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

Location of Plot E highlighted in red. The official ABMC guide pamphlet (from which this map is derived) does not show Plot E

The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E is the fifth plot at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, an American military cemetery in northern France that comprises four 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 meters 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,[2] Polish and Algerian civilians (both male and female) who were raped or murdered.

In total, the US Army executed 98 servicemen following general courts martial for murder or rape 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 dishonored dead"; per standard practice, all had been dishonorably discharged from the US Army the day before their executions.

Plot E is detached from the main four cemetery plots for the honored dead of World War I. It is located across the road and deliberately hidden from view, inside a 100×50 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.[3] 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".[4]

View across Plot E

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 numbers engraved in black. The intention was that individual graves would be impossible to identify; however, the secrecy of each grave's occupant was undone by a Freedom of Information Act request in 2009.

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.[clarification needed][5]

The only individual buried in Plot E who had not been convicted of rape or murder was Eddie Slovik (formerly Row 3, Grave 65), who was executed for desertion on 31 January 1945. His wife, Antoinette Slovik, petitioned the Army for her husband's remains and his pension until her death in 1979. Slovik's case was taken up in 1981 by a former Macomb County, Michigan commissioner, Bernard V. Calka, a Polish-American World War II veteran, who continued to press the Army for the return of Slovik's remains. In 1987, he persuaded President Ronald Reagan to grant the petition request.[6][7][8] In response, Calka raised $5,000 to pay for the exhumation and reinterment at Detroit's Woodmere Cemetery, where Slovik was reburied next to his wife.[6]

African American murder victim Emmett Till's father, Louis Till, is among the interred convicts.

Burials at Plot E[edit]

All individuals currently interred in Plot E were found guilty at general court martial of the capital crimes of rape, murder or both.

After being held from the public from the time of the creation of Plot E, the names and grave locations of the men buried there became available in 2009 following a Freedom of Information Act request. Prior to that release, the public could not determine who was buried in a particular grave, as the graves are only marked with numbers.

The following table provides names, serial numbers, locations, and associated grave numbers of deceased interred in Plot E of the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.

Name of Person Serial Number Row Grave Number Details of Capital Offense & Notes
Agee, Amos 34163762 1 14 Hanged in the European Theater on 3 March 1945
Anderson, Roy W. 35407199 2 29 Hanged in the European Theater on 25 October 1944
Bailey, Milbert 34151488 4 90 Hanged in the European Theater on 19 April 1945
Baldwin, Walter J. 34020111 2 43 Hanged in the European Theater on 17 January 1945[citation needed]
Bennerman, Sidney, Jr 34174757 3 57 Executed by firing squad in the European Theater on 15 October 1945
Brinson, Eliga 34052175 4 93 Hanged at Shepton Mallet on 11 August 1944
Burns, Lee A. 38520648 4 74 Hanged in Aversa, Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 11 March 1945
Clark, Ernest L. 33212946 3 68 Along with co-convicted Augustine M. Guerra, raped and strangled 15-year-old Elizabeth Green at Ashford on 22 August 1944
Clay Jr, Matthew 38490561 1 3 Hanged in the European Theater on 4 June 1945
Cooper, John D. 34562464 4 81 Hanged in the European Theater on 9 January 1945
Crews, Otis B. 14057830 2 30 Hanged in the Mediterranean Theater on 21 February 1945
Davis, Arthur E. 36788637 4 82 Hanged in the European Theater on 22 November 1944
Davis, Lee A. 18023362 3 61 Convicted of raping Muriel Fawden after fatally shooting her friend, 19-year-old Cynthia June Lay near Savernake Hospital, Marlborough on 28 September 1943.[9]
Davis, William E. 33541888 1 19 Hanged in the European Theater on 27 December 1944
Davison, Tommie 34485174 3 60 Hanged in the European Theater on 29 March 1945
Donnelly, Robert L. 13131982 4 95 Hanged in the Mediterranean Theatre on 31 May 1944
Downes, William C. 33519814 1 16 Hanged in the European Theater on 28 February 1945
Ervin, Charlie, Jr 34042926 3 54 Executed by firing squad in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre on 19 October 1945
Farrell, Arthur J. 32559163 1 21 Hanged in the European Theater on 19 January 1945
Gordon, Tom 34091950 1 10 Hanged in the European Theater on 10 July 1945
Grant, General L. 34557976 3 59 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 11 March 1945
Green, George, Jr 38476751 2 36 Hanged in the European Theater on 15 May 1945
Guerra, Augustine M. 38458023 2 44 Along with Ernest L. Clarke, convicted of the rape and murder of 15-year-old Elizabeth Green at Ashford on 22 August 1944
Hall, Willie 33268841 4 83
Harris, Wiley, Jr 6924547 4 92 Hanged at Shepton Mallet on 26 May 1944
Harrison, William, Jr 15089828 3 62 Raped and strangled 7-year-old Patricia Wylie, in Northern Ireland on 25 September 1944.
Heard, Haze 34562354 2 38 Hanged in the European Theater on 21 May 1945
Hendricks, James E. 33453189 1 13 Hanged near Plumaudan on 24 November 1944 for the murder of Victor Bignon and the attempted rape of his wife Noémie.
Holden, Mervin 38226564 1 8 Hanged in Lemur, Belgium on 30 January 1945
Hopper, Benjamin F. 32720571 1 7 Hanged in the European Theater on 29 March 1945
Jefferies, Charles H. 33181343 4 78 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 5 July 1945
Johnson, Willie 38270465 2 28 Hanged in the European Theater on 26 June 1945
Jones, Cubia (a.k.a. Parson) 34563790 1 15 Raped and murdered Joyce Brown, who was pregnant, on 3 December 1944
Jones, James L. 34221343 4 84 Hanged in the European Theater on 19 April 1945
Jones, John T. 38315973 2 48 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 5 July 1945
Jones, Kinney 34120505 2 42 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 20 March 1945
Jordan, Charlie H. 14066430 2 40 Hanged in the European Theater on 22 November 1944
Kendrick, James E. 14026995 1 5 Hanged in Oran, Algeria, North African Theater on 17 July 1943
Kluxdal, Paul M. 36395076 2 35 Hanged in the European Theater on 31 October 1944
Leatherberry, John C. 34472451 4 86 Hanged at Shepton Mallet on 16 March 1944
Lucas, William N. 36639075 4 96
Mack, John H. 34042053 1 4 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 20 March 1945
Mack, William 32620461 3 63
Mahoney, Joseph J. 12008332 1 11
Mariano, Blake W. 38011593 1 12 A 29-year-old gunner with the 191st Tank Battalion, was hanged at Loire Disciplinary Training Center in Le Mans, France on 10 October 1945 for an incident which took place in Lauf, Germany on 15 April 1945; he raped two women aged 21 and 54, and shot dead their 41-year-old companion.
Martinez, Aniceto 38168482 2 39 Convicted of raping and murdering 75-year-old Agnes Cope on 6 August 1944
Maxey, Curtis L. 34554198 3 71 Hanged in St. Tropez, France, Mediterranean Theatre on 16 November 1944
McCarter, William J. 34675988 4 91 Hanged in the European Theater on 28 May 1945
McGhee Sr, Shelton 34529025 1 6 Hanged in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 4 May 1945
McMurray, Fred A. 38184335 1 2 Convicted along with Louis Till for the murder of an Italian woman and the rape of two others, in Civitavecchia. Executed by hanging at United States Army Disciplinary Training Center north of Pisa on 2 July 1945
Nelson, Henry W. 35726029 1 1 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 5 July 1945
Newman, Oscar N. 35226382 1 80 Hanged in the European Theater on 29 November 1944
Norris, Clete O. 37082314 4 79 Hanged in the European Theater on 31 May 1945
Ortiz, Victor 30405077 4 87 Hanged in the European Theater on 21 June 1945
Parker, Woodrow 34561139 3 56 Executed by firing squad in the European Theater on 15 October 1945
Pearson, Robert L. 38326741 1 22 Convicted along with Parson Jones for the rape and murder of Joyce Brown, who was pregnant, on 3 December 1944
Pennyfeather, William D. 32801627 3 66 Hanged in the European Theater on 18 November 1944
Philpot, Henry C. 39080069 4 89 Hanged in the European Theater on 10 September 1945
Pittman, Willie A. 34400976 3 50 Hanged in Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 30 August 1943
Pygate, Benjamin 33741021 4 85
Robinson, Charles M. 38164425 3 70 Hanged in the European Theater on 28 September 1945
Rollins, Alvin R. 34716953 3 51 Hanged in the European Theater on 31 May 1945
Sanders, James B. 34124233 3 58 Hanged in the European Theater on 25 October 1944
Schmiedel, Werner E. (a.k.a. Robert Lane) 7041115 3 53 Hanged in the Mediterranean Theater on 11 June 1945
Scott, Richard B. 38040012 2 45 Hanged in the European Theater on 18 November 1944
Skinner, Robert L. 35802328 3 64 Hanged simultaneously with Yancy Waiters in the village of Hameau au Pigeon in Quettetot on the Cherbourg peninsula after being 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.
Smalls, Abraham 34512812 1 23 Hanged in Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 27 March 1945
Smith, Charles H. 36337437 4 77 Hanged in Algiers, North African Theater of Operations on 6 September 1943
Smith, George E., Jr 33288266 3 52 Convicted for the murder of British diplomat Sir Eric Teichman by court-martial at RAF Attlebridge on 3 December 1944. He was executed by hanging on the gallows at HMP Shepton Mallet on 8 May 1945 (i.e. VE day), despite appeals for clemency, including from Lady Ellen Teichman.
Smith, John C. 33214953 3 67
Smith, Willie 3456556 3 69
Spears, Charles E. 32337619 1 18 Hanged in Oran, Algeria, North African Theater of Operations on 18 April 1944
Spencer, Elwood, J. 33739343 2 33 Hanged in Lemur, Belgium on 30 January 1945
Spinks, Mansfield 36793241 3 49 Executed by firing squad in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre on 19 October 1945
Stroud, Harvey 33215131 2 26 Hanged in Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 30 August 1943
Taylor, John W. 37485128 1 24 Hanged in Italy, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 20 March 1945
Thomas, Madison 38265363 4 76 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 hanged at HMP Shepton Mallet on 12 October 1944.
Till, Louis 36392273 4 73 Convicted along with Fred A. McMurray, for the murder of an Italian woman and the rape of two others, in Civitavecchia. Executed by hanging at United States Army Disciplinary Training Center north of Pisa on July 2, 1945.[10][11]
Twiggs, James W. 38265086 4 88 Hanged in the European Theater on 22 January 1945
Valentine, Leo 32954278 2 41 Hanged in the European Theater on 29 November 1944
Waiters, Yancy 37499079 2 31 Hanged simultaneously with Robert L. Skinner on 10 February 1945 for the murder of Auguste Lebarillier and rape of Marie Osouf
Waters, John H. 32337934 2 46
Watson, Frank, Jr 34793522 3 55 Hanged in the European Theater on 3 March 1945
Watson, Ray 33139251 2 25 Hanged in Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 29 August 1944
Watson, Joseph 39610125 1 17 Hanged in the European Theater on 9 November 1944
White, Armstead 34401104 2 47 Hanged in Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 30 August 1943
White, David 34400884 3 72 Hanged in Sicily, Mediterranean Theatre of World War II on 30 August 1943
Whitfield, Clarence 34672443 2 37 Hanged in Normandy, France, European Theater on 14 August 1944
Williams, Ellsworth 34200976 2 32 Hanged in Germany, European Theater on 5 January 1946
Williams, John 32794118 4 94 Hanged in the European Theater on 19 April 1945
Williams, Olin W. 34649494 1 20 Hanged in the European Theater on 9 March 1945
Wilson, J. P. 32484756 1 9 Hanged in the European Theater on 2 February 1945
Wimberly, Willie J. 36392154 2 34 Hanged in the European Theater on 9 November 1944
Wray, Robert 34461589 4 75 Hanged in the European Theater on 20 August 1945

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.[12]

  • Private Eddie Slovik, 36896415, was buried in Row 3 Grave 65 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1987.[13]
  • Private Alex F. Miranda, 39297382, was buried in Row 2 Grave 27 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1990.[14][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Battle Monuments Commission: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Official Website As of June 22, 2009
  2. ^ Venditta, David. "Lehigh County soldier was hanged for murder in World War II". Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Bing Maps – Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Binged.it. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Alice. The Interpreter. Free Press: New York, 2005. pp. 172–173.[ISBN missing]
  5. ^ Huie, William Bradford.The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme: Yardley, 1954. pp. 4–7.[ISBN missing]
  6. ^ a b "Body of executed soldier interred next to his wife". Associated Press. July 12, 1987. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  7. ^ Jewish Virtual Library
  8. ^ The Telegraph
  9. ^ "Shepton Mallet prison history". Capitalpunishmentuk.org. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  10. ^ Houck, Davis W.; Grindy, Matthew (2008). Emmett Till and the Mississippi press. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 134–135. ISBN 1-934110-15-9.
  11. ^ Whitfield, Stephen J. (1991). A death in the Delta : the story of Emmett Till. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-8018-4326-6.
  12. ^ Joe Beine. "Online World War II Indexes and Records – WWII". Militaryindexes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  13. ^ Huie, William Bradford. The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-59416-003-1
  14. ^ Somerset Live
  15. ^ Midweek Herald

External links[edit]