Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery

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Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery Cross of Sacrifice, Netherlands.jpg
Cross of Sacrifice
For soldiers who were killed during World War II
EstablishedFebruary 1945
Unveiled4 November 1946
Location51°47′52″N 05°55′51″E / 51.79778°N 5.93083°E / 51.79778; 5.93083Coordinates: 51°47′52″N 05°55′51″E / 51.79778°N 5.93083°E / 51.79778; 5.93083
near 
Total burials2617
Unknown burials20
Burials by nation
Burials by war
World War II: 2,617
Statistics source: Cemetery details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery and Memorial (French:Le Cimetière de Guerre Canadien Groesbeek) is located about three kilometres north of the town of Groesbeek, Netherlands. The cemetery contains 2,338 Canadian soldiers of World War II. It was built to a design by Commission architect Philip Hepworth.

The cemetery is unique in that many of the dead were brought here from nearby Germany. It is one of the few cases where bodies were moved across international frontiers. It is believed that all fallen Canadian soldiers of the Rhineland battles, who were buried in German battlefields, were reinterred here (except for one who is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery). General H.D.G. Crerar, who commanded Canadian land forces in Europe, ordered that Canadian dead were not to be buried in German soil.

Thousands of Dutch children tend the graves of the soldiers buried here as they do throughout the Netherlands.

The cemetery also has a Cross of Sacrifice within it.[1]

Commemoration[edit]

Within the cemetery stands the Groesbeek Memorial, which commemorates members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in north-west Europe between the time of crossing the Seine River at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe. There are 1,103 names on the memorial; although since the date of completion of the name-panels, graves have been found for four men commemorated by it. The Bayeux Memorial in Normandy, France honours 103 Canadian servicemen and women.[2]

The memorial consists of twin colonnaded buildings which face each other across the grass forecourt of the cemetery, between the entrance and the "Stone of Remembrance." The names of the men whose graves are unknown are inscribed in panels of Portland stone built into the rear walls.

International Four Days Marches Nijmegen[edit]

On the third day during the Four Days Marches, the route leads along the Canadian military cemetery, and the military participants commemorate their colleagues from the Second World War during an impressive ceremonial gathering.

Notable graves[edit]

Among those buried here is Aubrey Cosens (1921–1944) of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada[3] who received the Victoria Cross. John Baskeyfield (1922–1944) of the South Staffordshire Regiment,[4] who also received the Victoria Cross is remembered in the Memorial. Memorialized also, are Gustave Biéler, Frank Pickersgill, and Roméo Sabourin, Canadian members of the Special Operations Executive who were sent undercover into occupied France; all three were caught by the Germans and sent to concentration camps, where they were executed. Terrence Hicks GM (1920- 1944) of the 1 Parachute Sqn, Royal Engineers[5] is remembered on the Memorial, The George Medal being awarded for an act of conspicuous gallantry in Gibraltar in 1942.[6]

Images[edit]

Nearby Commonwealth War Graves[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'File:Cross of Sacrifice.jpg'". wikimedia.org. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  2. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia: Monuments, World Wars I and II Archived 2011-08-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Aubrey Cosens at Find a Grave
  4. ^ John Daniel Baskeyfield at Find a Grave
  5. ^ Commonwealth Grave Commission
  6. ^ WO 373/67 Pt.2 and London Gazette dated 10th July 1942

External links[edit]