did POW escapers always get decorations/awards?

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by adam1981, May 29, 2017.

  1. adam1981

    adam1981 Member

    I always thought an escaper or evader, in the ranks, would get at least an MID for an escape/evade? Maybe escapers did but evaders didn't?
    However i may be naively basing this on having medals to an escaper awarded an MID and having seen so many MM's to escapers for sale.
    I am researching a man who i believe is an escaper, more research to be carried out, who does not appear to have any kind of award.
    808707 F Burke who i believed escaped from Camp 53 Italy. This is based on him having a record in the escaper/evasion reports papers at the National Archives, WO 208/3317. This states 'Escaped from Campo 53, Macerata; rejoined British Forces in Italy.' in the title. I havent seen the record yet.
    Any assistance with this would be appreciated. I have contact a private researcher to photo the record for me.
  2. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    All escapers/evaders were interviewed by MI9/IS9 on their return to Allied lines and their escape/evasion graded. Very few actually received awards. When you get Burke's report you will see that he did not escape but simply walked out of the camp after the Italian armistice was signed
    vitellino and dbf like this.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A few points

    The relevant Escaper/Evader recommendations files are available to download for free from TNA's website and a lot of them include correspondence between various award committee members regarding qualification criteria relating to individual cases.

    I remember reading one set which rejected a recommendation on the grounds that the escaper/evader hadn't contributed to the plans or their outcome: he had participated in events which had been organised by others who had been open to more risk.

    (Another set of correspondence I also recall was initiated by an irate wife, who thought her husband deserved the same recognition as others had for similar circumstances. Her appeal might have been successful, not totally certain on that now, been a while since I read the files)

    So no, it wasn't the case that all escapers/evaders were automatically given awards.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    By way of stats:

    WO 373 Awards POWs Escape and Evasion
    Geoff's list for




    1706 cases.
    Many of those will be for men who were POWS but not escapers, recognised for their work in POW camps etc.
    Others were finally recognised for pre-capture actions - recommendations were put on hold if either the witness or the recipient, or both, were captured.
    Some of E&E will also be in recognition of Special Ops which then also required evasion as means of returning to UK.
    Recce_Mitch and Tricky Dicky like this.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    When I was first posted to the 1Vth QOH in March 1944 I found myself on the SSM's turret-less tank as his loader/wireless-op.

    After the war, I often wondered about his army background, as I only knew him as SSM "Busty" Thomas, but I knew he had been taken prisoner at some time and that he sported an MM.

    It was much later, through the good and generous work of other forum members I was able to learn about how he earned his awards and I think you could do a lot worse than read the thread: Honour The Armies, Honours & Awards to the British & Dominion Armies During WW2

    Good luck in your research !

    Last edited: May 30, 2017

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