Why PWs sent to UK from Canada? Interrogation?

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ecalpald, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    In January 1942, German PWs and refugees were shipped from Halifax, Canada to the UK.
    What could have been the reason that precious troopship capacity was used for this purpose?

    Attached Files:

  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately for some reason your attached files have failed to open for me. What sort of numbers are we talking about? Could they have had intelligence value?
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The One That Got Away (1957 film) - Wikipedia


    Prisoner of War Camps in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    List of World War II prisoner-of-war camps in Canada - Wikipedia

    Behind barbed wire in Canadian PoW camps - CBC Archives
    With the war raging on in Europe in 1940, Great Britain grew concerned about what would happen with their German PoWs in the case of an invasion on British territory. Fearing that freed prisoners would help bolster the invading forces, the British government appealed to Canada and Australia to take custody of PoWs.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Note this is a movement of people from Canada BACK to the UK. Also, I could download the attachments. Most of the people mentioned are labeled "refugees" (at least 3 of them Jewish, from the imposed middle name "Israel" listed) and only a few are "internees".

    The title of the second page is "Nominal roll of refugees & p/w class II to be returned to United Kingdom".

    For the names of the internees, we have Oakar(??) Sturm, and last names Demarco, Rampoldi (x2) and Tomaselli, most of them presumably Italian.
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    I think you've missed the point - these guys were apparently coming the other way!. I have come across one example of a POW apparently coming from North America to Britain. Captured in Russia by the Soviets in 1942 then shipped across the Pacific to N America and then on the Britain but why is a mystery
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    In 1940 Britain sent a large number of enemy alien civilians (German and Italian) to Canada. Numbers of refugees often Jewish also went. Some are known to have come back for a number of reasons including
    • MI5 recruited a number to use to keep an eye on Enemy Aliens remaining in Britain recognised as anti Fascist (e.g Communists) and allowed to live outside of camps amongst the general community but of whom MI5 were inherently suspicious.
    • A number of non British rabbis who had fled to Canada volunteered to return and act as unofficial chaplains to Jewish soldiers. Later when regulations were relaxed they became official chaplains
    Chris C likes this.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Great - thank you for pointing out an error by going staraight between the eyes - perhaps sending me a 'conversation' on the subject would be better - I also need to add some !!!!!

    We are not all perfect

  8. ecalpald

    ecalpald Chick LaPlace

    Although the attached documents do not prove that British Intel was involved in the recruitment of a batch of refugees and PWs for transit from Canada to the UK in May 1942, it does confirm that they were involved with convoy NA 8, in one way or another.
    One document mentions that the refugees were not confined during transit, which to me, is an indication that they were not a security risk, which may then hint at their future role in the war effort.
    The British Security Coordination office, in NYC, was run by the Canadian, Sir William Stephenson, code name "Intrepid".
    These documents originate from heritage.canadiana.ca, reel C5751, images 1522, 1523, 1446 & 1414.

    heritage.canadiana.ca-reel c5751-image 1522-british secret service PE.jpg
    heritage.canadiana.ca-reel c5751-image 1523-british secret service PE.jpg

    heritage.canadiana.ca-reel c5751-image 1446-refugee free PE.jpg
    heritage.canadiana.ca-reel c5751-image 1414-MI6 New York PE.jpg
    Chris C likes this.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    It may be they were merely returning to the UK to serve in the Armed Forces. I have abstracted a similar situation from:

    "When the Phoney War of 1939-40 turned to disaster in France, attitudes to enemy aliens hardened. Churchill ordered mass internment and Willy Field found himself in the crowded, festering hold of a liner en route to Australia with 2,600 prisoners of war and refugees. Following a period of internment in Australia, he returned to Britain to join the Pioneer Corps, and in 1943 was transferred to the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars. The driver of a Cromwell tank, he saw action in Normandy and the Low Countries. In 1944, as his unit led the British advance into the Netherlands, his tank was struck by an 88mm shell. He was the only survivor from a crew of five."

    I do not have a subscription to FMP so am unable to check further but it seems they hold the index cards for those interned during WW2. It would probably be worthwhile to see if the persons named appear and what information is given.

    Edited to add: www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/family-records/how-to-find-enemy-aliens-in-britain-with-new-records
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    This might be the man in the article

    Willy Hirschfeld Field
    BIRTH 17 AUG 1920 • Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    DEATH 12 MAY 2012 • London, England

    Apr 1936 • Started as apprentice for Herz & Co, Siegburg

    Bet. 1936-1938 • Moved from Lenné Strasse to Liszt Strasse to Dorotheen Strasse

    10 Nov 1938 • Arrested by SS at factory.

    15 Nov 1938 • Taken to Dachau

    Apr 1939 • Released from Dachau; travelled to England with cousin Margot

    May 1939 • From Bonn to Flushing, Holland, to Harwich, England

    Bet. May-Jun 1939 • Wrasford Farm, Bude, Cornwall

    Jun 1939 • Farm in Sussex

    Also Known As
    Willi Field

    This is all from a family tree - there are no comments re any military service
    timuk likes this.
  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    That's him TD.
    Previous paragraph to the one I quoted is:

    "I volunteered because I wanted to repay Britain for saving my life," says Mr Field, who lives in north London. A Jew, he fled Germany in May 1939 after spending six months in Dachau concentration camp. During his confinement he had witnessed men dropping dead from exposure after being forced to stand on parade for 60 hours in retaliation for the disappearance of an inmate.

    "I knew they would soon come back for me, but if it wasn't for Britain I would have perished in the Holocaust. Some thought I was silly to want to fight but I wanted to do something; I wanted to get back at Hitler and the Nazis."

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  12. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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