The Netherlands / Cemetery

War graves of the Commonwealth of Nations




The cemetery of Swartbroek has a separate honorary courtyard with the graves of fifty British soldiers and a British airman. This is also the resting place of a French aviator, C.P. Rognant, whose aircraft was brought down by a German night fighter near Asten on 7 February 1945. His grave is different from the British graves and can be recognized by the cross.

Contrary to what may be imagined, the soldiers who have been buried here were not killed in the surroundings of Weert or Swartbroek, except for one. They died in operations near the river Meuse during the last months of 1944. Later, their mortal remains were reburied in Swartbroek.

There is one exception: 20-year-old Sidney Thomas Owles. He was killed during a fire exchange in Swartbroek on 3 October 1944 and was the second Allied fatality in the municipality of Weert around the time of its liberation. The first one had died two days earlier. He is buried in the British cemetery in Nederweert.

The graves used to be in the general cemetery, closer to the church. After an exchange of letters between the British Commonwealth Graves Commission and the municipality/parish, it was decided in 1949 to move the graves. Since it concerned more than 40 British soldiers, a monument in the shape of a cross, bearing a sword in relief, was also erected in the cemetery. The monument is known as the Cross of Sacrifice

The Cross of Sacrifice adorns many British war cemeteries. It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield. The freestanding white Latin cross is placed on an octagonal base. A bronze sword has been affixed to the front of the cross.

Every year, the dead are commemorated here on the first Sunday after 11 November.

Ittervoortseweg, Swartbroek