Monday, August 31, 2009
Virtual Satellite View of Tripoli Grave Sites
In the photo above, the yellow mark to the left indicates the locations of the original burial site in Martyr's Square just outside the walls of the old castle fort, while the yellow mark on the right is just to the right of the location of the square walled Old Protestant Cemetery.
You can go to the above link, cut and paste it on google and it will come up.
If you go to Google maps, Tripoli, Libya, zoom into to the harbor, where you can see the coastal road that starts from the left at the old Red Castle fort and old city, and follow it east to the right as it wraps around the harbor.
At the point where the first barrier extends out and appears to form a triangle, like half an arrow head or the shape of the Space Shuttle wing. This is about a mile from the Red Castle fort.
If you zoom into the point of that arrow, below the highway, there appears a little, perfect square, which is the Old Protestant Cemetery and where five of the men of the USS Intrepid are located in marked graves.
One of the things the Italians did when they occupied the country in the 1930s was to build a road near the Red Castle. During construction of this road they unearthed the remains of five men from the Intrepid, and reburied them at the Old Protestant Cemetery.
The other eight men remain buried in the little park near Green Square, 720 yards from the old Red Castle fort.
One South Jersey historian made contact with an Italian soldier who had participated in the construction of the road and the discovery and reburial of the remains of the five men from the Intrepid, but this information has been lost. However the Old Protestant Cemetery is now being restored and the location of the original grave site is known to the Libyans, who excavated it in 2005, and can be seen from satelite views of the area.
Seeing the square on the map and seeing the photos of the cemetery walls gives you an idea of what it there.
Back to the satelite view, you follow that coastal road back west, to the left, along the harbor until you get to the large reflecting pool that is separate from the harbor, and the old Red Castle fort.
In front of the east side of the Red Castle there is a large square, that's Green Square, and a large, rectangular parking lot that you can clearly see from the satelite view.
At the near, south end of that rectangular parking lot is a small, round park, which might be the location of the original Intrepid graves.
The area to the right, east of the rectangular parking lot is a larger, square park, that has two large pillar, one with a ship that bears some resemballance to the Intrepid. This park could also be the original burial site.
Then there is a larger park that runs along the harbor waterfront, a third site that should be considered, though it is also possible that the graves were paved over by the parking lot or the paved over area that is Green Square.
I don't think they have paved over the graves however, because everyone who has been there on the ground has said that the original grave site is easily recognizable, even though there is no sign, and because neither the Libyans nor the Italians would desecrate a known grave site because of their respect for the dead. And since it is obviously a grave site, they would not pave over it on purpose.
In any case, the chief archivist at the museum in the Red Castle has already excavated the site and found "bones and buttons" so he most certainly knows where it is located.
A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reporter Brian Albrecht interviews Captain Greg Miller, who was involved in cleaning up the cemetery site and he discusses the mutual cooperation in the preservation of the cemetery. He also mentions the excavation of the USS Philadelphia and USS Intrepid wrecks, which have been covered with concrete, but still contain cannon and other artifacts.
See the story:
U.S. Navy Reserve Capt. Greg Miller of Berea restoring U.S. tombs in Libyan cemetery
....The captured crew of the Philadelphia, held hostage in Tripoli, may have gathered the remains of the Intrepid seamen and buried them, including five interred on a knoll overlooking the harbor, Miller said. (Exact location of the other burials have been lost to history.)
Well, if you follow the directions in this post, you will find what has been previously "lost to history."
The original grave site - 720 feet from the gate of the old Red Castle fort.