Guenter Lauffer, (served as Bryan Richard Lawton)
Private, Pioneer Corps
Service no: 13118806
Died 16 Dec 1944
Buried Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium
‘HE DIED FOR ENGLAND, HIS ADOPTED COUNTRY. MOURNED BY HIS AUNT AND UNCLE’
Guenter was born on 19 Sep 1919 in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) to Felix and Flora nee Rosenthal and he had an older sister Edith. The family had a comfortable living with the father Felix owning a ladies hat and accessories wholesale business. Both Edith and Guenter attended private school the Gerhard Hauptmann Gymnasium in Breslau. When Hitler came to power in 1933, their mother Flora felt she could not cope with the future and committed suicide. The family business was seized by the Nazi’s in 1938. Edith married in 1938 and in November of that year just after Kristallnacht, both her brother Guenther, who was now nineteen, and her husband Oskar were sent to the concentration camp Buchenwald. She managed to get them both released in January 1939 after promising to leave Germany. On 6 April 1939 Edith and Oskar emigrated to Shanghai with Guenter leaving for England at the same time to live with his uncle Louis Rose. Their father was murdered in Auschwitz in 1942.
On arrival in England Guenther lived with his aunt and uncle at 25 Graham Road, Dalston in London and he is listed as being a trainee handbag maker and also exempt from internment under the male enemy alien lists.
Guenther changed his name to Bryan Richard Lawton and enlisted into the Pioneer Corps. Little is known to date of his service history.
Guenther was on leave and was at the Rex Cinema in Antwerp when a German V-2 rocket landed on the roof. The destruction was total. The death toll was 567 casualties to soldiers and civilians, 291 injured and 11 buildings were destroyed. 296 of the dead & 194 of the injured were US, British, & Canadian soldiers. This was the single highest death total from one rocket attack during the war in Europe.