Here is a little more about the soldier who drove the bulldozer at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the time of its liberation – April 15th 1945. His name was Frank Chapman 14322433. He was 21 years old and a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, 619 Field Park Company.
An article in ‘The Times’ of April 16th 2005 marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp noted…
“Frank Chapman, who drove the bulldozer that piled the naked corpses into communal graves, remained scarred by his camp experience until his death 18 months ago.”
Buried in one of those communal graves are the bodies of 15 year old Anne Frank and her 19 year old sister Margot.
On April 18th Headquarters No10 Garrison and took control over the camp and found hundreds of dead victims. First the bodies were buried manual but it was going to slow. . Between April 18th and 30th about 15.000 till 20.000 bodies are buried with buldozers, in large mass graves, in total 11. Frank was not the first soldier to be appointed as tractor driver, but the first man couldn’t stand the horror and made him sich, and Frank Chapman,since 1942 an engineer from No 619 Field Park Company took over. With a handkerchief for his mouth and nose against the stench and DDT powder he did his job and after the “work” he had to clean himself with petroleum against the many fleas and burnt every day his clothes . Sergeant Oakes , here in front of a mass grave, took several photo’s of the duties Frank Chapman came back to Bergen Belsen for the first time after the war in 1995 for his personal pilgrimage trip. When Chapman’s present got around in the camp, he showed the direction of the Gedänkstatte a certify which he had received in 1945 as his Caterpillar D6 had damage of the gearbox. Chapman not only had pushed the many bodies in the communal graves, but also had break down the many dirty barracks.