View Full Version : Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the early days of WW2

22nd Jul 2011, 19:38
Every church yard along the Dyle river between Wavre and Leuven has a few commonwealth wargraves. People walk past them and don't really pay any attention, just in the same way they walk past the bunkers which formed the kilometers long defense line along the banks of the river.
One day I stopped to shoot a few pictures, overwhelmed by the peaceful setting and the thoughts of what happened back then. All the grave stones remain in pristine condition which in a way is a comforting thought.
This is where I live, this is where my children grow-up.


The 1st Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers first made contact with the Germans on 14 May 1940 on the River Dyle at Ottenburg, north of Wavre and some 20 km south-east of Brussels. The forward company was subjected to intense mortar fire and a series of unsuccessful attacks throughout the following day. Meanwhile the Germans had broken through near Sedan, threatening the southern flank of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.), and orders for the Battalion to withdraw came on the night of 15-16 May.

22nd Jul 2011, 21:00
Nice photos and looks as if the locals have "adopted" them.
Presumably St Agatha is your local church?
Looking at the town, I think those boys would reckon it was a place worth fighting for. Obviously the RWF were not the only unit fighting in the area, but in 17 days they sustained about 90 killed.
Do you know of any relatives visiting, or any exchanges between the RWF and the Dyle townspeople?
Might be worth contacting the RWF museum....?

Lon More
22nd Jul 2011, 21:31
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (http://www.cwgc.org/) is responsible for them at a cost of over 51m. per year. I don't begrudge them a single penny. There's a (thankfully) small onenear here in Sittard and a huge American one some 15k away in Margraten. When I first came here in the early 70s it was common to meet ex-soldiers looking for fallen comrades; it doesn't happen much more these days.

8th Jul 2012, 20:12
Discovered another CWG yesterday during an MTB tour with my oldest son. This time in Tombeek, obviously a bomber crew. When I got home I found out that they were shot down, in their Handley Page Halifax, by Schnaufer in his Me110. Interesting to link this all.
Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (16 February 1922 – 15 July 1950) was a German Luftwaffe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luftwaffe) night fighter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_fighter) pilot and is the highest scoring night fighter ace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_ace) in the history of aerial warfare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_warfare). A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_aviation) credited with shooting down five (in some services, notably the World War I German air force, classification as an ace required ten) or more enemy aircraft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft) during aerial combat.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz-Wolfgang_Schnaufer#cite_note-0) All of his 121 aerial victories were claimed during World War II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II) at night, mostly against British four-engine bombers.[ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz-Wolfgang_Schnaufer#cite_note-1)
He was nicknamed "The Spook of St. Trond".

8th Jul 2012, 22:32
War Grave and Memorial Photographs supplied by The War Graves Photographic Project (http://www.twgpp.org/)

A very useful site for bringing it home for younger relatives for whom its all ancient history, elderly relatives too infirm to make the trip, as well as being a great help for genealogy research.