The Massacre at Brummen

The Old Railway Station
An old photo showing the Post Office
Pte. Sydney Allen (20)
HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Parachute Brigade

Pte. George E. McCracken (27)
Support Company, 2nd Battallion, 1st Parachute Brigade

Lt. Kenneth S. Mills (21)
Glider Pilot Regiment

Capt. Horace A. Platt (30
1st Airlanding Reconnaisance Squadron

Lt. Trevor V.P. McNabb (22)
1st Airlanding Reconnaisance Squadron

Maj. Anthony Cotterell (27)
attached to 1st Parachute Brigade

The Graves at Enschede
The graves at the Cemetery at Enschede today

Commemoration Plaque at Brummen

On the 23rd of September, German lorries with captured paratroopers move in the direction of Zutphen on the way to German Prison Camps. The German guards are getting irritated by the Victory sign the prisoners are making in the direction of the civilians who are watching them from the side of the road.

The direction gets out of control to such a degree that one of the lorries stops and one of the guards walks to the rear of the vehicle to warn the captured soldiers. He tells them that, when they go on with it, they will be shot. The paratroopers ignore this and carry on with it quite happily.

Just before the Brummen Post Office the column slows down to take a sharp bend in the road. Two British officers take advantage of the situation and to escape. They jump from the lorry and run off. However, one of them, Major Dennis Mumford, is soon caught, but the other one, Major Tony Hibbert, is successful.

In the meantime another lorry has come to a halt and when 2 airborne soldiers jump from the lorry, one of the guards walks to the rear of the lorry and empties his Schmeisser magazine on the men in the vehicle. Four prisoners and a German guard are killed. Besides, two of the prisoners are wounded to such an extent that they later die of their wounds.

There is great confusion and the Germans suppose that the guard is killed because of shots fired by the prisoners. Owing to the wrong supposition and the irritation that arose en route, the guards order the prisoners to climb from the vehicle, lie down on their bellies and put their hands in their necks.

The situation is now critical enough that all the prisoners will be shot when the German lieutenant Gustav Etter arrives on the spot. A Dutch civillian docter and Major Gough have a few words with him, explaining what has happened. Further bloodshed is prevented. The 4 bodies and the 2 wounded are put into the lorry with the prisoners and moves on with the convoy.

To try and hush up the crime, the 4 men are buried in the town of Enschede, where eventually those who have later died of their wounds (Major Cotterell and Lt. McNabb) are also buried.

The young German soldier who committed the crime has never been traced after the war.

To remember the incident and the 6 men that were killed because of it, a commemoration plaque is placed near the spot in the village of Brummen.