“Unknown, Foreign Soldier, WWII POW”

Tucked away among the graves in the cemetery in Indian Head, Saskatchewan is a simple white cross bearing a plaque, “Unknown / Foreign Soldier / WWII POW.” Having learned about the grave from a fellow researcher, I visited the cemetery back in 2015. Since then, I have unsuccessfully tried to identify who may be buried here.

The town’s Cemetery records provide no clue as to the identity of who is buried here and an inquiry revealed the marker was placed by the local Legion branch. Rumour has it that a POW died while being transferred by rail to an internment camp in Western Canada and that the body was removed when the train stopped in Indian Head.

With Canada’s largest internment camps located in Ozada, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat, Alberta, thousands of POWs were transferred by rail to and from Western Canada. Saskatchewan did have a relatively small number of POWs working in the province and only one POW, Wilhelm Kröger, was apparently buried in Mortlach, Saskatchewan after he died on July 11, 1946. However, records referring to Kröger appear to be missing from the archival record. A gravestone bears his name at Kitchener’s Woodland Cemetery but it is one of two with “I.M.” appended. This, I believe, refers “In Memoriam” and, as both “I.M.” graves are lacking considerable detail, I assume the bodies of these individuals may not have been recovered in the 1970s and the gravestones may simply memorialize them.

But it may be that the grave in Indian Head is not a POW at all. Most recently, a contact informed me that cemetery records suggest that the grave could be that of Christian Krieger, a Russian immigrant who died in Indian Head in the 1920s.

While I continue to research this case, if anyone has more information about the mystery grave in Indian Head or the circumstances surrounding Wilhelm Kröger’s death, please get in touch!

Published by Michael O'Hagan

Historian studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

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