Allied POW repatriations from Europe,

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by NickFenton, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Guys,

    I believe there were four joint European repatriation deals done for wounded servicemen from both sides to be swapped and returned home between 1943 and 1945, plus two Anglo-Italian deals separately agreed.

    It took some time to agree the first and the intransigence between the governing bodies delayed the first one by quite a few months or even years. Later, the RAF were excluded apart from very exceptional cases due to their ability to return to the front line, Barder, et al.

    The first tranche, mostly Dunkirk vets, was assembled at Stalag IXc, Bad Sulza before being moved off to prepare for transfer and we have seen some very sad photo's of these guys and how they suffered on here. They did not complete POW Liberation Questionnaires in the normal manner.

    What l am looking for is a list of those repatriated back to England as all the records l have seen only assume they were repatriated, no firm evidence.

    Any ideas where to look?

    Regards,

    Nick
     
  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Atleast some repatriated POWs were debriefed by MI9/MI19 as snippets of their reports are scattered within Security Service files.

    I haven't been able to locate the full reports at Kew and currently am awaiting a FOI response from the MoD regarding them.

    Lee
     
  3. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Lee,

    I have a number of files to look through but do not hold out much hope, more peripheral documents, but always hopeful.

    Would be really interested in what comes from your request.

    Regards,

    Nick
     
  4. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Some period news papers carry repatriation lists but I don't know how complete they are and not all have regimental/service numbers?

    Kyle

    Added a couple of Regional examples
     

    Attached Files:

    NickFenton likes this.
  5. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Kyle, fella,

    Your quite right, these did appear in the newspapers and perhaps this thread could become a collection of these for future reference.

    What it does tell us though, is that there was/is a list, worthy of tracking down.

    Well done from the Land of Nod.

    Regards,

    Nick
     
  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

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    1025309 Thomas Albert Garrett, 68 Battery, 14th LAA Regiment taken POW 16/06/14 - below is some of the paperwork about his illness and repatriation - I always imagined repatriations would only apply to physical wounds, but this seems to be a nervous breakdown.

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  7. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

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    550923, John Robinson of 102 (Northumberland Hussars) Anti Tank Regiment captured on Crete around 01/06/41 again more scans below - like Kyle's post above the newspaper cutting gives more names

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  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    During my wanderings around the internet looking for information on lists for ex POW's repatriated in 1945, I have come across some interesting documents, one of which cover the politics surrounding the repatriation of POW's before 1945 - the link to the document is here -
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Why+none+of+Britain's+long-term+POWs+in+Nazi+Germany+were+repatriated...-a0121571588


    A paragraph from the document:

    Negotiations between the British and the Germans over the exchange of seriously sick and wounded POWs had begun already in 1940, but the two countries were close to carrying out a first exchange only in the fall of 1941. Shortly before the exchange was to take place, however, the Germans changed their minds, mainly because they were to receive no more than 50 men while the British stood to recover over 1,100 POWs. The British were thus forced to wait until they had captured a substantial number of German soldiers, especially those who had been seriously hurt, before they found Berlin ready to agree to an exchange. This happened in May 1943, when the German forces in North Africa surrendered. In October 1943, the first mutual exchange of seriously wounded and sick POWs took place, involving British, American, and German former prisoners.


    TD
     
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    It appears the link I gave does not go directly to the page I refer to - so I suggest if you wish to read this document that you got to the link below, scroll down the page and open it by selecting the article:

    "Why none of Britains long term POW's in Nazi Germany were repatriated in WW2"

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Canadian+Journal+of+History/2004/April/1-p52102


    I understand the title but I would guess the author has not heard of some of the minor repatriations that happened, I would also guess that he is more concerned about the long term POW's as opposed to those 'exchanged' for medical reasons.

    Hope the link works this time, if not let me know and I can copy and paste the whole article.

    TD
     
  10. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Thanks Richard,

    I am working my way through the records at Kew to see what turns up but you are right, long serving POW's stood no chance, quite rightly, considering the number of heavy casualties and injuries suffered by others in need of repatriation, including mental illness.

    From what l have read, some of the 40 and 41'ers in need of repatriation suffered quite badly and were delayed as they were moved form camp to camp awaiting confirmation, eventually being returned home in 1943. Some could not wait and made their escape separately, one or two successfully.

    Regards,

    Nick
     
  11. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Active Member

    Hi, recently found this book that covers 30 repatriations/mercy missions in WW2 before VE day.

    "Lifeline across the sea- Mercy Ships of the second world war and their repatriation missions" by David L. Williams. Published by The History Press in 2015. ISBN 978 0 7509 6135 6.

    This is the best account I have read so far of my fathers repatriation from Italy to UK via Lisbon in 1943 ( Mission #14). The introduction gives a great deal of info about the background of early repatriation.

    Regards
    Geoff
     
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  12. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Active Member

    PS the book has a Bibliography & Sources section that has a list of NA files included.
     
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Immediately after the war,there was a large scale operation by the RAF and USAAF to repatriate liberated POWs from Europe.The RAF employed Bomber Command aircraft and it would appear that there were a number of fatal accidents such as the loss of No 149 Squadron Lancaster PP 673 OJ B on the 5 June 1945 which had been staged through Juvincourt carrying POWs .From the many on board,apparently only one survived.The aircraft failed in flight......reported that the starboard wing "fell off"which suggests a spar failure.A friend of mine told me of the event some years ago...his wife's uncle was a member of the crew....F/S K Hird of Retford who was a Gunner on the aircraft.

    Liberation to U.K.

    This website below might be helpful in sourcing official files on repatriated POWs.

    German Camps –British & Commonwealth Prisoners of war 1939-45
     
  14. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Active Member

    And another book "Mercy Ships - The Untold Story of POW exchanges in WW2" by David Miller published by Continuum Books 2008 ISBN 978 1 85285 572 7. While disappointingly brief & inaccurate on my fathers repatriation exchange, there is a lot of detail on other exchanges and good background history etc. that will be of interest to others.
    Cheers
    Geoff
     

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