Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery|
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery
Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg
The cemetery lies in West Berlin on the southern side of the Heerstrasse. The site was chosen by the British Occupation Authorities and Commission officials jointly in 1945, soon after the war's end, in one of the city's most attractive areas. The burials it contains were removed from the Berlin area and eastern Germany. Of those, about three-quarters were airmen who had died in Bomber Command raids, particularly during the winter of 1943-1944. The others were mainly soldiers who had died as prisoners of war in the region, or on forced marches from Poland, driven by their German captors away from the advancing Russians.
The cemetery contains nearly 2,700 British burials, 530 Canadian, 220 Australian, 60 New Zealand, 30 South African and 50 Indian. There is also a section for the burial of British troops now stationed in Berlin and their dependents, cared for by the Commission on an agency basis.
The large Reichswald Forest (Forst Reichswald) lies in North Rhine Westphalia, between Cleves (Kleve) and Nijmegen in nearby Netherlands. After the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, thousands of soldiers' and airmen's remains were brought in from burial places in western Germany. Many of the soldiers died in the hard-fought battles of the Rhineland, others in fighting in the Reichswald itself, and yet others during the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. Among the soldiers' graves is that of Major General Thomas Rennie, killed by a mortar bomb which exploded on his jeep. There are 4,000 airmen in the cemetery, most of whom died in the years of the bombing offensive and some in supporting the advance of the soldiers. They, like the soldiers, were concentrated after the war.
This, as mentioned elsewhere, is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery of the 1939-1945 War if only actual buried bodies, and not cremations, are included. (If they are included, then El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt, with 7,950, is larger). The cemetery contains 6,400 British burials, 700 Canadians (all airmen, except for one soldier -- Canadian soldiers who died in the area were interred in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands) over 300 Australian, 130 New Zealand and 70 Polish -- a total of over 7,600.
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Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg|
Sage, in north-west Germany, is about 15 miles south of Oldenburg. The cemetery is on the roadside a mile and a half to the south. Most of those buried here were airmen who died in raids on Germany and whose bodies were brought in from civil cemeteries in the north-west and the East Friesian Islands. A number of airmen died on 4th September 1939, making them (so far as is known) the first battle casualties of the 1939-1945 War. They were the crews of RAF Wellington bombers killed in the attack on ships of the German Navy in North Sea ports. Also in this cemetery are soldiers who died in the last days of the war in Europe -- between 23rd April and 7th May 1945. One of those buried is Squadron Leader I. G. McNaughton RCAF, who died on 23rd June 1942. He was the son of General A.G.L. McNaughton, Canadian commander in Britain. Another was Pilot Officer P.J.N. Robinson RAF, who died on 25th June 1941 and was the son of a VC, Rear-Admiral E.G. Robinson. Also in this cemetery are seven soldiers of the Royal Artillery killed in an ammunition explosion on 1st June 1945.
There are 650 British burials, 125 Canadian, 35 each of Australians and New Zealanders, and over 20 Polish. There are similarities between this cemetery and St Symphorien Military Cemetery, Belgium, described above.
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|The text on this page has been taken from Courage Remembered, by Kingsley Ward and Major Edwin Gibson.|