Henri-Chapelle & Neuville Cemeteries

Following on a topic placed here regarding the adoption of war graves, I put a short report of my visit to the American Military Cemeteries of Henri-Chapelle and Neuville-en-Condroz here.


Henri-Chapelle was the first one I visited that day. The Cemetery actually is located in Hombourg. Back in 1945, when the Cemetery was established in the area, the officer in charge dropped by into the nearest village to get its name. He didn't know he was in the wrong village .... Henri-Chapelle.

The Mayor of Hombourg tried later to rename the Cemetery, but to no avail.


Henri-Chapelle Cemetery is located on a height overlooking a beautiful valley.




The entrance is kind of impressive. Massive columns topped by American eagles mark both entrances.




When you enter the Cemetery and walk past the "Wall of Missing" and the visitor's center, you get a view over the 7 000 + graves of GIs who died for the Liberation of Europe.




Homan K Jackson is the first grave I adopted.

He was in the 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion - 4th Armored Division as a Staff Sergeant.

When the 4th Armored launched an assault to widen the newly created Bastogne corridor (thus ending the German encirclement of Bastogne during the Battel of the Bulge) on December 30, 1944, Staff Sgt. Jackson was KIA when his unit encountered the battered remnants of the infamous 1st SS Panzer Divison "Leibstandarte AH" brought up from the northern shoulder of "The Bulge".




Leslie C Banaka was a 36-year-old Pfc in the 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion when, on Febraury 21, 1945, his M-18 (a Tank Destroyer) hit a German Tellermine near Huldange in Luxembourg. The entire crew was killed by the explosion.

His brother Samuel already was KIA on July 12, 1944 probably near La-Haye-du-Puits in Normandy when his unit - the 313th Regiment of the 79th Infantry Division fought bitterly for Hill 84 against elements of yet another infamous SS unit; the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich".

Leslie's name appeared in a 1939-dated German pocket book carried by Robert Baldwin also of the 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. I found this booklet on eBay together with photos, a Tank Destroyer patch and ome additional documents of Robert Baldwin.

Big was my surprise when I even found a photo of Leslie Banaka AND of his brother Samuel on the Internet.

Leslie Banaka had three other brothers serving with the Armed Forces; Kenneth in the ETO, Harold in the Pacific and Walter in the United States Navy.




Leslie Banaka



His name plus those of his crew in Baldwin's notebook.



Samuel Banaka





The American Military Cemetery of Neuville-en-Condroz, also know as the Ardennes American Military Cemetery is located on a busy road (the N63) near Neupré (southwest of Liège).

Here, more than 6 000+ American soldiers have found their final resting place.

Among them, a lot of Air Force men (bomber crew, fighter pilots).


The Chapel is very beautiful and is put in the center of the Cemetery grounds.






The inside; one of the huge panels explaining the movements of the US Army in the ETO.

Here, the Battle of the Bulge.




Detail of the very well done carvings of marble plates.




Also a small reminder of the blackest day in recent times: 9/11




I took the opportunity to visit the graves of the 6 American soldiers; Glider Pilot and five 101st Airborne Signal Companymen who were KIA on September 17, 1944 when their glider crashed not far from where I currently live (see my topic "Glider Monument").


It is shocking realizing that I - being 36 at the moment - had 80% chance of being among those white crosses if I would have lived in those times ......... without even reaching 25 years of age!


Let's never forget the sacrifices made by these young men!


Hopefully, this topic is a little of interest to you.



Magnificent photos! Tres bien! I have never seen many of those images before and certainly none from The American Military Cemetery of Neuville-en-Condroz. The one photo showing the woman standing below the HUGE panel of the Battle of Bulge, is certainly very impressive. Glad you captured her in the photo, for it truly shows the scope of the images. Breathtaking!
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Eh, that's my mother. :blush::pdt12:

She wanted to come with me to visit the graves of the Glidermen as she has met the sister of one of them (Thomas Vella) and is always present at the yearly commemoration at the Glider Monument.

This year, it's on September 16 (2007).


When we were there, they were cutting the grass. 6 of those machines were busy. The places are very well maintained. :pdt34:


And I wanted the "Stars & Stripes" in the photo as well, I guess it worked out well.



(I hope to be able to visit those places together with my girlfriend in the near future. She's not from Belgium, but I hope that will change soon.)


Yesterday - 27.09.2008 - I went to visit the Neuville and Henri-Chapelle US Military Cemeteries again.

This time, I had brought with me flowers to put on the two graves I adopted.

I also looked up the graves of airmen (in Neuville) and a GI of the 1st ID (Henri-Chapelle) for friends at the USMF (Militaria forum).


The Superintendent was very helpful and provided me with vases and the US and Belgian flags.


Leslie Banaka - 602nd TD Bn.



Homan Jackson - 4th Armored Division.



It was a very sunny and clear day.

They were playing appropriate music making the whole setting very peaceful and impressive at the same time.


I'm going to make it a yearly visit (at least) from now on.

Hopefully soon I'll be there with my Fiancée as she appears to have a genuine interest in what I do.




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)