Defence organisation recovers military casualties of war

In the week of 5-11 September, in the town of Groesbeek in the Dutch province of Gelderland, the Recovery and Identification Service of the Royal Netherlands Army recovered the remains of 2 U.S. soldiers who were killed in the Second World War. The two field graves had been discovered by members of the public.

The recovery was conducted in collaboration with the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service. This is part of the usual procedure, as field graves may contain ammunition or explosives. The nationality of the servicemen was ascertained on the basis of their equipment. The U.S. authorities have been informed of the find, while the RNLA Recovery and Identification Service is trying to determine the identities of the servicemen in its laboratory in Soesterberg.

Market Garden

On 17 September, it was 67 years ago that the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army landed near Groesbeek as part of Operation Market Garden. This massive airborne operation was part of the Allies’ failed intentions to end the war before the year 1944 was out.


Clarity about the fate of one’s loved ones is crucial to the mourning process. Hence the motto of the Recovery and Identification Service: “Missing is worse than dead”. The work of the service is based on the Geneva Convention, which states that every member state must have its own graves registration service during armed conflicts. The RNLA Recovery and Identification Service functions as an important expertise and knowledge centre, within and outside the Defence organisation and nationally and internationally.