08 September 2017

Five servicemen honoured at services

Burial and rededication services were held for five servicemen this week.


Guard of honour. Photo courtesy of Netherlands Ministry of Defence

Two Polish airmen – Por. Maciej Socharski and Plt. Henryk Sikorski, of Vickers-Wellington R-1322 of No. 305 Polish Squadron RAF, were buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Netherlands, on Wednesday.

The burials were attended by Krysztof Socharski, the only son of navigator Maciej, who only learnt on 28 August, shortly before his 78th birthday, from the Polish authorities that his father had been found and identified.

Krysztof Socharski at the grave of his father Por. Maciej Socharski. Photo courtesy of Netherlands Ministry of Defence

The family knew Maciej had escaped from Poland via Rumania after the German invasion of September 1939, but were unaware he had made it all the way to the UK, had flown with No. 305 Polish Sqn RAF since early 1940 and had crashed over the Netherlands in 1941. His final letter from Portugal was dated late 1939. It took until 1971 for them to find out via the Red Cross.

Krysztof was very emotional and said: “Today for me the Second World War ends.”

The ceremony also included a rededication service for Plt. Stainislaw Pisarski.

Grave of Plt. Stainislaw Pisarski

Following the recovery and identification of Maciej and Henryk, it was possible to attribute the previously unknown airman’s grave at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery to Stainislaw.

Wellington R-1322 was shot down by German fighters on 9 May 1941, and the whole aircrew of six died, three of which remained unaccounted for until now.

As part of the ceremony, two Second World War Harvard aircraft of the RNLAF’s Historical Flight made a fly-past, including a Missing Man formation, as tribute to the aircrew of Wellington R-1322.

The Commission worked with The Royal Netherlands Army and Polish authorities to facilitate the burial within its plot at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery and provided the new headstones.


A rededication service for Serjeant James Joseph McLynn, of the 4th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, was also held on Wednesday at the CWGC’s Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Belgium.

He was originally buried as an unknown soldier in Plot 4, Row K, Grave 24, but through research has now been identified. The service was organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), and the CWGC provided the new headstone.


Rededication service for Serjeant James Joseph McLynn at the CWGC’s Zantvoorde British Cemetery

A ceremonial burial for an unknown First World War soldier, of the Worcestershire Regiment, was also held on the same day at CWGC’s Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium.

He was found in a field near Waterstraat in Zonnebeke, Belgium, with artefact of the Worcestershire Regiment, however despite research it has not been possible to identify him.

The service was also organised by the JCCC, and the Commission prepared the burial plot, provided the headstone and will maintain the grave in perpetuity.

Ceremonial burial for an unknown First World War soldier at CWGC’s Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Photo credit: thumbnail photo courtesy of Netherlands Ministry of Defence

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