POWCollector

My Prisoner of War Collection

137 posts in this topic

That is the best POW group that I have ever seen, and it has been matched by an extremely well researched write-up.  Congratulations!

Regards

Brett

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Thanks very much for your comment Brett! 

I was absolutely amazed to find it to be honest! Such a rare combination of awards!

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Next up is a rather scarce group which i was extremely lucky to get for an absolute bargain due to the seller doing no research whatsoever!

Squire Clayton was born on the 20th of October 1919. At the time of enlistment on the 1st of April 1940 he was a student and his home address was 19 Littlethorpe Hill, Hartshead, Liversedge, Yorkshire.

He enlisted as a Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Air Branch (Fleet Air Arm) and was posted to 828 Squadron as an Observer flying in Fairey Albacores from HMS Victorious.

After the launching of Operation Barbarossa on the 22nd of June 1941, Churchill decided to support our new ally, Stalin, by striking the enemy and their communications in Norway. On the 31st of July 1941, sixty Fleet Air Arm planes were launched from HMS Victorious and HMS Furious to strike Kirkenes and Petsamo in Northeastern Norway right on the Russian and Finnish borders.

The raid was a complete disaster with 15 British Aircraft being shot down. 25 FAA aircrew were taken prisoner and 13 were killed. 

Squire Clayton, his pilot Robert Ross-Taylor and their air gunner Lionel Miles were shot down but survived and came out of their wrecked albacore alive. They were subsequently taken prisoner.

Another member of 828 Squadron who was taken prisoner on this raid was Sub Lieutenant (A) David Lubbock. For those of you who have spent time researching Air Force POW's and their escapes, you will probably have heard of Lubbock as he invented what was known as 'dog food' or 'the mixture'. An essential for escaper's, 'dog food', was a mixture of food taken from red cross parcels and donations from the prisoners private parcels. It usually consisted of porridge oats, sugar, chocolate, raisins, wheat and any other high calorie items he could obtain. A 1" square was enough to keep a man going for half a day.

Squire was wounded in being shot down and was immediately taken to the hospital of Stalag 322 at Kirkenes, a camp for soviet prisoners which a very small amount of British were held at. He stayed in the hospital of this camp from the day he was shot down until the 18th of August 1941 when he was able to be transferred to the hospital of Dulag Luft at Hohemark. He arrived at Hohemark on the 21st of August and stayed until the 10th of September when he was fit enough to be transferred to a permanent camp.

Squire was sent to Oflag XC at Lubeck until the 8th of October 1941 when all the allied air force officers were moved to Oflag VIb at Warburg. In this camp, Squire would almost certainly have met Squadron Leader Roger Bushell who led the Great Escape from Stalag Luft 3 and was murdered by the Gestapo. Whilst in transit between Lubeck and Warburg, Bushell along with a Czech Pilot named Jaroslav Zafouk jumped from the train and escaped. They made it to Prague and using Zafouks contacts met up with the Czech resistance and were put into safehouses. Unfortunately they were recaptured in the manhunt for the two Czech SOE agents who assassinated Reinhardt Heydrich in May 1942. The two men were brutally interrogated by the Gestapo and in October, Bushell was sent to Stalag Luft 3 and Zafouk to Colditz.

Warburg was an army officers camp which ended up housing a number of RAF and Fleet Air Arm officers. Some of the more notable officers held at Warburg were Douglas Bader, Sydney Dowse, Dominic Bruce (The Medium sized man of Colditz), Peter Tunstall (Allied officer who spent the most time in solitary confinement, a staggering 412 days!) and Peter Stevens who was a German Jew who rather than keeping his head down for fear of discovery made 8 seperate escapes and was awarded the MC after the war.

On the 30th of August 1942, a joint Army and RAF mass escape was staged which was known as the Warburg Wire Job, or Operation Olympia. The camp electrics were fused and 41 prisoners with scaling ladders rushed to the barbed wire perimeter and clambered over. Of the 41 men, only 28 made it out of the camp as one of the ladders collapsed but of those 28, only 3 made it back to England. Because of this mass escape, the British Prisoners were all moved. The army to Oflag VIIb at Eichstatt and the RAF to Oflag XXI-b at Schubin.

The British officers were replaced by Polish officers from camps in Romania others from camps around Germany. The Brits had been working on a tunnel and the Polish continued it eventually making their break in September 1943. 47 Polish officers escaped and 10 of these managed to remain free. The other 37 were recaptured,20 were sent to Buchenwald concentration camp and 17 to a Gestapo Prison near Dortmund. Sadly, all of them were later Executed. 

Squire arrived at Schubin on the 4th of September 1942 and stayed here until April of 1943 when all of the prisoners were moved to Stalag Luft 3 due to a mass break out. This break out was the escape thought up by Eddie Asselin and led by Wings day in which 33 men escaped through a tunnel starting from the latrines. Nobody made a home run but two officers, Lt Cdr Jimmy Buckley and Jorgen Thalbitzer (a Danish officer) were killed. Jimmy Buckley was the original 'Big X' of the escape committee and as a fellow Fleet Air Arm officer, im sure Squire Clayton would have known him.

Squire arrived at Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan on the 14th of April 1943 and stayed here until the 28th of January 1945 when the officers were marched away from the camp away from the advancing allies. After a week of marching, Squire reached Stalag 3a at Luckenwalde and was eventually liberated by the red army on the 22nd of April 1945. The prisoners although with allies were not quite free yet and had to live under Russian control in pretty grim conditions until the 20th of May when they were finally flown home.

Squire signed his MI9 prisoner of war questionnaire on the 21st of May 1945 at this time as a full Lieutenant so he must have been promoted at some point but i haven't been able to find the date in the London Gazette. 

Squire Clayton died in 2001 in Yorkshire, England.

As you can imagine, Fleet Air Arm POW groups are incredibly rare as they were so small in number and groups for men taken POW in Norway are scarce for any branch of the forces! Including the fact that Squire Clayton was in so many of the 'rarer' pow camps, i think this is as absolutely amazing find and i cant believe the seller didn't do any research!

The medals in the group are the standard naval trio; The 1939-45 star, Atlantic star and War medal and the medals come in his named box of issue with 'Lieut RNVR' written in contemporary writing on the side of the box as is common with naval medal groups. Unfortunately the medals are without the ribbons, but these can be easily replaced!

I hope you found this interesting and i implore you to further read into the mass escapes from Oflag VI-B at Warburg and Oflag XXI-B at Schubin which resulted in both camps being closed down!

medals.JPG

medals n box.JPG

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Congratulations on such a great find, and thank you for the excellent and interesting article from your excellent research.  This man's good deeds will love on because of your work! 

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Congratulations on acquiring another wonderful POW group, and also for the well told story behind it.  This is evidence again of the importance of research to medal collectors.

Regards

Bret

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ID: 131   Posted (edited)

Next up is a First World War medal to a Second World War POW.

Gerald Denwood was born to Jackson and Isabella Denwood on the 1st of September 1899 in Penrith, Cumbria. 

Gerald's father, Jackson Denwood, served first with the Border Regiment and then to the Seaforth Highlanders serving in India in 1888. He re-enlisted in September 1914 and served until July 1915 when he was discharged with very good character being unfit for further service. He died in 1916.

Jackson and His wife had 8 children in total but only 6 including Gerald were still alive at the time of the 1911 census. Gerald's Older brother was Thomas William Denwood. Thomas joined the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment as a Private soldier and served 6 months at home and 3 years, 8 months abroad before dieing of illness as a 2nd Lieutenant on Tuesday the 22nd of October 1918 in Karachi, Pakistan. This was reported in the Lancaster Guardian Newspaper on the 2nd of November 1918. It also reports that Thomas William Denwood has a brother called Harold who is serving in the same regiment. This is a mistake and actually refers to Gerald.

Gerald Enlisted originally in the Monmouth Regiment as 47658 Pte G Denwood, transferring to the Labour Corps and eventually to the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment serving with the service number 51858. Unlike his father and elder brother, Gerald survived the war. 

It would appear that he stayed in the Army during the interwar period as the next reference i can find for him is serving in France 1940 as a Company Quarter Master Sergeant in the Royal Pioneer Corps. Gerald was listed as Missing in Action at some point in May or June of 1940 when France fell. I believe that Gerald was held at Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf.

Gerald due to his older age and potential injuries sustained in capture was repatriated in one of the first prisoner of war repatriated of the second world war in late 1943. Sadly, the war and Gerald's treatment caught up with him and he passed away on the 12th of July 1947 aged 47.

Amazingly, i have found an article in the Lancaster Guardian from the 26th of July 1940 listing Gerald Denwood as missing believed prisoner of war, listing his address as 9, Friar Street, Lancaster. His photograph features in the article.

Sadly, i only have his Victory medal but his full entitlement would be the British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1939-45 Star and War Medal.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

 

Gerald Denwood 2.jpg

Gerald Denwood.jpg

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Edited by POWCollector

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Another excellent addition to your collection and another great write up, many thanks.

Simon

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Here is my first WW2 medal set...

8th Army Africa Star  medal group to William Balfour  later taken POW on Stalag IVB

Full size Mounted group of 4 medals with 8th Army Bar
Cap Badge Royal Artillery
Stalag IVB tag
British Rail Awards to Willie Balfour Senior Engine Driver

Any other help on getting some more info about him would be apreciated,for example militar record, where was he captured & taken prisioner, or any other details about is time as POW.

Many thanks in advance...

P.

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ID: 134   Posted (edited)

All I could find with a quick search was that he was captured in CM North Africa 20/4/43 and spent time in camp 4DZ in Annaburg, his POW number was 227036 which confirms what you already know. 

He was also in camp 98, Italy, according to wikipedia it was in San Guiseppe Jato. He was obviously in Stalag IVB, Muehlberg too so I'd have a guess at him being held in Italy, then Muehlberg before moving on to Annaburg. http://www.lager-muehlberg.org/index_e.html

Perhaps finding where his unit was (67 Field Regt.) in April 43 might help with the actual place he was captured. I don’t know the meaning of C.M. North Africa, if it’s an area or not.

His military record will need to be applied for. There's also a cost involved and I'm not sure but think payment can only be made by UK cheque which is a pain for anyone who isn't UK resident. A copy of his death certificate will be necessary which is an additional cost, details here https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records

Forgot to say, a nice group and fantastic start to a WWII medal collection.

Edited by Tony

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Hello all i am a new member ( so please take pity on me if i get things wrong) i live and breath WW2 military history a collect of military medals but my love is, the real love is bomber command first then RAF. My friend Tony got me to look at this so thanks mate. I hope to post so helps at the weekend but for now i hope that there are people out there  who may be able to help me and i look forward to helping others in what ever way i can

pete

   

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Welcome to the Forum Pete, look forward to seeing your posts!:cheers:

Simon

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17 hours ago, Tony said:

All I could find with a quick search was that he was captured in CM North Africa 20/4/43 and spent time in camp 4DZ in Annaburg, his POW number was 227036 which confirms what you already know. 

He was also in camp 98, Italy, according to wikipedia it was in San Guiseppe Jato. He was obviously in Stalag IVB, Muehlberg too so I'd have a guess at him being held in Italy, then Muehlberg before moving on to Annaburg. http://www.lager-muehlberg.org/index_e.html

Perhaps finding where his unit was (67 Field Regt.) in April 43 might help with the actual place he was captured. I don’t know the meaning of C.M. North Africa, if it’s an area or not.

His military record will need to be applied for. There's also a cost involved and I'm not sure but think payment can only be made by UK cheque which is a pain for anyone who isn't UK resident. A copy of his death certificate will be necessary which is an additional cost, details here https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records

Forgot to say, a nice group and fantastic start to a WWII medal collection.

Many thanks Tony for this adicional information, it's indeed of great help...

Regards

P.

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