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Enemy Dead

By Philip_H
During the Second World War (1939-1945), a plot of land on the edge of St Mary’s churchyard in the small East Yorkshire village of Brandesburton was set aside for airmen killed on active service. The total number of airmen buried in the plot is 45, of whom 15 (including 1 Pole) served with the Royal Air Force (RAF), 9 with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), 6 with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), 2 with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and, most surprising of all, 13 with the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). The German war graves are in a separate row against the western boundary of the churchyard, in the south west corner of the war graves plot, close behind the single row of 32 British and Allied war graves.

The German war dead at Brandesburton are one of several groups in Britain that still remain in their original wartime burial place. Such war graves are not common as the vast majority of German war dead were exhumed in the 1960s and transferred to the German Military Cemetery (Deutschen Soldatenfriedhof) at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, England.

In the photo are the graves of three of the German airmen:
Hauptgefreiter (Lance Corporal) Josef Schumacher (1916-1941);
Obergefreiter (Leading Aircraftman) Rudolf Lorenz (1919-1941); and
Obergefreiter (Leading Aircraftman) Rudolf Trodler (1918-1943).

Josef Schumacher was killed, along with the rest of the four-man crew, on the 1st May 1941 when their Junkers 88 aircraft was attacked and crashed into the sea off the Farne Islands, Northumberland. The aircraft was probably shot down by Spitfires of 72 Squadron, Acklington, Northumberland.

Rudolf Lorenz was killed, along with three other crew members (two of whom are also buried at Brandesburton), when their Heinkel 111 bomber crashed at Sunk Island Road, Partrington, East Yorkshire on 9th May 1941. The bomber, 1 of 120 aircraft ordered to divert and attack the port city of Kingston upon Hull for a second night running, was the third shot down that night by Defiants of 255 Squadron, Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire. One of the five-man crew survived the crash, by bailing out beforehand, and was made a POW upon capture.

Rudolf Trodler was killed, along with his three other crew members (also buried at Brandesburton), in the early hours of 26th July 1943 when their Dornier 217 bomber crashed at Long Riston, East Yorkshire after been hit by anti-aircraft fire over Kingston upon Hull.

Hull’s wartime experience of the blitz has earned it a special place in the history of the Second World War. It was one of the first, and last, places to be bombed, and like London, sustained attacks throughout the war. The City suffered especially seriously from enemy bombing. Often referred to anonymously during wartime news bulletins as ‘a north-east coast town’ (in an attempt to protect the identity of the City and play down the devastation wreaked on the population by the Luftwaffe), it is now acknowledged as the most heavily bombed provincial city of the War. Like London, but unlike other British towns, Hull suffered bombing raids throughout the war. Hull was more easily accessible to bombing raids than inland towns, and with its multi-purpose dockyard, wharves and industrial sites it was regarded by the Germans as a prime target for heavy bombers. One of the country’s heaviest raids was in July 1941 when over two hundred industrial premises were hit.

Hull was the subject of the first daylight air raid on Britain of the war, and air raids went on longer here than on any other British city; even after the Russian front had opened - partly it is thought for German internal propaganda purposes. The final air raid, in March 1945, resulted in the last civilian casualties in Britain caused by a piloted enemy aircraft. Dozens of British towns and ports were attacked, but in his autobiography the wartime Home Secretary Herbert Morrison concluded that, 'in my experience and from remembrance of the reports, I would say that the town that suffered most was Kingston-upon-Hull. We had reason to believe that the Germans did not realize that they were bombing Hull. Morning after morning the BBC reported that raiders had been over a 'north-east town' and so there was none of the glory for Hull which known suffering might produce.”

Tags: General East yorkshire Luftwaffe War graves Airmen Second world war Gefallene deutsche soldaten German war graves commission Volksbund deutsche kriegsgraberfursorge St Mary’s churchyard Brandesburton Enemy dead German war dead Josef Schumacher Rudolf Lorenz Rudolf Trodler German war graves German air force

Voters: woolybill1, NDODS, mudge and 32 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes


9 5.2k 127 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2015 3:49PM
Once our foe, but untied in death. A very sad and moving image.

An interesting and informative narrative. Thanks for sharing Philip.

Regards NathanGrinGrinGrin

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mudge 17 1.0k 75 England
5 Jun 2015 3:51PM
You get my vote for the interesting research and commentry you have provided. Well done
The image works well in B/W
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2079 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2015 4:06PM
There was respect for the dead on both sides. There are a number of German graves in the British cemeteries on the Western Front, I always find them moving. Guests or perpetual prisoners of war...
Very well composed.
taggart Plus
15 47 13 United States
5 Jun 2015 4:44PM
and well photographed
5 Jun 2015 4:46PM
Interesting write up Philip sad images..Lin
nonur Plus
10 18 13 Turkey
5 Jun 2015 6:04PM
Very interesting write up, and a great mono image, Philip.
5 Jun 2015 6:16PM
Sad image, excellent narrative,we have been so fortunate,
carper123 Plus
7 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
5 Jun 2015 6:51PM
Wonderful, interesting intro, well researched, Philip. The black and white image fits your intro perfectly.
Well done.
Nikonuser1 Plus
7 159 16 United Kingdom
6 Jun 2015 12:12AM
A very interesting write up Philip, a very moveing image.

Jasper87 Plus
9 2.3k 157 England
7 Jun 2015 8:12AM
My neck of the woods and I wasn't aware of this. A fine bit of illustrated commentary, Philip.

Chinga Plus
8 3 1 United Kingdom
9 Jun 2015 1:03AM
Feel so touched...
Thank you for sharing...
13 Jun 2015 12:00PM
What amazing photography such a moving image, Philip.
bluesandtwos 9 402 1 England
28 Jun 2015 9:48AM
Moving and informative. Have you read the books 'Finding the Few' and 'Finding the Foe', both along the lines of your text and very interesting.
Also I believe Hull was one of the first targets of the WW1 blitz by German airships and then the giant Gotha planes.
Thank you for this image and the write up, we have relatives we sometimes visit just North of Hull and I will add this to the list of places to visit.


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