the camp by other POWs under armed escort to be buried in a small plot " to the north-east corner of the church". On either side of the black metal cross, four wooden markers were pushed into the ground.

The identities of the four men were not recorded in the church register - maybe the animosity felt by many in Britain would not have allowed normal burial rites - and, according to Alan Harfield, attempts to obtain their names through the War Graves Commission and the German authorities have failed.
With the Millennium approaching wouldn't it be amazing if the mystery surrounding the deaths of these former enemies could be laid to rest at last?

 

Nearly 20 years after  this article, this mystery still seems to be one which remains unsolved

 

NigelS

 

 

 

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