Monday, 24 January 2011

The Injured at Merville were Under the Care of the German Army

The personal papers of a WW2 Austrian doctor
A great debt of thanks is due to Stephen Smith, who's grandfather was photographed standing next to my uncle in their battalion photograph.

I have been in touch with him and discussed my brief research into my uncle's death, and he came back just the other day with this insight which I quote verbatim:

I was thinking about your question "In what action was Your uncle wounded?".  I think he may have been wounded in an action which took place after the assault on the battery for the following reasons.  If he was wounded at the battery two possibilities come to mind 1- he would have been left in the care of the Germans and later laid to rest by the Germans some where other than Ranville or  2- If you read Fred Glover's story in the appendix of "The Day The Devils Dropped In" all men wounded at the battery during the assault who could not keep up with the march to the battalion's next objective where left either at the battery in the care of a German doctor or they where made comfortable where they fell behind on the roadside and later collected by the Germans.  Either way the burial site for those who died from their wounds received at the battery  would most likely not have been Ranville. As Daniel rests in the Ranville War Cemetery his burial was overseen by allied soldiers which means he was taken to Ranville for burial by the allies.  Those who fell at the battery to my knowledge have no known grave.  Presently I am aware of only one group of casualties who where collected, from a temporary grave near to where they fell, after the breakout from Normandy and later reburied at Ranville. Those men were in Brigadier Hill's group which was bombed by allied planes at about 6am on the 6th of June some where between Gonneville-en-Auge and Varaville.  This group included Emile the A Company dog handler.  Though this is just an idea based on the information I have got from Neil Barber's book.  I hope this is of some help to you.
I had completely overlooked the fact that those who died or were seriously injured at the Battery on 6th June were cared for or buried by the Germans. Given that my uncle is buried at Ranville, it seems likely that he was not seriously injured at the Merville Battery.

This does not explain why my nan told my mum that my uncle was injured on the 6th and died of his injuries on the 7th, unless this was misinformation or Chinese whispers... unless of course his injuries weren't deemed serious, but he deteriorated the following day.

Time will tell.

In closing, Stephen's family in Australia suffered badly in the floods we've all been watching on TV. Again to quote him "The place has been devastated, there are over 50 homes and families missing from the local community.  I am extremely lucky that everyone in my family is OK though they will be in camps for the next three weeks or so."
I'm sure all our thoughts and prayers are with them and the other victims of the flood who have lost relatives and their homes.

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