Chance discovery of headstone of Aachen Battery soldier

A surprising find has been made during mowing work at the Atlantikwall Raversyde estate in Ostend that includes remnants of the German Atlantic Wall dating from the Second World War.  Workers discovered a German gravestone dating from the Great War.

Interestingly, the headstone that had fallen over belongs to a German soldier of the Great War, who is not buried at this site.  The soldier, a member of the Aachen Battery, died in 1918 and was first buried in the Ostend suburb of Stene before finding a last resting place at the German military cemetery in Vladslo (West Flanders).  It’s believed the headstone was left behind by retreating German soldiers.

The Aachen Battery is preserved at the open-air Atlantikwall Raversyde Museum.  The battery is the only Great War German coastal battery of which enough structures have survived to gain a fine and comprehensive picture of coastal defences in 1914-18.

In addition to parts of the Atlantic Wall dating from the Second World War and including bunkers, gun emplacements and trenches the First World War Aachen Battery is also on view here.

The headstone that has just been discovered is on show at the Raversyde estate till Armistice Day.  Afterwards it will be given a permanent place at the open-air museum.

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