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iv been looking back through jackels of the reich by ronad seth (1972) and he says in it that reginald leslie cornford died fighting in berlin! is this true or are is it a misprint????? thanks pk for all that info on the irish and ww2!! ;):beer:

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Guest WAR LORD

The story of the death in Berlin is not true. No BFC man died in action.

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Hi Guys,

As I say I`ve only just become aware of this unit, but have read a few books about them. From what I can gather, none were killed in action or won any German awards. There were never in combat `parsai`, but did come under artillery & motar fire from the Russians, they also served a month at the front were it was reported they could clearly see the Russians, so that to me suggests combat experiance, but I suppose thats a topic for debate!!!!!!!!!

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Hi Guys,

As I say I`ve only just become aware of this unit, but have read a few books about them. From what I can gather, none were killed in action or won any German awards. There were never in combat `parsai`, but did come under artillery & motar fire from the Russians, they also served a month at the front were it was reported they could clearly see the Russians, so that to me suggests combat experiance, but I suppose thats a topic for debate!!!!!!!!!

PK stated a couple of posts ago that one was killed in action.

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Hi Guys,

As I say I`ve only just become aware of this unit, but have read a few books about them. From what I can gather, none were killed in action or won any German awards. There were never in combat `parsai`, but did come under artillery & motar fire from the Russians, they also served a month at the front were it was reported they could clearly see the Russians, so that to me suggests combat experiance, but I suppose thats a topic for debate!!!!!!!!!

Hallo bigjarofwasps :beer:

Chapter 5 The lost boys: Thomas Cooper and James Brady. page 70 + of RENEGADES, Hitler's Englishmen by Adrian Weale.

also pages 70-77, 92, 105 -113, 116, 120, 121, 126, 128, 129, 132, 136, 137, 139,-140, 162 - 163, 175 -177, 179 - 183, 191, 195.

". . In December 1942 Verordungsblatt der Waffen-SS, published a special suppliment requesting information on the current whereabouts of a young NCO whose services were required in Berlin for a special project. The soldier in question was SS-Unterscharf?hrer THOMAS HALLER COOPER, who had been born in Chiswick, West London, on 29 August 1919.

Served in the Leibstandarte's Artillery Training Battery Feb 1940, then moved after a couple of weeks to the Infantry Training Battalion of the Ss-Totenkopf Division (1/T. Inf. Ers. Bat. 1.) at Radolfelz near the Bodensee.

In July 1940 he went to the 8th Company 5th Totenkopf Infantry Regiment (8/T.InfRegt.5) at Oranienburg, North Berlin.

In Feb 1941 his unit was at Plock, near the Vistula river in Poland and he was promoted to Rottenf?hrer, from there he went to the SS NCO School at Lauenberg in Pomerainia, finished there in May 1941 Transfered to another Totenkopf Unit, the Wachbataillion Oranienburg. detached to a sub unit near Krakow.

Promoted to Unterscharf?hrer in November 1941, in January 1943 Cooper moved from Debica, transfered into a transport unit of the SS-Polizei-Division traveled in cattle-cars east, passing through Riga in Latvia and on to the Leningrad sector of the Eastern Front.

Severly wounded in the legs by shell splinters. evacuated for medical treatment to Bad Muskau a small town near G?rlitz, As a reult of his injuries Cooper was awarded the wound badge in Silver (Becoming the only Englishman to recieve a III Reich Combat decoration during WW2). . . . . .

By the last days of the Seige of Berlin Cooper was a senior NCO in the transport Company, was placed in commnd of about thirty soldiers, including all the BFC he moved them under verbal orders to a wood on the Criwitz-Schwerin road eight kilometres from Schwerin, from there the attached themselves to the rear of Obergruppenf?hrer Steiner's HQ, then he returned to the previous camp in the woods May 2, where on heaing the Americans were only six kilometers frm his position changed into a civilian suit, instructed the Germans in the party to change out of uniform, collecting the remains of the BFC he headed off and after much confusion managed to surrender to the US Army.

Arrested and Convicted of Teason, sentenced to death, reprieved on the grounds that they had been followers in treason rather than leaders Cooper was released from prison in January 1953 and was believed to have gone to live in Japan.

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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Ah, no, I didn't say that any British Free Corps men were killed in action. Brady and Stringer were Irishmen who served with SS-J?ger-Btl 502, which became SS-Jagdverband "Mitte". This unit was part of Otto Skorzeny's Friedenthal organisation and had nothing to do with the BFC. Stringer was reported KIA on the Oder Front.

PK

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Ah, no, I didn't say that any British Free Corps men were killed in action. Brady and Stringer were Irishmen who served with SS-J?ger-Btl 502, which became SS-Jagdverband "Mitte". This unit was part of Otto Skorzeny's Friedenthal organisation and had nothing to do with the BFC. Stringer was reported KIA on the Oder Front.

PK

Sorry about that... I misread what you wrote.

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Oh, no problem. On another tack, wasn't the double-agent Eddy Chapman supposed to have been awarded a KVK2 or something?

Anyone?

PK

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Thanks Gerd! I don't think he was the first Englishman to receive the EK, as this account states. I believe that the EK was awarded to at least one other Englishman, in the war of 1870, a military surgeon attached to the Prussian Army.

Regarding Chapman:

He deserted from the Coldstream Guards in the 1930s to become a safecracker with West End London gangs, a spent a number of stretches in jail for the crime. He had affairs with a number of women on the fringe of London high society and then blackmailed them with photographs taken by an accomplice.

In one case he gave a young woman VD and blackmailed her by threatening to tell her parents that she had given it to him.

Nasty!

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Actually, the EK2 1870 was awarded to Henry Hozier who may (or may not) have been the father of a certain Clementine Hozier (who later married some guy named Winston Churchill).

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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Guest WAR LORD

Lord Haw Haw also was awarded the War Merit Cross 1ST AND 2ND CLASS.

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It has been asserted (but never proved) that the brother of Subadar Mir Dast, 55th Rifles, was awarded the EK2 during WWI for efforts after his defection to the German side at enticing Indian Army troops to join him. (I have his name somewhere . . . .) This is interesting in that Mir Dast was both a recipient of the VC and of the IOM. Quite a nice family group that's be!

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Ah yes, forgot about Hozier. Quite a character by various accounts! His group was discussed somewhere quite recently, if memory serves me correctly. Here is another reference to Englishmen getting the Iron Cross:

Two Britons served as Hiwis in the Flak detachment of the LAH Division, both being awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd Class. Their story is told in the book, "Gefaehrten Unser Jugend; Die Flak-Abteilung Der Leibstandarte" which gives a detailed account of their experiances.

This is from an article by Jason Pipes on his Feldgrau website. I have not seen the book in question. Does anyone know if this book is regarded as a credible unit history or not? Has anyone read the book?

PK

Edited by PKeating

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According to "Renegades" (p. 120) there were an Englishman, Cpl. James Conen (London taxi driver) and a South African/Namibian, William Ciellers (a policeman from Windhoek), both had been captured by the SS in Italy. They were asked to go with the unit to Russia for some reason (having been put to work by the Germans) and were sworn in as Hiwis and drivers in Russia for the flak unit of the LAH. They served in Russia in late 1943-44 and were popular in the unit. Both were awarded the EK2 as Hiwis.

Upon the LAH's rotation back for refitting in mid 1944, both men were sent to join the BFC, but both refused and they went back to POW camps. Neither were ever prosecuted after the war.

I first heard about Conen 35 years ago in an edition of "Der Freiwilleger".

I have been told that others have photos of them in 1943 in LAH albums.

Edited by Ulsterman

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I have heard there were some South Africans in the BFC but have seen no references in books?

There must have been a certain % of soldiers who were both British AND German? They would presumably have served in Regular german units?

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I have heard there were some South Africans in the BFC but have seen no references in books?

There must have been a certain % of soldiers who were both British AND German? They would presumably have served in Regular german units?

Again, according to "Renegades", there were 4 South Afrikaans in the BFC.

None were given harsh sentences for their war time antics by sympathetic courts.

There were a number of dual nationals in the Wehrmacht-most famously SS-Mann Cooper.

The IRA papers have recently been declassified in Whitehall and while there is some interesting Abwehr "Please spy for us" stuff, there's really not much there.

Edited by Ulsterman

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I'm going to jump in here in reference to Ed's comments on Indians who joined the opposition, because I think why the germans wanted them is much more important than which "pathethic" POWs they actually got when they went trolling the camps.

Ed mentions Mir Dast, VC and his infamous brother. Philip Mason - A Matter of Honour - tells of an Indian NCO captured on the Western Front in 1914 who apparently convinced his captors, by signs and gestures, that if released he could bring back many more Indian soldiers. He was released by the Germans and promoted by the British, but killed by the end of 1914. (Morale among the Indian troops was problematic in late '14 - poison gas, European winter and the fact that they were "re-cycled" into the trenchs if wounded, contrary to Indian Army custom).

"In March 1915, ... Jemedar Mir Mast with fourteen Afridi Pathans deserted. He was the brother of Mir Dast.. and he too had previously shown himself an exceptionally gallant and useful officer. The incident was never explained, except that the party included a havildar whom his officers had begun to regard as a trouble-maker." (Mason, 419)

Mir Mast was shipped to Turkey by the Germans, to meet with the Mufti, and by late in the war was back in Afghanistan apparently trying to discourage his Muslim countrymen from joining up to fight for the Raj. That would be why he was decorated, if he was. Also a classic tactic, used by all sides in all wars: "You're not really one of them, you (Muslim / Hindu / Irishman). You're not even from their country."

I'd be much more interested to see what kind of propaganda use the Germans made of the Britische Freikorps than in the particulars of the admittedly miserable specimens they actually got to sign up. No flies on Himmler hwen it came to propaganda!

A good number of Indian soldiers, after capture, joined the Japanese forces in WWII and the SS had a (small, noncombat, etc) AZAD HIND ("Free Indian") unit. Remember that many Indians were trying to get independence from Britain and imagine that a simple soldier, recruited for whatever reason back home in the Punjab spends a year in a POW camp, or in the Japanese case ses his comarades used as bayonet practice targets and then is offered a chance to "make a difference" in the struggle for national socialism / against the red menace / for Asia for the Asians / etc. Factor in depression, mental illness or whatever and who knows what you'd get.

The above is not an excuse - personally I tend to Kev's view, but I've never been a soldier or a POW - but it is an explanation. Take a "foreigner" in your army, get him into his officer's bad books, however deservedly, then let enemy propaganda convince him that he's actually fighting on the wrong side and...??

There have been 2 cases I've heard of in the US Army of Muslim servicemen committing "pro-Iraqi / pro-Islamicist" crimes, one in country and one at Guantanamo.

I'd say my tuppence worth but it's too long. Sorry! A fascinating thread, though!

Peter

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I have a rare booklet, published by the A.O.K. 6 signals and intelligence Abt. in Nov. 1915 etitled" Die Indischen Truppen in Frankreich". It is really interesting, as it includes not only capture summaries, POW letter translations, but also a precis' on the Indian nationalist movement and plans for the eventual use of unhappy French and Indian POWs in Lager Halbmond. "Jeder lebendig gefangene Inder und Nordafikaner aber kann uns fuer die gegenwart und Zukunft von Nutzen sein, wenn er sich entgegenkommend behandelt sieht."

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IPB Image

the drawing posted on this thread's cufftitle is fake, the real cufftitle said "British Free Corps" instead.

The article by Mr Jason Pipes on the Feldgrau German aremd forces research site is the best on the web so far, members intrested in this obscure unit should check it out. It's here CLICK

IPB Image

cheers, hope this helps,

Kevin.

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Helmut, wouldn`t describe a drawing as fake, more accurate to say in correct I think. But whilst we`re talking about the cuff titles, your quite right the BFK was in fact written in English. :beer:

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Hi,

PKeating do you have more details about Frank Stringer's service in in the Schwedt bridgehead?

Best regards

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The only member of the BFC to get any award was Cooper. During fighting on the Eastern Front he was wounded through both thighs by shrapnel from an arty round, thus qualifying for a wound medal.

He was the only really motivated member, being part German, and as he could speak fluent German he was able to operate without a translator.

Regards,

Johnsy

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Guest WAR LORD

I think there were other who were motivate Wood for one.

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I have a copy of James Brady's statement mentioning his comrade Frank Stringer, whom Brady last saw during the bridgehead action at a place he describes as "Oderbridge", at the beginning of April 1945.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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