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Major Cotterell & Pilot Officer Benting

Accurate post-war confirmation of the graves of British servicemen could be an extremely complicated and difficult task. Cemetery records were not always correct, and sometimes only an exhumation could solve difficult cases. Even then, an answer was not necessarily forthcoming. The complex story of some British graves at Enschede in Holland illustrates this point perfectly.

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Missing Soldier-Journalist: Anthony Cotterell

Major Anthony Cotterell disappeared after a war crime was committed against British prisoners of war after the battle of Arnhem in September 1944.

Despite intensive post-war investigations, his fate was never determined. The tombstone for his supposed grave at Enschede, in Holland, notes at the top, ‘Buried near this spot’, reflecting the uncertainty as to where he actually lay.

André van Aarsen has recently sent information on a possible explanation for Anthony’s fate. See the comments attached to the previous post: Missing Soldier-Journalist: Anthony Cotterell

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Missing Soldier-Journalist: Anthony Cotterell

The above picture was carried in his wallet by Anthony’s devoted brother Geoffrey throughout his long post-war search for the truth of what had happened to Anthony. Anthony had disappeared in Holland after being wounded during a war crime committed by the SS against unarmed British prisoners of war.

As a Major serving in Occupied Germany after the war, Geoffrey was in a unique position to carry out investigations which began one year after Anthony had disappeared.