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



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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 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.



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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


denwood 2.jpg

denwood 3.png

Edited by POWCollector

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


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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...











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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



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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...



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Great group Peron, fantastic that you have a photo both in uniform and in later life! A great start to any POW collection! If you want i can Personal Message you the contact details of my researcher who can look in the national archives and see if he filled out an MI9 POW debrief at the end of the war. You can usually find out some interesting info on them (provided he filled one out, lots didnt!).

Peter, welcome to the forum and thanks for commenting! Im sorry for the very delayed reply!


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Up next is not by any means a rare group, but as with all medal groups, each has a different story and it is (surprisingly) my first Far East POW casualty group.

Frederick James Aitken was born in July 1913 in Bridgewater, Somerset to Frederick and Florence Aitken.

He lived with his wife Joyce at Wansbeck House in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales. Before the war he was employed as a Garage hand.

Frederick served as 7693346 Corporal F J Aitken in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was sent out to Malaya as part of the 18th Division, Provosts Company. He was captured at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942 and was held in No. 1 camp more commonly known as Changi Jail.

In late 1942, The RAOC was absorbed into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the RAOC took on the responsability of the organisation of veihicles from the RASC.

Clearly Frederick's experience as a Garage Hand was noticed and he was transferred to the REME.

On the 24th of April 1943, Frederick was transported overland to Thailand as part of 'F Force', a working party on the Burma/Thailand Railway (also known as the death railway) mostly working in the mines. This work was incredibly brutal and with the inadequate rations and medical resources, thousands of prisoners fell ill with illnesses varying from Diarrhoea to Cholera. 

Sadly, just four months after he was transferred to work on the railway, Frederick died on the 30th of August 1943 aged 30.

He is buried at Thanbyuzayat in Burma. It is quite rare to see a POW who died working on the Burma Railway who was actually in Burma as most of the railway is in Thailand.

His medals are the 1939-45 star, Pacific star and War medal which came with his condolence slip named to him. This style of naming on the condolence slip is rather scarce too.


Aitken 2.jpg

Aitken (1).jpg

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Next up is another repatriation group.

Albert Mould was born on the 23rd of October 1909 in Oadby, Leicester.

He was working as a green keeper when he enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps in Alferton on the 28th of October 1940 with the service number T/235500.

On the time of enlistment, Albert was only 5 foot 3 and 3/4 Inches! He had hazel eyes and dark brown hair.

Albert was sent out to the Middle East on the 17th of March 1941. He was attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps and was captured on the 27th of May 1942, the second day of the Battle of Bir Hakeim, part of the Battle of Gazala.

 In the early hours of 27 May, Rommel led the elements of Panzerarmee Afrika, the Afrikakorps (DAK), Italian XX Motorised corps and the German 90th Light Afrika Division, in a bold flanking move around the southern end of the Allied line, using the British minefields to protect the Axis flank and rear. The Ariete Division of XX Motorised Corps was held up for about an hour by the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division, dug in about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south east of Bir Hakeim, which was then overrun with the loss of 440 men killed and wounded and about 1,000 prisoners, including Admiral Sir Walter Cowan and most of its equipment. The Italians lost 23 tanks,some of which were repairable on the field, 30 men killed and 50 wounded. The 21st Panzer Division was advancing south of the position and did not take part in the action.

He was held prisoner in North Africa until he was transferred to PG 73 at Fossili di Carpi in Northern Italy and then after the Italian capitulation on the 9th of September 1943, he was transferred to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf, a camp with many separate sub-camps for work parties.

He stayed at Lamsdorf until the 15th of September 1944 when he was repatriated back to the UK on medical grounds. He was officially discharged on the 29th of December for failure to fulfil army physical requirements. This was probably due to the nature of work he was made to do as a POW.

In this grouping, i have Albert's medal entitlement of the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star and the War Medal along with his Army Service and Pay book. Also included was an original old comrades association pamphlet, a pamphlet about how to return to civilian life and another british legion document.

Albert Mould 2.jpg

Albert Mould.jpg

Edited by POWCollector

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Next up is something pretty special.

Donald Blair was born on the 17th of December 1918. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 23rd of September 1938 whilst under training as an Accountant. His Address is given as 'The Chimes', Parsonage Lane, Frindsbury, Rochester, Kent.

Donald was first assigned to 90 Squadron as a Sgt Pilot but transferred to 82 Squadron based in Watton, Norfolk in mid July 1940.

Donald flew Blenheims and his crew was himself, Sgt W J Q Magrath and Sgt W Greenwood.

His missions went as follows:

Mission 1 -  23rd July 1940 - Weather reconnaissance towards the Dutch coast

Mission 2 -  29th July 1940 - Bombing of industrial targets in Germany

Mission 3 -  6th August 1940 - Attacking enemy aerodromes - Had to turn back due to lack of cloud cover.

Mission 4 -  7th August 1940 - 12 aircraft sent to attack Hamstede aerodrome in formation of two boxes of six. All aircraft except P/O                                                               Wellings turned back due to weather conditions. P/O Wellings pressed home his attack on the airfield.

Mission 5 - 10th August 1940 - 9 aircraft set out to bomb enemy aerodromes, 7 returned owing to weather conditions. One A/C missing.

Mission 6 - 13th August 1940 - 12 aircraft set out to bomb Aalborg aerodrome in formation, over 20,000 feet if possible. Only one aircraft                                                         returned whose captain, Sgt Baron, turned back owing to lack of petrol.


At 08:40 hours on Tuesday, the 13th of August 1940, 82 Squadron of the Royal Air Force took off from Watton and Rodney airfields in Norfolk. The 12 Bristol Blenheim's target was the airfield at Aalborg in northern Jutland which the Germans had enlarged significantly since occupation on the 9th of April 1940.

During the two months of the German campaign in Norway, Aalborg airfield had been of immense strategic importance. Now the new airfield was to prove its usefulness in the coming Battle of Britain.

After crossing the coast, the protective cloud cover dispersed; nevertheless, Wing Commander Lart (Squadron Commander), decided to proceed towards Aalborg at 2,000 metres which was the height that the squadron had crossed the North Sea. The crossing at Sondervig was instantly registered by a German air observation post. The German air control at Arhus was immediately informed and Aalborg was warned of an imminent British attack.

25 German fighters had just been transferred to Aalborg to Jever to escort German bombers on a mission to England. As it happened, nine Messerschmidt 109's had just landed from Stavanger after a spell of escort duty. As soon as the air raid warning had been sounded, these nine fighters took off again. In and around Aalborg, German anti aircraft batteries were ready and waiting.

The six aircraft of A-flight got through the flak and released their bombs. As B-flight followed about a minute later, the anti aircraft fire had been adjusted. At 12:17 hours, T1933 crashed in a tail of fire at Restrup Enge. Parfitt, Youngs and Neaverson were killed. Two minutes later, R3800 crashed close to the German seaplane landing area. Parachutes saved the lives of Syms and Wright but Turner was killed in the aircraft.

Three minutes later R2772 crashed at Egholm. The aircraft broke up on hitting some large boulders. It was a miracle that BLAIR, Magrath and Greenwood survived, for all three had sustained serious injuries. The three crew were found unconscious and floating in the shallow water north of Egholm island and a local fishing boat collected them and they were taken to Kamillianerklinkken Hospital in Aalborg.

Donald was at this hospital for 5 days until he was moved to another hospital in Schweslig-Holstein until the 8th of September 1940. On the 8th of September, Donald was moved to Stalag Luft 1.

Donald was hungry to get back home and made no less than 6 escape attempts, 5 of which were at his first camp at Stalag Luft 1 Barth.

On the 7th of October 1941, he escaped from a working party with 580896 Sgt C A Hill RAF by evading the guards. They were both recaptured.

He used the same method soon after when he was taken into town with a party of men going to the dentist but was again recaptured.

His next attempt was made disguised in a camp made German uniform of a Posten (Postman). This was again unsuccessful.

Attempts 4 and 5 were made by cutting the wires of the camp but both times, he was discovered or recaptured.

Attempt 5, by cutting through the camp wire was made on the 20th of April 1942, perhaps a birthday present to the Fuhrer? He was out for a while but was recaptured and sent to Stalag Luft 3. My guess would be that he was recaptured trying to get to a Port such as Danzig and so he was taken to Stalag Luft 3 as it was nearest.

He wrote a letter home on the 3rd of July 1942 from Stalag Luft 3 stating 'he should get back with luck and being treated o.k).

He arrived back at Stalag Luft 1 on the 16th of October 1942.

At the end of October 1943, Donald along with 1200 other RAF NCO's from Stalag Luft 1 were transferred by train to Stalag Luft 6 at Heydekrug in East Prussia (todays Lithuania). 

Donald left the camp on the 25th and in the early hours of the 29th near Anklam, Donald cut his way out of the side of the wagon and leapt to freedom. Sadly, this freedom was again short lived and he ended up with the rest at Stalag Luft 6 at Heydekrug.

After arriving this final attempt, Donald seems to have given up hope on escaping and did not try again.

He left Stalag Luft 6 on the 19th of July 1944 and moved to Stalag Luft 4 at Gross Tychow. 

On the 6th of February 1945, the contingent at Stalag Luft 4 started on a long march away from the advancing allies and arrived at Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel on the 3rd of April. From Fallingbostel, they kept on marching and were eventually liberated on the 2nd of May 1945.

Donald signed his POW questionnaire on the 12th of May by this point having been promoted to Warrant Officer 1.

Interestingly, his navigator Sgt W J Q Magrath managed to escape in November 1941 travelling through France, Spain and Gibraltar.

Included were the medal group 1939-45 Star, ACE star, War medal and a pair of early padded pilots wings (which is nice as after 1942, sgt pilots often used the flat 42 type wings which aren't as impressive), some prisoner of war association leaflets and a some correspondence written in 1942 from the camp.


I hope you have enjoyed reading this! I have quite a few new additions to write up so stay tuned!




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Two pictures of Sgt Don Blair's crashed Blenheim in Aalborg. As you can see, the plane is completely destroyed so it really is a miracle that they all survived!


r7227 (2).jpg

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Great additions!  Great research and write ups!  Thank you for sharing!  

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A great story well told to go with a hard-won group of medals.



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Hi All,

Up next is a rather rare medal and many thanks to John for giving me the tip off about it coming up for sale!

Francis White was born in the parish of St Aidan in Liverpool in 1894. He was born to Frank and Catherine and had 2 younger siblings, Thomas and Margaret.

Francis enlisted in the Manchester Regiment during the First World War and served on the western front as Pte 503641 F White.

He survived the war and was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal which are currently missing. If anybody sees these, please do let me know!!

Francis stayed in the Manchester Regiment and changed service number to 61957 and again to 3514339.

He went out to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. The following information from www.kaiserscross.com takes up the story...

When the Great War ended the former German and Turkish empires were controlled by the victorious allies as decided by the League of Nations. The League awarded Britain the mandate to control Mesopotamia (now named Iraq) until such time as the country was capable of becoming an independent state.  British rule was unpopular with the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and Sunni and Shia clerics joined together to encourage resistance to the British.  An insurrection, known as the Arab Rebellion, broke out in the summer of 1920.  The aim of the insurgents was to remove British control and replace it with an Arab government.  Britain had to send large numbers of troops from India to deal with the insurrection.

Turkish rule over its Empire had been characterised by corruption, slack administration and harsh discipline.  This administration had been run by Turks for the benefit of Turks, and as the Turkish forces withdrew northwards their administrators went with them.  To deal with this lack of government Britain tried to quickly establish an administrative system based on its procedures in India.  But these Indian procedures had not been imposed overnight, and it had taken decades during which several minor campaigns had to be fought before the British administration was finally established on the sub-continent.    

 In Mesopotamia young British army officers were appointed to be Political Officers and dispersed around the country.  The Political Department then constantly argued for detachments of troops to be located near the Political Officers, leading to a dissipation of military force.  Meanwhile the Arabs watched this and resented the change of administrative methods, but above all else they resented the fact that they were still under foreign domination.  Not all Mesopotamians were anti-British as some of the ethnic minorities needed British protection, and some Arabs saw that it was in their interests not to be associated with the insurrection.  However the bulk of the Arab population near the religious centres supported the dissidents

The Great War had ended in Mesopotamia with the signing of an armistice on 31st October 1918, and the surrender of the remnants of the Turkish 6th Army at Mosul.  However the country actually remained a theatre of warfare until a peace treaty was ratified in 1924.  Britain had de-mobilised and run-down its forces in Mesopotamia and was totally unprepared when conflict started.  The Arabs, encouraged by Turkish and Syrian intriguers, organised themselves and formed bands of armed horsemen that could move extremely quickly and fight very brutally and ferociously.   

In May a train was ambushed by insurgents near Shergat, the terminus of the rail line running north from Baghdad, and armed Arabs searched the train for non-Muslim soldiers whom they wished to pull out and kill.  Many Muslim sepoys protected their Sikh comrades by splashing them with blood and saying that the Sikhs were dead, or by lying over them on the train floor.  

On 4th June 1920 the people in Tel Afar, 30 miles (48 kilometres) west of Mosul, rose up against the British-officered local Arab levies and killed the levy commander, the Assistant Political Officer and other locally employed British personnel.  A section of two British armoured cars from the 14th Light Armoured Motor Battery (LAMB), Machine Gun Corps, was sent to Tel Afar to provide fire support.  Despite receiving warnings of danger from an aircraft overhead that dropped messages, the cars were surrounded in the narrow streets of the town and the nine men of their crews were killed.   

The only survivor from the two armoured cars was the local servant of the section commander.  Nobody really knew what had happened but it appeared that the section commander drove into Tel Afar possibly trying to rescue two British personnel who were firing on the insurgents from the roof of the political bungalow.  But the cars were trapped in a narrow lane and enemy fire from the rooftops above killed the crews.  An enemy grenade then killed the men on the political bungalow roof.  The Assistant Political Officer had initially been captured but he escaped only to be overtaken and killed two miles (3.2 kilometres) west of the town.  

A British column of 1,000 men composed of cavalry, artillery and infantry was then sent.  The column skirmished with around 1,200 Arab horsemen before it entered Tel Afar and applied heavy punitive measures on the townsfolk.  Punitive measures included destroying selected buildings, burning down entire villages, seizing weapons, crops and livestock, hanging known killers and levying fines.  

This was followed by the siege of a British detachment at Rumeitha on the rail line between Basra and Baghdad.  A strong British relief column containing six infantry battalions with supporting arms, including two sections of the 17th Machine Gun Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, had to fight fiercely to lift the siege.  As the insurgents withdrew from Rumeitha they were bombed heavily by the RAF and punished with effective machine gun fire.  The British defenders of the town lost 145 men killed, wounded or missing before they were relieved.

A situation now developed in the Kifl – Kufa area on the Euphrates River south of Baghdad.  A 30-inch (0.76 metre) guage railway line ran from Hillah to Kifl and on 23 July Kifl station was attacked by insurgents and the railway staff were held captive.  The local Political Officer requested a show of force in the area and the British commander at Hillah sent a small column.  

This column, known as the Manchester Column, contained: 

35th Scinde Horse – 2 squadrons.
39th Battery Royal Field Artillery - 2 sections.
2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment – 3 companies.
1/32nd Sikh Pioneers – 1 company.
24th Combined Field Ambulance – 1 section.

The column commander was Brevet-Lieutenant Colonel R.N. Hardcastle DSO, The Manchester Regiment.  The column burdened itself unnecessarily with 150 transport carts carrying tentage, stores for messes and personal kits, but despite the high summer temperature no extra water above the normal scale was carried.  

Before leaving Hillah Lieutenant Colonel Hardcastle had been led to believe that he was the advance guard of a larger force that would follow his column, and he was instructed:  “If opposed by large hostile forces, you will avoid becoming so involved as to necessitate reinforcements, and should occasion arise you will fall back on the position you now occupy.”  

On the second day of the march, the 24th July, the column reached the Rustumiya Canal at 1235 hours.  The heat was causing problems and 60% of the Manchester Regiment soldiers were so exhausted that the Medical Officer recommended a 24-hour rest period.  A cavalry troop reconnoitred towards Kifl whilst the troops made camp.  The camp site was tactically sound with earth banks bordering three sides.  An observation post was placed on a line of mounds that ran outside the west side of the camp.     

At 1745 hours when trench-digging on the open north side of the camp had just begun, the cavalry troop returned to report that 10,000 insurgents were advancing from Kifl.  A few minutes later the figure of insurgents was decreased to 500 or so, but in fact around 3,000 were approaching the camp.  As the enemy came in sight the artillery was ordered to engage them, but the artillery signallers were elsewhere tapping the telegraph line to Hillah and some time elapsed before the guns opened fire.  

The insurgents advanced at some points up to 150 yards (137 metres) from the camp and fire was exchanged.  The two Political Officers with the column now approached Lieutenant Colonel Hardcastle and advised him that if the column remained where it was then all the Arabs between the camp site and Hillah would join the insurrection the next day, whilst others would attack and capture Hillah.  Lieutenant Colonel Hardcastle called for all the company, battery and squadron commanders.  He did not present them with a set of orders but instead he held a Council of War, where everyone could comment on the situation.  The Political Officers urged an immediate retreat, and this was agreed, orders being issued 30 minutes later.  The Arab enemy watched and waited. 

One company of the Manchesters acted as advanced guard whilst the other two companies marched on the flanks.  The mass of transport followed the first company, then came the guns escorted by the Sikh Pioneers, and finally the two squadrons of Scinde Horse acted as rearguard.  The column headed towards Hilla, and what happened on the march is best told through the gallantry citations that were awarded later.  

At 2040 hours the retreat started.  Very soon the transport stampeded, charging through the Manchesters and splitting them up into small groups.  Out of the darkness swarmed mounted Arabs who cut down many transport animals and their drivers.  Chaos ensued, some men ran but some stood and fought.  One of the heroes was Captain George Stuart Henderson DSO, MC & Bar, 2nd Bn Manchester Regiment.  The citation for his posthumously awarded Victoria Cross read: 

Shortly after the company under his command was ordered to retire near Hillah, Mesopotamia, a large party of Arabs opened fire from the flanks causing the company to split up and waver.  He at once led a charge which drove the enemy off.  He led two further bayonet charges, during the second of which he fell wounded but struggled on until he was wounded again.  ‘I’m done now.  Don’t let them beat you!’ he said to an NCO.  He died fighting.  

39th Battery’s guns now came into action at close quarters and one 18-pounder gun was lost in a canal.  Captain R.R. Copeland DSO MC was seen fighting a lone hand-to-hand action at the rear of a lorry until his revolver ammunition was expended and he was cut down.  Lieutenant Bernard Lorenzo de Robeck MC earned a Bar to his Military Cross: 

During the withdrawal of a column to Hillah the rearguard was cut off by Arabs. He repeatedly brought his guns into action, and by judicious control of fire drove off the enemy, and thus enabled the column to advance unmolested. He set a magnificent example of courage and initiative. 

Lieutenant Neufville Crosse MC, Royal Field Artillery, was also awarded a Bar to his Military Cross: 

During a rearguard action at night, when the infantry and cavalry were cut off from the rest of the column by Arabs, he repeatedly brought his section into action and drove off the enemy, who were attacking in superior numbers. When five of his men were wounded he acted as one of the detachment, and thus enabled the gun to remain in action. Throughout the operations he showed the greatest courage.    

1044108 Sergeant U.A.V. Deering DCM of the Battery gained a Bar to his Distinguished Conduct Medal: 

During a withdrawal at night, he handled his gun with great courage, the enemy being only fifty yards away. Though wounded he superintended the withdrawal of his gun, three of the six horses of his team being killed, and then walked all the way in, so that other wounded might ride.  

1044103 Sergeant E.H. Hinxman of the Battery gained a Distinguished Conduct Medal: 

During a rearguard action at night, his sub-section was sent up to the front. Although under close rifle fire he succeeded in getting his gun into action, and it was due to his courage and determination that this gun was able to support the column. 

18535 Naik Kaka Khan was responsible for a team of horses for one of the ammunition wagons.  He was posthumously awarded an Indian Order of Merit, 2nd Class:

When the gun of his sub-section had limbered up and was about to move off to follow the column, this Naik, as coverer of one of the ammunition wagon teams, took his team up to get the waggon away from the position which was under heavy fire.  He, the three team drivers and all six horses of the team were killed in attempting to do this.  He set a magnificent example of devotion to duty to all ranks.     

Through gallant acts by some officers and by the firepower of the guns and the charges of the cavalry a measure of order was restored.  The Commander-in-Chief later wrote: 

‘The officers of the 39th Battery and those of the cavalry behaved like heroes and it is thanks to their fine example and the discipline of those under their command that a complete disaster was averted.’     

With leadership like this containing the situation Non Commissioned Officers could perform their necessary duties.  6669 Sergeant J. Willis, 2nd Bn The Manchester Regiment earned a Distinguished Conduct Medal: 

During a rearguard action at night he organised ammunition carrying parties, which he led under heavy fire. On one occasion a small party covering the right flank ran short of ammunition. In spite of the enemy being only thirty yards away, and the ground being swept with bullets, he and two men twice took up ammunition and a Lewis gun. He inspired all by his courage.  

79540 Corporal (Lance Sergeant) R. Fairhurst, 2nd Bn The Manchester Regiment earned a Military Medal: 

It was greatly due to this non-commissioned officer that a regimental section of the transport column did not break away when charged by a stampede of cavalry and other horses. He rode up and down the line under heavy fire, urging the drivers to keep their places, and brought back several animals which broke away. He was knocked off his horse by the stampede, but remounted and continued to carry out his duties in a very gallant manner, successfully bringing in the majority of the vehicles.  

8904 Privates W. Boyd and 6195 E. Peverley, 2nd Bn The Manchester Regiment, were awarded Military Medals with similar citations: 

When a party of men was endeavouring to cover the right flank of the column in order to enable the transport to retire, they were heavily attacked by the enemy, who got as close as thirty yards. The party ran short of ammunition, and had a Lewis gun out of action. This man went with an N.C.O. on two occasions and brought up a Lewis gun, ammunition and magazines over ground swept with bullets, displaying great coolness and courage. His action enabled the position to be maintained long enough for the transport to get through.   

Meanwhile the two cavalry squadrons under the command of Major H.E. Connop were fighting fiercely in their rearguard action.  Lieutenant James Hay Graham Knox, attached to 35th Scinde Horse, won a Military Cross: 

He commanded a squadron which was acting as rearguard to a column withdrawing at night, and, by his skilful dispositions, kept the enemy in check. Whilst leading his men he was wounded, but quickly rallied the squadron and repeatedly charged the enemy, thus enabling the rearguard to fall back.   

2nd Lieutenant William Eric Dixon Robinson, 35th Scinde Horse, also gained a Military Cross: 

By skilful handling of his Vickers gun and by judicious control of fire, he prevented a very determined attempt to break through the line. His courage and initiative were a splendid example to his squadron.  It was mainly due to his bold leadership and coolness in action that the enemy were driven back.   

Ressaidar Dur Khan, 35th Scinde Horse, was awarded an Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class: 

During a rear guard action at night he led his troop with ability and courage.  When both squadron officers were wounded he took command and led three successive charges against the enemy.  His bravery and initiative throughout the operations were most marked.   

18353 Jemadar Muhammad Niaz, 35th Scinde Horse, and 24126 Driver Surej Bhan, 39th Battery Royal Field Artillery attached to 35th Scinde Horse, were both awarded Indian Distinguished Service Medals for gallantry displayed during the night.   

Due to the disorder generally prevailing on the battlefield a portion of the Manchesters lost its way in the darkness and fell into the hands of the Arabs.  Some were killed immediately whilst others were taken prisoner, to be later killed or released depending on the whims of their captors.  But the main body carried on retreating in an organised manner.  Some Private soldiers accepted the challenges of command and responsibility during that dark and dangerous night.  90041 Private D. Collins and 89375 Private F. Cooper, both 2nd Bn The Manchester Regiment, were awarded Military Medals with the same citation: 

These two men showed great bravery and devotion to duty. Under heavy fire from three sides, they continued to load their mules and carry guns and ammunition to their Company.  Private Cooper's mule was eventually killed, and he joined a party of transport men who were protecting and defending the right flank of the transport in their retirement.   

But the Arab insurgents could not resist the thought of the loot waiting in the abandoned transport carts and waggons, and the discarded rifles lying on the ground, and they now concentrated their efforts on acquiring as much booty as they could carry away.  This allowed the battered survivors of the Manchester Column to withdraw the last nine miles (14.5 kilometres) into Hillah without serious interference.  The gun in the canal was recovered by the insurgents.  The breech-block had been removed but an Arab blacksmith forged a rough replacement and the gun was later used to sink the British vessel Firefly on the Euphrates River.   


The immediate British casualty count was 20 men killed, 60 men wounded and 318 missing.  Only 79 British and 81 Indian missing soldiers were later released by the Arabs (and some of these had been captured previously), so the count of men dead was in fact over 180.  The 1/32nd Sikh Pioneers lost 30 men killed; being non-Muslim they stood little chance of survival if captured.  The Manchester Regiment lost 3 officers and 131 NCOs and men killed; it is believed that around 100 prisoners from the Manchester Regiment were taken to Najaf and killed there.   

The insurgents had won a great victory.  The British, through ignorance of the land, its inhabitants and the effects of the climate, paid the price for breaking many rules of warfare that had been learned the hard way on the Indian North West Frontier.    

Fierce fighting continued in Mesopotamia until the insurgency began to run out of steam towards the end of the year.  British reinforcements arrived from India allowing harsh punitive measures to be applied against dissident tribes.  The last action took place in February 1921.  After a very shaky start Britain had finally enforced its authority over the Mesopotamian tribes living near the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.


Pte Francis White was one of those taken prisoner by the arabs. He died in captivity on the Wednesday 6th of October 1920, probably executed by his captors. The 100 prisoners who were murdered at Najaf are all listed as assumed dead but on the GSM Iraq roll, Francis is listed as 'Died 06/10/1920'.

The remaining 79 prisoners were released just over 2 weeks later on the 19th of October 1920.

Francis White is remembered on the Basra war memorial.

I am very happy to have found this rare medal and to have it in my ever growing collection! Its very nice to have a medal to a man captured in a conflict rather than a war too!



Edited by POWCollector

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A great medal to add to your collection!  Thank you for a very interesting story that is very well told.  It was all new to me.



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Hi Guys,

Next up is a rather rare group which i have been searching for for quite a while!

It is incredibly hard to find Normandy Landing POW groups so I was so happy to find this! Apparently I rang up to buy it only 10 minutes after it went online!

Edward Ogilvy Jamieson was born on the 4th of December 1916.

Before the war, he was a Post Office sorting clerk living at 31 Dalhousie Street, Monifieth, Angus, Scotland.

On the outbreak of war on the 3rd of September 1939, Edward enlisted into the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and served with the BEF in France before being evacuated from Dunkirk.

Edward was based at home for the next 4 years moving to the 4th County of London Yeomanry, The Sharpshooters of the 7th Armoured Division and spent his time training and preparing for the Normandy Landings. He landed in Normandy on D-Day+1.

A report made by Captain C F Millner on the 10th of July 1944 stated that Tpr Edward Jamieson was last seen at 12:00 hours on the 13th of June 1944 at Point 213, Villiers Brocage in a scout car with the Squadron Sergeant Major attending to the wounded.

He was in the following circumstances of danger: "Completely surrounded with the rest of 'A' Squadron and cut off from British Forces".

It is considered he should be regarded as a P.O.W for the following reasons: "When last seen, just before Germans overran the position, he was unwounded, giving treatment to those who were wounded and so not actively engaged at the time".

More about the Battle of Villers-Bocage can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Villers-Bocage

Edward was first taken to Chartres where he was held from the 27th of June until the 20th of July 1944. 

From here, he was taken to Chalons-sur-marne prison arriving on the 24th of July. He was interrogated by a naval officer on the 6th of August who "knew all division signs, formations etc". 

On the 10th of August, he was transferred to Stalag XII-A at Limburg until the 1st of September 1944 when he was transferred again.

On the 3rd of September 1944, (5 years to the day that he enlisted), He arrived at Stalag VIII-A at Gorlitz staying at the main camp for two weeks before being assigned to an Arbeitskommando in a Sugar Factory at Klettendorf near Breslau.

Edward remained working at the sugar factory at Klettendorf until the 24th of January 1945 when he was put on a forced march to Hannover. The main camp at Gorlitz was evacuated on the 10th of February.

He was marched through the bitter winter snow for 6 weeks until the 15th of March 1945 when he escaped from the column and eventually reached allied lines on the 27th of April 1945 when he was interviewed.


I am so happy to have this group in my collection due to the rare regiments and the campaign that he was captured in!

Hope you have all enjoyed this one!


Edited by POWCollector

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Well done, another excellent addition to your collection, a nice rare group and as well written as ever.

Thanks for posting and please keep them coming.

Regards Simon.

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The Mystery of AB William Dearl Trickett, Stoker (1st Class), HMCS Athabaskan G07

I thought that the members on this thread might be interested in a little project I'm working on especially in the light of the 75th anniversary of the sinking of G07 next year on Apr 29, 2019. I am also working on gathering more information on my Great Uncle and trying to track down a missing Wartime Logbook of his.

Like any good Navy ditty, this tale starts in a bar. Little did I know, my visit to the local Legion in my home village of Kelwood, MB would end up on a quest to uncover some of mine own RCN family history that would have soon gone into the oblivion. While sipping on my Club beer (it's still horrible stuff), I was perusing the military memorabilia on the walls when to my great surprise, I see the crest of my old Athabaskan 282 up on the wall with the date of the original G07's sinking on it. A relative happened to be there who said it was from my old Great Uncle Willie. Unbeknownst to me, AB William Dearl Trickett, RCNVR, Stoker (1st Class), V38773 had served onboard HMCS Athabaskan G07! Due to the obvious Navy ties, I started my first inqueries with my parents. Mom said, oh yes, he was a Japanese POW and complained that his stomach was never the same after being interned. Well, they were about half a world off and the wrong Axis power, so I started hunting for actual documentation. He was onboard G07 when she went out for her final patrol April 28, 1944 and fortunately he didn't perish with the other 128 men of his ship that night. Unfortunately, he ended up being part of the 83 men captured by the Germans and he spent the rest of the war in a POW camp. Of course, like most WWII vets, Willie never spoke of his experiences and might have easily taken them to the grave.


Of course, complicating matters as I continued to dig, his surviving son out in Victoria had financial issues and is estranged from the family. He must have liquidated his father's possessions because I turned up an old Ebay ad for his Wartime Log (POW No. 1295 of Marlag und Milag Nord, Germany) and an original photo of G07. Command Post, a military memorabilia shop in Victoria, had sold the items on Dec 08, 2011 for $1165 and $24.49. Enquiries with the shop were a dead end. I am trying to track down organizations, outfits, or forums who would have some idea of who might have been interested in such items. My intention is to ask the present owner if they would be willing to part with the items especially the logbook. The log is an invaluable part of both my family and RCN history that IMHO shouldn't be hidden away by some private collector.


I have slowly chipped away the layers of mystery surrounding the wartime record of my Uncle. It was a little difficult as the family had never received a Death Notice or Obituary on either he or my blood aunt who had resided in Saanich, BC. All I could find was a mention of the date of his passing in the Legion's Last Post archives. I have the BC Genealogical Society helping me track down his final whereabouts plus I've sent a request to Ottawa for his Service Records. Dr. André Levesque, whom I believe you know, is kindly helping me also.


My ultimate intention with all of this sleuthing is to put together a proper narrative and memorial for presentation to Willie's home Legion back in Kelwood especially in light of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the sinking next year. Every Remembrance Day people say the words 'We will remember' but they ring hollow if stories like my Uncle’s are lost. I'm glad I was part of the Athabaskan 282 Remembrance ceremonies for G07 when we were near the site of the wreck in 2015. I find it amazing that two related prairie boys from the same little Manitoba hamlet ended up in the same chunk of ocean with the same namesake ships.


While I was the Public Affairs Representative for Athabaskan 282, I put together a montage of the G07 and 282 ships companies that I understand was presented to Mr. Takalo on his last attendance of 'Athabaskan Sunday'. I have attached a soft copy of the image for your use. From my understanding Bernard Lauren, George Takalo, and Harry Hurwitz are the only surviving members of G07. Mr. Ray Meloche passed away May 29, 2017.


I will keep you apprised of my investigative progress and final presentation. I am sure the RCN will be doing something associated with the sinking (they better), so I'll pass on my material from my end if you want it.

Trickett's War Log.jpg

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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!



Edited by POWCollector

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