McAnelly, Henry

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McAnelly, Henry, born 03-09-1923 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, as son of John McAnelly, who died age 74, in 1974 and Lily Lowes. He entered the English Army as a volunteer in 1939, age 16 and had to lie about his age to be excepted. He was a tank gunner, tank driver and tank radioman in the Africa battles against Erwin Rommel’s  forces. The German tanks were bigger and had a longer reach, a reason for McAnelly to start a Para training in Cairo and returned to England. He had action in again North Africa and Italy and very lucky then to survive unharmed. The 1st English Airborne division was no involved in the Normandy campaign and had to be ready for 16 cancelled actions, nerve-racking. Then came the airborne landings in Arnhem during Operation Market Garden and a 10.000 Para’s would land around Arnhem. Sergeant McAnelly from the 1st Battalion S-Company No. 5 Platoon Mortars.  At the time he was with 1st Battalions ‘S’ Coy under Major Robert Stark MC.” and with a group of 600 landed near Wolfsheze as scouts for the coming landings. McAnelly was one of the first to reach the bridge of Arnhem with commander John Dutton Frost

Frost died age 80, on 21-05-1993, in West Sussex, of heart failure. Close to the bridge. The battalion was instructed to advance on Amsterdamseweg and to occupy the height of Arnhem near Sonsbeek. But at Hotel De Leeren Doedel on Amsterdamseweg, five Tiger tanks from the SS-Panzer Grenadier, Depot and Reserve Battalion 16 “Arnheim” led by SS Sturmbannführer Josef “Sepp” Krafft blocked the way. By the end of the 9 days fighting, Krafft’s and his men had achieved much more than was ever expected of a unit of its size and combat experience. Mostly made up of trainees and naval personnel, the unit inflicted heavy losses on the British throughout the course of the battle. Krafft’s unit also suffered heavy casualties. By the end of the 9 days, there were a total of 65.2% casualties which included over 120 killed or missing. But Krafft’s men could hold their heads high. They had not only inflicted heavy casualties but also had captured 24 officers and over 900 men. Their Flak sections had shot down 6 aircraft and they had captured an enormous amount of enemy equipment, vehicles and weapons. Most evident of their success was the amount of awards forthcoming from the battle. A total of 15 Iron Cross 1st Class and 75 Iron Cross 2nd Class were handed out. However unexpectedly SS- Sturmbannführer Sepp Krafft did not receive any award for his role in the Battle of Arnhem. Sepp Krafft survived the war and died age 78 on 04-03-86, in Munich.

The English battalion was now ordered via Oosterbeek to the raarche bridge. Henry McAnelly was hit by a grenade from a tank near the viaduct on Utrechtseweg at Mariendaal (Arnhem). He was hit in the head, lungs, belly, throat and arm and was taken to the Elisabeth hospital in Oosterbeek for surgery by Dr. “Lippy” Lipmann Kessel  who saved his life. His left arm was amputated below the elbow and he got a stale plate in his head. The Germans occupied the hospital and McAnelly came in the war prison in the Willem II barracks in Apeldoorn. From there transferred to: Stalag 7A Prisoner Hospital – Moosburg – Landkreis Freising, on 26-10-1944. On 12-03-1945 he was moved to Konstanz on the German/Swiss border by the Swiss Red Cross. Via Bern and Marseille by train, he reached London by boat and retired from the Service in February 1946. McAnelly still carrying several fragments of the grenade still in his body, to dangerous to be removed visited Arnhem already in 1946. He maried Dorothy Dowson Roe

 and got one son David Robert on 26-03-1948. In 1949 in the Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital a bullet was removed out of head and in the same year Henry’s mother died in Newcastle. In 1954 he defiantly moved to Holland and worked for the KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines to 1974. He, in 1974, went back to the place where his comrades were killed in battle, Oosterbeek and became a professional war guide for the battlefields around Arnhem, living in Oosterbeek, a task he for filled for years until his health made him retire some years ago. Veterans get a free tour but others have to pay for a Tour around the Battlefields. The driver of a coach with British Tourists who stay in Valkenburg has to pay him a bottle of whiskey for the Tour. Dead and buried are the 1747, for the most part British soldiers, on the Airborne Cemetery.

Death and burial ground of McAnelly, Henry.

  The webmaster one day met Henry McAanelly in front of the cemetery waiting for people to drive around. Living in Kortenhoef, McAnelly died in 11-07-2002, age 78, in Hilversum, but a grave on the Oosterbeek war cemetery was not allowed and is he buried on the Roman Catholic cemetery of Kortenhoef.

Request of his widow to bury him on the local cemetery of Oosterbeek, like Dr. Lipmann-Kessel the airborne doctor who jumped at the airborne landings with McAnelly and saved him later. McAnelly’s widow, however, chose the Catholic cemetery in Kortenhoef. According to her, McAnelly wanted to be buried Catholic and that was not possible at the general cemetery of Oosterbeek. Till now not allowed. “I have fought at Arnhem”. You were here, or you were not. I visited the graveside in Kortenhoef on 19-09-2016 and found the graveside very neglected. It looked like nobody ever visited or take care of the grave since the funeral. The nice cross with his photo was rotten and broken and the photo of McAnelly was fade out. I saved the small remembrance medal from the dump.

 

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