A war mystery?

Sorry folks, been working pretty hard last couple of days and not been keeping up with things, so please bear with me while I get back up to speed, but this is a really interesting enquiry that’s come in via Facebook and I wonder what the military and war historians make of it.

Mark Powell submitted the following:


A curious headstone in the German War Cemetery at Brockton, Cannock Chase. Image supplied by Mark Powell.

Hi Bob

I know this is not Brownhills but close (Cannock)… I tried to research this.

Cannock Chase German War Cemetery –  according to the translation Harry Edmunds intern which is not a German name. Can anybody throw any light on this please?

All info appreciated.

Thank you
Mark Powell

I have no idea, personally, but I welcome suggestions – and I know a few among the readers will enjoy the challenge. Please comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

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6 Responses to A war mystery?

  1. Christine says:

    It says he’s interned. Maybe he was a German living here who had changed his name and was interned on the Isle of Man and died there. The other idea is that it’s a German/Commonwealth cemetery and there are a number of New Zealanders buried there as it was originally a New Zealand Training Camp.

    • Pedro says:

      Stephen Dean, Staffs CC Principal Archaeologist, gave a recent talk at Brewood Library concerning the WW1 Camps on the Chase. If it comes again locally it is well worth attending.

      According to Stephen the Camps were planned in the late 1800s as addition to the arsenal at Woolwich, but were not taken up. It was therefore an ideal place for the Camps needed in 1914 at the start of the war.

      The New Zealand Rifles made Cannock Chase as their HQ in the UK, but this was in 1917. They were responsible for overseeing the building of the Messines Model.

  2. Ricardus says:

    Mystifying – the Germans in the nearby CWGC cemetery have different gravestones.to the Allied ones, but this may not be the German policy. I don’t think that it’s a combined CWGC/German cemetery except in the sense that as I understand it the CWGC administer/maintain it. Suggestion that he anglicised his name certainly feasible, especially if he endured anti-German violence at WW1 start?

  3. Lorraine Allan says:

    He is not coming up on Commonwealth War Graves Commission searches, but Harry Edmunds is there on the equivalent German site http://www.volksbund.de. To access his personal details, you need to order them. However it also says there are details in some sort of register kept at Cannock Chase which you can phone up and view. Hope that’s a bit of help. X

  4. Christine says:

    I’ve just found a web site where it says that after an agreement in 1959 between the British and German Governments the cemetery was opened in 1967 and all service personnel and internees buried around the country were brought together to Cannock Chase.

  5. Alan H says:

    I think it’s pretty certain that Harry Edmunds was a German civilian, resident in the UK, with an anglicised name, and interned as an enemy alien. Enemy aliens got the rough end of the stick in both World Wars. Try a Google search for “Arandora Star”, the vessel on which the UK tried to remove to Canada a number of mainly Italian internees. It was a known troopship, and when a U-boat spotted it, the inevitable happened.

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