16813 Lieutenant-Colonel Donovan Guy ADAMS, East Surrey Regt, DSO, OBE: POW, "Special Questionnaire"

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by dbf, Sep 25, 2023.

  1. dbf

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    Army Number: 16813
    Rank: Lieutenant-Colonel
    Name: Donovan Guy ADAMS, DSO, OBE
    Unit: East Surrey Regiment

    London Gazette : 26 April 1940
    E. Surrey R.
    Maj. D. G. Adams (16813), from R.A. (T.A.), to be Maj. 10th Mar. 1940, retaining his present seniority.

    London Gazette : 8 November 1945
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished .services in the field: —
    The Distinguished Service Order.
    Major Donovan Guy ADAMS (16813), The East Surrey Regiment (Bournemouth).

    London Gazette : 20 December 1945
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field: —
    To be Additional Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—
    Lieutenant-Colonel (acting) Donovan Guy ADAMS D.S.O. (16813), The East Surrey Regiment.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2023
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    M.I.9/INT/SP. 4422

    No. and Location of Camp(s) about w
    hich you have special information.


    1. No. - 16183

    2. UNIT (ARMY) -



    5. What position did you hold in the camp: (e.g Senior British Officer/Senior American Officer, or member of Escape Committee).
    Camp. / Position. / From / Till

    IX A/H PARCELS OFFICER 26/2/42 - 1/6/43

    6. Give names of members of Escape Committee ( s ) in the Camp ( s ) in which you were imprisoned with dates when they were on the Committee.
    Camp -
    IX A/H
    Members - LT.COL. WTH PEPPE has complete information

    7. How was the work of the Committee organised and carried out?
    See above - I was only concerned with the branch of the activities ones. The question of handling food and smuggling contraband articles through eh German control.

    8. To what extent did the Committee ( s ) control escapes from the Camp ( s )?
    See above

    9. PARCELS (Receipt).
    Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 17.13.18.png
    ( a ) When did special parcels begin to arrive in the camp?

    Early in 1942

    ( b ) What measures did the Germans adopt to detect special parcels? (e.g., was X-ray used?)

    I am not aware that X-ray was used. The Germans were suspicious of certain types of parcels which arrived in batches, and, after my time in control, they removed all such parcels for a time and and opened them away from the presence of British Officers, breaking up any they suspected.

    ( c ) What measures did the Escape Committee ( s ) adopt to obtain marked parcels from the postal department without the knowledge of the Germans? (Describe in detail).

    The method at IX A/H was to mix the marked parcels with innocent ones so that they were lost s?
    of by the German Staff. Then they were either carried out whole or the contents of value also t?
    It was a fairly simple mater to do this smuggling as the Parcel Staff at IX A/H was never searched.

    ( d ) What ruses did P/W employ to obtain special articles from parcels before the articles could be examined by the Germans

    See above. Sometimes it was necessary to stage a show for the Germans (i.e. a big issue) so that the smuggling could proceed quietly under cover of the diversions.

    ( e ) Which methods of packing gadgets were most successful?


    ( f ) Which methods of packing gadgets became well-know to the Germans?

    Games parcels & gramophone records.

    ( g ) Can you suggest any new methods of concealing gadgets?

    No - (I believe sealed tines of food have been used?)

    ( h ) Did Germans take action against addresses of special parcels which were detected? (State nature of su? action)

    Not to my knowledge beyond submitting these parcels to more rigorous searches

    ( i ) Was it best to send special parcels to individuals, to the S.B.O., S.A.O. or to fictitious persons?

    INDIVIDUALS, provided that they know the parcel was coming. As the ? system often forwarded the SBO parcels which could be handled at leisure by the Parcel Staff were probably safest. Fictitious persons would not work at all as no parcels were ever delivered except addressed to officers in the Camp.
    Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 17.14.13.png

    10. PARCELS (Contents).
    ( a ) Which gadgets sent in parcels were MOST USEFUL? (State reasons).

    Col. PEPPE would answer this.

    ( b ) Which gadgets were of limited value? (State reasons).

    See above

    ( c ) Which gadgets were of no value? (State reasons).

    See above

    ( d ) Can you suggest any additions to the range of articles sent which would have been of great value?

    See above

    11. PARCELS (Use of Contents).
    ( a ) To what extent do you consider escapes from your camps were facilitated by material received in parcels? (Give instances).

    See above

    ( a ) Was censorship done in the camp, in a nearby town or village, or by a main censorship for several camps?

    Done in SPANGENBERG (for a while removed to Camp IX A/Z at ROTENBURG)

    ( b ) Was censorship controlled and executed by civilians?


    ( c ) Was mail divided into groups, the same censor continuously looking after the mail of the same group?
    I believe so. News was always censored by the same man.

    ( d ) Was censorship efficient? Did it deteriorate towards the end of the war?
    Laborious rather than efficient. It did deteriorate to some extent.

    13. MESSAGES
    ( a ) How was the receipt and despatch of messages organised in the camp ( s )? (Treat each camp separately).

    Colonel E.K. PAGE under whom I acted in the matter of messages, will answer this.

    ( b ) Which of the letter-writers had been taught before capture? (State names).

    See above.

    ( c ) Did the Germans suspect anything? If so, what counter-measures did they take?

    I believe not.

    ( d ) To what extent did the messages received facilitate escapees? (Give instances).

    See Colonels PAGE & PEPPE.

    ( e ) What information did you feel was lacking which would have facilitated escapes?

    See above.

    14. To what extent did the Escape Committee ( s ) and individual escapers obtain assistance from German (or Polish) guards, civilians or other persons? (State nature of help and names, places and dates where possible).

    Practically none, I believe.

    15. Did the Escape Committee ( s ) or individual escapers have outside contacts? How were the contacts obtained?

    See Colonel PEPPE

    16. To what extent did escaping cause the enemy to increase guard or use up manpower in other ways?

    The guard was permanently increased after the escape of Major DUNDAS and his comrades.

    17. Give a list of P/W whose escapes, wither from their persistency or ingenuity, appear to you to merit recognition.

    See Colonel PEPPE

    18. Give a list of P/W who performed valuable work on Escape Committee ( s ) or in connection, collation and despatch by secret means of intelligence.

    See Colonels PAGE and PEPPE

    19. Give a list of P/W whose sabotage activities appear to you to merit recognition.


    20. Were there wireless sets in the camp ( s )? How were the sets obtained? Were special messages received by wireless?
    Yes. Through the Parcels organisation. The W.O. Cole message over all ? ? were in possession of a Set.
    Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 17.20.08.png

    21. Did you now of the receipt of News Letters in the early days? If so, were these of value in maintaining morale?
    Yes. It think they were of value in the absence of British wireless.
    Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 17.20.12.png

    22. To what extent was it generally know in your camp ( s ) that secret means of communication existed with the War Office? Did the fact of its existence bolster morale?

    The information was not broadcast for security reasons. Certain order such which affected all ranks were passed on, however, and I think the knowledge that ? close touch as possible was maintained with the WO as good for morale
    Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 17.20.18.png

    23. Describe briefly the sources from which information was obtained and how it was sifted and despatched to U.K.

    Colonel PAGE will answer. I wrote several letters as required by him.

    24. Did recaptured escapers prove a fruitful source of Intelligence?


    25. What means existed for inter-communication between camps?

    Colonel PAGE will answer.

    Date 10/4/45
    Signature DG Adams, Lt. Col.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2023
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    Name: Donovan Guy Adams . Date of Birth: 1 February 1901 . Place of Birth: Farnham .... | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 416/1/480
    Name: Donovan Guy Adams.
    Date of Birth: 1 February 1901.
    Place of Birth: Farnham.
    Service: British Army.
    Rank: Major [Lieutenant Colonel].
    Regiment/Unit/Squadron: [East Surrey Regiment].
    Service Number: 16813.
    Date of Capture: [unspecified].
    Theatre of Capture: [unspecified].
    Camp Name/Number: Oflag VIIC Laufen.
    PoW number: 7376.
    Date of Death: [unspecified].
    Number of Photographs: 0.
    Number of Fingerprints: 0.
    Number of X-rays: 0.
    Number of Cards: 1.
    Date: [1939-1945]
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    See also:
    • Colonel DC Campbell-Miles
    • image.jpeg
    • Commanded 2/6th Bn The East Surrey Regiment during June 1940.
      Donovan Guy Adams was born on 1st February 1901 and was educated at Haileybury. He was commissioned in the 24th (Defence Force)Battalion in April 1921. The next year he joined the 24th London Regiment (The Queen's) - renamed in 1937 the 7th (Southwark) Bn The Queen's Royal Regiment – with whom he served until 1938, being the Commanding Officer from 1933. In 1938 he relinquished his rank to serve as a major in the 72nd Searchlight Regiment RA (TA). In March 1940 he was posted to 2/6th Bn The East Surrey Regiment as 2 i/c. The Battalion landed in France in April 1940 as a line of communications unit and became deeply involved in the battle for France. On 3rd June he assumed command of the Battalion which he led with distinction during the intense fighting prior to the surrender at St Valery on 12th June when he became a prisoner of war. For his fine leadership he was awarded the DSO. For his conduct during the difficult days in a German prison camp he was made an OBE in 1945.
      After the war he entered the service of the Foreign Office (German Section),
      He died on 3rd September 1963.
      For obituary see the Journal of The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Vol.1 No.8 page 549."
    • East Surrey Regiment - Wikipedia
    • " After a few days' rest at Rouen, where Major D G Adams assumed command on 3 June, they were assigned to provide flank and rear-guard cover for the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division and ordered to hold a line east of the River Bresle between Forges-les-Eaux and Aumale, relieving the 4th Borders protecting anti-tank guns of the 1st Armoured Division."
    • Fifteen officers and 251 other ranks of the 2/6th were taken prisoners of war including commanding officer Major D G Adams.[62]

    • Backwater - Oflag IX A/H Edited by D. Guy ADAMS, Lt-Col. East Surrey Regiment ; Frederick Muller limited, First Edition Published 1944
    • A finely produced collection of poems, articles & rather good water colour illustrations by Army officers incarcerated at this PoW camp in Germany. Includes service details - & circumstances of capture - of the thirteen officers who contributed to the work.
    • With poems/sonnets/paintings by: John Hodgson; Guy Adams; David Read; A A West; Ted Beckwith; Esmond Lynn-Allen; George Taylor; A R Borrett; John Stewart-Phillips; Robert MacGill; Colin Clough; D R Oakley Hill, G E B Honeyman and information about them
    • image.jpeg
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2023

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