Man Defends War Grave from WWII

A company wishing to erect a wind turbine on the site of a war grave has met with local opposition. Their opposition is a man named Trevor Barker, who is an Axholme North ward councilor and is highly aware that their build site also contains an unmarked burial site from the Second World War. Barker is now standing against the company, REG Windpower, in an effort to keep the war grave untouched.

The corporation plans to build six such turbines, but it is only one that has been contested. This is due to the Lancaster bomber which went down in the area in April of 1945. Two of the flight crew (all of whom died during the crash) whose bodies were never recovered presumably lie in a war grave made of the Earth grown over the wreckage. It is these bodies that Barker is trying to preserve. Barker wants the company show respect for the Australian lives that were lost in the training mission that resulted in seven deaths.

It was not uncommon during WWII for pilots and their crew to die without ever being found. At Runnymede, there is a memorial with well over a thousand names which pays tribute to the lost bodies of many WWII servicemen. Barker is having some trouble with figuring out how to manage his negotiations with REG Windpower, as the unmarked war grave has no specific coordinates. He is attempting to map out a general area in which he does not want the turbine to be built, and intends to meet with them on the site to talk about the turbine’s precise placement.

REG Windpower appears to be on board with Barker’s requests, and is engaging archaeological studies in an effort to avoid placing the turbine too close to the bodies below. It is important to them that they not disturb the war grave. Furthermore, they intending to exhibit future plans to local residents to gain feedback on further projects, in an effort to ensure that they have public support and are not stepping on any toes, the Scunthorpe Telegraph reports.

Since the unmarked war grave Barker is defending is simply one of many, it is difficult to tell if there may be some out there which have already been disturbed. Still, those which are known are generally defended in a similar manner by those who treat the loss of the bodies with a level of respect equal to that which would be shown to an actual burial site. With REG Windpower playing ball and aiming to respect the war grave, it appears unlikely there will be any controversy surrounding the construction of their turbines.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE