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Thread: Who was "RAF Prisoner No.1"?

  1. #1
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    Default Who was "RAF Prisoner No.1"?

    On 18 April 1945, 125 Wing, based at B.118 Celle, stated,

    "We are getting hundreds of Allied and British prisoners who have escaped and are working their way here. Dakotas are using the strip to bring in petrol and are taking the ex-prisoners back. Camps are being established at Celle but we still get a number coming direct to Intelligence and of course we give them a lift. One interesting man was RAF prisoner No. 1, shot down in a Whitley on September 9th, 1939 over Potsdam." (125 Wing ORB, 18 Apr 1945, TNA AIR 26/185.)

    Can any of our 'bomber boys' perhaps identify/suggest who this may have been?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    I'd think this would be one of the crew of Whitley K8950 DY - M of 102 Squadron flying a 'Nickel' op. The crew was:

    Squadron Leader Stephen Murray - Pilot
    Pilot Officer Alan Thompson - Second Pilot
    Sergeant Charles Hill - Observer
    Aircraftman 1st Class Sam Burry - Wireless Operator
    Aircraftman 1st Class Peter Pacey - Rear Gunner

    They had the distinction of being the first complete crew captured, but not the first POW's, a 107 Squadron Blenheim being lost during the night of the 3rd/4th provided the first two, the pilot Sergeant Albert Stanley Prince being killed.

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    Steve,
    Ross will, no doubt, have his RAF PoW List(s) on Excel (or similar). When he gets back from the coal-face this evening it should be no problem for him to find the earliest.
    I tried the PoW List(s) on the 'old' Board. What did I find on p.1:-
    L3 1 Abbott J R 10 LV906 1803795 RAF 24/05/44 !!!
    The Germans must have been short of numbers - after all, there was a war on! But PoW No 1 at L3 who was not shot down until late May 1944 led me to believe the quest was not as simple as it seemed!
    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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    Steve

    I have the following:

    26117 Squadron Leader Stephen Murray RAF - POW Number 60, Camp Stalag Luft 3
    39585 Pilot Officer Alan Thompson RAF - POW Number 59, Camp Stalag Luft 3
    580896 Sergeant Charles Hill RAF - POW Number 2, Camp Stalag Luft 6
    524802 Aircraftman 1st Class Sam Burry RAF - POW Number 1, Camp 357 (Kopernikus)
    567315 Aircraftman 1st Class Peter Pacey RAF - POW Number 3, Camp 357 (Kopernikus)

    So it seems Burry is your man, although it was 'luck' he got number one. Despite the crew being captured together there is a wide difference in numbers.

    Alex

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    PoW numbers are a bit of a nightmare.

    They started off being issued sequentially at the Dulag but multiple issuing teams and prisoners in hospital for periods before being booked in soon saw duplication and gaps.

    Add to this PoW camps assigning their own numbers in arrival sequence.

    Periodic purges meant that a PoW number would become free at the old camp an issued to the next PoW through the gate regardless of any number on the records they came with. If the number was free at the new camp then it was sometimes assigned to the new bod.

    All that you can say from the PoW list is that it is a snapshot of individual numbers between May and Nov 1944 but not entirely correct for pre or post 1944.

    Liberation questionaires are the only documents that list all the PoW numbers for a man but even these do not fully pick up identity swaps between PoWs.

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Pilot Officer Laurence Hugh Edwards (New Zealander, 206 Squadron) was supposedly the first RAF officer to be captured (badly burned) by the Germans in World War Two. This was on 5th September 1939 after his Anson came out second best in a duel with a German seaplane off Heligoland, and crash/ditched on the sea, all other crew members being lost. He was the subject of repatriation to the UK in mid/llate 1944 because of poor health. Fortunately he lived on for many years and resumed his flying career with the RNZAF, and died in Christchurch 8th July 1994. Credit, By Such Deeds, by Group Captain Colin Hanson, pages 173/174.
    David D

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    Forgot to mention, Laurie Edwards' RAF number was 36187, and he completed his pilot training at the RNZAF FTS, Wigram with Course No. 5 (13/9/38 to 4/4/59).
    David D

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    Default POW Nos 1 & 2

    Hello,

    Somewhere I recall it was said that the first two RAF pow's were members of the BNP ?
    Can this now be refuted or confirmed with regard to Burry and Hill ?

    Alex

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    Hello,

    BNP ? Maybe B.U.F. (British Union of Fascists).

    Col.

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    4 September 1939 9 Sqn Wellington I L44275 WS-H Brunsbuttel

    Shot down in target area

    5 crew KIA

    AC2 G.T Brocking & AC2 K G Day were members of the British Union of Fascists, both commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial

    Mark

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