2734077 A J WEBB, 2 Welsh Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Lance Corporal A J Webb (service number 2734077). Service: Army, Welsh Guards. ... | The National Archives


    M.I.9./S/P.G.(G ) 458 and 459

    The information contained in this report is to be treated as MOST SECRET.

    (1 ) 2734077 Lance-Corporal A.J. WEBB, 2nd Battalion WELSH GUARDS
    Captured: BOULOGNE, 3rd June 1940
    Escaped: 2 August 1940

    Army Service: 6 years
    Peacetime Profession: Grocer’s Assistant
    Private Address: 55 Commonwealth Avenue, HAYNES END, Middlesex.

    Left MOSCOW: 30 July 1941
    Arrived U.K.: 11 August 1941

    (2 ) 4268833 Lance-Corporal J.R. TOMLINSON, 6th Battalion ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
    Captured: BETHUNE, 27 May 1940
    Escaped: 2 August 1940

    Army Service: 12 years
    Peacetime Profession: Painter
    Private Address: 39 Clover Buildings, George Street, HULL, Yorkshire

    Left MOSCOW: 30 July 1941
    Arrived U.K.: 11 August 1941

    I was alone on motor cycle patrol, making my way back to the quayside when I was captured at BOULOGNE on 3 June. I was marched to CAMBRAI and worked for some weeks unloading food and ammunition.

    I and others were captured in a farmhouse on 27 May at BETHUNE and then marched to CAMBRAI where we worked for some weeks unloading food and ammunition.

    We were then put on the train with other Prisoners of War in closed cattle trucks, spent 2 days at TRIER, LUXEMBOURG, and were then sent to THORN, Fort 13. The hospital is in the German Barracks nearby. From there we went to the working camp at WINDUGA, arriving on 21 July. We were not searched or interrogated. The Camp Leader was T.S.M. BRIGGS, appointed by seniority. (Camp conditions etc. are described in BRIGGS’ report).

    We were told that German troops were in ENGLAND, and that the war would be over in September. The morale of the Prisoners of War was very good. The guards were not bribable. There was unrest among the older German soldiers who were fed up with the war, their wives complaining of shortage of food. But the young soldiers were full of confidence. We were made to work. We both escaped together on the night of 2 August. The sentries had had no pay for a long time and were then suddenly given pay and all got drunk. We hit in the cookhouse where WEBB was working, and about 12 o’clock got through the window and dodged the patrols, and got through the barbed wire into another unfinished compound where there was only wire in places.

    We were in battle-dress uniform and had no food. We got down to the river and took a rowing boat and crossed to the other side. We walked all night intending to make South. At dawn we took a chance and went to a Polish house. Some Polish workmen in the camp had told us that the Poles would help us.

    We were welcomed and given hot food and a complete change of clothing. The following night we set out intending to make for RUMANIA. After 3 days we decided to travel by day as we lost our way at night. We passed German troops but they never bothered about us. The Poles had told us that we must raise our hats (this is important) and say “Heil Hitler”.

    After 12 days we were told that the Germans had occupied RUMANIA, and we decided to go East to RUSSIA. We always got help from the Poles. Sometimes we met Poles who had been in AMERICA; otherwise we said “Engelshe Soldat” and though at first doubtful they would become convinced that we were English. We eventually called at the house of a rich Polish captain, near SOCHNEZEW, whose wife and sister spoke fluent English. They wanted us to stay there for the rest of the war. They would not give names. German officers used to visit the house. He sent us by train to WARSAW. There was no difficulties. Passports are not required in the Protectorate area. We followed the Polish family’s servant and she led us through WARSAW to the Radzeimeds road, where we left her. Very little damage had been done to the city.

    The Captain had given WEBB a new ‘plus four’ suit, and he played the part of a gentleman farmer and TOMLINSON that of an agricultural worker, carrying the pack of food. The reason for this pretence was that it was harvest day. We had also been given money.

    Outside WYSZKOW we crossed the BUG by ferry. The ferryman was suspicious and we had to pay him well. There were plenty of German soldiers about.

    We crossed the border into RUSSIA on 22 August, 3kms South of OSTROW. There were no German but plenty of Russian sentries with dogs, and we were taken by about 15 of them. WEBB was kicked and beaten because he could not understand something they said. They made us lie down while they searched us, and everything was taken from us.

    We were then taken, handcuffed, by 4 guards by train to BAILYSTOW. We were asked every conceivable question on personal and military subjects - on the latter we were dumb. We were here for 14 days. Food and conditions were abominable. We were 120 in a small room - Poles, Germans, Russians and Jews. Four times we were searched, and had to strip naked in view of everyone - women included.

    We were then sent to MOSCOW where we were put in the LUVIANKO Prison. We were in separate cells and did not see another at all. WEBB went on a food strike for 5 days in an attempt to see the Ambassador. They constantly asked us 3 questions:
    (i ) Who sent us?
    (ii ) Where did he send us to?
    (iii ) What for?

    Eventually we were taken to another prison in MOSCOW where we met again, and also met DOYLE, MASSEY and CORKERY, and 3 Englishmen who had volunteered to fight for the FINNS in September 1940. They had been in a Russian prison ever since. We left them there. Their names are HAROLD WATKINS (a dental Mechanic) and FRANK BAXTER (an ex Naval man). We were there until the Germans invaded RUSSIA, when we were put on a train to go to SIBERIA. The train was halted and the British taken off. We were then sent to a hotel outside MOSCOW where we stayed for 12 days before being handed over to our Embassy on 8 July.

    INTERVIEWED BY M.I.0, M.I.2.(c ) and P.W. 3 on 13 August 1941

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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Volunteers HAROLD WATKINS & FRANK BAXTER, named as POWs of the Russians in the MI9 report, are also mentioned in this link:



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