Spanish Concentration Camps 1939-45

Discussion in 'Others' started by Drew5233, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    An interesting post.I think your father must have reached England via Gib and arrived here by ship.Well known escapees whose security status could be proven were usually were flown out,others had to endure a run through the Bay of Biscay by ship with all its dangers.

    No doubt your father would have been detained initially at the Patriotic School in London where he would have been interrogated by British Intelligence to ensure he that he was who he said he was and that he was not an enemy plant.After clearance he would be allowed to join one of his country's units based in Britain...any potential for a contribution to say clandestine operations may have been recognised here and most likely he would have been invited to join an clandestine unit....hence you say he was involved in SOE activities.

    If you could offer further information on your father's SOE background,it might well be that others on the forum could unearth further detail on your father's service with the SOE.
  2. Jennykilverts

    Jennykilverts New Member

    Hi Harry, thanks for the welcome. I've been gathering the information I have concerning my dad. If anyone can add anything to it I would be very grateful.
    His name was William (Willie) Adhemar Pieroux and he was a sergeant major in the Belgian Air Force. He left Belgium when it was overrun by the German army and he made his way down through France. He spent some time during 1940 to 1942 around Lyon, I think working with the resistance. He then tried to cross the Pyrenees but after being abandoned by his guide he was captured and taken to Miranda. He stayed there from May 42 to April 43. The Miranda ring we have is inscribed Miranda 21 vii 42. After going on hunger strike, he and others were released by the Red Cross. I understood that he was taken to Portugal to be nursed back to health but I may have remembered that wrongly. Once he was back to full health he was offered the choice of fighting in the Belgian Congo or joining the free French in England. He preferred the African option but was told that because of his rank he would be of more use in London. He arrived here in July 43 and was based around ecclestone street. He joined the SOE and underwent training as a radio operator using morse code. He did training in Scotland and also parachute training in Manchester. He was flown into France behind enemy lines although he didn't have to parachute in but was dropped by plane. He then spent the rest of the war holed up in a barn somewhere sending messages back to Britain. I think this may have been something to do with the battle of the bulge but not sure. I have no idea what else he did or how he lived there. After the war he returned to Belgium, then eventually came back to England to find my mum, who he had met in London. The rest, as they say, is history! I believe Dad was awarded 4 medals, which included the France and Germany star, the Croix du Prisonnier Politique and the Croix des Evades, but I don't know what the fourth one was. He also received a certificate of appreciation from Field Marshall Montgomery in April 46 for "aid rendered as a volunteer in the service of the United Nations for the Great Cause of Freedom"
    A lot of this is hearsay, but we do have some of his papers even though they are mostly in French.
  3. Jennykilverts

    Jennykilverts New Member

    Dads Miranda ring

  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Jenny...apologies for a late response.

    Your father is referenced in a comprehensive list of SOE agents as compiled by Eliah Meyer. It consists of 58 pages together with the Personnel Files references.

    Go to where you will find him listed as Willy Adhemar Pieroux with his date of birth and Personnel File reference.

    His file, HS 9/1187/4, is now accessible from the National Archives.The file as standard practice with the SOE was closed until 2008,your father's file being accessible to the public from 10 July 2008.

    Unfortunately the file is not digitised but can be obtained by requesting for the file to be digitised and a copy sent to you.

    Further there is reference to your father in the London Gazette of 19 June 1951,by his formal first name of William following a legal process for naturalisation which was granted on 19 April 1951.

    His occupation is listed along with his Colerne,Wiltshire address which leads me to think that he might have been employed by the Air Ministry as a civilian at RAF Colerne which, at the time, was a large MU among other roles.It is easy to search the LG for this information.

    Hope that you will find this helpful.......looks a admirable ring that you father made in Miranda.
  5. wingmanc17

    wingmanc17 New Member

    Does anyone have any info on the camp at Alhama de Aragon used mainly to house USAAAC aircrews on bombing raids in southern Europe that forced landed in Spain after running short of fuel rather than making it back to bases in North Africa?

    I have searched the net and there is very little info available. Am most interested in the 1942 period and any details of the camp, conditions etc would be most appreciated.

  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Last night I was sorting out some old RAFA Air Mail magazines and came across a very interesting article recording the aviation career of a Luftwaffe crewman.After an operation against Allied shipping in the Med out of Montpellier in Southern France,they had to emergency divert to Spain with a damaged aircraft....seems this crew had to abandon aircraft a number of times and survived by bailing out.

    After bailing out in Spain,they were received with hospitality by the Spanish Air Force....wined and dined by neutral Spain and assisted to return to their base at Montpellier.

    Contrast that with the treatment of Allied servicemen and civilians who were incarcerated in Miranda by a so called neutral country but not surprising as Franco's allegiance to Hitler was well established but he was reluctant to develop it into a full alliance despite the likelihood that Gib would be offered as a prize.

    Will endeavour to post the interesting extract.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018

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