Oise-Aisne American Cemetery 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.
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, 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. 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".
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.
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. 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.
Burials at Plot E
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|
|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.|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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.|
|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.
- Private Eddie Slovik, 36896415, was buried in Row 3 Grave 65 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1987.
- Private Alex F. Miranda, 39297382, was buried in Row 2 Grave 27 until his remains were returned to the United States in 1990.
- Capital punishment by the United States military
- Fort Leavenworth Military Prison Cemetery – American cemetery which holds the remains of German WWII POWs
- Shepton Mallet (HM Prison) – provides details of the 18 American servicemen executed there who were later moved to Plot E
- American Battle Monuments Commission: Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Official Website As of June 22, 2009
- Venditta, David. "Lehigh County soldier was hanged for murder in World War II". Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "Bing Maps – Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions". Binged.it. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
- Kaplan, Alice. The Interpreter. Free Press: New York, 2005. pp. 172–173.[ISBN missing]
- Huie, William Bradford.The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme: Yardley, 1954. pp. 4–7.[ISBN missing]
- "Body of executed soldier interred next to his wife". Associated Press. July 12, 1987. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- Jewish Virtual Library
- The Telegraph
- "Shepton Mallet prison history". Capitalpunishmentuk.org. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
- 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.
- 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.
- Joe Beine. "Online World War II Indexes and Records – WWII". Militaryindexes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
- Huie, William Bradford. The Execution of Private Slovik. Westholme Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-59416-003-1
- Somerset Live
- Midweek Herald