Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: POW accounts in The National Archives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Egmond-Binnen, The Netherlands
    Posts
    290
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default POW accounts in The National Archives

    Dear all,

    Recently I got a very interesting POW account from our forum member Daz.

    It is a three pages account of a rear gunner in which his capture and activities in the POW camp are described.

    This account is held by the National Archives, presumably somewhere in the WO208 series, but exact archive number is unknown. It somehow reminds me of a similar account and setup as the evasion and escape reports.

    As this kind of account provides much more information than the more basic Liberation Questionnaires in WO344 I'm anxious to find out if there might be more of these POW accounts or maybe of all captured airmen.

    First thing to look for is a more precise archive number and I hope someone recognizes above brief description and can point out which file numbers may be worth checking. I have already consulted the catalogue of TNA, but there are many hits for just 'prisoner of war' in WO208.

    It's a pity I can't post an attachment of the account.


    Thanks in advance for your effort,

    Hans Nauta
    Holland

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    483
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hans

    I don't think you will find a more accurate file/piece number without providing the last name of the person who wrote the account.

    Other board members may know more than me but I believe there would only be a more detailed de-brief in WO208 if the person concerned had escaped and evaded.

    From my experience of viewing docs in WO344 the brief 3 page questionnaire was completed quite differently by some people. Most are very brief but some have quite a lot of detail and a few have additional detail or letters attached to them. For me it has not been clear why the additional info is attached. It seems that it might simply have been volunteered at the time the questionnaire was completed; perhaps there was a system where q'aires were checked and then certain people were referred in to MI9 or it seems it might have been generated in correspondence at a later stage (eg where a person considered that they were badly treated).

    I have found for personnel shot down eg over Italy or Yugoslavia that they may have evaded for a period of time before capture and in these circumstances it seems that more information is usually provided/collected.

    Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,382
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    hello,

    Hans, the report you are seeking are called "liberation reports" and indeed they are in the WO 208 series, after the Escape and Evasion reports. They start from WO 208/3328 (report 1 to 100), WO208/3329 (101 to 300), WO208/3330 (301 to 550) and so on until WO208/3351. The first files are indexed, but not the latter. I once started to create an index for the last ones, but it was a long term project, only possible when one has spare time, and it's not often the case when I'm in Kew.

    So either you have a name or a report number, and you should be able to find your way around. I have taken digital pictures of the index pages for WO208/3330, 3331, 3332, 3333 and 3334.

    These liberation report were filed by :
    - people who evaded capture before being caught by the Germans
    - people who escaped from camps, but usually were recaptured
    - people who escaped from camps and made a home run (not sure about this one, I may confuse with another group of files, in the E&E section).

    I have found that some WO344 questionnaires have a hand-written reference on top, with the liberation report number (check if there's no "lib xyz" mention on the Questionnaire).

    Joss

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Egmond-Binnen, The Netherlands
    Posts
    290
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hello Steve and Joss,

    First of all I must say that I'm really amazed that in about half an hour after my initial post two answers turned up, which are useful.

    Steve, you're right that the description might be too general without the crew member's name. It concerned P/O Dalby William LUSTY 140905 RAF who was a rear gunner on Halifax JB928 of 78 Squadron which lost in the night of 25/26th June 1943.

    Joss, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. P/O Lusty was captured the next day and was technically only 12 hours on the run. Apperently this is enough to have this classified for an account. And yes, I've found indeed LIB numbers on a couple of Liberation Questionnaires which I photographed in TNA previously. So that is a simple way to find the matching Liberation Reports and saves a lot of time!

    By the way, how are these Liberation Reports indexed apart from the number? Alphabettically or chronologically by date of capture/liberation?

    Best wishes,
    Hans

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,382
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    hello,

    I can't see no specific order for the Liberation reports, and that's the main problem. And it's even worse for the WO 208/3348 to 3352 section, no index at all ! They cover escape reports from 1 to 3048. But sometimes there's only one page, the front one, or only the appendix 'C' (names of helpers). My feeling is that this section mostly covers the airmen who were shot down from about May 1944, and stayed at the same place, waiting for the liberation army to free them, rather than trying to get to Spain or Switzerland.

    WO 208/3340 has liberation reports from 1403 to 1882. Highest number in the series it seems Then you have miscellaneous intelligence reports. then the 'escape reports' (not Escape & Evasion reports, the name is slightly different).

    I can't see no real logic, airmen are mixed with army soldiers, but in some volumes they are clearly the most numerous. Probably numbered in the sequence they were sent back to HQ. Obviously all are dated 1945. Not filed in the order they were captured.

    Joss

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Egmond-Binnen, The Netherlands
    Posts
    290
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Joss,

    Thanks for your explanation. So it's better to consult the Liberation Questionnaire in WO344 first to have at least a Lib number. This should be enough to find my way.

    Best wishes,
    Hans Nauta

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Woking, Surrey
    Posts
    544
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hans,

    Give me a clue. Have you seen these numbers our my Father's records or any of the others? I have lots of detail on the top but no idea what this is about.

    I am there on Friday so will look up for you.

    Regards,

    Nick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    592
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Joss.

    I think I am learing with this interesting subject. I have obtained the POW questionaire to W/O Hamblin 543883 on the top section against MISX is 22663. Am I correct in thinking this is reference to another report.

    I searched the MI9 reports but found nothing as it was possible he had escaped during the great march.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,382
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Colin,

    I can't say for sure for the reference you quote, but that's indeed possible. I'm positive about the 'LIB' annotation on top. The problem is that some Liberation reports were stolen from the National Archives a few years ago, and in my personal case, this information is completely lost. I imagine they had duplicates in other files at the time (Record of Service for exemple) but we don't have access to them either !

    Joss

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    592
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Joss.

    Thank you for your thoughts, will see if I can make sence of that numbering. Clearly it is almost luck thats required to find them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •