Gunner Alfred James Mortimer, 79 Field Regiment, 313 Battery, Royal Artillery, No. 11407973
Alfred James Mortimer went missing on 8 November 1944, when whilst he and 3 others were killed along with three local children (3 brothers from 1 family, aged 10,12,17) when a German mine dump (Riegel mines) exploded (see attached WD S Company 1st Glasgow Highlanders). This happened near Arnemuiden (see map attached Mine explosion 194300, near Arnemuiden) at the farm “Hof Nieuwerkerk “ of Mr C. Steendijk, rijksweg, Arnemuiden, now Langeweg 59.
Why Gunner Alfred James went missing, I could not found out in the War Diary.
The three others, were taken to and buried at Lewedorp. RC Cemetery with 83 graves, of which 59 of them were allied soldiers, according the municipal records.
On the 8 November fighting was over in the Arnemuiden area, as it was liberated on 5 November 1944, by 1st Battalion Glashow highlanders.
In the Lewedorp archives, there is no information in the records about a unknown Royal Artillery soldiers on the Cemetery.
the Arnemuiden Municipal records, I found two unknowns who were found locally and when recovered they were re-buried at Arnemuiden Cemetery, 1 of the unknown was found on the farm of Family C. Steendijk, Rijksweg 1, on the attached map “Hof Nieuwerkerk” which as you can see is the location where the 4 men of 313 Battery, 79 Field Regiment and the 3 Dutch children (3 brothers) were killed when the tankmines exploded.
German Riegel 43 Anti tank mine which was the type that exploded according to Support Company,1st Glasgow Highlanders War Diary.
There are no air photographs from the period after the period of 14 October 1944, who maybe could give an exact location of the explosion, so I have attached at photograph of 14 October 1944, which show the farm.
I don’ know if there is any information in the records about the items found on his body, maybe they were handed over, to a Grave Registration unit. Most likely the municipal records were not checked or else the information in the documents must have come up with his name and details.
I hope you want to have a look at this case for a possible ID. As with the information gathered I think that Gunner Mortimer is the unknown soldier at Bergen op Zoom British War Cemetery, Grave 7.A.4.
MORTIMER. Alfred James
313 Battery, 79 Field Regiment RA
Missing since: 08-11-1944
Cause: Killed by landmine explosion in Zeeland.
Case out come: January 2021
- ID Case 762 (Answer on my case by the CWGC)
o We do not know a regiment, unit or rank of this casualty.
o On this basis there are a significant number of potential candidates. None of whom have been considered or discounted.
o The Exhumation Report does describe the nature of the wound as a ‘mine explosion’. It is also noted that local information indicated the casualty was a member of 52 (L) Div. (The 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division) Blown up by mine in November 1944.
o No new evidence has been presented to take investigations further, nor have any candidates been discounted.
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Philip Reinders, 2016