The 101st Airborne Division lost 752 men while operating in the Netherlands from September 17 until November 26, 1944. During that campaign, 14 paratroopers of Fox Company, 502nd PIR, lost their lives. Some may have had a field grave before they were reburied at a temporary facility by the American Graves Registration, after which these men were given a final resting place when the war was over.
Featured image: SGT Ted Blazina holding a BAR, Browning Automatic Rifle (Courtesy of his cousin, Ted Blazina).
The temporary U.S. Military Cemetery at Wolfswinkel
On September 19, 1944, a temporary U.S. Military Cemetery was set up at Wolfswinkel (Son) for the paratroopers and glidermen of the 101st Airborne Division. They were laid to rest together with the other dead soldiers from the field hospital at the sanatorium in Son. Soldiers of the American Graves Registration wrapped the deceased soldiers in available parachutes. German prisoners of war had to dig the graves for these men. Impressive rows of white crosses stood on the grounds of Wolfswinkel’s Cemetery. A sign at the entrance read “Here lie the honored dead of the 101st A/B DIV.” Ultimately, 411 American, 48 British, and one Canadian were buried in this temporary war cemetery. From 1944 to 1946, 236 German soldiers were also buried here, at the edge of the cemetery. These German soldiers were later reburied in Ysselsteyn in the province of Limburg. The British soldiers were reburied in British war cemeteries in Mierlo and Bergen op Zoom in 1947.
Around 1948, relatives of fallen American soldiers were given the choice of a reburial in America or a final resting place at the American cemetery at Margraten, Limburg. About 60% of the American dead soldiers were thus transferred to the United States. After all the dead at Wolfswinkel were reburied, the cemetery was closed down on May 30, 1949 (Source: Liberationroute.com).