|15 Nov 2022|
O.P. MURDERED IN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP IS REMEMBERED
Thanks to the kindness and commitment Mrs. Sophie Hamilton, the organiser of the Sachsenhausen Victims Relatives Support Group and a supporter of the Royal British Legion, a wreath was laid at the site of the former concentration camp at Sachsenhausen 22 miles northwest of Berlin on November 12th 2023 in memory of OP Lt Commander Mike Cumberlege (19-22) DSO & Bar, Greek Medal of Honour.
The wreath, in the colours of the Royal Naval Reserve, commemorated the bravery and sacrifice of Cumberlege. He had been captured in Greece in April 1943 while on a mission to blow up the Corinth Canal, tortured in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and moved to Sachsenhausen in January 1944. At Sachsenhausen, Cumberlege was held in solitary confinement in the Zellenbau punishment cell block for more than a year, kept alive on a diet of wurzels (roots) and executed sometime in February/March 1945 as Soviet forces advanced from the east.
Mrs. Hamilton, who travelled to Sachsenhausen from her home in Berwick-upon-Tweed, writes: “Fortunately the day was nice and dry and not too cold and there were a surprising number of visitors there – including a lot of youth groups. The memorial plaque (to British service victims) was in good order. It is of brilliant design as it shows very little sign of weathering and the lettering is still perfectly clear. We laid three wreaths there.”
Originally the RNR wreath in Mike Cumberlege’s honour was meant to have been laid in November 2020 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Sachsenhausen camp. But covid intervened and made travel impossible.
A biography of Cumberlege The Extraordinary Life of Mike Cumberlege SOE, written by Robin Knight (56-61), was published in 2018 and is still available to purchase on Amazon.
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