The Anthony Cotterell Missing Case

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

4 comments

  1. My late father in law Jack Hogg was the operator in the Sherman tank in which Anthony Cotterell spent time during the battle for Normandy.

    1. Hi Adam – I apologise for the delay but I have only just read your comment. That is really amazing news, I remember Jack Hogg very well from Anthony’s account. Have you got any info or photos of your father-in-law? If yes, please contact me.

      1. Hi Jennie,

        Thanks for getting back to me. Sadly Jack passed away 2 years ago but I did speak with him on a number of occasions about his time in the 8th Armoured Brigade.
        I only discovered your book about Anthony Cotterell a few months after he died but he told me about Anthony being with them in Normandy.
        I only have one small photo of Jack and crew on a tank but I did film him and interview him some years ago about his experiences during the war.
        I have been trying to obtain a copy of an article which Jack told me appeared in a June 1944 northern issue of the Daily Sketch Newspaper which was written by Anthony about their tank reversing at great speed out of a French village which they didn’t realise was occupied. I don’t know if you’ve come across this in your research?

        Many thanks

        Adam

        Ps please let me know where to send a picture.

      2. I have sent you an email. Please let me know if you don’t get it. Many thanks. Jennie

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