Major Geoffrey Cotterell with Sergeant Kamp from 33 Netherlands War Crimes Commission and Aps Tjeenk Willink

Anthony Cotterell’s disappearance after the battle of Arnhem, when he was shot and seriously injured by the SS whilst an unarmed prisoner of war, became the focus of extensive war crime investigations. Researching what happened to Anthony was my first real foray into what happened with missing British servicemen. It is a uniquely well-documented case not only because the war crime files still exist, but also because Anthony’s brother, Geoffrey, who was a writer like his brother, wrote a long sequence of letters to his parents about the search.

I am serialising extracts from these letters on this website because they give such a unique view of the conditions in Europe just after the war, conditions which formed the backdrop to the Army Graves work and the research carried out for the missing, both Army and RAF.

The image above shows Geoffrey (left) at Brummen, at the house of the Tjeenk-Willinks, in 1946. This was within walking distance of the place where his brother had been shot in September 1944.

Below are the links for the pages about the two brothers and the first installment of the letters, which open just as Geoffrey has left England in October 1945.

The Cotterell Brothers

Geoffrey Cotterell Letters – 22-25 October 1945

Leave a Reply