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Thread: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

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    Default RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Some of the Danish volunteers in the RAF that I am researching served in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch and was working with intelligence of some sort probably because of their language abilities.

    In at least two cases sources states that they were at the Bergen-Belsen camp around its liberation. If this is the case, does anyone know how come RAF officers/NCOs were involved in this?

    Kind regards

    Mikkel Plannthin
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Mikkel,
    Bergen-Belsen is at GE 52.759846 9.911587. The airfield complex at Celle is at GE 52.685768 10.107283. These are 15 km/10sm/8nm apart. Malcolm’s RAFWEB says 2TAF were at Celle from Apr – 15 Jul 1945 (when it went to/under BAFO). As is well known, everybody/thing in the RAF has to be somewhere all the time in order to be accounted for and/or fed/watered. There would – most likely – have been a fairly mobile RAF Regt somewhere around, and they might have looked after your A&SD (Danish) Officers/NCOs.
    You might also have to remember another famous RAF phrase "they were making it up as they went along"!! The organisation, in those chaotic times, might well have been fairly fluid??!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Hi Mikkel,

    One of the first people into Belsen was Captain Roy ‘Winkle’ Brown, a test pilot. He was in Germany in a bid to find and recover jets, but as a fluent German speaker was diverted to Belsen as an interpreter/interrogator. Access to Belsen was strictly controlled and mostly limited to medical personnel. Much of the medical support was concentrated in the barracks next door. Captain Brown told of his experiences at Belsen during a talk he gave at the Chalke Valley History Festival about 5 years ago.

    Richard

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Hi Peter and Richard

    Thank you for clarifying.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    The camp was liberated by a light anti-aircraft regiment of the RA. The poor buggers were woefully ill prepared for what they faced, but did their best until the DMS arrived on mass. It makes perfect sense for a handful of linguists to have been brought in, within days.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Hi Mikkel,

    One of the first people into Belsen was Captain Roy ‘Winkle’ Brown, a test pilot. He was in Germany in a bid to find and recover jets, but as a fluent German speaker was diverted to Belsen as an interpreter/interrogator. Access to Belsen was strictly controlled and mostly limited to medical personnel. Much of the medical support was concentrated in the barracks next door. Captain Brown told of his experiences at Belsen during a talk he gave at the Chalke Valley History Festival about 5 years ago.

    Richard
    Minor point, Richard, but it was Eric Brown, not Roy.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Ian Brown For This Useful Post:

    Richard (16th February 2021)

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    Minor point, Richard, but it was Eric Brown, not Roy.
    Thanks Ian, given my failing memory I should've double-checked!

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    Default Re: RAF at Bergen-Belsen in 1945?

    My late father was at Celle from just after it's capture, with 125 Wing, and mentioned that everyone voluntarily gave up the equivalent of one meal a day to release food supplies for Bergen-Belsen.
    Allan Hillman

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    Resmoroh (18th February 2021)

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