Thursday, 29 August 2013

Wargraves at Scampton

The Commonwealth War graves cross 
The churchyard of St John the Baptist, has many graves of service personnel, a fact that is not surprising given that the RAF Base at Scampton lies just over the road from the church. One thing that is surprising however is that the churchyard contains a number of graves of German war dead.. When all the German dead of the second world war were being collected up and re-interred in the large war cemetery in Cannock Chase the relatives of these men refused permission as the graves here are treated with the same respect and looked after in the same way as the British war dead.

The German Graves 
1. Feldwebel (Flight Sergeant) Heinrich Conze, born 20.1.1920 in Essen, killed in action 4.3.1945

2. Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Alfred Altenkirch, born 20.9.1924 in Bergeow, killed in action 4.3.1945

3. Leutnant (Pilot Officer) Kurt Hanning, born 11.9.1919 in Hannover, killed in action 12.5.1941

4. *Helmuth Wimmender, born 19.5.1920, killed in action 12.5.1941 (further details unknown)

*E.H. Reidel, (date of birth not given, details unknown), killed in action 12.5.1941
this  5th body in the 1941 graves Shares a grave with Wimmender was not   discovered till the 1960's and was a ground crew man originally posted as a deserter.He apparently tagged along for a jolly 

Front Row - Left to Right:

1. Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Rudolf Scherer, born 4.4.1922 in Aschaffenburg-Alzenau, killed in action 4.3.1945

2. Obergefreiter (Corporal) Werner Nollau, born 8.10.1923 in Oschatz, killed in action 4.3.1945

3. Unteroffizier (Sergeant) Wilhelm August Christian Hansen, born 30.3.1916 in Herford, killed in action 12.5.1941

4. Gefreiter (LAC) Johannes Dietrich, born 8.12.1918 in Heinrichswalde, killed in action 12.5.1941

No one seems to have any concrete proof of what happened to the 1945 crew but there were heavy raids on the night 3rd 4th March with Junkers 88's sneaking back in formations of Halifax Bombers and attacking them as they came in to land ,this crew were possibly aboard a Ju88 that was brought down in nearby Welton ?. 

The rear section of Wargraves
Also in the Church Yard is a small Rose Garden dedicated to Sergeant John Hannah A Hampden Crew member who was terribly burnt during a raid in 1940 the floor of the Hampton melted away due to the heat and the gunner jumped/fell through the floor ,the navigator went to find out  what was happening and saw the plane and Hannah well ablaze and bailed out expecting his pilot to follow ,however the pilot C.A Conner stayed in the plane .Hannah somehow managed to put the flames out on his body and although his hands and face were badly burnt he managed to use fire extinguisher's to put out most of the fires using his log books to beat out the remaining flames he then acted as navigator and Conner managed to bring the badly damaged plane home.Conner received the DFC and Hannah was awarded the VC for their brave actions Sadly Conner was killed a couple of weeks later  and although Hannah returned to the RAF on training duties he never fully recovered and was invalided out in 1942,and passed away in 1946.


  1. Hi - This may shed some light on the German aircrew graves at Scampton:

  2. Excelllent ,thank you for the link and its nice to know people look at the older posts as well ,again a big thanks for the link .