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Thread: German Graves in Blandford

  1. #1

    Default German Graves in Blandford

    I happened upon the local cemetery today and noticed a number of war graves maintained there by the CWGC. Many were RAF from both wars and there are also a handful of German graves from both wars too which is unusual.
    Amongst the Germans I noticed some lads died the same day so guessed, rightly it turns out, that they were aircraft crew.
    Digging about this evening I found these stories -

    On 1st June 1941, a squadron of German bombers flew over Dorset on their way to bomb Liverpool. A Heinkel 111 P-2 (Werk # 1421 _ "1G + DS") was attacked by a Bristol Beaufighter of No.604 Squadron (night fighter) and broke up, crashing at Birches Wood, near Cranborne. All the crew were killed.
    A Heinkel usually had a crew of 5 (pilot, navigator/bombardier/nose gunner, ventral gunner, dorsal gunner/radio operator, side gunner) but there appears to have been 4 on this occasion. Obltn Joachim Kleinfeldt was the Observer. Oberfeldwebel August Wilhelm Lindemann was the Pilot. Unteroffizier Hellmut Konrad Häring was the Radio Operator. Feldwebel Georg Karl Emig was the Flight Engineer.

    A second Heinkel 111 H-5 (Werk # 3958 _ "1G + CH") was also shot down by a Beaufighter of No. 604 Squadron piloted by F/Lt Gomm. The aircraft crashed at Hancock’s Bottom, Tarrant Gunville. It also only had a crew of four. Lieutnant Herbert Tscheplak & Gefreiter (Aircraftman) Fritz Faust bailed out safely and were captured.
    The remaining crew, Obergefreiter Walter Mergner (Observer) and Unteroffizier Friedrich Georg Weber (Radio Operator), were killed.

    All casualties are interred at the Blandford cemetery.

    On 16 October 1959, the British and German governments agreed that the remains of all German military personnel and German civilian internees of both world wars who at the time were interred in various cemeteries not already maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), be transferred to a single central German Military Cemetery established on Cannock Chase for this purpose. The site is supposed to have been chosen because it resembles Luneburg Heath in Germany. The cemetery contains nearly 5,000 burials from both the First and Second World Wars.

    By the end of the Second World War, the number of Germans buried in and around Blandford must have been well into three figures. (It should be noted here that there was a POW camp in the town and the 'Spanish flu' ravaged the inmates in WW1.) They were all moved to Cannock Chase in 1966. Exhumation records are kept at The National Archives, Catalogue References: HO 282/21 and 284/84.
    Those in Blandford Cemetery were not moved because they were already being maintained by the CWGC. (The one grave missing is Grave 39. The family of the deceased may have exercised their right to have these remains re-patriated or re-interred.)
    http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk...dford-cemetary

    So, there you go - A bit of local history that may be of interest.

    "He is wise who watches"

  2. #2

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    Really interesting Dave, many thanks.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  3. #3

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    Yes, absorbing stuff, thanks!
    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  4. #4

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    Not only interesting from the local history point, but also raises the question on how many other undermanned German Bombers were in use?

    Thanks Dave.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  5. #5

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    Dorchester also has some German graves possibly connected to the old POW camp.

  6. #6

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    ... raises the question on how many other undermanned German Bombers were in use?...
    Yeah, is that a man power, or, range issue as the target was Liverpool ? Maybe night bombers didn't require the full crew ? Something to research for those with a WW2 bent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gangleader147 View Post
    Dorchester also has some German graves possibly connected to the old POW camp.
    Sounds like there may be a few in the locale maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) so not moved to Cannock Chase.
    Last edited by flash; 02-24-2021 at 00:12.

    "He is wise who watches"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    Yeah, is that a man power, or, range issue as the target was Liverpool ? Maybe night bombers didn't require the full crew ? Something to research for those with a WW2 bent.
    Personally I suspect range extension by carrying a lighter load, plus no need for the side gunner, whose limited arcs of fire would be next to useless in limited light conditions.
    Night bombers would probably fly in streams, each one effectively alone, to prevent collisions, so the interlocking fire zones provided by the side guns would disappear.
    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  9. #9

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    Nice work on finding that bit of history, Flash!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    I happened upon the local cemetery today and noticed a number of war graves maintained there by the CWGC. Many were RAF from both wars and there are also a handful of German graves from both wars too which is unusual.
    Amongst the Germans I noticed some lads died the same day so guessed, rightly it turns out, that they were aircraft crew.
    Digging about this evening I found these stories -

    On 1st June 1941, a squadron of German bombers flew over Dorset on their way to bomb Liverpool. A Heinkel 111 P-2 (Werk # 1421 _ "1G + DS") was attacked by a Bristol Beaufighter of No.604 Squadron (night fighter) and broke up, crashing at Birches Wood, near Cranborne. All the crew were killed.
    A Heinkel usually had a crew of 5 (pilot, navigator/bombardier/nose gunner, ventral gunner, dorsal gunner/radio operator, side gunner) but there appears to have been 4 on this occasion. Obltn Joachim Kleinfeldt was the Observer. Oberfeldwebel August Wilhelm Lindemann was the Pilot. Unteroffizier Hellmut Konrad Häring was the Radio Operator. Feldwebel Georg Karl Emig was the Flight Engineer.

    A second Heinkel 111 H-5 (Werk # 3958 _ "1G + CH") was also shot down by a Beaufighter of No. 604 Squadron piloted by F/Lt Gomm. The aircraft crashed at Hancock’s Bottom, Tarrant Gunville. It also only had a crew of four. Lieutnant Herbert Tscheplak & Gefreiter (Aircraftman) Fritz Faust bailed out safely and were captured.
    The remaining crew, Obergefreiter Walter Mergner (Observer) and Unteroffizier Friedrich Georg Weber (Radio Operator), were killed.

    All casualties are interred at the Blandford cemetery.

    On 16 October 1959, the British and German governments agreed that the remains of all German military personnel and German civilian internees of both world wars who at the time were interred in various cemeteries not already maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), be transferred to a single central German Military Cemetery established on Cannock Chase for this purpose. The site is supposed to have been chosen because it resembles Luneburg Heath in Germany. The cemetery contains nearly 5,000 burials from both the First and Second World Wars.

    By the end of the Second World War, the number of Germans buried in and around Blandford must have been well into three figures. (It should be noted here that there was a POW camp in the town and the 'Spanish flu' ravaged the inmates in WW1.) They were all moved to Cannock Chase in 1966. Exhumation records are kept at The National Archives, Catalogue References: HO 282/21 and 284/84.
    Those in Blandford Cemetery were not moved because they were already being maintained by the CWGC. (The one grave missing is Grave 39. The family of the deceased may have exercised their right to have these remains re-patriated or re-interred.)
    http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk...dford-cemetary

    So, there you go - A bit of local history that may be of interest.
    Digging about this evening
    Dodgy stuff Dave , but a nice pun
    On a serious note
    Wonder why the families have not asked for the bodies to be repatriated ?


    I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
    Coming down is the hardest thing

  11. #11

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    Interesting! Well done, Dave

  12. #12

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    Nice! Interesting piece of history!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tikkifriend View Post
    Wonder why the families have not asked for the bodies to be repatriated ?
    Why have British Empire (cough, cough, Commonwealth) families not requested repatriation from Iraq, North Africa and many other theatres of both World Wars?
    I suppose some folks just don't want to confront the loss all over again.
    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    Why have British Empire (cough, cough, Commonwealth) families not requested repatriation from Iraq, North Africa and many other theatres of both World Wars?
    I suppose some folks just don't want to confront the loss all over again.
    Even to this day, there is a different view on deceased and graves, importance and non importance.

  15. #15

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    Interesting story, Dave.

    History all around.
    Voilà le soleil d'Austerlitz!

  16. #16

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    That's interesting, Dave. Thanks for telling us about it.



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