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British Cemetery Elvas

British Cemetery in Elvas

Major Michael Stillwell CBE, MC, October, 2008


The Stillwell family has lived in Portugal since 1900.  

Michael was born in 1920. At the outbreak of the War, he enlisted in the Coldstream Guards, transferring later to the Army Commandos.  In 1944, now a Captain in Nº2 Commando, he won an immediate Military Cross in an attack on a German Garrison at Spilje, in Albania.

In 1999, the British regiments had already agreed the designs of their memorials for the two walls of the British Cemetery in Elvas.  

At that time Michael’s wife’s nephew, General Martins Barento, was Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Army. Since half of Wellington’s Army consisted of Portuguese troops, Michael was able to persuade General Barento of the desirability of the Portuguese Army having a memorial to their regiments that had fought at Albuera and Badajoz. This opened all doors.  

The Portuguese Army then re-landscaped the Cemetery, plastered the walls, and mounted all the memorial plaques.  They very graciously agreed to our plan for the Cemetery and organised the unveiling ceremony, including providing a Platoon and Fanfare in uniform of the period. This was followed by a magnificent lunch in their barracks.  The Association owes a lot to Michael and the Portuguese Army for making the cemetery what it is today.  

He died on 7th October, 2008.


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