POW Escapers - Is there a list anywhere?

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Shiny, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I've just found out a relative, Flt Lt Phillip Alexander Woodger, was shot down and captured and put into Stalag Luft III, I'm not sure of the exact date yet as I can't get at the records but I'm off to the library tomorrow to get them.

    I've also been told in the same story of an RAF relative who was shot down whilst being based in Malta and walked home through Spain.

    I think it is the same man and I know the easy way to find out is to apply for his record but I'm not sure I'm close enough to get it.

    I'm wondering if there is a list anywhere of people who may have done this sort of thing or people who escaped from camps?

    Can anyone help?


  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: P A Woodger
    Rank: Flying Officer
    Army Number: 62290
    Regiment: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks
    POW Number: 690
    Camp Type: Stalag Luft 3
    Camp Number: L3
    Camp Location: Sagan and Belaria, Poland
    Section: Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks

  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    You may find mention of his post escape interview with MI9 - if he did one - in the U.K. National Archives.

    MI9: The Secret British Organization Set Up in WWII to Help Prisoners Of War Escape

    I’m not aware of any official list of “escapees” in the public domain (I presume you mean those who made a “home run” as many men got out of their camp/working camp and were recaptured before reaching safety).

    I am also aware that the Swiss government did maintain records of men who escaped (many post Italian Armistice) and made it to Switzerland and were interned.

  4. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot TD and Steve,

    I'm wondering if he was captured, made a home run then was shot down for a second time and made it through Spain or if he was shot down, walked home through Spain then was shot down a second time and stayed in the bag until the end of the war.

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Have found this

    Aircraftsman W Boal: died of injuries; Pilot Officer P A Woodger, Leading Aircraftsman T... | The National Archives
    Reference: AIR 81/9698
    Aircraftsman W Boal: died of injuries; Pilot Officer P A Woodger, Leading Aircraftsman T P Avar, Corporal D Randeson, Air Mechanic K E Longmire, Royal Naval Gunlayer W L Cramond, Able Seaman F Theodas, Able Seaman F C H Thomson: missing now safe; sinking of SS Empire Wave, 3 October 1941
    Date: 1941 Jan 1 - 1941 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: P 363095/41
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Open on Transfer
    Record opening date: 23 July 2019

    Assume he was picked up with the others and taken prisoner

    The Tragic Story: The Loss of the Empire Wave - every single man on the lifeboat suffered severe frostbite & had to have toes or limbs amputated

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  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    "Home Run Escape from Nazi Europe" by John Nichol may include the required info - it appears to be a weighty tome at about 550 pages but please do not take this as an endorsement - I haven't read it - it's on my list for when I've completed the current dissertation
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Also found

    Flying Officer P.A. Woodger, RCAF (USA) No. 185 Squadron

    Mentioned in file:///C:/Users/Computer/Downloads/27297.pdf [Sniper in the Skies]

  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Walking alone through the Pyrenees to Spain let alone through Spain to Gibraltar seems highly unlikely. Most (all) evaders/escapees who went that way got to the frontier with assistance of an escape line run by resistance workers with some MI9 backing, through the mountains with a guide - organised by the same and got picked up on the Spanish side by British diplomatic staff - which some times meant a long uncomfortable drive to Gib in the boot of a car with diplomatic plates. The Miranda concentration camp where British servicemen crossing the border tended to be incarcerated was a place to avoid.
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    It seems that service records amy well be the best way to go - I'm uncertain if there are 2 people here or 1 - If he was on SS Empire Wave then he could have been rescued - hence the comment 'missing now safe' - I guess FMP records may explain better as in the next report MAY say he was in hospital of a POW - I dont know, but if he was rescued then it seems he was tranferred to Malta [probably for the warmer water], but then he is shown as being shot down in Aug 1942 - American Eagles: US Fighter Pilots in the RAF 1939-1945 - so whether after this he was captured I dont know

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  10. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad


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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    So shot down on 27 Aug 1942 - POW 28 Aug 1942

    It shows him as a Brit - as he might have been British, but in the case he was American wouldnt they have shown him as USA - they were in the war by then. I note Wieler, Norman H is shown as Amer but then he has a USA service number [or rather a Canadian service number] whereas Woodger has a British [RAF] service number

    Kyle - does it tells where the list was for? - or just an alphabetical list of POW's, is there a date for it as well, from the point of view he was there when the list was made so assume he escaped after that date, if you follow my drift

  12. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    The document is AIR/40/269 its a nominal roll of those force marched/evacuated from SL3 in 1945, He is on the Roll and present at Lubeck 1945. Destination was Marlag-Milag Nord ? March began 27th Jan 1945 arrived 4th February ?

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  13. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    since 2011 I did a lot of research to find a complete list of escapees from OFLAG Vb.
    In September 1941 26 officers escaped, 22 were re-captured and 4 with a home run.
    The most successful escape of Brits from a camp in the Reich to my knowledge.
    Prior to this escape, a smaller number from the same camp escaped.
    But a complete list of all escapees in WW2, listed by individual camps, I have not seen as yet
  14. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    Wow, thank you all so much for the help with all this, I really appreciate it.

    He definitely was a Brit, he was born in Newcastle, does that mean he was serving with an American unit?

    The story I was told seemed a little mixed but it was that he was a hurricane pilot who was put on the arctic convoys. He was shot down and some how made it home and was told he couldn't go back on the arctic convoys because the cold could finish him off. I assumed that meant he'd got frostbite or something similar.

    He'd then been posted to Malta and was shot down again. The story was a bit confused but I think the gyst of it was he'd been captured by the Italians who passed him to the Germans and he'd ended up in SL3.

    I wasn't sure if he'd escaped again or spent the rest of the war in the camp which is why I was after the list.

    Looking at the fantastic info posted maybe he wasn't shot down but was on the Empire Wave and then shot down in Malta.

    What was the story with the forced march? Do we know why they were moved?

    Presumably from those dates he would have been in the camp at the time of The Great Escape so it is possible that he may have been one of the men queuing to get out of the tunnel but didn't actually get that far?

    Thanks again for all the help everyone.

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  15. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    The Germans were afraid the advancing Russians would soon reach the camp and the prisoners were moved further back. The report of the move is attached. I hope it helps to tell part of your relatives story?

    GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00095.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00096.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00097.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00098.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00099.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00100.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00101.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00102.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00103.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00104.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00105.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101598697_00106.jpg

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  16. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for this Kyle, I really appreciate it.

    Unfortunately I'm struggling to read some of the report, I'm guessing the images get resized. Is there any chance you could send me a copy directly?

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Birth 12/03/1912 Newcastle Upon Tyne Northumberland England
    Residence 1935 Newcastle Upon Tyne Northumberland England
    Marriage 03/1949 Scarborough Yorkshire England
    Father Edwin Woodger (1880-1943)
    Mother Lilian Wheldon (Born 1885)

    Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950
    Name: Phillip Alexander Woodger
    Birth Date: 12 Mar 1912
    Birth Location: Newcastle-on-Tyne

    1939 England and Wales Register
    Name: Phillip A Woodger
    Gender: Male
    Marital status: Single
    Birth Date: 12 Mar 1912
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 4
    Residence Place: Wallasey, Cheshire, England
    Occupation: Service Representative Ly
    Schedule Number: 58
    Sub Schedule Number: 3
    Enumeration District: LDBC
    Registration district: Wallasey 452 A/1

    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
    Name: Philliph Alexander Woodger
    Death Date: 4 Feb 1965
    Death Place: Scarborough
    Probate Date: 22 Mar 1966
    Probate Registry: York, England

    Hmm he died in Hong Kong

    I think this shows that he probably was not connected to the American Eagle Sqdn although his records would show that for sure

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  18. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for all of this information, it's fantastic. I was told he died whilst on a cruise so that would make sense.

    Kyle, I've just been to the library and have got that document myself thank you very much for pointing me towards it.

  19. Shiny

    Shiny Well-Known Member

    I believe when he was discharged at the end of the war he was given some sort of payout, they said because he had been a prisoner, and that he used the money to open a restaurant in Scarborough but I haven't been able to trace that restaurant.

  20. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    RAF servicemen were on board the vessel SS Empire Wave as it was a Catapult Armed Merchant ship (CAM), usually I believe with a Hurricane aircraft.

    Many messages and contacts are on this website, including one from the leader of the RAF contingents son.

    Warsailors.com :: Ship Forum :: Re: SS EMPIRE WAVE

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