Anthony and Geoffrey Cotterell

Above: Anthony on the left and Geoffrey on the right at the family home, Ham Frith

One of the original inspirations behind this website was the story of the Cotterell brothers, Anthony and Geoffrey. It is a story of lifelong devotion to a brother’s memory, and the search to find the truth of what happened to him. Sadly, Geoffrey died in 2011 without ever knowing the answer of how Anthony had died or where he had been buried.

Anthony disappeared without trace after the battle of Arnhem in September 1943. He had been with the parachutists at the bridge, but was later captured and then, whilst a prisoner of war, was seriously injured when the SS opened up on unarmed prisoners. Shortly after being treated for his wounds, he disappeared.

Geoffrey was at that time a major in the British Army. In 1945, after the war ended, he obtained a posting to Occupied Germany with the specific intent of carrying out investigations into what had happened to his much-loved only brother. His many letters home to his parents tell of what he discovered and the many heart-breaking dead-ends that he encountered.

Even after he was demobbed, he never gave up the hope of discovering the truth and periodically returned to Holland for the rest of his long life. The shooting had taken place in the village of Brummen, and Anthony was later treated for his wounds at Zutphen. His gravestone is at Enschede, but it has never been verified that it is him in the grave.

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