Jump to content
POWCollector

My Prisoner of War Collection

Recommended Posts

Next up is a new medal for my collection, The General Service Medal 1918-62 with clasp Malaya.

Sadly, the recipient did not fill out a prisoner of war debrief report so I have been unable to carry out much research on him.

The recipient, 2328213 Signalman R Kirton of the Royal Signals was serving as the driver in charge, headquarters battalion of the Royal Signals.

He was captured, like so many, at Tobruk on the 20th of June 1942 and was taken through North Africa and over to Italy.

Kirton was held latterly in PG 70 Monturano near Fermo in central Italy. He was unlucky not to get away as many did after the Italian capitulation in September 1943 and was entrained through the Bremmer Pass into Germany.

Kirton ended the war in Stalag 4a at Hohenstein which was situated just 20 miles from Dresden. This was a particularly grim place to be a prisoner of war, especially due to the proximity of the camp to Dresden which was devastated by allied bombing in February 1945.

Kirton stayed in the Army after the war and was sent in 1948 to serve with the regiment in the Malayan Emergency earning the GSM pictured below.

 

I have contacted the Royal Signals Museum and hope to try and find out some more information about Mr Kirton and his more details about his service!

Thanks for looking, more to come soon!

 

Malaya Medal.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done my friend.  Was he eligible for any other awards not shown here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Edited by POWCollector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Paul,

For some reason GMIC is not letting me upload any photos from my computer or my phone!

Ill try again tomorrow!

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK.  That is strange.  Please let me know if this continues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always brilliant material. Thank you for sharing!!!

N.B. Driven by both inspiration and jealousy ;) I too will open a thread on Soviet POW awards soon. Not as extensive as your but still...

Edited by Egorka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice.  I cannot wait to see those Soviet POW medals. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

j e f watson medals.jpg

J E F Watson.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

AEBAFD8A-ACD7-4545-9F09-3BCFE46B826A.jpeg

Edited by POWCollector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More excellent medals and write ups, thanks. Regarding the Burnell medal group, would he have been eligible for the Defence medal with his service?

Simon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

9B3AD75E-A3DE-4EDB-96EA-BF512FD93C42.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/05/2018 at 21:15, POWCollector said:

Next up is a very rare and interesting ww2 pair to Lieutenant Walter 'Butch' Laing of the Sherwood Foresters.

 

Walter Laing was born on the 5th of June 1910 in Winchester, Hampshire. His father, Walter senior, served during the great war as a Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards before transferring to Military Intelligence.

Walter worked as a languages teacher at a public school before joining the 8th battalion Sherwood Foresters in January 1939. He taught German inside the pow camps which he was held in which must have made him a valuable prisoner to the escape committee!

Walter was sent to Norway with the battalion but unfortunately his shooting war lasted for less than a month. His papers, held at the imperial war museum, take up the story of his capture...

 

"Tuesday 23rd of April - Through field glasses we saw German tanks with supporting troops. We realized they must have broken through and there was very little now to stop them. Their further advance was by the hill. On our flank on one occasion, we observed British troops marching along a road above us. They went into farm buildings. The Germans had observed them too, for they soon put a shell into the farm. It must now have been well into the afternoon. After a silent spell, firing broke out near us. Movement in a farm south of us looked like German infantry. It was our own troops withdrawing. Had it not been for our Sergeant Major recognizing them, we would have fired on them; Our two Bren Guns and rifles were trained on them waiting for the order to open fire. I made a fool of myself by ordering all to put on anti-gas respirators. I thought I saw German troops wearing them but alas it was an optical illusion.

It was now obvious from the direction in which the sound of firing came that we should soon be cut off. It was also obvious that the Germans were unlikely to see the east flank as their attack along the main road ad been completely successful. We were now being mortared from the slope west of the main road as well as being shelled. So far we had no casualties. If were remained, casualties were certain without achieving anything. There was still a good line of withdrawal through the trees, and a good chance of joining up wit forces north of Tretten. I eventually decided on withdrawal in small parties of two or three. Shortly after the parties started leaving, a mortar bomb came over, razing the electric wires at the side of the house in the middle of our position. It was amazing that no one was wounded. There was still a woman locked in the cellar at the bottom of the house. Every effort was made to force the door and persuade her to leave with us, but in vain.

When the last party was about 200 yards from the house, some of us turned around and were amazed to see it in flames. A mortar bomb had landed on the roof. What happened to the poor woman? The sound of rifle fire was coming from the area of the house. Some of our people might have withdrawn there. It was decided to observe in case we could render assistance. A man very kindly insisted on staying with me. We remained for some time in the neighborhood. It was a great help. I was not a very cheerful person to be with: I felt that in disobeying written orders, I had deeply disgraced myself. I was wrong to allow this thought to obsess me rather than thought of what should be done in the most difficult of situations."

Walter was captured later that day and was flown to Staaken, Germany. He, along with a Sergeant and a Private soldier, were met by a German officer and informed that they were to prepare for an immediate journey to Berlin. He takes up the story here...

"27th April 1940 - In the morning the German officer who had met us at Staaken areodrome told me to get ready for an immediate journey. I didn't like the sound of this and I didn't want to be parted from companions. I was taken to another room where I was glad to find that the sergeant and a private soldier in our party were preparing for the same journey.

A German air force colonel came to escort us. He was middle aged German officer of fiction: Tall, heavily built, fair, monocled with heels ever ready to click. He didn't seem ill disposed. He took us downstairs. The taxis were hailed from the street. Guards were put in each. I was put into the first, and the Sergeant and Private soldier into the second. The air force colonel travelled with me and we spoke in German.

He asked if I knew where we were going? You are going to see Hitler. Surprised aren't you? I had little time to consider what he said. We were very soon at the chancellery. We drove through a carriage door into the private garden. When we got out, the taxi driver who appeared surprised said 'Dies ist ein Ereignis' = This is an event or something to that effect and the colonel replied 'And also for me, I have never been inside the private garden'.

A lorry arrived from which was unloaded British equipment taken in Norway. This was laid out in the arcade. We saw the German Major who had brought us from Norway and an ADC. the ADC was a fine looking man in a Germany army uniform with 'Adolf Hitler' in silver braid on his sleeve. He asked me if we were being well treated.

There was a movement at the window. I was amazed to see Hitler. I wondered what to do. Eventually I saluted. He acknowledged my salute raising his right arm parallel to the ground. The only person in his retinue whom i recognized was General Keitel. Hitler went straight to the arcade where we stood in front of him. The major who had brought us from Norway lectured on our uniforms and equipment. In Norway, self confident, the major was now like a controlled but nervous schoolboy. He stated that the British battle dress was good except in the lumbar regions and that the gas respirators were good except for in a lying down position.

Hitler then made a tour of the equipment in the arcade. The anti tank rifle interested him the most. He picked up a clip of anti tank rounds and crunched them in his hand. An item was a tin of bully beef. Did he wish it to be opened? The only time he approached a smile was in saying No. He said very little.

When Hitler was about to leave, he was informed that the officer spoke German. He asked me two questions, "Warum Sie schon einmal in Berlin?" (Have you been to Berlin before?) and on the response of 'Nein', he asked "Wo warren Sie in Deutschland?" I replied saying that I had been to Heidlberg several times. He went away saying something I could not hear and looking hostile. The air force colonel asked me if I had heard Hitler's last remarks as he had spoken in a low voice. He told me that Hitler had said "This war was not necessary. You have your government to thank for it".

I have left Hitler's appearance to the end. He was no taller than me. He wore a round, peaked cap. It was difficult to see the eyes. He had a double breasted khaki jacket with the iron cross first class and wound badge on the left breast. His tie, trousers, shoes were black. He carried gloves which he kept pulling. On first impression, Keitel was more impressive looking".

From Berlin, Walter was taken to two temporary POW camps in Berlin. After Berlin in May 1940, he was sent to Spangenberg Castle (Oflag IXA/H). He stayed at Spangenberg until October 1941 when he was sent to a Reprisals camp in Poland. I am trying to find out what reason he was sent to this reprisals camp for. From this camp he was sent to Oflag VIb at Warburg and then on to Oflag VIIb at Eichstatt. At this camp 65 officers escaped through a tunnel. All were recaptured and sent to Colditz, but it is very plausible that Walter may have coached some of these men in basic German.

In July 1943, he was sent to his final camp, Oflat IXA/Z at Rotenburg where he stayed until March 1945 when he was marched away from the allied advance. He was liberated by American troops in April 1945.

I have Walter's boxed medals; The 1939-45 Star and the War Medal along with his fathers British War Medal. Pics below.

As you can imagine, this is a pretty scarce group to say the least. I doubt that many British soldiers were sent to Berlin to personally meet Hitler and it is great that the story appears in multiple books and Imperial War Museum documents!

 

FE224013-EBA1-4AF1-9EA0-72B0D1F8E859.jpeg

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!

9FDFC92A-73A6-4530-91A0-0734C1950346.jpeg

7FAFD4AA-3D77-4D82-90D3-F868298EB305.png

5C7DFBB1-5B53-4D52-90B9-2A68BD4C33CE.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to find a pic.

Where did you come across the ID card (Kennkarte)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

tarrade medals.jpg

Jean Tarrade.jpg

tarrade 3.jpg

Tarrade 2.jpg

Edited by POWCollector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tip on the book Rob and good to see a French addition to this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post! Nice collection.

Thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

image.jpg

0529E5F6-4DB1-494C-929B-70EAFF63689B.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...