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Remembered Today:

A small field in Belgium


Guest Wrighty
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I came across a small cemetery in Belgium a couple of years ago. Unfortunately i cant remember the name of the nearby village, but i have an interesting question.

the cemetery probably had less than 100 graves, but it contained soldiers from every part of the globe, british, australian, new zealand, french, German even some Jamaican troops but most striking of all 'soviets' buried in 1919.

How could soviet troops have been buried there? were they still not in the throws of civil war? and how would they have met there death in 1919? Only thing we could think of was perhaps they were bomb disposal or something, but still strange to see 'soviets' in belgium in 1919, and not on the Eastern front.

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With regard to the Soviet star on Russian Great War graves when the CWGC approached the Russian Government post war to ask them what symbol they wanted on the headstones the star is what the Russians wanted - not appropriate I realise.

Most of these Russian graves will be POWs used as forced labourers by the Germans on the Western Front. I have seen these graves at Mons Communal Cem & Tournai.

All The Best

Chris

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The germans captured at least 100,000 Russian troops on the Eastern front

All The Best

Chris

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Yes visited it two years ago on way back from Ypres, and also can't remember name. Coach stopped at chocolate shop near the coast just before Franco Belgian border. had seen this cemetary from road before so wandered around back of village and yes also astonished to see several russian graves there. Believe there were also some WW2 graves as there often are around there, victims of the retreat to Dunkirk and aircrew.

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i think that in belgium most of the villages has a chocolate factory... :D

It is possible that on the belgian cemetery of Houthulst (near dixmude) is a plot with russians. (Aurel, can you confirm it ?)

there is sure a plot of italian pow.

marc

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Marc,

I have been following this thread with some interest indeed, but cannot add any useful information. (Except that Boezinge certainly has and never had a chocolate factory ! :P )

Houthulst Belgian cemetery then ... True, there are a few dozen Italian graves there (81), but as far as I know no Russians. As it is quite large (over 1,700 Belgian graves) it can't be the one Wrighty is referring to. (Does Houthulst have a chocolate factory ? :D ). But I haven't the foggiest idea where the cemetery could be.

Wrighty, do you remember if it was in the Ypres Salient ?

Aurel

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Sorry, Salientguide, I had overlooked your posting.

So it was at the coast and near the border.

De Panne Communal Cemetery ?

Adinkerke Churchyard ?

Adinkerke Military Cemetery ?

Aurel

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aurel,

Don't Boezinge has never had a chocolate factory , they has always have a brewery with "sas pils", another belgian speciality. :D

but I prefer hommelbeer

marc

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It could well have been in the ypres salient, on the main route Brussels to the channel tunnel.

Just off the motorway, entering the village was a small memorial (with photos) of some men probably excecuted by Nazis. The small chocolate shop and factory was beside a small canal or river.

You had to walk/drive round the back of the chocolate factory to the cemetery which could be seen from the motorway.

There was a visitors book on the wall.

it does sound like salientguide was at the same one.

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Hello ,

I think it was at Adinkerke;

Cars stop there to buy chocolate or tobacco.

In the Adinkerke Mil Cem, Russians are buried, also an Egyptian, Germans, Canadians, Britsih West Indies.

Regards,

Cnock

post-7723-1127916767.jpg

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Thats it exactly, just confirmed by my friend thats just emailed me.

quote - Adinkerke.- about 20 miles north of Calais in the direction of Brussels

Where the war grave of West Indian Soldier is away from British and German ones probably because he was black!!!! - unquote.

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Of course, racial segregation was the norm at the time. Particularly noticeable at Etaples where non-whites are banished to the far edges of the cemetery - very far in the case of Etaples !

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Hi Aurel and all yes having looked at CWGC photo its definately Adinkirke Military cemetary that I was thinking of. next questions for pals what on earth were Russians doing there?? SG

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ps Cnock great picture thanks SG

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You will find Russian graves in many French cemeteries.

Although most of the Russians are buried near Rheims where they have their own chapel and memorial, etc. I suppose some must have been killed or died when away from their units.

There are also many dating from WW2. As I understand it these are mainly POW who escaped and joined the French army.

It is not correct to say that they all have a star on the gravestone, many don't. The WW2 graves have a triangular gravestone (made in the French cement/concreet) with nothing else.

Interstingly, some of these have 'Soldat Sovietique' on them and others 'Soldat Russe'. I have been unable to discover why the difference (the two inscriptions can be side by side).

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Wrighty

To answer the question as to what Russian soldiers were doing on the Western Front you need to read the book "With Snow on their Boots". At least I think that is the correct title.

The French army needed more men, the Russian army needed more guns, rifles and ammo, so a deal was struck and that meant that Russian soldiers were transferred to the Western Front. But it was not a great success.

Garth

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At the time of the revolution one brigade mutinied in support of the revolution and the other was used to put it down.

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With regard to the Soviet star on Russian Great War graves when the CWGC approached the Russian Government post war to ask them what symbol they wanted on the headstones the star is what the Russians wanted - not appropriate I realise.

Chris

It's a shame they couldn't be asked again for a new symbol to use, as and when the stones may be replaced, due to wear and tear.

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The allies had great difficulty in returning Russian PoW's after the war. Many simply did not want to go home to a now communist regime and many had no home or family to go home to. Gustrow PoW camp had some 10 000 Russians in it a year after the war ended. Presumably other camps were also used. Many Russians were in very poor condition at the end of the war and many must have subsequently died as did a number of British and Commonwealth troops who died in the camps after the armistice.

Doug

Doug

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