Monday, 27 April 2015

Cross, William Godfrey - Private

(No soldier photo available)
78th. Company,
Pioneer Corps
Died 1st May 1945.
Age 40

Private William (Bill) Cross's unit was with the first troops of the British Expeditionary Force which went to France in September 1939.  He went through the whole campaign which ended with the evacuation of the British forces from Dunkirk in June 1940.  Bill was captured by the Germans after a hard-fought rearguard action outside the town.  He was, with thousands of others, forced-marched to a prisoner of war camp, Stalag V111B, near Lamsdorf, in Upper Silesia.  He was also later in Stalag XX1B and Stalag XX1D.  In April 1945, as Russian forces approached, the prisoners were marched westward by the Germans.  They were just south of Munich when they were liberated by the Americans.  However, on 1st May their camp was mistakenly bombed by the R.A.F. and Bill was one of several men killed.

Bill was the son of James and Mary Cross.  He was 40.  He married Kathleen (nee Leonard) in 1930. They had one son.  After the death of his wife in 1937, Bill joined the regular army.

Bill is buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.  Most of the graves are of R.A.F. men shot down in the area, whilst the remainder are of prisoners of war.  There are 2,934 graves.  Bill lies in Plot 3, Row J, Grave 11.