Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E

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Coordinates: 49°12′01″N 3°33′02″E / 49.20028°N 3.55056°E / 49.20028; 3.55056

View across Plot "E", Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, France

The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E is a 5th plot at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, an American military cemetery in northern France that comprises 4 main burial plots (i.e., A, B, C and D) containing the remains of 6,012 service personnel, all of whom died during World War I.[1] Plot E is approximately 100 metres away from the main cemetery and is a separate, hidden section which currently contains the remains of 94 American military prisoners, all of whom were executed by hanging or firing squad under military authority for crimes committed during or shortly after World War II. Their victims were 26 fellow American soldiers (all murdered) and 71 British, French, German, Italian, Polish and Algerian civilians (both male and female) who were raped or murdered.

Some of the British murder victims were children, e.g., 15-year-old Elizabeth Green who was raped and strangled by Corporal Ernest Lee Clarke (grave 68) and Private Augustine M. Guerra (grave 44) at Ashford on 22 August 1944, or 7-year-old Patricia Wylie who was raped and strangled by Private William Harrison (grave 62) in Northern Ireland on 25 September 1944. Certain rape and murder victims were adults, e.g., 75-year-old Agnes Cope who was raped by Private Aniceto Martinez (grave 39) on 6 August 1944, or Joyce Brown who was raped by Corporal Robert L. Pearson (grave 22) and Private Parson [aka Cubia] Jones (grave 15) on 3 December 1944 – whilst she was pregnant. Another case involved Private Lee A. Davis (grave 61), who raped Muriel Fawden after fatally shooting her friend 19-year-old Cynthia June Lay near Savernake Hospital, Marlborough on 28 September 1943.[2] Private Madison Thomas (grave 76) was convicted by a court martial in Plymouth of raping Beatrice Maud Reynolds in a field at Albaston (near Gunnislake, Cornwall) on 26 July 1944, and was executed at HMP Shepton Mallet on 12 October 1944.

The case of Louis Till (grave 73) or the murder of Sir Eric Teichman by George E.Smith (grave 52) on 3 December 1944 are other examples. Similarly, on 10 February 1945, Privates Yancy Waiters (grave 31) and Robert L. Skinner (grave 64) were hanged simultaneously in the village of Hameau au Pigeon in Quettetot on the Cherbourg peninsula. Both men had been convicted of murder and rape. Among spectators at their execution were twenty French witnesses including nineteen-year-old Marie Osouf (the girl who was raped) and the family of Auguste Lebarillier (Marie's boyfriend) who was murdered. In Germany, 29-year-old Private Blake W. Mariano (grave 12) of the 191st Tank Battalion was hanged on 10 October 1945 for an incident in Lauf on 15 April 1945, during which he raped two women aged 21 and 54, and shot dead their 41 year old companion when he discovered that she was menstruating.[3]

In total, the US Army executed 98 servicemen following General Courts Martial (GCM) for murder or rape, or both crimes, in the European Theatre of Operations during the Second World War. The remains of these servicemen were originally buried near the site of their executions, which took place in countries as far apart as England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Algeria. In 1949 the remains of these men were re-interred in Plot E, a private section specifically built to hold what the Graves Registration referred to as "the dishonorable dead", since (per standard practice) all had been Dishonorably Discharged from the US Army just prior to their executions.

Plot "E" is detached from the main four cemetery plots for the honored dead of World War II. It is located across the road and deliberately hidden from view, inside a 100 x 50 feet oval-shaped clearing surrounded by hedges and hidden in thick forest. Officially, Plot E does not exist: it is not mentioned on the ABMC website or in any guide pamphlets or maps. The plot is accessible only through the back door of the superintendent's office.[4] Access is difficult and visitors are not encouraged, though the section is maintained by cemetery caretakers who periodically mow the lawn area and trim the hedges. One cemetery employee described Plot E as "a house of shame" and "a perfect anti-memorial".[5] Unlike the marble monuments and inscribed standing headstones of the regular plots, Plot E contains nothing but 96 flat stone markers (arranged in four rows) and a single small granite cross. The white grave markers are the size of index cards and have nothing on them except sequential grave numbers engraved in black. The intention was that individual graves would be impossible to identify.

No US flag is permitted to fly over the section, and the numbered graves literally lie with their backs turned to the main cemetery on the other side of the road.[6] The only individual buried in Plot E who had not been convicted of rape or murder was Eddie Slovik, who was executed for desertion on 31 January 1945. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan gave permission for Slovik's remains to be exhumed and returned to the United States for reburial.[7]

Burials at Plot "E"[edit]

The following table provides names, serial numbers, locations, and grave numbers of deceased interred in Plot "E" of the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery. This list became available in 2009, following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Location of Plot E highlighted in red. The official ABMC guide pamphlet (from which this map is derived) does not show Plot E
Name of Person Serial Number Row Grave Number
Agee, Amos 34163762 1 14
Anderson, Roy W. 35407199 2 29
Bailey, Milbert 34151488 4 90
Baldwin, Walter J. 34020111 2 43
Bennerman, Sidney Jr 34174757 3 57
Brinson, Eliga 34052175 4 93
Burns, Lee A. 38520648 4 74
Clark, Ernest L. 33212946 3 68
Clay, Matthew Jr 38490561 1 3
Cooper, John D. 34562464 4 81
Crews, Otis B. 14057830 2 30
Davis, Arthur E. 36788637 4 82
Davis, Lee A. 18023362 3 61
Davis, William E. 33541888 1 19
Davison, Tommie 34485174 3 60
Donnelly, Robert L. 13131982 4 95
Downes, William C. 33519814 1 16
Ervin, Charlie Jr 34042926 3 54
Farrell, Arthur J. 32559163 1 21
Gordon, Tom 34091950 1 10
Grant, General L. 34557976 3 59
Green, George Jr 38476751 2 36
Guerra, Augustine M. 38458023 2 44
Hall, Willie 33268841 4 83
Harris, Wiley, Jr 6924547 4 92
Harrison, William Jr 15089828 3 62
Heard, Haze 34562354 2 38
Hendricks, James E. 33453189 1 13
Holden, Mervin 38226564 1 8
Hopper, Benjamin F. 32720571 1 7
Jefferies, Charles H. 33181343 4 78
Johnson, Willie 38270465 2 28
Jones, Cubia (aka Parson) 34563790 1 15
Jones, James L. 34221343 4 84
Jones, John T. 38315973 2 48
Jones, Kinney 34120505 2 42
Jordan, Charlie H. 14066430 2 40
Kendrick, James E. 14026995 1 5
Kluxdal, Paul M. 36395076 2 35
Leatherberry, J. C. 34472451 4 86
Lucas, William N. 36639075 4 96
Mack, John M. 34042053 1 4
Mack, William 32620461 3 63
Mahoney, Joseph J. 12008332 1 11
Mariano, Blake W. 38011593 1 12
Martinez, Aniceto 38168482 2 39
Maxey, Curtis L. 34554198 3 71
McCarter, William J. 34675988 4 91
McGhee, Shelton Sr 34529025 1 6
McMurray, Fred A. 38184335 1 2
Nelson, Henry W. 35726029 1 1
Newman, Oscar N. 35226382 1 80
Norris, Clete O. 37082314 4 79
Ortiz, Victor 30405077 4 87
Parker, Woodrow 34561139 3 56
Pearson, Robert L. 38326741 1 22
Pennyfeather, William D. 32801627 3 66
Philpot, Henry C. 39080069 4 89
Pittman, Willie A. 34400976 3 50
Pygate, Benjamin 33741021 4 85
Robinson, Charles M. 38164425 3 70
Rollins, Alvin R. 34716953 3 51
Sanders, James B. 34124233 3 58
Schmiedel, Werner E. 7041115 3 53
Scott, Richard B. 38040012 2 45
Skinner, Robert L. 35802328 3 64
Smalls, Abraham 34512812 1 23
Smith, Charles H. 36337437 4 77
Smith, George E. Jr 33288266 3 52
Smith, John C. 33214953 3 67
Smith, Willie 3456556 3 69
Spears, Charles E. 32337619 1 18
Spencer, Elwood, J. 33739343 2 33
Spinks, Mansfield 36793241 3 49
Stroud, Harvey 33215131 2 26
Taylor, John W. 37485128 1 24
Thomas, Madison 38265363 4 76
Till, Louis 36392273 4 73
Twiggs, James W. 38265086 4 88
Valentine, Leo 32954278 2 41
Waters, John H. 32337934 2 46
Watson, Frank Jr 34793522 3 55
Watson, Ray 33139251 2 25
Watson, Joseph 39610125 1 17
White, Armstead 34401104 2 47
White, David 34400884 3 72
Whitfield, Clarence 34672443 2 37
Williams, Ellsworth 34200976 2 32
Williams, John 32794118 4 94
Williams, Olin W. 34649494 1 20
Wilson, J. P. 32484756 1 9
Wimberly, Willie J. 36392154 2 34
Wray, Robert 34461589 4 75
Waiters, Yancy 37499079 2 31

Note: additional background information (e.g. place of enlistment and year of birth etc.) regarding the condemned men can be found by entering the relevant service number into Online World War II Indexes & Records.[8]

  • Private Eddie Slovik, 36896415, was buried in Row 3 Grave 65 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1987.[9]
  • Private Alex F. Miranda, 39297382, was buried in Row 2 Grave 27 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1990.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Battle Monuments Commission: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Official Website, As of June 22, 2009
  2. ^ "Shepton Mallet prison history". Capitalpunishmentuk.org. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  3. ^ Walters, Guy. "Did Allied troops rape 285,000 German women?". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  4. ^ "Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Binged.it. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  5. ^ Kaplan, Alice. The Interpreter. Free Press: New York, 2005. 172–3.
  6. ^ Huie, William Bradford.The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme: Yardley, 1954. 4–7.
  7. ^ Pvt Eddie Slovik – Original name: Edward Donald Slovik at Find a Grave
  8. ^ Joe Beine. "Online World War II Indexes and Records - WWII". Militaryindexes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  9. ^ Huie, William Bradford. "The Execution of Private Slovik". Westholme Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-59416-003-1
  10. ^ "Alex F. Miranda (1923 - 1944) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 

External links[edit]