Oosterbeek, The Netherlands – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has carried out renovation work on the Airborne cemetery. This has made the Polish graves more accessible and they have been considerably refurbished with the new construction.
Because the entrance to the cemetery is in the shade, flowers didn’t really flourish and, partly due to the high visitor numbers, the sod in front of the graves were always a concern.
The hedge on both sides of the entrance has gotten a new opening. In front of the Polish graves are wide stepping stones with a strip of grass in between. Colourful flower borders and shrubs have been placed that do better in a shady area near the two buildings. New climbing plants have been added around the pergolas.
The CWGC has decided to do this after an thorough investigation. The walking routes of visitors have been studied and consultations have been held with the gardeners. It was important that ideas would fit in the historic horticultural plans.
The Polish graves on either side of the entrance gave the impression that they would be ’tucked away’, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most of these brave Poles died on the other side of the Rhine, in Driel and from there brought to Oosterbeek in 1946, a year after the realisation of the field of honor. Some of them have been found in other area’s in The Netherlands.
Now that the Polish graves are more accessible through the new opening and their resting places look nicer because of the stepping stones, we have to wait until spring and summer to see the full bloom of their refurbished resting-places.