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Hunt for WWII tank tragedy victim’s family

Posted onPosted on 14th Jan

An amateur historian in Germany is appealing for help as she tries to trace the family of a Mansfield soldier killed there shortly before the end of the second world war.

Guardsman Anthony Granville Frank Walter Taylor-Hurst, 19, and four others from the Coldstream Guards were killed in Kutenholz on 1st May, 1945 when their Sherman tank was blown up by a remote-controlled ignite sea mine.

The five men — including Lance Sergeant John Thomas Green, 25; and Guardsmen Ronald Gilbert Moore, 21; Stanley Somerset, 19; and Frank Lock, 27 — were among British 14 soldiers killed in the area at the end of the war who have been commemorated on new memorials, thanks to a campaign by a group of German citizens.

An anonymous donor paid for the men’s names to be inscribed on four stone slabs that have been erected in tribute to those who died.

The campaign has been led by amateur researcher Debbie Buelau, who uncovered previously unknown details of the soldiers’ deaths.

Debbie explained: “They had come into our area to liberate us. It is sad as many of them were really young.

“It is important to let families know what happened to their loved ones when they died here — and that there is now a memorial to them.

“We also remind the families of other victims of the war, people who passed by Kutenholz on Nazi death marches from concentration camps, children of forced labour women, and prisoners of war who died here.”

Now Debbie and members of her community in Germany are trying to trace relatives of all of the 14 men. They have already found relatives of the four other Coldstream Guardsmen killed in the tank when Anthony died.

Anthony was born in Mansfield in 1926. His parents were Harry Taylor-Hurst and Rose (née Cooper), who were known to have had several children, including Harry G. Taylor (records omit the ‘Hurst’), who was born in 1921, and Travers H.C. Taylor-Hurst, who was born in 1923.

While Anthony did not marry, some of his siblings did. Among them was Travers, who had two children, Jennifer (born in 1951) and Michael (born in 1956), after marrying a woman with the maiden name of Smedley. These events are all believed to have taken place in Mansfield.

Jennifer went on to marry William Smith in 1968 in Mansfield and the couple had a son, Mark William Smith, who was born in 1973. He would be a great nephew of Anthony.

Debbie and her team in Germany discovered that Guardsman Taylor-Hurst was buried in Harsefeld, around eight miles away from Kutenholz. British troops had built a camp in the middle of Harsefeld and arrested their first Nazis of the area there.

Any member of Anthony Taylor-Hurst’s family who wants to help Debbie should email [email protected], marking your email Memorial, and we will pass on your details to Debbie.