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POWCollector

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About POWCollector

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    Prisoners of War, Esape

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  1. Stanley Brabbin was born in 1908 In Bolton, Lancashire to James and Alice Brabbin. He was Husband of Annie Brabbin and resided in Walshaw, Yorkshire. In 1941, Stanley enlisted into the Royal Artillery and was posted to the 69th Battery, 21st Light Anti Aircraft regiment. He was now 1824274 Gnr S Brabbin RA. He was sent with the regiment to Singapore but with the Japanese invasion and impending fall of Singapore, the regiment escaped. They disembarked at Batavia on the 4th of February 1942. The 21st LAA regiment were posted to Eastern Java on Airfield Defence duties. During the night of 28th Feb / 1st of March 1942, the Japanese landed a heavy force of troops and tanks on the north of the island of Java and pressed inland. The Japanese caught up with the 21st LAA Regt on the 8th of March 1942 and Stanley was taken prisoner. Stanley was held in Java until October 1942 when the Japanese started to ship off POW’s as forced labour either to Japan to work in mines or to Thailand via Singapore to work on the infamous Burma Railway. Stanley was sent to Thailand. The work and sanitary conditions were appalling and thousands of prisoners died of exhaustion and disease as a result poor medical facilities. Sadly, Stanley Brabbin was in this unlucky group and died of Dysentary on the 17th of July 1943. He was buried at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand.
  2. The most recent addition to my collection is the sort of group that Prisoner of War Collectors can only dream about and i'm ecstatic to have it in my possession. Jean Tarrade was born on the 9th of February 1908 in Auxerre, France. In 1928 at the age of 20, Tarrade enlisted into the French Army at Angouleme. Now a Captain, Tarrade was heavily involved in the Battle's of Belgium and France in 1939 and 1940 and was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme for his service. The citation reads: 'Company Commander, extremely active and excellent technician. Always spent countless hours, especially on 24 May 1940 in Trith-Saint-Leger, during violent attempts by the enemy to cross the Scheldt Canal. Has demonstrated the same qualities of energy and courage in Haubourdin, when encircled by the enemy from the 28th to the 31st of May 1940.' Tarrade was captured in early June 1940 and was transported to Germany arriving on the 8th of June 1940. He clearly didn't approve of being a prisoner of the Third Reich and proved to be troublesome to his captors. He escaped from captivity three times in 1940 and 1941 but was recaptured every time. For this, he was transferred to OFLAG IV-C also known as COLDITZ CASTLE where he would have arrived in the first batch of French officers in early 1941. Not much is known about Tarrade's time at Colditz Castle at this point but I am sure he would have been active in scheming escapes, 'goon baiting' and assisting other prisoners in escaping. In May 1943, the German high command decided that Colditz was only to hold British and American prisoners. In June, the Dutch officers were transported to different camps followed by the Belgians, Poles and lastly the French who left on the 12th of July 1943. Captain Tarrade was transferred to Oflag X-C at Lubeck. Here he organised and led a resistance group. His Legion d'honneur recommendation takes up the story in more detail. 'This Magnificent Officer was wounded and mentioned in 39/40 for his beautiful driving under fire during the Campaign of Belgium and Flanders. Barely recovered from his wound, he rejoined his Regiment to repress the fight. Taken prisoner in June 1940, he fought to regain his freedom. Escaped 3 times in 1940 and 1941 and was taken again. To re-pay his brave attitude, he endured 44 months of fortress, reprisals camps including 51 solitary confinement cell days over his 60 months of captivity. He Took the command of the Franc Group of Resistance Movement of Lubeck Prison Camp and his participation at the head of this Group was with the taking of the weapons of the guards, at the capture of Lubeck Port, making prisoners and capturing weapons and Ammunition.' The 'fortress' camp referenced is Oflag IV-C, Colditz Castle. After the war, Jean Tarrade served with distinction in Tunisia and in South Vietnam. He was awarded a second Croix de Guerre for his actions. The recommendation is as follows: 'Ardent and dynamic officer - Adjutant Major of a battalion in operations, still voluntary for the difficult missions - Did not stop during hard fights by his Unit in the Sub-sector of BENCAT (Province of THUDAUMONT - South Vietnam) and demonstrated a remarkable course. Was particularly distinguished in the combined operations "EMILE and JOSEPHINE "from 6 to 13 July 1949, and during specific actions in the regions of VINH HOA and the Forest of AN SON - At the head of elements of reinforcements, participated until the end of March 1950 effectively in the clearance of convoys and overture groups fallen in ambushes on the road at DAUTIENG and RF 13-A, during these attacks, and despite violent reactions adverse, fact prove of the most perfect contempt of danger.' He retired as a Lieutentant Colonel. His awards are as follows: - Legion D'Honneur. 4th Class 'Officier'. 4th Republic issue circa (1946-1962) - Cross of War 1939 (Croix de Guerre). With 1 x Bronze Palm & 1 x 'Gold' Star - Cross of War for Overseas Theatres of Operations. With 1 x Silver Star citation emblem - Escapers Medal (Medaille Des Evades). With French Mint marks - Combatants Cross for Volunteers. Type II dated 1939-1945 & clasp - Combatants Cross (Croix Du Combatant). With French Mint marks - Colonial Medal. Type II with uniface suspension & clasp 'Extreme Orient' - Commmemorative Medal for Second World War 1939-1945. With clasp 'France' - Commmemorative Medal for Indochina 1945-1954 - Medal for North African security operations (Medaille D'Afriqie Du Nord). With clasp 'Tunisie' - Wound Medal (Medaille Des Blesses). With red enamelled star on riband Included with the medals were all of his medal award certificates, original recommendations, correspondence with the French POW escaper's association, liberation documents and many character letters from brother officers. A real archive. I am over the moon to finally have a Colditz POW group in my collection and with such good provenance too! Captain J Tarrade is listed in Pat Reid’s book ‘Colditz: The Full Story’ as being a member of the French contingent at Colditz.
  3. Hi Tony, Hope you are well! I was amazed to find it in a book which Is called ‘The March East, 1945’. This book is about the prisoners from Oflag IXA/Z at Rotenburg and Laing features very heavily! stay tuned for my next post, it’s going to be the best group in my collection! Rob
  4. I have been very lucky to find some pictures of Lieutenant W K Laing who’s story is above. Please see below. I love putting a face to a name!
  5. Hi All, I am hoping that somebody on the forum is able to or has a contact who can help me to acquire POW escape and liberation reports? I have been using the same chap for the last 5 or so years who has been fantastic but I have not had a single reply in the last few weeks and now emails to him fail to deliver. Many thanks, Rob
  6. Here are the pictures of George Beresford’s medal group. It is unusual that only the Africa star has been gilted. As previously mentioned, only the 1939-45 star, Africa star and War medal are named to George so if anybody hears of the whereabouts of the Africa Service Medal, please do let me know!
  7. Hi All, I wonder if anybody knows how to obtain a ww2 South African service record? I am trying to research two pow’s but sadly they did not fill out the MI9 pow debrief reports so I am hoping to gain more info through their records. Any help would be fantastic!
  8. Hi Simon, thanks very much for the comment, I’m unsure if he wouldve qualified but I have other pow groups to men who got back into the action after liberation or escape and none of them qualified for the defence medal. I suppose I’ll have to apply to the mod for the service record to find out definitively. Ive got another great post to come soon so stay tuned!
  9. Next up is a partial group (Africa Service Medal is unnamed replacement so if anybody hears of the original please let me know!). George Edwin Delaval Beresford was born on the 18th of February 1909. He was an audit clerk living in Durban at the time of his enlistment into the 1st South African Irish Regiment on the 19th of February 1940. George was sent to North Africa where he was captured in the bitter fighting at Sidi Rezegh on 24/11/41. The South African Irish Regiment took heavy casualties and by the end of the battle, there were only 140 survivors of all ranks. George was held in the infamous pow cages at Benghazi for two weeks before being marched down to the docks on 08/12/41 and boarding the Italian cargo ship 'San Sebastian' and was placed in the hold with the rest of the 2000 prisoners of board. On the 12th of December 1941, the San Sebastian was torpedoed by British ship HMS Porpoise. The Porpoise did not realise that the ship was carrying allied pow's as the Italians had neglected to paint red crosses on the ship as was the normal practice. Prisoners reported that the Italian captain and crew decided to abandon ship into the lifeboats without any consideration for the allied pow's on board. It is estimated that up to 600 of the crew perished during the sinking. Luckily for those still on board the severely damaged ship, the wind direction changed and the ship was blown onto the rocks off Patras in Greece. Once the wounded were evacuated from the ship, the prisoners were taken to a barn by a nearby submarine base and from there they were marched to the dungeons of the Pylos Castle. They were later moved to transit style camps at Kalamata and Aixia. Whilst on the move, the local Greeks lined the streets offering food and cigarettes but the Italians would beat them back with their rifle butts. At the end of February 1942, George and his comrades were transported to permanent camps in Italy. George was initially held at PG 85 Tuturano from 06/03/42 until 07/05/42 when he was moved to pg 52 at Chiavari. George left Chiavari on the 20th of October 1942 and moved to pg 47 at Modena. George stayed at PG 47, a monastery near Modena until the Italian capitulation in September 1943. On the Italian capitulation and Italian guards deserting the camp, George escaped but was recaptured by the Germans and entrained for a camp in Germany. He arrived at Oflag 5A at Weinsberg on the 9th of October 1943. On the 1st of April 1945, he left Oflag 5A and moved to Stalag 7a arriving on the 4th of April. The camp was liberated by the US Army on the 29th of April and George finally left on the 7th of May 1945. pics to come soon, images are not uploading due to errors
  10. Here is a new auction lot which I got for a very good price indeed! Denys Arthur Burnell was born in Ynysybwl, Pontypridd in Glamorganshire in Wales on the 13th of December 1919. On the 16th of March 1940, Denys enlisted into the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment. Serving first in Crete, he was captured on the 29th of January 1942 in Barce, Libya. He was transported from North Africa to Italy being held in PG 66 Capua and PG 75 Bari before ending up at his final camp, PG 53 Macerata. It was from here that Denys escaped on the capitulation of Italy. His story is taken up in his POW debrief report: "We left the camp at 16:30 on Wednesday the 15th of September despite the order to remain in camp given by Captain Frewen, RAMC, the Senior British Officer of the camp. On the second day out of the camp, we arrived at the house of Carlo Lattanzi in Massa Feramo. Here we stayed two nights and then he took us to Giovanni Menecorzi, Montappone. We stayed there for 7 nights. My two mates Pte Astley and Pte Barry returned to the house of Carlo Lattanzi. I carried on and arrived at British lines on October the 6th 1943." Under the sections 'White List and helpers' and 'Black List' on his debrief, he has named both Carlo Lattanzi and Giovanni Menecorzi as helpers and has listed his SBO Captain Frewen on the black list. Clearly he felt that his SBO had been acting on his own by ordering the men of the camp to stay put even though that order came from the top! Denys arrived back in the UK on the 6th of November and although he was by this point a Lance Corporal in the Welch Regiment, decided to opt for a demotion and transfer to the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver. He arrived in France on the 15th of July 1944 serving with 508 company RASC and remained with them until his discharge on the 10th of October 1948. Denys passed away in August 1986. What I particularly like about this group as that Denys' POW medal has the clasp 'ITALY' which I have not come across before. I hope that you enjoyed this post, more to come soon!
  11. Thank you Egorka, I look forward to seeing the posts! As promised, here are the pictures of Captain J E F Watson's medals and his mugshot picture from his German POW Card.
  12. Hi Paul, For some reason GMIC is not letting me upload any photos from my computer or my phone! Ill try again tomorrow! Rob
  13. Next up is my first pow group to somebody captured in the battle of Anzio and its a cracker! John Edwin Francis Watson was born in Cardiff on the 6th of December 1918. He was the son of Major General Gilbert Watson CB DSO OBE who had joined up as a private soldier in 1914 and worked his way all the way to Major General! John was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers, his father's regiment, and served with the B.E.F in France and Belgium being evacuated back to England before the Germans were able to capture him and his men. The regiment were stationed on home service for the next two years before being sent out to India to fight against the Japanese. John did not go out to India with his regiment and was in fact attached to the 2/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry regiment and was present in the invasion of Sicily and the invasion of Italy. John was captured on the 1st of Februrary 1944 at Anzio. John was sent to Stalag 7a at Moosberg where he had his details and photo taken by the Germans. Amazingly, John managed to get a hold of his German POW card which is shown in the image below. The smirk on his face is brilliant! On the 23rd of August 1944, John was transferred to Oflag 79 at Braunschweig. The very next day, Oflag 79 was accidentally strafed by American and British aircraft killing three and seriously wounding 14. Luckily, John was unharmed. John and his comrades were liberated by the Americans on April the 12th 1945 and he volunteered to jump back in to the action earning himself the France and Germany Star. After the war, John was promoted to Captain and served out in Palestine earning himself the General Service Medal with Palestine 1945-48 clasp (a new medal for my collection). I'm very happy to have this group with a new medal for the collection to a man captured in a new battle for the collection. I believe that the group must be very rare considering no battalions of the Welch Fusiliers served in Italy. Watson may have been the only one! I hope you enjoyed this one.
  14. Hi Paul, Thanks for you comment. Kirton would have been eligible for the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star and the War Medal but as these were issued un-named, It is very unlikely that these will ever be reunited. I am hoping that the Royal Signals Museum will be able to get back to me and give me some more information. Maybe he stayed in the service long enough to get his LSGC! Ive got some more interesting posts coming soon, time is the only issue!!
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