Unlucky Chap - But got through it

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ChrisR, Feb 11, 2023.

  1. ChrisR

    ChrisR Senior Member

    The naturalisation application records held at Kew in the HO 405 series contain background details relating to applicants, including their previous military service.
    One I read the other day, I found particularly interesting.
    I have never heard of anyone that in WW2 had been captured by the Russians, escaped, then captured by the Germans, escaped, and then captured by the Japanese! That’s got to be some sort of a record!

    His name was Michal Langleben.

    The following are extracts taken from a Police report of background checks in his application record, HO 405/34441, that provides details of the circumstances of him being a POW.

    “Applicant states he was born at Warsaw on 26/10/1895, the son of Adolf LANGLEBEN, a director of the Warsaw Bank. After a few years private tuition he attended a High School in Warsaw and in 1913 became a student of medicine at the Warsaw University.
    In 1916 he was mobilised to the Russian Army as military physician to the 18th Hussar Regiment. When the Revolution started in 1918 he escaped to Kiev where he joined the White Russian Army, later joining the Polish Army and seeing active service against the Bolsheviks.
    He left the Polish Army in 1922 and then became a student of medicine and dentistry at the Warsaw Hospital.
    In 1939 he was mobilised into the Polish Army but was soon afterwards captured by the Russians.
    He escaped to Lithuania, and with the assistance of the Allied authorities there he was able to proceed to France, where he joined the Polish Forces. As a 2nd Lt., he served with the 1st Grenadier Division as medical officer, but was taken prisoner by the Germans in July 1940.
    He was sent to Oflag 12E at Mainz, but in July 1941 he again escaped and was evacuated by a round-about route to join the Polish Army in Canada.
    En route he was landed at Saigon, Indo-China, and was there when the country was invaded by the Japanese. With the assistance of the de Gaullites he was enabled to escape to the Philippines and later to Shanghai.
    Here he was free for one year, living in the-French Concession, but in 1943 he was taken by the Japanese to a prisoner of war camp where he remained until liberated by the Allied Forces. He was then repatriated by the British authorities and arrived in the United Kingdom on 14.12.1945.
    He produced documents, issued by the Polish General Staff in London, in confirmation of his story.
    In February 1946 he was informed by a re-presentative of the Jewish community in Poland that his wife died in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, sometime between the years 1942 and 1943.”

    He made a new life for himself as a dentist in London.
    Mathsmal, ecalpald, vitellino and 8 others like this.

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