Town Majors

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by XRayX, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Looking trough the massive amounts of war diaries hold by the national archives, I noticed that there are diaries for Town Majors. They all are filed under WO 171/
    But more then a number is not given.
    How would I find these files for my area of interest and what could I expect to find in them?
    Anyone on this forum who has expierience with these?
    von Poop likes this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  3. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Yes maybe I should read one and hope for an index. If not it will be too time consuming.
    I do not travel to the archives on a regular basis and always try to get the most out of the time spent there.
  4. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Town Majors was the term given to the Military Officer given the responsibility for looking after the civilian population of a town or village.

    They were also the representative of the military power that was running their county after the axis powers left.

    It wasn't necessarily a job for Major's either. I have read documents that suggest that a Lt. looked after the Greek Island of Salamis as Town Major after the Germans left.

    I have read they were part peacekeeper, part magistrate, part Councillor, part Mayor, part arbitrator. A real jack of all trades.

    Here is the one in Athens in December of 1944. The number 53 is the unit ID given in the Op Manna OOB.


    But I've never seen a WD on one as yet.

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  5. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Thanks Gus,
    They are in the archives but just by number and no location.
    Just check out the link Dbf mentioned above.
  6. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

  7. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    And now the question how to find out in which diary is which town or region?
  8. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Can help post VE Day in Germany
  9. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    I'm interested in the south of the Netherlands "the Kempen". Say from Eindhoven to the Belgium border. But thanks anyway.
  10. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    HQ 12 Line of Communication Sub Area was in Helmond-NL until 24 Jun 45, replaced by HQ 21 Line of Communication Sub Area in Eindhoven-Sonnis-NL.

    The Kew reference for the HQ 12 Line of Communication Sub Area War Diary from 1 Jan 45 to 31 Aug 45 is WO 171/4525, Town Major details should be therein.

    Best of luck with your research
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  11. dml34

    dml34 Junior Member

    Town Majors were also involved in sorting out accommodation for the troops. I attach some war diary extracts from 83 Town Major in Hanover to give you an idea of what he did.

    In September 1945, I believe that 85 Town Major was in Eindhoven. His War Diary for 1945 is at WO 171/7611.


    IMG_7293.JPG IMG_7294.JPG IMG_7295.JPG IMG_7296.JPG IMG_7297.JPG IMG_7298.JPG IMG_7299.JPG
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  12. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Thanks both! It gives me a lot more to go on.
  13. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Little bit off thread.
    After being wounded my father was posted to 307 Military Gov. Det.
    This was a unit very top heavy in Officers whose task was to re-establish a German Gov.
    I was browsing through the war diaries to see if there was a mention of Town Majors without success (Reams of minutes of committee meetings)
    I was surprised at the amount of apparent civil disorder including murder of a British Officer
    posted some trial reports.

    Sorry file will not upload but it contains

    6-7-8th Sept 45
    Unlawful possession of arms.
    Accused 13 Guilty 9 not guilty 4. Sentences range from 10 years to 51 days

    12-13 Sept 45
    Nicolia Kowziga a Russian displaced person was tried and convicted of shooting and causing death of Capt HX Dixon 1/4 KOYLI
    sentenced to death.

    12-13 Sept 45
    12 arms cases 12 accused 10 guilty sentences from 1 to 7 years

    50 Poles tried for general disorder
    Bound over 4
    3 years 8
    10 years 15
    20 years 8
    Death 4
    Escaped 2
    Those military Judges could not be accused of light sentencing!
    dbf likes this.
  14. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    dbf likes this.
  15. wmartin

    wmartin New Member

    Here are a couple more with SOME of the places mentioned in them:
    WO 171/3494 Eindhoven
    WO 171/3519 Eindhoven, Uden
    WO 171/3518 Argentan
    WO 171/7690 Osnabruck, Kiel
    WO 171/3517 Gemert
    WO 171/3516 Neerpelt
    WO 171/3515 Eindhoven, Geldrop, Leende, Weert
    WO 171/3514 Bayeux
    WO 171/3513 Eersel
    WO 171/3512 Leopoldsburg
    WO 171/7653 Weert
    WO 171/7652 Vught, Boxtel
    WO 171/7651 Eersel
    WO 171/7650 Leopoldsburg
    WO 171/7647 Helmond
    WO 171/7630 Eindhoven
    WO 171/10681 Kiel
    WO 171/7657 Uden, Oss
    WO 171/7655 Gemert
    WO 171/7654 Bree
    dbf likes this.
  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The role of Town Major first emerged in WW1 when many French towns were allocated one. His job was to liaise with the civil authorities. He also arranged billets for British soldiers passing through etc. I believe that the role was revived in 1939/40 in France and refreshed in 1944/45 so there may well be Town Majors based in France, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as Germany etc.
  17. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Looking for the file reference for Positano and also Sienna.

    Any wise owls out there who might know so that I can get the right WDs.



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