SSNS Home > Senior Years > Curricula 9-12 > Grade 11 > Canadian History > Remembrance Day > Educational Guides > Murders at the Château d’Audrieu > Bremer Murders


Excerpts from
Conduct Unbecoming: The Story of the Murder of Canadian Prisoners of War in Normandy


(The book Conduct Unbecoming by Howard Margolian is unavailable from the University of Toronto Press at present, but is available online from other sources. See Reviews here and here.

8 The Bremer Murders

While more than three dozen of the Canadians who had been captured in and around Putot were cooling their heels at the Moulin farm, two miles to the west a group of twenty-four Canadian and two British prisoners were being marched in the direction of the village of Pavie, near where Gerhard Bremer’s 12th Reconnaissance Battalion had its headquarters. The Canadians included Major Frederick Hodge, the commander of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles’ A Company, thirteen members of A Company’s 9 Platoon, two of whom - George and Frank Meakin from Birnie, Manitoba – were brothers, eight men from A Company’s 7 and 8 Platoons, and two reinforcements from the Queen’s Own Rifles.[1] Hodge and the men from 8 and 9 Platoons had broken out of the encirclement of Putot, only to be captured while trying to cross a railway bridge west of the beleaguered village. The men from 7 Platoon and the two British soldiers had been taken prisoner during the fighting at Brouay.[2]

As they marched two abreast down the road to Pavie, the twenty-six prisoners were under escort by troops of the 3rd Battalion of Wilhelm Mohnke’s regiment. How and why they ended up in the custody of Bremer’s battalion is something of a mystery. The respective headquarters of the 3rd Battalion and Bremer’s unit were roughly equidistant from the place where the prisoners had been rounded up. Both headquarters, moreover, were accessible by road. In view of the fact that the prisoners are known to have been held for a while at a junction just east of Pavie,[3] it is possible that the column was heading for 3rd Battalion headquarters at Cristot when it ran into a patrol dispatched by Bremer. It is further possible, although it certainly would have been unusual, that Bremer’s men either offered or demanded to take custody of the prisoners and escort them to their own headquarters. Whatever the case, the twenty-four Canadian and two British soldiers never got to Cristot, but rather were marched on to Pavie. This seemingly innocuous turn of events sealed the prisoners’ fate.

At the crossroads east of Pavie, the column was ordered to halt. The first thing Bremer’s men did was to instruct the prisoners to remove their helmets. Then, while they kept their hands clasped behind their heads, each prisoner was subjected to a thorough, sometimes rough, search. All papers and personal effects were confiscated. Identification documents were taken by the NCO in charge, while photographs, money, and other personal items were tossed willy-nilly to the ground, although the Germans did make a point of pocketing cigarettes.[4] At the conclusion of the search, the prisoners, their hands still up, were marched another few hundred yards to the rear of a chateau. It was around 2:00 in the afternoon.

Compared with the horrors of combat, the scene that greeted the prisoners on the grounds of the chateau must have seemed positively idyllic. Nestled among tall, leafy trees and other greenery, the chateau, named Château d’Audrieu, after the neighbouring village, recalled simpler, gentler times. With its lush garden, servants’ quarters, and dense adjacent woods, the chateau could have been the estate of eighteenth-century French nobility. So lovely were the surroundings, in fact, that after the war a shrewd entrepreneur bought the site, restored it, and converted the chateau into a luxury hotel and restaurant. The tourists who sit by the pool today cannot image the scene of carnage that took place there on the afternoon of 8 June 1944.[5]

While the prisoners were being escorted onto the grounds of the chateau, Bremer and SS Captain Gerd von Reitzenstein, the commander of the headquarters company, were poring over maps, planning operations. They had arrived at the chateau around noon. A quick tour of the site had convinced them that it was the ideal place to set up battalion headquarters. Located near a crossroads, the chateau had the advantage of being enveloped by foliage, which could provide at least some cover against sighting by Allied aircraft. Without much ado, Bremer had given the order; this would be the spot. While a trooper went to procure food from the kitchen, the headquarters company established a command post behind the chateau, at the edge of an open grassy space, under a giant, low-hanging sycamore tree.[6]

It was in the shade of the sycamore where Bremer and Reitzenstein came face to face with their quarry. Slated for interrogation, the prisoners were brought to the command post in small batches. The first to be called forward were Major Hodge and Lance Corporal Austin Fuller of the Winnipegs and Private Frederick Smith of the Queen’s Own Rifles. Bremer, who spoke English fluently,[7] did most of the questioning.

According to one eyewitness, the interrogations went on for a good fifteen minutes.[8] We do not know what information, if any, Bremer was able to elicit from the three Canadians. It is hard to imagine that Major Hodge would have revealed more

than his name, rank, and military identification number. During a training exercise in February 1942, this brave soldier had been wounded while saving one of his men from the explosion of an errantly thrown grenade.[9] Anyone that cool in the face of danger would not have been easily intimidated, even when confronted by the burly and menacing Bremer. Indeed, Bremer probably had no more success with Fuller and Smith. Just prior to capture, the morale of A Company was reported to have been ‘very high.’[10] It seems most unlikely that in the space of less than two hours unit cohesion could have broken down to the point where the men of A Company would have willingly revealed information to their captors.

After getting nowhere with Hodge, Fuller, and Smith, a frustrated and angry Bremer reverted to the method of dealing with enemy prisoners with which he had become familiar as a member of the Leibstandarte – he ordered them killed. At around 2:15 PM, the battalion commander beckoned SS First Lieutenant Willi-Peter Hansmann, SS Technical Sergeant Leopold Stun, and two motorcycle dispatch riders. After a brief conference, Hansmann strode along the path that led from the command post to the edge of the woods, where he stopped and waited. Meanwhile, the Canadians, who still had not been permitted to lower their hands, were instructed to get into single file. Flanked by the two SS troopers, with Stun bringing up the rear, Hodge, Fuller, and Smith were then ordered to move out to where Hansmann was standing.[11]

As the scenario unfolded, it bore all the earmarks of a classic execution. The Canadians must have realized what was in store for them, because without exception the eyewitnesses to their lonely death march were struck by the sad and resigned expressions that darkened their young faces. Nevertheless, there were no desperate attempts to escape, nor any pleas for mercy. On the contrary, Hodge, Fuller, and Smith, in the manner of the North Novas at the Abbaye d’Ardenne, would meet their end with courage and dignity. As they approached the edge of the woods, one of the doomed men did falter momentarily, but he resumed the march when Sergeant Stun, who had carried out this kind of duty before and who was obviously enjoying himself,[12] kicked him from behind. Jolted back to reality, the prisoner moved up directly behind his comrades, whereupon Hansmann directed the entire party onto a path that led to a cluster of shrubs and small trees.

As they got to the patch of undergrowth, Stun ordered the Canadians to halt. Next the NCO had his intended victims turn around, so that they would face away from the firing squad. Then, at his command, the two SS troopers levelled their rifles, aimed, and fired. Stun joined in with his machine pistol. Wounded in the shoulder, Major Hodge fell forward, only to be finished off by several shots to the head. Fuller and Smith, on the other hand, appear to have swivelled around just as the

Germans opened up, thereby defiantly confronting their murderers as they were shot.[13]

While the grounds of the chateau were still reverberating with the executioner’s salvo, a second batch of prisoners was being escorted to the battalion command post. Apprehensively, Privates David Gold, James McIntosh, and William Thomas of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles gathered around Bremer in the shade of the sycamore tree. A stretcher bearer who was wearing a Red Cross armband, Gold was entitled to special treatment as a non-combatant.[14] Having just ordered the murder of three POWs, Bremer, of course, was not likely to begin observing the niceties of international law. Instead, as he had done with Hodge, Fuller, and Smith, he resorted to direct interrogation. Once more he ran up against a stone wall of stubborn resistance. His patience wearing thin, the seething commander only went through the motions of questioning the prisoners. Indeed, as soon as he spotted Stun and his party returning from the woods, Bremer terminated the interrogation session. After exchanging a few words with his trusted henchman, he turned the prisoners over to him, with the same orders as before. At around 2:30 PM, Gold, McIntosh, and Thomas were seen being escorted across the chateau grounds and into the woods.[15]

Once in the ticket, the prisoners were taken along a different path than the one where the martyred Hodge, Fuller, and Smith lay. They walked until they came to a clearing, whereupon Stun ordered the party to halt. Not wanting a repeat of the defiant display put on by Fuller and Smith, this time the NCO took no chances. First, he ordered the intended victims to lie on their stomachs. Next, apparently to ensure ‘clean’ kills, he instructed the Canadians to prop up their heads by resting on their elbows. Then each trooper stood directly above his assigned target. On Stun’s command, they fired from almost point-blank range. Gold, McIntosh, and Thomas died instantly from massive head wounds.[16] After a short while, the shooters emerged from the woods. Their appetites not the least bit diminished by their detestable and disgusting duty, Stun and his men stopped for food and cider at the chateau kitchen.[17]

For all the entertainment value that he and his staff were deriving from the murderous spectacle, it must have become apparent to Bremer that this was a very inefficient way to dispose of prisoners. To interrogate and then to kill them three at a time could take until evening. The fluid situation at the front simply did not allow for such a protracted procedure. As it happened, shortly after the shooting of Gold, McIntosh, and Thomas, word came in that British tanks were massing on the battalion’s left flank.[18] That helped the commander to make up his mind. He had to attend to his defences. The prisoners could wait. On Bremer’s orders, the remaining eighteen Canadians and two British, who were sitting around at the rear of

the chateau, were brought to an adjacent orchard, where they were kept under heavy guard. To the relief of the prisoners, who must have heard the shots of Stun’s execution party, they had been granted a reprieve. It would only be temporary.

Under Bremer’s reckless but effective leadership, the 12th Reconnaissance Battalion repulsed a frontal attack on the village of Audrieu by advance elements of a British armoured brigade. Although a second British force, which was deployed further west, succeeded in flanking the village and taking the strategically important Hill 103, by 4:00 PM the reconnaissance troops had once more stabilized the front.[19] Bremer returned to his command post shortly thereafter. Probably not by coincidence, the massacre of prisoners resumed upon his arrival.

Between 4:30 and 5:00 in the afternoon, Leon Leseigneur, a local farmer, and Eugene Buchart, one of his farm hands, were walking along a dirt road past the hen house of the Château d’Audrieu. Gazing to the right, they noticed thirteen unarmed Canadian soldiers standing in the chateau’s orchard. All were members of 9 Platoon of the Winnipegs’ A Company. They were Mrs. Jennie Meakin’s boys, George and Frank, both of whom were corporals, as well as Privates William Adams, Emmanuel Bishoff, Lawrence Chartrand, Sidney Cresswell, Anthony Fagnan, Robert Harper, Hervé Labrecque, John Lychowich, Robert Mutch, Henry Rodgers, and Steve Slywchuk. The prisoners were being guarded by a detachment of SS troopers. Buchart noted with interest that there were several officers among the guard.[20]

About forty yards past the hen house, Buchart and his employer headed into the pasture where the Leseigneur farm was situated. Just as they turned off the dirt road, the two men heard heavy bursts of gunfire. Buchart and Leseigneur instantly realized what this meant, but, after four years of brutal German occupation, they knew better than to investigate. Instead the two men hurried back to the farm and tried to keep a low profile. A few minutes later, an SS officer and two troopers came by in order to appropriate Leseigneur’s ladder. Forcing Buchart to carry the ladder for them, the Germans escorted him back towards their headquarters. As he passed the hen house and glanced left at the orchard, his worst fears were confirmed. The prisoners he had seen earlier were gone.[21]

We now know that the volleys heard by Buchard and Leseigneur were the reports of the guns of the guard detachment in the orchard. Though no one outside the orchard witnessed the actual massacre, it is possible to reconstruct the final moments of the thirteen Winnipegs from what Buchart and Leseigneur saw and heard, as well as from the forensic evidence. Confined to the orchard by Bremer, the men of 9 Platoon probably milled about, exchanging small talk, bucking up

each other’s spirits. At around 4:30 PM, the guard detail was joined by several officers, with Bremer perhaps among them. A palpable tension would have filled the orchard. On orders from the most senior German officer (Bremer or a subordinate), the prisoners were lined up in a row. Facing them was a rough-and-ready firing squad, consisting of SS troopers with rifles, NCOs with machine pistols, and officers with sidearms.[22]

At the command to fire, the executioners opened up with a murderous fusillade. All of the Canadians went down with the first volley, although some clearly were not killed outright. Hearing the moans of Privates Bishoff, Labrecque, and Mutch, whose wounds were not fatal, an officer walked over to where they lay and finished them off with shots to the head. As he moved down the line of stricken men, kicking each of them to see if he showed signs of life, the officer discovered that Lance Corporal Meakin and Private Slywchuk had not been hit at all. Slywchuk had apparently timed his dive perfectly, whereas Frank Meakin had been saved when George, in a last act of brotherly love, had stepped in front of him, taking a burst of machine-pistol fire across the chest. There would be no more reprieves, however. As Meakin lay waiting next to his lifeless brother, he was given the coup de grace. Then the officer emptied his pistol into Slywchuk’s head.[23] As the echo of the last shots faded, an eerie silence descended over the orchard.

With the killing of the men from 9 Platoon, the toll of prisoners murdered at Bremer’s headquarters had reached nineteen. Shortly afterward, Allied ground and naval artillery began to pound the area around Audrieu in advance of a major British armoured thrust along the western part of (British) 2nd Army’s front. Owing to the intensity of the bombardment and the pressure being exerted by the enemy’s tanks, Bremer’s battalion had to pull back under cover of darkness to positions south of Cristot. They would not return to the chateau until the following evening.[24] But what of the five Canadian and two British POWs unaccounted for? The missing men included Lance Corporal William Poho and Privates Louis Chartrand, Kenneth Lawrence, and Frank Ostir of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Private Francis Harrison of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, as well as Privates E. Hayton of the Durham Light Infantry and W. Barlow of the 50th Northumbrian Division. Their fate was determined about three weeks later, when British troops found their bodies in the woods adjacent to the chateau, not far from where the first two groups of Canadian prisoners had been murdered.

We do not know when the last seven were killed. But we do know how. On the basis of the post-mortems – which revealed that the bodies had sustained small-calibre bullet wounds to the head, face, and chest at close range and were at the same

stage of decomposition as those of the six other men found in the woods – a military court of inquiry concluded that they had probably been killed on 8 June in a manner consistent with the other murders.[25]

In writing about such horrific events, historians tend to suspend moral judgment, leaving the interpretation of their deeper meaning to theologians or philosophers. The cornerstone of the historian’s craft, such detachment is necessary if the past is to be reported accurately and in proper context. Yet there comes a point in every narrative when mere reporting is not enough, when understanding is lost in a sea of facts, when human lives are reduced to so many digits. We may well have reached this point in the story of the marcher of Canadian prisoners of war in Normandy. At the risk of violating the tenets of scholarship, then, it would seem appropriate to pause in order to make a brief digression into the realm of editorial comment. This is not done in order to raise the emotional stakes, but rather to personalize and universalize in some meaningful way what happened at the Château d’Audrieu and at a dozen other crimes scenes in the countryside of northern France.

Of the murders of Canadian prisoners perpetrated by the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitler Youth,” surely none is more poignant or as haunting as that of Private Francis Harrison. As was noted in an earlier chapter, army psychiatrists had evaluated Harrison as being ‘of insufficient intelligence to complete basic training.’ Indeed, his impairment was severe enough to prompt the army to consider his discharge.[26] For reasons unknown, Canadian military authorities changed their minds. Harrison stayed on, and, with the men of his company looking out for him, he got through basic and became a good soldier. A member of the contingent of Queen’s Own Rifles that on the evening of D-Day was sent to bolster the depleted Winnipegs, Harrison fought at Brouay, where he was taken prisoner. Escorted to a forward German headquarters along with twenty-five other POWs, he shared their tragic fate.

It may be wrong to single out one prisoner because of his impairment. After all, every murder perpetrated by the 12th SS was a Canadian tragedy, every victim a Canadian hero. Still, it is hard to shake the image of what Harrison’s final moments must have been like. In reviewing the investigative materials relating to the Audrieu killings, one cannot help but wonder to what extend Harrison had been aware of what was about to happen in the minutes before Bremer’s thugs shot him down. Certainly he would have seen Private Fred Smith, a fellow member of the Queen’s Own Rifles and as such the only familiar face in the crowd of prisoners, being led away. Then he would have heard the shots and the nervous whispers that followed. Had he understood? And if he had not, did that make his remaining moments any easier? Standing amidst a throng of strangers, how did Harrison get along? Did anyone talk to him, explain things to him, calm his fears?

As no one who was with Private Harrison on 8 June survived to tell his story, these questions afford no definitive answers, only speculation. Nevertheless, a clue may have been provided by the British troops who discovered his body. Among the items found nearby was a letter from home and a photograph of him and his parents back in Owen Sound.[27] The Germans had obviously missed these items during the search they conducted outside Pavie. Whatever else was going through his mind on the afternoon of 8 June, it is at least possible that Harrison spent his last moments reading the letter from home, gazing at the photograph, remembering happier times. We will never know for sure, of course. But it is a thought and a hope in which we may take comfort.

During the initial phase of the Allied investigation into the killings, it was suggested that they had been ordered by SS Captain von Reitzenstein in reprisal for the wounding of Bremer during the Allied bombardent of the Audrieu sector.[28] Certainly it is not the intention here to let Reitzenstein off the hook. After all, witnesses placed him at the scene during the first two sets of shootings. But Bremer was there too, and, as commanding officer, it was he, and not Reitzenstein, who would have had the ultimate authority to order the execution of prisoners. Besides, according to witnesses, the barrage that inflicted Bremer’s injuries did not begin to land in the immediate vicinity of the chateau until around 6:30 PM, by which time the shootings would have been completed.[29] Thus, like Kurt Meyer at the Abbaye d’Ardenne, Bremer had no alibi or excuse. He may not have pulled the tripper, but he was responsible. However, as we shall see in a subsequent chapter, Bremer, unlike Meyer, was never brought to account for his crimes.

13 Indictment

On the evening of 8 June 1944, a ferocious Allied naval and artillery bombardment drove Gerhard Bremer’s reconnaissance battalion from its headquarters at the Château d’Audrieu.[30] The following afternoon, elements of the (British) Dorsets Regiment occupied the chateau. Like the Canadian prisoners who had preceded them, the Dorsets could not help but marvel at the beauty of the surroundings. Thinking the place deserted, they were pleasantly surprised when Monique Level, the daughter of the chateau’s proprietor, emerged from the main house. Refined in manner and fluent in English, Mlle Level offered food and cider to the new arrivals.[31] After having endured the rough Channel crossing, the bitterly contested landings, and two days of almost incessant close-quarter fighting, the battle-weary British troops must have thought that they had entered Shangri-La. Their good feelings would be short-lived.

While the Dorsets were setting up a command post, Level spoke to Major Lloyd Sneath, the regiment’s second-in-command. In vivid detail, she recounted for him the previous day’s nightmarish events. The major learned that at approximately 2:00 PM on 8 June, more than two dozen POWs had been escorted onto the grounds of the chateau, interrogated in small groups by the German commander (i.e., Bremer), then ushered into the adjacent woods and shot. Shocked and angered by what he had just heard, Sneath demanded to be shown the execution sites. Level complied, taking him to the orchard near the main house. There he observed thirteen bodies, clad in Canadian battledress, lying more or less side by side, as if they had been standing that way when they were gunned down. As he got closer, Sneath recoiled in horror: he recognized some of the faces.[32]

In one of the sad coincidences associated with this story, it turned out that Major Sneath had served for a time as an NCO with the Royal Winnipeg  Rifles before being sent ‘Canloan’ to Britain. During his stint with the Winnipegs, he had come to

know many of the men who now lay murdered before him, Unable to bear the sight of his fallen former comrades any longer, Sneath left the orchard and returned to the main house, where he delegated to subordinates responsibility for the preservation of the crime scene and the identification of the bodies. Over the remainder of the afternoon, a small team of Dorsets carried out this difficult but necessary task.[33] They included Captain J. Neil, a medical officer attached to the regiment. Though the fluid battlefield situation did not afford him sufficient time to perform autopsies, Neil did subject the bodies to close visual examination. His findings, which were submitted in a report that eventually ended up on General Montgomery’s desk, tended to confirm Level’s story. According to Captain Neil, the thirteen Winnipegs had been killed in a manner that ruled out death in combat, and many had sustained head wounds consistent with the application of the coup de grâce.

The discovery of thirteen murdered Canadian POWs at the Château d’Audrieu gave the Allies their first inkling of the dirty war that was being waged along the front of the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitler Youth.’ In the weeks that followed, the lush and picturesque Normandy countryside yielded further grisly evidence of the depths of barbarism to which the 12th SS had descended. Though the Dorsets were forced to withdraw from the chateau on the night of 9 June, two weeks later other British forces liberated it for good. At that time, a more thorough search of the grounds led to the discovery of the bodies of an additional thirteen soldiers – eleven Canadian and two British – whose condition and wounds strongly suggested that they had been shot after capture. During the first week of July, near the village of Galmanche, British troops also came across the body of Captain Brown, the Sherbrooke Fusiliers’ chaplain who had been bayoneted to death by his captors late on the night of 7 June. Concurrent with the discovery of the padre, members of a British field artillery regiment happened to stumble upon two shallow graves on the outskirts of Le Mesnil-Patry. When exhumed, the bodies were determined to be those of Privates Angel, Holness, and Baskerville, who had been taken prisoner at the headquareters of Bernhard Siebken’s battalion on the night of 8 June and murdered there the next morning, and those of Sergeant Major Forbes and Troopers Bowes and Scriven, who had been captured on the afternoon of 11 June and executed sometime that night.[34]


Click on the footnote number to return to the text:

[1] The twenty-five-year old Hodge was a reservist who enlisted a few days after the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk. For more biographical information on him, see PRU, file 39-03884 (Frederick Edward Hodge). The thirteen men from 9 Platoon included Corporal George Edward Meakin, Lance Corporal Frank Vernon Meakin, Riflemen William Charles Adams, Emmanuel Bishoff, Lawrence Chartrand, Sidney James Cresswell, Anthonly Fagnan, Robert James Harper, Hervé Alfred Labrecque, John Lewis Lychowich, Robert Mutch, Henry Rodgers, and Steve Slywchuk. For biographical information on them, see PRU, files 40-70314, 40-70312, 04-13809, 04-67709, 05-09689, 04-50661, 06-05705, 06-83815, 39-62208, 40-12530, 41-02048, 41-89124, and 42-35393. The rest of the men from A Company included Lance Corporals Austin Ralph Fuller and William Poho, Riflemen David Sidney Gold, James Donald McIntosh, William David Thomas, Louis Chartrand, Kenneth Samuel Lawrence, and Frank Ostir. For biographical information on them, see PRU, files 06-29596, 41-51255, 06-53798, 40-32416, 42-75900, 05-09706, 39-83569, and 41-21932. The reinforcements from the Queen’s Own were Privates Francis David Harrison and Frederick Smith. For biographical information on them, see PRU, files 06-85334 and 42-38215. 

[2] Statement given by Lieutenant R.S. Moglove, undated, in the Report of the SHAEF Court of Inquiry regarding the Shooting of Prisoners of War by German Armed Forces at Château d’Audrie on 8 June 1944, part 3, exhibit no. 29, p. 1, NA, RG 24, vol. 10429, file 205S1.023 (D18).

[3] Three weeks later, a unit of the (British) 50th Northumbrian Division found the personal effects of a number of the prisoners at the junction, suggesting that they had been searched and divested of these items at this spot. See ibid., part 2, p. 10.

[4] Ibid., pp. 4, 8. 10. See also the statements given by Raymond Marcel Lanoue and Monique Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), pp. 10, 6.

[5] Carlo d’Este, Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign (London, 1983), 507n. 1

[6] Statement given by Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125 ), p. 7, and SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 2, p. 3.

[7] See the file on Gerhard Bremer, NARA, RG 242 BDC A 3433, SS Officer Dossier, roll 104, frame 632.

[8] Statement given by Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), p. 7.

[9] For more on this incident, see PRU, file 39-03884 (Frederick Edward Hodge).

[10] Captain J. Allen to the Canadian Section (21st Army Group), 31 July 1944, PRU, file 04-67578 (Hilliard John Henry Birston) p. 10.

[11] Statements given by Lanoue, Beatrice Marie Delafon, and Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), pp. 7, 9-10.

[12]  Even among the cynical, battle-hardened veterans of Nazi Germany’s dirty war on the eastern front, Stun had acquired a reputation as a homicidal thug. See the testimony of SS Second Lieutenant Becker, Supplementary Report of the SHAEF Court of Inquiry re Shooting of Allied Prisoners of War by 12 SS Panzer Division (Hitler-Jugend) in Normandy, France, 7-21 June 1944, Part 4, p. 21 NA, RG 24, vol. 10427, file 205S1.023 (D 9).

[13] This was deduced from the fact that both Fuller’s and Smith’s bodies bore close-range wounds to the chest, while Smith had also been hit in the armpit. See SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 2, pp. 3-4.

[14] Ibid., p. 1.

[15] Statements given by Delafon and Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), pp. 6-7, 9.

[16] SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 2, pp. 1, 6, and record of the evidence of Reverend A. Inglis, 11 July 1944, ibid., part 3, exhibit no. 7, p. 1.

[17] Statement given by Delafon, 3 July  1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), p. 9.

[18] Craig W. H. Luther, Blood and Honor: The History of the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitler Youth,’ 1943-1945 (San José, CA, 1987), 160.

[19] Ibid., 160-1.

[20] SHAEF Report, Chateau d’Audrieu, part 2, p. 7.

[21] Record of the evidence of Eugene André Leopold Buchart, 14 July 1944, ibid., part 3, exhibit o. 21, p. 2.

[22] Record of the evidence of Captain (Chaplain) Herbert Samuel Griffiths Thomas, 12 July 1944, ibid., exhibit no. 9, p. 2.

[23] Ibid., part 2, pp. 7-8.

[24] The circumstances of the 12th SS Reconnaissance Battalion’s withdrawal from Audrieu are recounted in SHAEF Report, 12 SS, part 4, p. 21; Hubert Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12.SS-Panzerdivision ‘Hitlerjugend’ (Osnabrück, 1982), 1:98; and the statement given by Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10e513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), p. 5.

[25] SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 2, pp. 8-10.

[26] See PRU, file 06-85334 (Francis David Harrison).

[27] SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 2, p. 9.

[28] SHAEF Report, 12 SS, part 4, p. 21.

[29] Record of the Evidence of Monique Level, 12 July 1944, SHAEF Report, Château d’Audrieu, part 3, exhibit no. 12, p. 4.

[30] Statement given by Monique Level, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), p. 5, and Craig W. H. Luther, Blood and Honor: The History of the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitler Youth’ 1943-1945 (San José, CA, 1987), 162.

[31] Report from Captain J. Neil to the 231st Infantry Brigade, 14 June 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 12842, file 67/Treatment/1 (393/53), p. 132.

[32] Bruce Tascona, Little Black Devils: A History of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

[33] Statement given by Beatrice Marie Delafon, 3 July 1944, NA, RG 24, vol. 10513, file 215A21.009 (D 125), pp. 8-9.

[34] Report from Captain J. Neil to the 231st Infantry Brigade, 14 June 1944, forwarded to the headquarters of 21st Army Group, 22 June 1944, ibid., vol. 12842, file 67/Treatment/1 (393/53), p. 132.