Non-Commonwealth in British forces

Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by Sandis87, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. Sandis87

    Sandis87 Junior Member

    Hi everyone!

    This is a query I've wanted to submit for a while now. I'd be delighted if an answer was available.

    I've seen American, Argentine, Brazilian, Chinese, German, Greek, Japanese, Mexican, Peruvian, Polish, Portuguese, Thai - you name the country - recorded as serving in the British military, often in Europe, during the war.

    Have the numbers of Non-Commonwealth personnel in the British Armed Forces ever been estimated? It's fascinating stuff, yet seems to be one of the more neglected topics.

    Many of them were of British descent, but there were also people like:
    *Lieutenant Koichi Kinoshita, Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
    *Nicky Varanand, a Thai prince in the RAF who operated over Europe.
    *Flying Officer Sebastian Bernard de Mier, a Mexican-American in the RAF.
    *Svend Korup, a Dane in the Royal Artillery.

    How many were there? I've scoured the 'net for rough guesses, but only came up with an estimate of 4,000 Argentines.

    Would be grateful for any replies. Thanks in advance!
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    How long is a piece of string, some were given UK aliases to protect their families in occupied Europe or their religion, many were taken into regiments with links to their country ie most of the Danes in SOE were commissioned into The Buffs, when America entered the war many of the US personnel were transferred to the US Army and USAAF, an interesting topic to develop!
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Sandis87

    Sandis87 Junior Member

    Thank you both for your replies! This is really very fascinating. It's such a shame that much of this tends to be overlooked, but life's best full of surprises - and what's more surprising than an Argentine officer in the SLI?!
  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    What is often neglected is that many countries had large expatriate populations - both Britain and Germany made use of those that volunteered for service. In the German case recruiting for the Brandenburgers was from German expatriates or people of German lineage who had returned to Germany as volunteers, some of these were on dicey legal ground as their countries had been split from Germany at Versailles.
  6. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    As Denmark had no government in exile then all of their servicemen for legal purposes were enlisted into HM Forces

    Most famous example

    Name:LASSEN, ANDERS FREDERICK EMIL V. SCHAUInitials:A F E V SNationality:United KingdomRank:MajorRegiment/Service:Special Boat Service, S.A.S. Regiment, A.A.C.Age:24Date of Death:09/04/1945Service No:234907Awards:V C, M C and 2 BarsAdditional information:Son of Emil Victor Schau Lassen and Suzanne Maria Signe Lassen, of Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:II, E, 11.Cemetery:ARGENTA GAP WAR CEMETERYCitation:The London Gazette of 4th September, 1945, gives the following particulars: In Italy, on the night of 8th/9th April, 1945, Major Lassen was ordered to take out a patrol and raid the north shore of Lake Comacchio. His task was to cause casualties, capture prisoners and give the impression of a major landing. The patrol was challenged and came under machine-gun fire. Major Lassen himself attacked with grenades and silenced two enemy posts, capturing two prisoners and killing several Germans. The patrol had suffered casualties and was still under fire. Major Lassen moved forward and flung more grenades into a third enemy position, calling upon the enemy to surrender. He was then hit and mortally wounded, but whilst falling he flung a grenade, wounding more of the enemy and enabling his patrol to capture this last position. Finally, he refused to be evacuated lest he should impede the withdrawal and endanger further lives. His high sense of devotion to duty and the esteem in which he was held by the men he led, added to his own magnificent courage, enabled Major Lassen to carry out with complete success all the tasks he had been given.
  7. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    I think that all Czech airmen were in the RAFVR
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Theres a good thread on here too about a fantastic documentary about 4 German Jews that left Germany before the war started and fought in the Armed Forces against Germany.
  9. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Reference could also be made to the Maidenhead Register of the CWGC which lists those foriegn nationals who served the Commonwealth Armed Forces & whose bodies were repatriated to their home countries

    CWGC :: Cemetery Details
  10. Combover

    Combover Guest

    The famous Commando 'Dick Bradley' was actually one of Goebbels' cousins...
  11. Combover

    Combover Guest

    The number of Poles is probably the easiest to estimate as they were quite rigidly formalised into the British Army.
  12. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I found this 1941 memo in a file I'm reading:

    Going by this CWGC entry it appears that Johnson wasn't Army, but RAFVR..
    Rank:Pilot Officer
    Service No:111543
    Date of Death:25/02/1942
    Regiment/Service:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Grave Reference: Grave 25.
    Additional Information:Son of Chandler H. Johnson and Tunia G. Johnson, of Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.


    Possibly the same Emmel:
    Birth: Apr. 6, 1918
    Death: Mar. 20, 1945
    Oliver H Emmel
    KANSAS 1ST Lieut 654 AAF BOMB SQ
    Burial: Fairmount Memorial Park Spokane Spokane County Washington, USA
    Plot: Lawn 1
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sub. No: 554
    Subject: American Citizen enlisted into British Army - Thomas Graham of Niagara Falls.

    The above named American citizen is reported to be serving with the British Army and it is desired to locate him.

    Officers i/c Records will cause a search to be made of the documents in their offices under their charge and will inform this Department of the result.

    (M.I.L. B.M. 5300 A.G.1. (Records) )
  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sub. No: 889
    Subject: PHILLIPS, Frederick C. - Whereabouts.

    Information is required regarding the above-named American citizen, of New York City, who was last heard of as having left U.S.A. for Canada on 26 July 1941 to join the British Forces.

    Officers i/c Records will cause a search to be made of the documents in the office under their charge for any information concerning this man and will inform the War Office (A.G.1 (Records)) of the result. This matter will be treated as urgent and nil returns are required.

    MIL B.M. A.G.1 (Records)
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    and this memo from the same file explaining how Americans could transfer out of British forces...

    Sub. No: 767
    Subject: Discharges - To join the U.S.A. Forces.

    The following cable has been sent to all Commands Overseas and a copy is set out below for the information of all Officers i/c Records:-

    "United States citizens serving in British Army may if they so desire be discharged for service in U.S. Forces at your discretion by arrangement with local U.S. Commanders. Similarly U.S. Citizens may relinquish emergency commissions if accepted U.S. Army. Dual nationals British/United States may be treated similarly except that applications should be initiated by U.S. Authorities and some reason other than person preference should be forthcoming."

    "Cable full particulars of Officers for Gazette action."

    "Other Ranks to be discharged under K.R. 1940 paragraph 390. If pensionable with 21 years or more service under sub-para (xxi )(a ) or (b ) or (xxii ). If more than 18 years and less than 21 years service under heading at own request sub-par (xxviii). In all other cases under heading services no longer required on enlistment into U.S. Army under sub-para (xviii )(a ). Commander-in-Chief Middle East informed separately."

    19/Gen/60 ( A.G.1 (C ) )
  18. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Anders Lassen was also originally commissioned into the Buffs. King of Denmark was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Buffs at the time ad the Queen of Denmark is still the Colonel-in-Chief of theirsuccessor regiment, the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.

  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I don't think the Eagle Squadron had been reference in this thread yet.

    My mom just mentioned a month or two ago that she remembered a small civilian air field in New Jersey that gave flying lessons to local young men who then went to Canada to join (or try to join) the RCAF. She even remembered the owner's name and that he was a friend of my grandfather.
  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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