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About ColinRF

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  • Birthday 14/05/57

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    WWI Somme, Napoleonica, sculpting and painting scale model figurines, and collecting original documents and autographs pertaining to the July 20 bomb plot.

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  1. Thanks for the interesting tour. This op has always interested me. I just watched the latest film, and while it a vast improvement on Operation Daybreak from the 70's (?), I have to say I found it pretty flat and uninspring as a piece of historical cinema. Just me? These guys certainly deserve the memorials that have been put in place. thanks again for the excellent virtual tour.
  2. My reading on Dulag 121 and the general treatment of Soviet POWs highlights the crimes of some conspirators (for example General Quartermaster Wagner, who constantly reduced POW rations and declared "let them starve"). I didn't know that as many as 3.3 million of the Russian losses in WWII were POWs who died. Makes the mistreatment of German Stalingrad POWs more understandable. I don't expect that the Soldbuch holder had more than influential contact with the conspirators in the Abwehr. There were many pro-Nazi and neutral officers in Canaris' organization. I expect, being in Group III N, that he didn't have close contact with the heavy resisters as they were in Abteilung Z, the central admin group. I expect the treatment of Soviet POWs was an open secret in the overall organization. Malende was in the postal censorship group so he would know of the content of soldiers' communications from the front, for example. I expect the holder of the soldbuch was sent to Dulag 121 as he was an officer in a Landschutzen battalion attached to Abwehr III N.
  3. I thought it a good buy once I saw it had Sell's signature. I haven't seen many IDs with an Abwehr Wehrkreis III stamp. I notified the seller about the July 20 link but he deep discounted it anyway, so in I went. Thanks.
  4. I already had a postcard signed by Abwehr Oberstleutnant Ulrich Freiherr von Sell (see #39 above) but at the very inexpensive price, I couldn't resist this Soldbuch to a Major who served in the Abwehr Group III N under von Sell. The Soldbuch is signed twice by von Sell, who was Stauffenberg's liaison to Wehrkreis IX (Kassel) for Operation Valkyrie on July 20, 1944. The bio of von Sell can be found at the earlier post under this thread. Interestingly, the Major to whom the book belonged, also served at the infamous transit camp Dulag 121, in Gomel, where many Soviet POWs perished under inhuman conditions.
  5. Just got this EKI Urkunde signed by Generlleutant Walter von Brockdorff Ahlefeldt. Brockdorff's signature is usually seen on Demjansk Shield award documents and always in stamped form, as this general died before theseawards wer granted. Brockdorff, or "Boney Charles" as Ewald Heinrich von Kleist says he was known by his men, was a major player in the coup planned by Hans Oster in 1938. He and GFM von Witzleben were in command of troops critical to the plan to raid the Chancellery and to kill Hitler. Brockdorff commanded the Potsdam garrison, consisting of the 23ed Infantry Division. Witzleben worked with Brockdorff and Gisevius to identify SS and Gestapo locations in Berlin to be neutralized. As noted in earlier posts, Oster's daring plan unravelled primarily due to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement efforts at Munich.
  6. Thank you Pieter. Yes I sculpted the bust myself in polymer clay. Painted in acrylics. Upper Canada College in Toronto is the private boys' school attended by Dunn. They own his VC and a=other awards and his sword as I recall. Currently the awards are on loan to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and UCC has copies to display. Regards Colin
  7. In keeping with the theme, here is my original 1/5 portrait of Lt. Alexander Dunn, 11th Hussars and first Canadian born VC winner, in the Oct. 25 charge. Colin
  8. Looking over past pages here I am saddened to see how badly automatic system upgrades have screwed up my posts. Bad enough that umlauts and apostrophes are now shown as ? marks but many attachments are now shown in the wrong posts. The result is a mish mash that is useless as a research source. Is there no way for me to fix or edit this? If not, I don't really see the point in continuing this thread. Its a lot of work writing these bios and adding scans. Having the wrong attachments appear due to a dumb computer update is pretty demotivating. colin Update - thank you to Nick for granting me limited edit rights in order to correct the problems.
  9. Heres an example in model form. Might be the same chap as above. colin
  10. Another recent addition. This is a pre-war postcard sent to Irene Stoelzel, signed by various fellow students of the famous Coburg Casimirianum Gymnasium. One can see roughly midway on the left the signature of Georg Hansen, later to be Stoelzel's husband. Oberst i.G. Georg Hansen was a major resister, being appointed by Canaris as his successor as leader if the Amt Ausland Abwehr. Once the Abwehr organisation was subsumed into the RSHA, Hansen was second in command to Walter Schellenberg. Hansen was one of the first additions to the Reichswehr's fledgling panzer corps before moving to the general staff and then to the intelligence function before the war. He commanded to general staff training program at the Berlin Kriegsakademie. He subsequently moved to the Abwehr where he rose to command Abwehr I, German SIS under Canaris. Hansen had early contact with Beck and Stauffenberg through his senior role in the general staff organisation. He was an active resister as early as 1938, actively plotting Hitler's assassination with Tresckow since 1943. He was heavily involved in the run up to Valkyrie, providing security and vehicles to the resisters, as well as use of his home in Rangsdirf for secret meetings. He was tasked with arresting RSHA and Gestapo staff on July 20. He was also intended to be a major negotiator with the western allies adter the coup. After disagreeing with Stauffenberg about post-coup political plans, Hansen opted to absent himself from Berlin on July 20, choosing instead to attend one of his five childrens' baptisms. He returned to Berlin on July 21 and was summoned to the RSHA where he was arrested in the lobby. He suffered intensive interrogation (i.e. Torture) and broke down, implicating many including Canaris. He was tried before Freisler on August 10 in the company of Berthold Stauffenberg, Fellgiebel and others. He was executed on the meathooks at Ploetzensee on September 8, 1944.
  11. Congrats on a nice addition. If you look back you will see I got a post-war movie script signed by Szokoll. I have some more pieces by others to post when I can shake loose some time. Colin
  12. An inexpensive post war addition : Signed memoir by Oberst Harald Momm, CO of the Krampnitz school on July 20. Not a lot of time at the moment so this bio is a compilation of several posts from AHF. Harald Momm, a veteran of WWI, had been on service at the Kavallerieschule since 1927. Originally considered a certainty for the show jumping team in Berlin 1936, he was transferred away from the school back to his regiment (the 16. Reiterregiment) some time before the Olympic Games because of a "clash of opinions" with his superior officer, General von Waldenfels. Waldenfels, commander of the show jumping unit at the school, had been pushed over by Momm and his mount during an argument. After the Olympic Games, he was transferred back to the cavalry school to become successor of General von Waldenfels as commander of the show jumping unit. In 1943, he became, as colonel, commander of the school, which had been transferred by then to Potsdam-Krampnitz. It is said that on the evening of July 20, Momm had ordered champagne in the officers' mess: "Orderly, champers! The swine is dead." On the evening of July 20th Momm was drinking with the popular actor Willy Birgel. The person who was serving some days later met with the Ortsgruppenleiter of the NSDAP, who asked in a small talk manner, how the assassination was taken in at the Krampnitz school. The server spoke out about the "party" and this info via Kreis- and Gauleiter came to the knowledge of Heinrich Himmler. Momm was arrested by the Gestapo, immediately sentenced and degraded to a Schütze. Himmler stepped into the matter and the Schütze immediately become a Rittmeister and then a SS-Sturmbannführer. (Himmler needed qualified leaders for his new SS-Kavallerie-Korps). While Momm's swine comment may gave been apocryphal, it is a fact that Momm had the troops of the school march out on July 20, 1944 to support the putschists. Not a very wise thing to do, but then, this was the man who had toppled a general by literally overriding him. He was lucky. He was arrested but, different from many men who had done less, not sentenced to death. He was disrated from colonel to captain and transfered to the SS Brigade 'Dirlewanger', a penal unit for felons under the command of SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger, himself a twice convicted rapist. The Dirlewanger unit's "warfare" had raised objections even among the regular SS and for a man like Momm being transferred to such a unit was akin to being sentenced to death. However, he survived to tell his tale. In his well-written and, for any horsey person, highly intriguing memoirs "Pferde, Reiter - und Trophäen" (Horses, Horsemen and Trophies) he tells, among other things, about his five years in a Russian POW-camp and how he survived in spite of the tuberculosis he had caught working in the mines. His saviour was the commander of the POW-camp who had acquired a little filly whom he let Harald Momm groom. Finally home, he became one of the few former officers of the SS Brigade Dirlewanger who were able to clear their names and was fully reinstated as colonel. He became Chef d'Equipe of the German show jumping team after the Germans were allowed to take part in international equestrian competitions again. That was in 1951. He retired 1956 after the German team had won their legendary Gold at the Stockholm Games. Harald Momm died in Munich on February 6, 1979. On the equestrian group of four shot below, Momm is second from the right. On the right is Heinz Brandt, the unwitting carrier of Tresckow's cointreau bomb in March 1943 and one of Stauffenberg's collateral damage victims on July 20. Contrary to his unsympathetic depiction in the film Valkyrie, Brandt was actually a resistance sympathizer.
  13. A bit of a thrill for me. CWGC selected George's letter to be read by Lancashire actress Maxine Peake in their Somme 100 commemoration. I spotted this on Facebook but its also on youtube. Colin
  14. Never seen this before but it looks to me like a tri-colour turban around the bicorne. You can see from the painting that one side of his bicorne is turned down. Perhaps staff at Les Invalides could assist? The chapeau looks more like an Austrian jaeger or landwehr hat than a bicorne. colin