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About POWCollector

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    Prisoners of War, Esape

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  1. Next up is a lovely group to a man who made an escape attempt which includes one of my favourite medals; The Africa General Service Medal with Kenya clasp. Harold Ward Brown was born on the 8th June, 1919. His birth was registered in the district of Sculcoates, Yorkshire North Riding. In August 1938, at the age of 19 years, he enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps, giving his civilian occupation as Driver, and home address as Bainton Grove, Endyke Lane, North Hull Estate, Hull, Yorkshire. A little more that a year later, he was embarked with the 1st Lines of Communication Railhead M.T. Coy., to join the British Expeditionary Force in France. On the 10th May 1940, the German invasion of The Lowlands, Belgium, and France, began, and over the ensuing days and weeks, the Allied forces were routed and compelled to retreat to the channel ports for a chance of evacuation to the UK. During the course of the retirement, the 1st L.o.C. Railhead M.T.Coy, were in the area of Ardres, a small village approximately 17km south-east of Calais, when German forces attacked and overran them, on or about the 23rd May and Dvr. Brown was captured, prisoner of war. The local CWGC Cemetery at Ardres, contains the graves and special memorials to 13 men, most of which, are recorded to have been from the Royal Army Service Corps. The senior ranker amongst them is a W.O.II of the 1st L.o.C. Railhead M.T. Coy., obit. 23/05/1940. Thus, Harold Brown commenced what became almost five years of hospitality at 'Herr Hitler's Hotels'. His name was published in The Times, on Thursday, November 28th, 1940, in a list of confirmed prisoners of war. In the interim, Harold had arrived via forced march from France, at Stalag VIII-B, Teschen, in Silesia, Poland, on the 21st June, 1940. A month later, on the 18th July, he was attached to an Arbeitskommando for work in a Coal Mine at Gliewitz (Stiegern), and, was accommodated at nearby Stalag 344, Lamsdorf, where he remained until the 20th January, 1945. At this time, the proximity of the battlefront with the Soviet Red Army, drew nearer daily to the prison camps in Silesia. Thus, under orders from German High Command, thousands of Allied POWs were evacuated westward in guarded columns and force-marched into the German interior. The marchers endured extreme winter weather conditions and coupled with the lack of adequate clothing, malnutrition, and subjection to attacks from Allied aircraft, casualties mounted and the evacuation from Stalag 344 became known as 'The Lamsdorf Death March'. On the 30th April, 1945, Dvr.Brown, in company with three other British servicemen, contrived to escape the marching column when approx. 18 kms north of Muhldorf. Having escaped their guards, the four men however, were recaptured three days later, when they were found hiding in a farm cowshed (his M.I.9 'ex-POW Repatriation Statement' in TNA WO344/43 refers). The following week, liberation arrived with the end of the war, and Brown was duly airlifted and repatriated back to the UK. After the war Brown continued to serve in the British Army. He was sometime promoted to Sergeant, and saw further overseas service against communist insurgents in Malaya, and the Mau Mau rising in Kenya, for which he received the two respective General Service Medals. Harold Ward Brown lived to the age of 84 years. His death was registered at Blackpool, Lancashire, in January, 2004. I am thrilled to have this group in my collection after spending years trying to find a POW group with an AGSM accompanied by a very interesting story. I must admit that I cannot take credit for the research which was undertaken by the previous owner!
  2. Not to worry, happy to help. To clarify, the reason I said ‘Italy star is most likely’ is that the ribbon for the Italy Star and the France and Germany Star look identical when black and white, but the Italy star is much more plausible. The 1977 jubilee medal would make sense as that would be 30 years since joining the police and 30 years is the fairly standard term one would serve before retiring. Best, Rob
  3. 1939-45 star, Africa star with 1st army clasp, Italy star is most likely, defence medal, war medal with MID, I think the 1977 silver jubilee medal followed by police lsgc. Hope this helps.
  4. Dear all, It is with sadness that I am reporting the passing of Audrey Portman of Rhino Research who was a long-standing member of this forum. Sadly, Audrey passed away in March from a tumour. Audrey did some stellar work as a researcher at the South African Archives and helped me immensely to uncover some interesting documents and stories which I have been able to bring to life on my posts about POW medal groups that I own. She was very professional and a charming lady to do business with. Audrey’s daughter, Diana, is continuing her mother’s legacy and is still contactable at the Rhino Research email. She will be greatly missed but I look forward to working with Diana in the future.
  5. Dear all, It is with sadness that I am reporting the passing of Audrey Portman of Rhino Research who was a long-standing member of this forum. Sadly, Audrey passed away in March from a tumour. Audrey did some stellar work as a researcher at the South African Archives and helped me immensely to uncover some interesting documents and stories which I have been able to bring to life on my posts about POW medal groups that I own. She was very professional and a charming lady to do business with. Audrey’s daughter, Diana, is continuing her mother’s legacy and is still contactable at the Rhino Research email. She will be greatly missed but I look forward to working with Diana in the future.
  6. For those of you who have followed my thread for a long time, you will know that I am always trying to find WW2 Royal Navy POW groups as they are especially rare and I have found a brilliant one here..... Stanley Partington James was born on the 31st of March 1902 in Ryde, Isle of Wight. He joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Sailor (J/87892) on the 24th of April 1918 and served through to the end of the war. His civilian profession on enlistment was a Horse Driver. He was 5’10 (pretty tall for a 16 year old at the time!) with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He had a tattoo on each forearm. Post war Stanley stayed in the Royal Navy and was awarded with his Long Service as Good Conduct medal. On the 4th of June 1937, he passed the Boom Defence Course. On the 1st of June 1941, Stanley was captured whilst serving with the RN Boom Defence Patrol. From 15/6/41 to 30/07/41 he was held in the Transit Camp ‘Dulag Kreta’ in Salonika before being transferred to Stalag 7a at Moosburg where he worked on canals until the 1st of December when it was deemed prudent to transfer Naval pows to their own camps. On the 5th of December 1941, he was sent to Dulag Nord in Wilhemshaven for interrogation and processing. He was interviewed by a Naval Captain, Commander and an interpreter all dressed in civilian clothing. On the 30th of January 1942, Stanley was sent to Stalag 344 where he was sent to various work camps to do farming work as well as at a sugar factory and a fabric factory. On the 28th of February 1945, Stanley and the rest of the camp were marched westwards away from the oncoming Russians. On the 29th, Stanley escaped the line of March and went back to the main camp to await the liberators. Unfortunately, on the 6th of March 1945, he was recaptured by Germans and on the 21st of March he was sent to Stalag 383 at Hohenfels. On the 22nd of April, the men of Stalag 383 were again marched away from the rapidly advancing Russians and when night fell, Stanley and some companions escaped the line of March again and went back to camp where they were liberated by the Russians. He was duly handed over to the British by whom he was interviewed on the 5th of May 1945 and repatriated back to Portsmouth on the 18th of May. He spent the rest of his days on the Isle of Wight and died there in 1987.
  7. Walter Henry Elrick Crowsen was born in Johannesburg on the 16th of March 1912. Whilst working as a sorter for the General Post Office, He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Royal Durban Light Infantry, which was a part time unit of the Active Citizen Force. On the 17th of May 1940, Walter volunteered for full time service with the unit. By this time, he was a Sergeant Major and was heavily involved in the recruitment process following the news of the fall of France. The recruitment drive was successful and 750 men were enlisted to the unit. Walter served as a Senior NCO throughout the North African campaign until he was captured at Tobruk on 20th June 1942. Walter was transported to the North of Libya and held as a prisoner in terrible conditions until he was shipped to Italy on the 1st of January 1943 arriving at PG54 Fara-In-Sabina on the 7th of January. He remained here until the Italian Capitulation in September 1943. The following is taken from Walters POW debrief interview with Lieut Williamson in 1945: ’Crowsen states that a few days prior to the Italian Armistice he had sprained his ankle but was notified immediately when the Italians Capitulated. The Camp Leader (RSM Snyman) was notified and immediately notified the men. Three days later, Snyman was advised to march the men out of the camp and keep them in the area for a few days when it was hoped that the allied troops would arrive. Crowsen has the foot bandaged and left the camp with the column. Some five kilometres from the camp, the column halted, dispersed and remained in the area for a week or more. Crowsen, Sgt R Laing and Pte S Kruger left, ostensibly with a view of reaching Pescara and then making their way south along the coast. Upon reaching Monte Plavia the party remained; whilst at the above area Crowsen became ill and was laid up in the house of a friendly Italian family named Giornette of Montorio for a period of 15 days. Crowsen, Laing and Kruger remained in the area being fed by the family. During January 1944, Kruger took a walk and never returned. Crowsen later heard that Kruger had been recaptured. Whilst in the area Crowsen met a woman named Lina who supplied him with money which she had obtained from a British element in the Vatican City named Tony. This money was distributed amongst the men in the area to pay their helpers for assistance which they willingly offered. Receipts were obtained from each man and this in turn was handed to the woman helper. She later had to discontinue her work due to the increased enemy activity and Crowsen continued by writing for his own wants and distributing the money in the same way. In February 1944, Crowsen received a letter from Tony enquiring what had happened to all the money which he had sent (200,000 Lire). In all, Crowsen had only received 25,000 Lire and he mentions that Lina must have had an approximate amount of 50,000 Lire. Both endeavoured to check on amounts which had been received by escapers and Crowsen was able to negotiate that all money should be sent direct to him in the future. On the 1st of April 1944 Walter Crowsen and Sgt R Laing we’re both recaptured by Facist Forces and sent to Stalag 7a in Moosburg. During recapture, another friendly comrade was shot dead in front of him.’ Walter spent the rest of the war at Stalag 7a until the 29th of April when it was liberated. He was sent the the UK for two months before being repatriated home, arriving in Cape Town on the 3rd of August 1945. In 1946, he was mentioned in despatches as follows: ‘The war office, 19th December 1946 The among has been graciously pleased, on the advice of shoe Majesty’s Ministers for the Union of South Africa, to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services at Tobruk in 1942: 2332 WO2 W H E Crowsen’ After the war, he lived in Durban and he died there on the 10th of April 1950, aged just 38. His papers show that his medals were ready for dispatch but they were never claimed so his Territorial Efficiency Medal is his sole issued entitlement. I have photocopies of his YMCA Wartime Log which has lots of photos, a few of which are attached.
  8. Hi Guys, Ive owned this for a number of years but have never known what it is. I am now selling all my German medals, badges, Armband, pins etc (if anybody is interested please message me) but I can’t sell this if I don’t know what it is! Help would be VERY much appreciated. (I know the left badge is the black wound badge, need help on the right badge)
  9. Any more photos and information that you have would be great!
  10. The National Archives have over the last couple of years, opened access to the original German records of allied prisoners of war. These records can be just a card with name, rank, number and date of capture but they can offer more. I am very happy to have found the card for Ernest Brown, whose medals and stalag dogtag I own, and the card is great as it has his original picture and fingerprint on it. Please see below the card below. Ernest Browns story and medals can be found on page 5 of this thread.
  11. Johan Daniel Etzard Grimbeek was born on the 6th of June 1921 in Potchefstroom, South Africa. He enlisted as an officer cadet into the South African army on the 7th of December 1939 aged 18 and was given the serial number 105975. On the 25th of April 1940, Johan was posted as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 2nd Medium Battery South African Army. On 25th of October 1940, Johan was promoted to Lieutenant. After further training, Johan was sent to North Africa, disembarking at Suez On 09/08/41, and was posted to the 7th Field Regiment, 21st Battery, South African Artillery. Johan served in North Africa with the 7th SAA until the 20th of June 1942 when he was captured at Tobruk. This was confirmed to his family on the 12th of July 1942 which must have been a great relief. Johan was first held in North Africa before being shipped to PG 47 at Modena, Italy in the Po Valley. The camp held mostly South Africans and New Zealander’s and conditions were generally pretty good and being in the most fertile region of Italy meant that food and wine were readily available to the prisoners. There was ample space to exercise and the in camp entertainment was good. The senior officer of the camp gave the order to remain put as so many did and so when the Germans arrived to take over the camp on the Italian Capitulation, very few managed to escape. Johan was entrained for Germany and would have stopped en route to his new camp at Fort Bismarck in Strasbourg. This was a large and depressing old fortress, sunk into the slope of a hill, so that air and light only reached the windows of the sleeping quarters by virtue of a deep moat. It was damp and comfortless, though the shortage of fuel for the stoves was soon made good by the prisoners from spare wooden beds and fittings. Several daring escapes were made up the moat wall and through the wire under the noses of the German sentries, and one of two were able to hide up when the prisoners were later moved on. Johans service record shows that, on the 17th of December 1943, He had arrived at Stalag Luft 3: The scene of the Great Escape which was a camp purely for Air Force Officers. I am unsure as to why he was sent to Stalag Luft 3 but, in 1944, Johan was listed as being a prisoner of war held in Oflag Va at Weinsberg, Germany along with his colleagues from Modena and Fort Bismarck. My thought on this matter would be either that a clerical error was made or that he was sent to Stalag Luft 3 following an escape attempt. Sadly there is nothing in the paperwork to clarify this. Johan Grimbeek was liberated from Oflag Va on the 10th of May 1945 after nearly three years of captivity. On the 20th of May 1945, Johan was flown back to the Union to head home and reunite with his family. Johan was released from full time service on the 22nd of September 1945. On the 9th of October 1990, Johan finally requested his long long overdue war medals and they were issued to him shortly afterwards. Sadly, I only have his Africa Star and his Africa War Service Medal but hopefully I will be able to reunite these at some point in the future!
  12. Henry Patrick Edwards was born on the 30th of December 1912. He enlisted into the Kings Royal Rifle Corps on the 3rd of April 1928. His private address was in Saint Andrews Road, Bootle, Liverpool, England. Whilst serving as a Captain in the 1st Battalion KRRC, part of the 7th Armoured Division, Henry was captured at Sidi Rezegh on the 22nd of November 1941. The day before, (21/11/41), Rifleman John Beeley posthumously won the regiments 23rd VC. The regiment fought virtually to the last and only 55 men of all ranks escaped back to British lines. Henry was transported to Campo 41 at Montalbo where he stayed until April 1943. He was the sent to Campo 49 at Fontenellato. Campo 49 was a disused orphanage and housed 600 allied officers and men. On the Italian Armistice, the camp commandant opened the gates and every man escaped into the surrounding hills. They had previously pooled all Red Cross parcels and useful escape equipment so this was divided up between the prisoners and they were well supplied. The escapees broke into smaller groups to avoid detection from the Germans who were desperately scouring the country looking for them. Henry Edwards, now a Major, escaped but was sadly recaptured after over 3 months on the run and was entrained for Germany. He arrived at Stalag VIIa at Moosburg on the 1st of January 1944. He was moved on the 21st of January to Oflag VIII-F at Marisch Trubau. Whilst at Oflag VIII-F, Henry teamed up with Captain Robert Parrot of the Royal Artillery (whom he had met at PG 41 Montalbo) to try and make another escape. Robert Parrot has already made quite a name for himself to the Germans. He won a bar to his MC for his escapes. He worked on a tunnel at Montalbo when he was betrayed to the Italians and sent to PG 5 at Gavi, the Italian Colditz. After the capitulation, he escaped from a train and joined the Yugoslav Partisans. He took part in many night attack’s whilst in command of a unit and was instrumental in 3 operations conducted by the partisans to destroy bridges and train lines which were essential to the Germans. Parrot was wounded in the final attack and recaptured by the Germans and sent to Oflag VIII-F arriving on 10/12/43. When Henry Edwards joined Robert Parrot at Oflag VIII-F, the two men teamed up and started a tunnel. After 3 months, the tunnel was discovered by the Germans and the men were sent off to solitary confinement to think about what they had done. In early May 1944, the officers at Oflag VIII-F was transferred to Oflag 79 at Braunschweig where they remained until they were liberated on 12th of April 1944 and sent back to the U.K. After leaving the army, Henry settled in South Wales. I have Henry Patrick Edwards ww2 medal entitlement of 1939-45 star, Africa Star and War medal. The medals are in mint condition and sadly were never worn. It goes to show that the most ordinary of medal combinations can turn up the most fantastic of stories and this is what medal collecting and research is all about!
  13. Agree with Noor that it is hard to tell. The MC is a George VI issue so could be possible that the man in question got these made when he got his defence and war medals from ww2 but the tailor only had ww2 MC’s in stock?
  14. Thanks Mike, Glad you enjoy the posts! More to come soon! Rob
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