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British Free Corps/Freikorps


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#1 spidge

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 09:59 AM

The following is an extract from the site:

http://argo.net.au/a...gades_ENFIN.htm

BRITISH FREE CORPS IN SS-WAFFEN – MYTH AND HISTORIC REALITY

Time and again contradictory information about numbers and “battle” feats of the British detachment in SS-Waffen, which included several Australians, keep turning out in various books and Internet publications. For example till recently one could have come across allegations or speculations that this group of people took part in the defence of Berlin in April-May 1945. The most comprehensive data based on document declassified in 1980-90-ties was given in the book "Renegades. Hitler’s Englishmen” (Adrian Weale, 1994). This page is based on that book. It has to be emphasized that this story does not relate to the other group of the British renegades which took part in Nazi propaganda war targeted against Great Britain.

This detachment commenced formation in the second half of 1943 when the strategic-military situation of Germany had greatly deteriorated. Volunteer POWs from Great Britain and her dominions became the main source of servicemen for the detachment. The first Commander of the Corps was Hauptsturmfurer SS Hans Werner Roepke – an English-speaking German.

Officially the British Free Corps (BFC) was founded on the 1 January 1944. All up over the remaining 15 months of war 39 people served in it. Initially 6 men comprised the Corps: Thomas Cooper, Fransis MacLardy, Roy Courlander, Edward Martin and Alfred Minchin. It was so called ‘Big Six” of rather hard line Nazi who were involved into recruitment of new members. What kind of people were they?

Cooper, a son of an Englishman and a German woman, applied to join Police College, RN and RAF before the war but was rejected because of his partially German background. The disappointed man joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and in 1939 went to travel to Germany with his mother. His was caught by the war there and faced a difficult choice – to be interned as a British subject or to be drafted into the German Army. The chose the latter and later served in various detachments of the Totenkoph Division. In 1941 he was in Poland and later bragged of his participation in murders of Poles and Jews. He spent some time at the Eastern Front and was wounded.

MacLardy, former pharmacist and BUF member from Liverpool was captured by Germans in Belgium in 1940 and in 1943 after a series of illnesses joined BFC having decided that he “would not survive another Polish winter” (his POW camp was in Poland – VK).

Roy Courlander, a son of a Lithuanian Jew and an English woman was born in London, served in New Zealand Army and was captured in Greece in 1941. He posed as a “White Russian émigré” and was typical of extremely anti-Russian views. Before he joined BFC he had participated in the Nazi broadcast for England.

Little is known about the past of Canadian Edward Martin who was captured after failure of the Diepp landing. Alfred Minchin – a merchant seaman from SS Empire Range – was captured after his ship had been sunk en route to Murmansk. Later he told that he had joined BFC reckoning that it was purely a propaganda unit. Former Sergeant John Wilson was probably coerced into joining the Corps.

In February 1944 the Corps already numbered 8 “free Britons” although it is noteworthy that the composition of BFC had been constantly changing: people had been coming and going. Former boy seaman of the Royal Navy Kenneth Berry who was captured in 1940 wheb he was only 14 also joined the Corps. But already in March Martin quit and returned to POW camp. Soon a few more people joined the Corps: Robert Heighes, Robert Lane, Norman Rose, Wood (Australian) and Thomas Freeman. The latter was fully acquitted after the war as he had managed to prove that his aim was sabotage the whole project and escape. Once upon a time he was a member of BUF and shared their anti-Communist and anti-Semitic views but during his time in BFC he really conducted anti-Nazi propaganda amongst his co-servicemen and instigated them to escape. Being involved in recruitment he would chose people whose interests were far from the aims of BFC and who as he told the British investigators later, “would bring only chaos”. Thus Freeman and Wilson recruited Australians Chipchase and Albert Stokes and Sergeant Theo Ellsmore – Belgian who masqueraded as South African. Chipchase spent in BFC only several days and returned to the camp. Stokes was Freeman’s friend and initially intended to participate in sabotage of the project…

Read on at the site above!
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#2 sapper

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 10:46 AM

It is a fact that the youth of many Nations were attracted by the "Heroic" posters proclaiming the strength and vitality oif the SS! and many did join.

During the Autumn of 1944, we used as a base to conduct operations, a large hutted camp near Venraj. Somewhat battered, but usable. This was a Dutch SS training camp, where the the young Dutch lads were trained to become SS soldiers. it is also near where my war came to a sudden end.
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#3 angie999

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 11:41 AM

Before the BFK was officially named as such, it went under the name "Legion of St George", the creation of which was inspired to a large extent by John Amery, son of the British politicial Leo Amery and brother of Julian Amery who had some prominence as a minister in the post war period.

Amery was hanged for treason on 19 December 1945, just 6 days after the executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, had hanged 13 former Belsen staff at Hameln prison in Germany.

The first link has general information and the second has details of Amery's trial and execution:

http://www.feldgrau.com/gb.html
http://www.stephen-s.../john_amery.htm
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#4 spidge

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 12:44 PM

Originally posted by angie999@Jul 31 2005, 09:41 PM
Before the BFK was officially named as such, it went under the name "Legion of St George", the creation of which was inspired to a large extent by John Amery, son of the British politicial Leo Amery and brother of Julian Amery who had some prominence as a minister in the post war period.

Amery was hanged for treason on 19 December 1945, just 6 days after the executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, had hanged 13 former Belsen staff at Hameln prison in Germany.

The first link has general information and the second has details of Amery's trial and execution:

http://www.feldgrau.com/gb.html
http://www.stephen-s.../john_amery.htm

Quoted post

To the end of the first link I posted, it has the details of John Amery and the "Legion of St George"
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#5 morse1001

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 04:12 PM

it is interesting that Pierrepoint in his autobiography did not mention Amery.

Also, Ronald seth in his book, jackels of the reich, names quite a few former BFK members who faced trial in Britain after the war.
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#6 angie999

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 12:11 PM

Originally posted by morse1001@Jul 31 2005, 04:12 PM
it is interesting that Pierrepoint in his autobiography did not mention Amery.

Quoted post

I have not read Pierrepoint's autobiography, but Stephen Stratford's site (see link in my previous post) says:

"In his autobiography, Pierrepoint described Amery as the bravest man that he had to execute."
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Angie

"History is lived forward but it is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was like to know the beginning only." C V Wedgewood

#7 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 04:03 PM

The British Free Corps are proof that no matter how ridiculous or horrid an idea, you will find someone who believes in it.

The British Free Corps guys' pasts explain their treason pretty well. However, how they got to where they were in the 1930s seems harder to pin down. I've read Seth's book (he changes some names) and Weale's book (he doesn't), and I come away with a sense that the Free Corps guys were a mix of Nazi adherents and cynical opportunists, who hoped to get an easy and personally profitable war, and realized much too late that they backed the wrong horse.

Traitors are often fascinating people, because they live double lives and have bizarre motivations to commit acts that most people with a sense of honor would never contemplate. The British Free Corps men are no exception...even though they are disgraces to the King's uniform they originally donned.
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#8 morse1001

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 09:33 PM

Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart
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#9 morse1001

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 09:35 PM

Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart
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#10 angie999

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 01:53 PM

Originally posted by morse1001@Aug 1 2005, 09:35 PM
Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart

Quoted post

Was this because they were anti-Nazi, or because they were pro-British? Fascism is nothing if not a form of extreme nationalism.
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Angie

"History is lived forward but it is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was like to know the beginning only." C V Wedgewood

#11 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 01:58 PM

Originally posted by angie999+Aug 2 2005, 09:53 AM-->

(angie999 @ Aug 2 2005, 09:53 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-morse1001@Aug 1 2005, 09:35 PM
Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart

Quoted post

Was this because they were anti-Nazi, or because they were pro-British? Fascism is nothing if not a form of extreme nationalism.

Quoted post

[/b]

Along with racialism.

I do know at least one guy in the BFC joined it to sabotage it, according to Adrian Weale's book. The rest seem to have been Fascists or cynics or opportunists.
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"My intensity is intense." -- Roger Clemens

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." -- Winston Churchill.

"I am not a hero. The heroes are all dead. I am a survivor." -- Sgt. William Guarnere, Easy Company, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Check out my little contributions to World War II history at my web pages:

World War II Plus 55

or

http://davidhlippman...illguarnere.com

#12 morse1001

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Posted 02 August 2005 - 09:49 PM

Originally posted by morse1001+Aug 1 2005, 09:33 PM-->

(morse1001 @ Aug 1 2005, 09:33 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'>Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart

Quoted post

[/b]

Originally posted by angie999@Aug 2 2005, 01:53 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-morse1001
@Aug 1 2005, 09:35 PM
Many memebers of the British union of fashists actually joined the british Armed forces because they were anti Nazis at heart

Quoted post

Was this because they were anti-Nazi, or because they were pro-British? Fascism is nothing if not a form of extreme nationalism.

Quoted post

a combination of both
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#13 smc66

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:26 PM

One of those recruited was Eric Pleasants who released an autiobiography before his recent death. His is a fascinating story told fully in Weale's book. Initially a conscientious objector he was sent to Jersey to work as an agricultural labourer when the Germans occupied the island. An attempted escape back to Britain resulted in his capture and transfer to a German POW camp where he decided to join the BFC. Towards the end of the war he tried to lie low and live with his German wife in the Soviet sector before he was rounded up and sent to the Gulag. He wasw released back to Britain in the late 1940s.

Some Fascist parties were anti-Nazi due to their dislike of German expansionism.
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#14 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:03 PM

Originally posted by smc66@Aug 8 2005, 10:26 AM
One of those recruited was Eric Pleasants who released an autiobiography before his recent death. His is a fascinating story told fully in Weale's book. Initially a conscientious objector he was sent to Jersey to work as an agricultural labourer when the Germans occupied the island. An attempted escape back to Britain resulted in his capture and transfer to a German POW camp where he decided to join the BFC. Towards the end of the war he tried to lie low and live with his German wife in the Soviet sector before he was rounded up and sent to the Gulag. He wasw released back to Britain in the late 1940s.

Some Fascist parties were anti-Nazi due to their dislike of German expansionism.

Quoted post

Stupid questions 47B, C, and D: did Pleasants stand trial in the UK for treason? What happened with his German wife? Did he ever express remorse for his treason?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)
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"My intensity is intense." -- Roger Clemens

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." -- Winston Churchill.

"I am not a hero. The heroes are all dead. I am a survivor." -- Sgt. William Guarnere, Easy Company, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Check out my little contributions to World War II history at my web pages:

World War II Plus 55

or

http://davidhlippman...illguarnere.com

#15 smc66

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:15 PM

47B - No he returned to Britain from the Gulag in 1953 (Spent 7 years in Vorkuta) and the authorities decided he'd been punished enough already.
47C - Never saw her again after his arrest in 1946.
47D - I remember seeing documentary footage of an interview with him as an old man and he showed little remorse over his actions.

Pleasants was an odd case as he was never a soldier. In most cases he was in the wrong place at the wrong time though it could be said that he had made the decision to be in those places. He flirted with Communism, became a member of the BUF before deciding to become a pacifist.

Below is the link for his biography on Amazon
http://www.amazon.co...7242392-3568610
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BESSIE BRADDOCK: Winston you are drunk.
WINSTON CHURCHILL: Mrs Braddock you are ugly, but in the morning I will be sober.

#16 angie999

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:16 PM

Re Pleasants: fascinating story. Thanks.
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"History is lived forward but it is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was like to know the beginning only." C V Wedgewood

#17 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 03:33 PM

Originally posted by angie999@Aug 8 2005, 12:16 PM
Re Pleasants: fascinating story. Thanks.

Quoted post

Yes, indeed. Sad he has no remorse for treason. <_<
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"My intensity is intense." -- Roger Clemens

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." -- Winston Churchill.

"I am not a hero. The heroes are all dead. I am a survivor." -- Sgt. William Guarnere, Easy Company, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Check out my little contributions to World War II history at my web pages:

World War II Plus 55

or

http://davidhlippman...illguarnere.com

#18 GloryGunner

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:50 PM

http://www.feldgrau.com/wssbf.html

http://www.diggerhis...ritish_free.htm

Basically the British Betrayed their country by fighting with the germans, read the websites and discuss
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#19 Gnomey

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:59 PM

Well as there was only

Originally posted by Diggerhistory
All up over the remaining 15 months of war 39 people served in it.

that didn't do much and spent most of the war living it up in Paris. Most of them were then tried for treason when the war finished and some were executed. The Germans never managed to get many to do it as is shown in the links you have posted unlike some of the Slavic nations and some Russians. After the invasion of Normandy the BFC was in its death rows as most of its members tried to be liberated by the advancing allies.
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"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few"
Sir Winston Chuchill, Summer 1940

"To him the people of Britain and the free world owe largely the way of life they enjoy today"
Ensciption on Hugh Dowding's (AOC Fighter Command 1936-1940) Statue in London

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#20 No.9

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:02 PM

Nothing to discuss. It was an ineffective publicity stunt that didn't work and had no effect.

Anyway, this does not belong in 'Special Forces'.

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#21 Gnomey

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:04 PM

Where do you think it belongs and I will move as I am not so sure?
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"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few"
Sir Winston Chuchill, Summer 1940

"To him the people of Britain and the free world owe largely the way of life they enjoy today"
Ensciption on Hugh Dowding's (AOC Fighter Command 1936-1940) Statue in London

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#22 No.9

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:13 PM

Perhaps in 'General' Gnomey?

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#23 Gnomey

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:21 PM

That is properly the best place, not sure though as it is a topic that could go in many places.

*Moderation* Moved to General - Gnomey.
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Posted Image
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few"
Sir Winston Chuchill, Summer 1940

"To him the people of Britain and the free world owe largely the way of life they enjoy today"
Ensciption on Hugh Dowding's (AOC Fighter Command 1936-1940) Statue in London

Moderator: Aircraft of World War 2 Forum - A Warbird Forum

#24 No.9

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:34 AM

Thank you.

You could always move it again, or, like some new posters, repeat it in several sections. :)

Then, it still won't elevate them to the realms of Otto Skorzeny, 'Blondie' Hasler or 'Mad' Jack Churchill.

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#25 spidge

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:22 AM

We discussed this in Barracks July 31st.


http://www.ww2talk.c...topic=2223&st=0


Regards


Geoff
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#26 Gnomey

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 09:31 AM

*Topics Merged* - Gnomey
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Posted Image
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few"
Sir Winston Chuchill, Summer 1940

"To him the people of Britain and the free world owe largely the way of life they enjoy today"
Ensciption on Hugh Dowding's (AOC Fighter Command 1936-1940) Statue in London

Moderator: Aircraft of World War 2 Forum - A Warbird Forum

#27 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:56 PM

I guess this jerk Courlander got time off from prison for good behavior.

Amazing...stepson of a Jew...I guess his anti-Semitism was really hatred of his stepfather, a typical evil figure in all of our myths and legends.

He obviously kept a low profile after release.
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"My intensity is intense." -- Roger Clemens

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." -- Winston Churchill.

"I am not a hero. The heroes are all dead. I am a survivor." -- Sgt. William Guarnere, Easy Company, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Check out my little contributions to World War II history at my web pages:

World War II Plus 55

or

http://davidhlippman...illguarnere.com

#28 debra

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 04:21 AM

Does anyone know or have a list of names of military personnel who was in the British Free Corps.

Thank you!!

Deb
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#29 Saracen

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:43 AM

Unit History of the British Free Corps
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#30 Saracen

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:48 AM

There are a few names mentioned in these threads and the book plus other interesting info.


Waffen-SS "British Free Corps"

Adrian Weale. British Free Corps in SS-Waffen

Britisches Frei-Korps / British Free Corps


The Traitor (Paperback)
by Guy Walters

$15-00 from Amazon.com
.
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