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Thread: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

  1. #1
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    Default RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    Can anyone please point me in the direction of how to obtain copies of the above please? I am aware that not all returning PoWs completed them, and that they exist in hard copy only at Kew. However, has anyone copied them, or can recommend a researcher who could copy / puruse the files on my behalf, please? I am more than happy to pay my way.

    Many thanks

    Jonny
    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 PoW Liberation Reports

    I think all returning pow's had to fill in the report forms, they all had to provide information to the loss of their aircraft, their fellow crew etc. Each and every loss had to be accounted for, and even information added years later was still useful. I have found that the WO 208 series seems to contain the bulk of Liberation Reports, however, I found another stumbling block. Even when searching a name and TNA results actually give you file no. WO 208/xxxx, for that name, when you search file no. WO 208/xxxx you find an empty space. The page I have attached below, is an 'index page' from one of the WO 208/xxxx reports files/book , and the report I was seeking, even though it lists the name I was seeking, has one of those '+' next to it. These apparently mean these reports are 'on non-distribution lists', and are nowhere to be found, and you will see from the page, there are a lot of them. I have asked recently on our forum, what are these 'non-distribution lists', and how can these reports be found/seen ? , but alas I have had no response whatsoever from anyone. I have added a three page section from a guide on general pow research that you may find useful.




    Andrew

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    That's interesting. Thank you for responding. I am guessing that the 'Lib No.' (Liberation Number?) was given to each POW as they were processed home?
    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 PoW Liberation Reports

    Jonny, not sure how the numbers were allocated, probably as you say, as they were processed home. I was after WO 208/1481 Clerides G, (on that page index) which after much searching found the file number, found the box/volume containing the file, but no actual file. The '+' in the index means 'on non-distribution lists', and I have yet to find out what on earth that means. I doubt if anybody has copied them all, there are far too many.

    Found this if it helps you, it has name indexes to WO 208 file numbers :

    http://www.conscript-heroes.com/escapelines/index.htm
    Last edited by cyflyer1; 13th June 2021 at 21:11.
    Andrew

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    Hi Jonny,

    In "The Last Escape" by Nichol and Rennell the point is made that only 2/3s of all returning POWs filled out said forms. And the ones that did, in a hurry to get home, answered with "yes" or "no".

    And, as the tale goes, quite a few were pinched in the 1970s.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    Dave, what do you mean ? Please elaborate for us that do not know the tale.
    And, as the tale goes, quite a few were pinched in the 1970s.
    I don't think there is issue with pinching, as I said, so many of those files are (officially ? ) missing, but, those that are missing are marked with '+' , and at the end of the index it says '+' = 'on non-distribution lists' and all those marked such are missing, I checked the others with the '+' and they all missing.

    From couple of weeks ago when I was there, this is the name index page from WO 208/3334 that I was concerned with, and all those with crosses are missing:

    https://flic.kr/p/2m2vJLs
    Andrew

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    Dave,

    I wasn't aware of 'stolen' reports, but the fact that not all PWs completed the forms during their repatriation, tallies with my understanding.

    cyflyer1,

    Thanks again for the link. Unfortunately, my chap is not there. I have seen the OHMS PW reprint that details his PW number, date of capture and camps held, and I have the details concerning the loss of his a/c. The search continues!

    Cheers

    Jonny
    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 PoW Liberation Reports

    Hello

    From my own understanding and access to these documents, "liberation reports" were filled by those who had been "on the run" before being captured, or escaped from camps and were recaptured. And if I understood well, the title of the sub-series is confusing. I confirm many reports were stolen from Kew (I would have said in the 80es), they are listed in the index pages as shown by Andrew.

    The normal PoW questionnaires are in the WO 344 series, while the "liberation reports" are only a portion of the WO 208 series.

    My two pence Worth...

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 15th June 2021 at 15:03. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    Back before my first trip to Kew I ran by some of the things I was looking for.

    Two members of this forum were exceedingly generous with their advice and caveats. Thanks Joss and Greg.

    When I first ran across a missing file I asked the staff there and was told the same thing forum members had told me.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: RAF PoW Liberation Reports

    So far we are all in agreement that 'they were stolen', 'they were pinched', 'they are missing', 'they are on non-distribution lists' (at least this one is officially printed in the WO208 index pages of the file/volume, so thats the one I'm riding on, which means there has to be an official explanation as to what are the 'non-distribution lists' ), but the bottom lines is, where are they now and can researchers get to see them ????
    Andrew

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