Until today there are still World War II soldiers remains found, dug up and excavated. In some cases the soldiers can even be identified by personal belongings or the identification plate, in conjunction with forensic investigations. For a positive identification a field grave must stay in tact as much as possible. A field grave might provide clues about the cause of death and the possibility for analyzing and/or reconstructing history.
A number of field grave discoveries are listed below. The stories make it clearly that there is still hope. The following stories come from various sources.
Some people might think that a search for soldiers after more than 70 years is not worth while, but nothing is less true. Until today there are even First World War casualties found (1914 - 1918)!
Netherlands, March 7, 2003.
Remains German soldier found.
In Loon op Zand, the remains are found of a German soldier who was killed during the Second World War.
The remains were discovered after indications of a 78-year resident of Loon op Zand. The man had reported the story four years ago, but a search yielded nothing. Why he didn’t tell anyone for decades, is not known.
Netherlands, April 19, 2007.
Dead soldier found.
During excavations on a building site in Berlicum, human remains were found. It turned out to be a German soldier who probably was temporarily buried during the Second World War. Besides the remains, a helmet, glasses and boots were found.
The Royal Dutch Army Graves Service took over the remains for further investigation. The Soesterberg laboratory is trying to reveal the identity of this unknown soldier. After the investigation, the soldier will get a final resting place at the cemetery for German soldiers in Ysselsteyn, Holland.
France, July 12, 2007.
While working in Saint Laurent sur Mer on Wednesday July 11th 2007, construction workers have discovered the remains of a German soldier. Beside the skeleton, an identity plate, rifle with bandolier, a respirator and a belt buckle were found. The identification-tag revealed that the soldier belonged to an infantry regiment that was held in reserve. The remains were transferred to the authorities of the German war cemetery at La Cambe.
Netherlands, February 7, 2008.
Field Grave German soldier found.
The field grave of a German soldier from the Second World War was excavated out of the railroadembankment in Schuytgraaf, Arnhem. The likely young soldier died in its harness, with his helmet, his equipment and his shoes still on. He also still carried his identification-tag.
According adjutant Arnand Maringka of the Salvation and Identification Service of the Royal Dutch Army, the tag contains an army service number and an army unit to which the soldier belonged. The Royal Dutch Army will try to contact Berlin, to find out who this fallen soldier was. The boy was probably not even twenty years young. According Maringka this was noticed by observing the skeleton.
The soldier is found during activities on the railway-embankment. The embankment is examined for the presence of Second World War ammunition by partly excavating the embankment and re-strengthened for the construction of noise barriers along the new district. The metal detector beeped when it crossed the helmet of the young soldier. In Schuytgraaf were heavy fights during the Battle of Arnhem and in the months before the liberation.
Netherlands, March 17, 2008.
Last week the remains of a German soldier, now appears from the Second World War era, were found near Groesbeek. The Ministry of Defense made the announcement on Monday.
Souvenir hunters with a metal detector, found the remains of the soldier. Members of the Royal Dutch Army Graves Service took the remains for further investigation. It appeared to be a member of the German navy, but the soldier was not identified. According to the Royal Dutch Army, it is not surprising that it turned out to be a marine man because in the vicinity of Groesbeek during the Second World War, a battalion had established that consisted out of surplus naval personnel.
The identification-tag that every soldier carried wasn’t found. Also; no personal belongings were found. The Royal Dutch Army is now investigating if German is present on a so-called missing list.
Netherlands, April 3, 2008.
The remains of a German soldier found near Arnhem.
In Oosterbeek, an almost complete skeleton of a fallen German soldier from the Second World War was found. The Royal Dutch Army Salvation and Identification Service are examining the remains. The remains were excavated in the Westerbouwing area, along the Rhine river near Oosterbeek.
Besides the almost complete skeleton, also the soldier’s identification plate, his boots and a piece of his belt were found. The remains were discovered by a metal detector, during the search for the body of a British soldier.
According to eyewitnesses of the Battle of Arnhem, the British soldier was killed in the same area. When the identity of the German soldier has been confirmed, a search for next of kin in Germany will be started.
In Oosterbeek, finding remains of fallen soldiers (usually allied) is not unusual, but the discovery of an almost complete body is quite particular. Around Westerbouwing, fiercely fought took place during Battle of Arnhem. The hill overlooking the Betuwe to Nijmegen was of great strategic importance for the warring armies.
Netherlands, September 5, 2016
Remains German soldier found near Arnhem
While creating Park Lingezegen between Arnhem and Nijmegen, remains of a German soldier were found. This occured while analyzing the area for World War II explosives.
The Bergings- en Identificatiedienst Koniklijke Landmacht (BIDKL) recovered the remains. The BIDKL will try to idenfify the remains and notify next of kin.
The remains will eventually be buried on the German Militairy Cemetery Ysselstein in Limburg (Netherlands).