Stalag 357 - Long March

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by drailton, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. drailton

    drailton Senior Member

    CWGC shows that 1509811 Warrent Officer Frederick Thomas Price of 625 Squadron RAF died age 23 on 30 April 1945 and is buried in the Berlin War Cemetary.

    RAF Commands 1939 - 1945 shows that 1509811 Price F T was in Camp 357 at Kopernikus.

    The story handed down about this family member is that he was shot down and captured and was in Stalag Luft 3 and that just before the end of the war the POWs were being led away by the Germans from the advancing allies on what became known as the ‘Long March’. American aircraft mistook them all for Germans and Frederick was wounded. The casualties were taken to the Russian sector and they would not release them to the British. Frederick had his leg amputated there and the next day he died.

    This story may be incorrect about the POW camp but it appears that he was part of a march away from advancing allies, he was injured as a result of friendly fire and that he did die in a Russian military hospital/medical unit.

    Can anyone give me any information as to how I can research this further?
  2. cliffx

    cliffx The Weakest Link

    Not much help I'm afraid. My father was also held in this Stalag but as an Army POW with the Royal Artillery.
    He said very little about his exploits in the Stalag, but I wonder if you have looked at the web site for this camp - strikes me it may be of help.
    If you have already checked it please forgive my intrusion.
  3. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    The September 1944 Records show F/Sgt. F.T. Price as being in Stalag Luft 6 P.O.W. No. 1516

    The same Rank is given in the 1945 Lists
  4. drailton

    drailton Senior Member

    Thank you for the replies which prompt further questions:

    Is the Stalag Luft 6 web site referred to the Wartime Memoriesw Project at The Wartime Memories Project - STALAG LUFT 6 POW Camp or is there another.

    Is the information that Price was at Stalag Luft 6 from information accessible on the web. The only list of RAF prisoners I know of is Air Force POW index
  5. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    The information comes from The National Archives and is not online.

    A recent enquirey into a P.O.W. who was listed as Luft 3 has proved the records in his case to be inaccurate by information from the report he made when Liberated. He was in Colditz.
  6. SBS

    SBS Junior Member

    "Footprints in the Sands of Time" has the following listing for F/S F T Price: shot down 19/2/44 flying in Lancaster JA862 of 625 Squadron, target Leipzig, held in Camps Stalag Luft 6 and 357. F/S Price was wounded when RAF pow's were attacked by RAF Typhoons at Gresse on 19/4/45 and died 30/4/45. In a short account of the incident the author reports that " The typhoons left twenty-two airmen dead on the road at Gresse, including W/O WPJ Watson, who had endured almost exactly five years in captivity. Another died of wounds later that day, two more had died in hospital by 30th April, a further eight were seriously wounded and another twelve were admitted to hospital. At least twelve allied soldiers, probably more, were also killed, as were six German guards.

    My father was shot down in 1941 and was held for a time in L6 and 357 and was at Gresse. He never discussed the horrors of that day with us but sixty years had passed when he met a fellow POW by accident and the memory of Gresse reduced him to tears - the only time I saw my father cry.
  7. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    I have two lists, obtained from the Canadian Department of National Defence's Directorate of Military History pertaining to the incident at Gresse. One is entitled "List of British personnel killed by low flying a/c at GRESSE, on April 19th, 1945. Interred at GRESSE churchyard on April 19th and 20th, 1945" contains 30 names, ranks, service numbers, POW numbers/camps, units and in some cases home addresses.

    The second list, containing F.T. Price's name (marked "seriously injured") is entitled "List of men taken to hospital with injuries following a/c attack at Gresse" and has about 30 names, nowhere as detailed as the first list.
  8. 8002reverse

    8002reverse Junior Member

    ‘Long March’. [/FONT]

    This maybe of interest to you.
  9. SBS

    SBS Junior Member


    I would be interested to see your lists, particularly the one which contains the names of the injured. Is there any chance you can provide a link or upload a scan. Many thanks.
  10. SBS

    SBS Junior Member

    There is quite a detailed description of the Gresse incident, taken from first hand accounts, in Vic Gammon's " Not All Glory".

    It tells how once the Typhoon attack was over the injured were collected from the fields and placed on the grass verge. Then they were taken by cart to the cottage hospital at Boizenburg. At the beginning of May half a dozen men of the 6th Airborne Division crossed the Elbe by dinghy. The first person they met was a elderly German lady who told them that there were English prisoners in the hospital. One of the first liberated was a Stan Brooks who was quick to tell his rescuers "For God's sake don't do anything to this staff, they have been absolutely wonderful, the German Army doctors have been wonderful too, please don't touch them."
    BarbaraWT likes this.
  11. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    I have copied the same lists of those killed and those who were taken to Hospital at Kew today.

    As you say the name Price is on the List of those seriously wounded. The dead were not all British though.

    Apparently the list was compiled by W/O. Mogg of the R.A.F.
  12. drailton

    drailton Senior Member

    Interesting that 'Not All Glory" states that the injured were taken to the German cottage hospital at Boizenburg. The story handed down in our family about our relative who was injured in the incident was that the injured were left for the advancing Russians who took responsibility for their medical care.
  13. Murdomacleod

    Murdomacleod Junior Member

  14. Gillyches

    Gillyches Junior Member

    Dad was on this march from Fallingbostel and wrote in his book 'Of Stirlings and Stalags: an airgunner's tale' -

    He wrote:

    "I think it was on the morning of 19th that we marched off on a bright, sunny day. We were stopped for a break under an avenue of trees and a little way ahead was a truck of the Swedish Red Cross, and we understood a new route had been organised. It had a consignment of American parcels aboard and we were issued one whole parcel each. There was no surprise as to the contents, as we knew well that each parcel contained a couple of packs of Camels or similar American cigarettes - and a good block of chocolate. Happily we settled down beside the hedgerows, opened the parcels and took out the chocolate and cigarettes. Most of us just had a couple of pieces of chocolate and put the rest away, and started to smoke a whole cigarette, the first in many months. I have to say that first cigarette after so long made me feel quite dizzy.

    Overhead was the usual sound of the RAF fighters but, suddenly, the sound changed to show acceleration and diving. I heard the sound of machine gun or shell fire. I was on the field side of the hedge and saw rocket firing Typhoons swooping onto us and the realisation struck home that we were the target of a squadron. I still had a homemade pack on my back and, in one movement, I dived over the hedge into the ditch on the other side and crouched behind the bole of a tree. I saw one man run into the field waving a RAF overcoat which had a white blanket like liner. He was hit, and others, too. Some of whom caught a packet diving for the ditch. Many of the casualties were in that ditch, but without the benefit of the bole of a tree. One of the fighters throttled right back and climbed. The next plane came low and slow abreast of us and had a good look. The next wiggled his wings as in greeting before the whole squadron flew away. It was almost as though one of the pilots had believed something was wrong.

    There were many casualties, and there were amazing escapes. One man was unscathed but a bullet had gone through his pack and punctured a tin of sardines in tomato sauce - not a pretty sight. But there were some horrible sights. Rocket explosions had literally blown bodies apart, and one of the guards was standing as a scorched and very badly burnt body which fell apart when he was touched. We all helped as best we were able without first aid facilities, and it was not easy to move without seeing a blown off limb and even a severed head. The wounded were taken to a nearby cottage hospital where the staff did what little they could for them, irrespective of nationality. A Pastor from a local church held a non-denominational burial service for the dead which I think was twenty nine.

    Dixie had been able to keep in touch with the columns from 357 by cycling between them accompanied by one of the censors, Dolmetcher ‘Charlie’ Gumbach. Dixie was in the uniform of a Warrant Officer of the RAF, with his wings for all to see, and it was necessary for Charlie to be able to vouch for him. It was by these means Dixie was able to pass on to us the war news from the canary, which, on the march was hidden in mess tins.

    Dixie now obtained from the Commandant permission to pass through the German front line and enter British lines to seek aid for the injured in the cottage hospital, accompanied by a German. Charlie volunteered to go with Dixie on the mission, the result of which could not be foretold. They set off on their cycles and successfully made the British lines. The British wanted to take Charlie into custody as a prisoner, but Dixie would have none of that. I guess they had become friends during their travels, having faced danger together. Dixie struggled to overcome lower regimental levels and finally reached Lt. General Barker. He showed Barker the position of the hospital on a map, also the positions of our columns. He was advised that a cross should be shown on the ground wherever we stayed. He assured Dixie there would be no further attacks on our men and made plans for the early release of the injured in the hospital, which was done as a matter of priority.

    Finally, he agreed that Dixie and Charlie should return to the marching columns, and both were welcomed back as heroes after such a dangerous double journey through the fluid fighting lines.

    Later, one of our men was at an aerodrome waiting for transport back home when he was in conversation with a Canadian Wing Commander who was interested in his life as a Kregie. He mentioned his anger at having been shot up by a squadron of Typhoons and about thirty had been killed. ‘Oh God!’ said the Wing Commander, ‘I was commanding that raid!’ - whereupon he broke down.

    Our escorts were quite as puzzled by the attack as we were, but they made enquiries in the area and discovered that Panzer tanks had spent the previous night beneath that same avenue of trees and that our movements must have alerted the fliers that the Panzers were still there."

    I don't know if this information is helpful to anyone with regards this terrible event.
  15. noman

    noman Member

    See Cornelius Ryan's "The Last Battle" in which there is a account of this Friendly Fire Incident-also picture of Wing Com Dixie Deans with German Commandant; also mention of German Guard Charlie Gumbach. There is also a listing under British of POWS....hope this is of help
  16. noman

    noman Member

  17. Davenport7

    Davenport7 Member


    Please check the other link above.....

    My grandfather Les Davenport was on the march from Fallingbostel April 45 and escaped the column with Charles Frederick Hall on the 13th April 1945 and hid in barns and were both suffering from dysentry. They finally moved towards the sound of gunfire and met the allied advance.

    Like many others on here my grandfather never really spoke much about the war and must have seen some terrible things in the prison camps especially at the latter stages of the war and the march.

    I have my grandfathers POW Wartime log book with a list of names from POW camps in there.

    I would be interested if you have relatives who were involved in the March incident and whether you have their POW wartime log book. Is my grandfathers name in there ???

    It is a subject close to my heart as I am amazed my grandfather like others had to endure such a terrible event and live with the unwanted memories the rest of their lives.

    I do plan in a few years to undertake the walk / route from Fallingbostel 357 to Gresse for charity. Happy to see if anyone else would like to join me.

    Keep the posts coming

    Ian Davenport
  18. croker

    croker Member

    Hello Ian
    It is about a year since the last post (no pun intended) so you may have moved on to other matters.

    I intend on TD's recomendation to start a new thread for my father (Gunner NGH Croker 11th Battery, 3rd anti-tank regiment of the 2/3rd Australian Anti-Tank Regiment, 9th Division, AIF) whom I think may have been involved with the long march you refer to, if it was roughly January - mid year 1945.

    This march was just the last leg for my father of over 4 years as a POW - in summary -

    His de-brief mentions he was at 12 different camps with reference to:
    Dinna, Benghazi, Tripoli,(a camp some miles out of) Capua, Sulmona, Prato Al Isarco, Grupiginano (campo 57) until the Italian capitulated, Markt Pango (Austria), Gorlity (NE Germany) (Stalag 8A), Loshnooitvich (Poland) then Milavity & Dimbrover under German direction - all before starting the 800 mile "European Tour" subject of this forum.

    "The whole march took about 3 months during which time we covered over 800 miles out of Poland through Obersalicia – Sudaten land Checkoslavakia & ended at a village called Michael Nieu Kirken in Bavaria where we fended for ourselves for some couple of weeks & then we were picked up by the americans. . . . .

    His de-brief is silent on where he went on this "Tour", hence my original question on a forum - is the "Tour" described in this forum likely to be the "Tour" my father took 71 years ago, given the only two scraps I have being the start and finish general locations that seem to roughly accord with the timing of this forum’s subject (first months of 1945).

    Part of my reason replying to your post is my object to cobble together more information and potentially retrace my father's journey in some manner (I won't be risking the blizzards the bayonets or the starvation, though). When that might happen I do not quite know, but in the next couple years would be my guess and if our journeys are comparible I'd be happy to join you.

  19. DBradford

    DBradford New Member

  20. BarbaraWT

    BarbaraWT Member

    Hi Alan,
    How are you going with this plan? It would be interesting to hear more. There were many columns of POWs and Concentration Camp prisoners trekking through the bitter winter from January to April/May in 1945.
    My Uncle died towards the end of this March from Dysentry, tuberculosis, starvation and finally heart failure. Sad stuff :(

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