Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

POW's and repatriation


34 replies to this topic

#1 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:48 AM

Hello, does anyone know (and can anyone tell me) about the mechanics of the repatriation of British POW's at the wars end ? My grand father was in the Queens Royal West Surrys and left an account of his wartime service. He was captured at the Battle of Menin Road in September 1917 and held in Dolman, Getorfd and Gustrow (I have some postcards that he left that I will try and scan). He wrote that following the navy mutiny in November '18 'a private Marine took the place of the officer at our camp' and at the wars end they were taken round Keil.He was repatriated from Copenhagen to Leith in January 1919 - other postcards are Swedish so I assume he was repatriated on a Swedish ship. My questions are these:
1) He has detailed all of his movements by ship but there is nothing about a move from Germany to Denmark so I assume this was done by rail ? If so, would they have been under escort ? I would like to think he could have had a beer in Tivoli ...
2) I assume that 'passanger' lists were kept, both for the train journy and the travel by ship, would these be kept by The Red Cross ?
3) Do you know of any Japanese POW's being held in German camps in Europe (I ask as there is an embroidered Japanese cap badge amongst the stuff he left) ?
Any suggestions will be gratefuly received, I am in contact with the Danish State Railway Museum regarding train transport and will let you know what I find.
Many thanks, Jon Bowd

#2 bootneck

bootneck

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 565 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

Jon

I am assuming your grandfather was G/5712 Jonathan Bowd, 1st Battalion, The Queen’s. There is an entry for him in the Queen’s POW book held at the Surrey History Centre (their reference: QRWS/1/5/1).

He was either captured or the Red Cross informed the British authorities on 31 October 1917. His next of kin is given as Mrs A Bowd of 48 Thorpe Lea Road, Egham. He attended the POWs Welcome Home party at the end of January 1919 and received the Queen’s POW medal.

It might be that he was sent from Kiel to Copenhagen, by boat, and then repatriated to Leith, via Gothenburg. There is a lot of material on WW1 POWs in FO383 at the National Archives. It has been indexed and is easily searchable on their online catalogue.

Japan was an ally during WW1 and many servicemen passed the time doing embroidery and needlework and flags and badges were popular subjects.

regards

Bootneck

#3 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:42 PM

Thank you very much for the additional info Bootneck, yes he was G/5712, glad to read that he made the welcome home party. I will delve into the record you suggest. Information provided by another forum member states that some retruning British troops were kept in camps in Sweden, but I tought he would heave mentioned that in his account, would help explain the postcards of Swedish subjects. I am taking the Japanese badge along to the next meeting of the Northants WFA to see if they can shed any further light on it, a visit to the Antiques Roadshow ended up with me providing the 'expert' with more info than he gave me. Thanks once again.

#4 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:55 PM

Some more info: he (John Bowd) was captured on 25/9/17 with 3 others from The Queens. They were sent out to a listening post as the British planned to attack on 26/9, however on 25/9 the Germans attacked first 'On the right, the posts of the 1st The Queens were overwhelmed, the enemy debouching from the village of Gheluvelt armed with flame-throwers.....' The original British attack planed for 26/9 went ahead as previously planned 'At dawn on 26th the attack, which had been reinforced by the 19th Brigade, swept along the whole 33rd Divisional front with extreme bitterness. Very few prisoners were taken.'
The extracts in italics are taken from the photocopies taken from the regimental histories / battalion war diaries held at the Imperial War Museum which I obtained many years ago.

#5 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 23 March 2012 - 07:38 AM

I have been researching the repatriation of British pows via Denmark for several years. My sister wrote her disertation, for an MA from Birmingham Uni in 2009, on the subject of why this route was used.
It is a fantastic untold Great War story! Known as the Danish Scheme.
I live in Denmark and have been able to use the archives here and translate for her.
I hope she will turn her diseration into a book. In the mean time I have started writing up all the other Danish/British pow "stories" I have come across.
I have made a start on www.thedanishscheme.co.uk
Make sure you see the film link.

We don't know everything. But a lot!
I can help you with some info on your grandfathers journey home if you give me a date for his repatriation.
It wasn't by train.
There were only two groups of Brit pows at the Swedish camp Ljungbyhed.
I would be very interested in seeing his postcards sent from Sweden and the other info about his return journey.
We have masses of official documents,diaries etc but all personal stories are of interest as they fill holes.
Photos of repatriation are of interest to.

#6 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:51 AM

Thanks very much for the additional info Danish Scheme, I would love to see your sisters work ! We go to Denmark at least once a year, the family are from Odense so perhaps we could arrange to meet over an Elephant or two and I will bring along the postcards, once I have the scanning sorted out I will send you a copy of the account my grandad left of his Great War service, including his time as POW.
Endnu en gang, Mange Tak, Jonathan Bowd

#7 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:03 PM

Thanks very much for the additional info Danish Scheme, I would love to see your sisters work ! We go to Denmark at least once a year, the family are from Odense so perhaps we could arrange to meet over an Elephant or two and I will bring along the postcards, once I have the scanning sorted out I will send you a copy of the account my grandad left of his Great War service, including his time as POW.
Endnu en gang, Mange Tak, Jonathan Bowd


My daughter is studying law at the University at Odense so meeting up there wouldn't be a problem.
If you give me the date for your grandfather's return to Leith or Ripon I will know which group he was part of.
Dorothy


#8 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:56 PM

Thanks Dorothy,

Unfortunatly I do not know exactly when he got back but in the account he left he wrote 'I got out of Germany 9th January 1919' and that 'Whilst a prisoner with the Germans I was at Dolman. A village named Getorfd Gustrow in Mecklenburg, Lubeck'. He also wrote that he saw the fleet leave from Kiel after the armistice, he sailed from Copenhagen to Leith and I have leaned that he attended the dinner held for repatriated Queens POWs at Guildford on 24th January 1919, so there is a window 9/1/19 to 24/1/19 when he may have travelled- hope this helps.

#9 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

My mistake, I was misled by the Swedish postcards!. If our fix point is his leaving Germany on the 9. January then he wasn't in the two groups at the Swedish camp.
The major ferry transports with British pows taking them from Baltic ports to Copenhagen had finished at this point, though they carried on with other nationals.
A number of Danish officers volunteered to help with repatriation work for the British Red Cross and organised things in the German camps and as embarkation officers at the ports.
British officers ex pows offered to stay on too and organised the men.

Your grandfather was one of the last Brit pows to leave Germany.
This means he could have been a "straggler" on one of these other transports or on a train.
I have two official sorces for train movements with pows from Germany.
On the 9 january 50 French and 2 Brit officer and 15 French other ranks made journey Warnemunde - Gedser- then train to Copenhagen.
On 10 january 26 officers and 45 other ranks no nationality.
On 11 january one Brit. The register for train movements is detailed as DSB was paid ticket fare.
So this part of his story is quite unusual. Or had he been ill?
If he was one of the afore mentioned arriving on 9, 10 or 11 then he was installed at the Skodsborg Bade hotel (very nice) which was for most part for officers.

I understand you have information about which ship he travelled from Copenhagen to Leith on.
My bid on possible transports are as follows. I would like to know if any are the right one for him.
Transport back to Leith could have been on saturday 11 january on the Mitau, however he would probably have had to wait for next transport.
This was on the Ajax, leaving Copenhagen on 13 January.
This was the last transport, clearing the Danish camps and hotels for British pows.
The Danish King and Queen were at Frihavn and waved goodbye. The Queen taking photos.
A hospital ship and another transport with the last repatriation staff returned to Leith a few days later.

Tivoli wasn't open. However the Danes had arranged tearooms, entertainments, guided trips to see the sights etc.
As I said it is a fantastic story on all accounts.
I attach a newspaper article. One about the tearoom at Charlottenborg, where your grandfather could have had a nice cup of tea and enjoyed Michael Anchers paintings.
I would like to see your grandfather's postcards and any info he gave about his journey home.
My grandfather was taken prisoner on 2. november 1914. He had also been a pow in Mecklenburg. His postcard was sent with post stamp 7. january from Copenhagen.
It was never a case of those who had been taken prisoner first being repatriated first.


best wishes Dorothy

Attached Files



#10 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 25 March 2012 - 01:55 PM

Dear Dorothy

Thank you very much for all of the information that you have provided. I do not know if he was actualy ill but his accounts indicate that the pows were in a poor condition as a result of starvation. I have no information on the ship he travelled on other than that I assume it to be Swdeish becuase of the postcards of Swedish subjects (Helsingberg and the Swedish queen). None of the postacrds were actualy posted so there are no date stamps ! I will get the scanner going and send you what I can. thanks once again for all of your info.

Best regards

Jonathan Bowd

#11 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:58 PM

Jonathan,

Generally, though not necessarily always, PoWs out at working camps were returned to the parent camp before repatriation. There is an account by Dawson who was at Kiel at the end of the war and he certainly went back to Güstrow. The Baltic ports were the ones used to repatriate prisoners from Güstrow. Some seem to have gone out through Kiel but others, as my grandfather did, went out via the camp at Viborg in Denmark (to Leith and then Ripon, one of two main clearing camps). This was a popular route and there is an account available of a PoW from Güstrow who followed that route. I have many postcards of Viborg camp that my Grandfather picked up there and I also have a photograph of British PoWs at Viborg (very happy ones!).

Yes there were Japanese PoWs, 83 were at Güstrow at the end of the war.

Doug

PS I think the list of camps is possibly Dülmen (a well known head camp), and Gettorf, a working camp attached to Güstrow. The account by Dawson certainly seems to echo your grandfather's story as he was at Gettorf and he also gives an account of the end of the war at Kiel.

#12 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:53 PM

Hello Doug

Thanks for that info, I am enjoying the detctive work piecing it all together. Where would I find Dawsons account ? Amongst the postcards are one of a cemetary at Gustrow (names on the crosses that I can make out are Alfred Thomas, Delatre, Ernest Bonneter, Arthur Clough), one of an unamed camp, 2 panoramas of Gustrow town (pre war ?), 2 of Gettorf (Kaiserl. Postamt & Teichstrasse, again pre war ?), one of Lubeck (Burgtor, pre war) and the Swedish ones: Dronning Alexandrine and the statue of Magnus Stenbocks, Helsingborg. There is also an unidentified fountian and bandstand and an unidentified rural scene (though this last one was printed in Stockholm according to the text on the back). Most exotic of the lot is one of 'Ye Mercar Cross, Edinburgh! To round them all off there is an 'Album von Kiel' of 10 colourised postcards, one of which depicts units of the Imperial High Seas fleet, oh the irony !

Very interested to read about the Japanese pow's, it has been suggested that the cap badge was a result of camp emroidery but you can see where it has been cut out, there is leather on the reverse and the gold thread does look like (old) gold thread.

Thanks once again, I hope to have the cards etc scanned in the nest few weeks and I will put them up here.

Best regards

Jonathan Bowd

#13 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:37 PM

As my Danish wife has just pointed out to me with some swift blows to the head, Dronning Alexanderine was of course Queen of Denmark in 1919 so it is not a swedish postcard, on closer examination the unnamed bandstand is in fact 'Helsingborg, halsan'.

Yours with his 'Eye-Spy European Royal Families' book, Jonathan Bowd

#14 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 08:55 AM

Jonathan,

Generally, though not necessarily always, PoWs out at working camps were returned to the parent camp before repatriation. There is an account by Dawson who was at Kiel at the end of the war and he certainly went back to Güstrow. The Baltic ports were the ones used to repatriate prisoners from Güstrow. Some seem to have gone out through Kiel but others, as my grandfather did, went out via the camp at Viborg in Denmark (to Leith and then Ripon, one of two main clearing camps). This was a popular route and there is an account available of a PoW from Güstrow who followed that route. I have many postcards of Viborg camp that my Grandfather picked up there and I also have a photograph of British PoWs at Viborg (very happy ones!).

Yes there were Japanese PoWs, 83 were at Güstrow at the end of the war.

Doug

PS I think the list of camps is possibly Dülmen (a well known head camp), and Gettorf, a working camp attached to Güstrow. The account by Dawson certainly seems to echo your grandfather's story as he was at Gettorf and he also gives an account of the end of the war at Kiel.


Hello
I am not quite sure how this works. If I am jumping in on anothers conversation. Please put me right if this is not the done thing.
Together with my sister I have done extensive research on the repatriation of British pows via Denmark.
What we are lacking in are photos taken of the ex- pows en route, either on ship, in camp or out enjoying themselves. We have many newspaper pictures of poor quality and would love to see any privately owned with a personal story.
As you rightly point out a number stayed at the camp at Hald near Viborg.

If anyone is interested in the 83 Japanese, I have a couple of good photos of them in Copenhagen. They are interesting to follow as a different, civilian and exotic, group in the repatriation story.

Another subject for my research is with the Copenhagen Bureau. Bread and first capture parcels where sent from Copenhagen.
I am interested in any "stories" connected to these parcels, good and bad!. Also any correspondence with Mrs. Annie Mygind, BRC Copenhagen, and Paula Leonhard, DRC Copenhagen.
Many Danes "adopted" British pows in Germany and sent letters and parcels. Any info regarding this would be of great interest to me.

Thank you
Dorothy

#15 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:00 PM

Jonathan,

I somehow knew you would ask for Dawson's account but needed time to locate it as the link I had was broken. However it is here.

There are several photographs of the Güstrow cemetery that I know of. I have one that was taken of the Grave of John Gilfillan, a fellow comrade of my Grandfather. There is one of Malthouse's grave, of similar quality to that of Gilfillan, in the Australian War Museum (available to view on line) plus there are several views in the background of the photographs of the dedication of the war memorial, of which there are numerous images. I also have one of a funeral party which includes my Grandfather amongst the mourners. Your however seems to be one I have not seen and I would like to see it as well as the unnamed camp one.

The account of Donald Stewart is here. The article is right at the end so start there.

Dorothy,

I have read quite a few accounts of PoWs in connection with bread from Denmark; the concensus appears to be that the bread sent from home was often mouldy when received but that from Denmark was fine.

I will scan the Viborg picture for you and post it here soon. For a better quality image I would need an e-mail address.

Doug

#16 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:34 PM

Here is the photo of PoWs at Viborg on the 23rd Dec 1918 (as stated on the front but not very clear on the scan).

Attached File  V009.jpg   56.48KB   7 downloads

#17 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:36 PM

Just in case of doubt, compare the windows with this view;

Attached File  V007reduced.JPG   79.71KB   3 downloads

#18 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

Jonathan,

I somehow knew you would ask for Dawson's account but needed time to locate it as the link I had was broken. However it is here.

There are several photographs of the Güstrow cemetery that I know of. I have one that was taken of the Grave of John Gilfillan, a fellow comrade of my Grandfather. There is one of Malthouse's grave, of similar quality to that of Gilfillan, in the Australian War Museum (available to view on line) plus there are several views in the background of the photographs of the dedication of the war memorial, of which there are numerous images. I also have one of a funeral party which includes my Grandfather amongst the mourners. Your however seems to be one I have not seen and I would like to see it as well as the unnamed camp one.

The account of Donald Stewart is here. The article is right at the end so start there.

Dorothy,

I have read quite a few accounts of PoWs in connection with bread from Denmark; the concensus appears to be that the bread sent from home was often mouldy when received but that from Denmark was fine.

I will scan the Viborg picture for you and post it here soon. For a better quality image I would need an e-mail address.

Doug


Many thanks for letting me see the photo and the postcard.
Taken on the 23. it must have been just before they left for Aarhus. No wonder they look happy.

Do you have info on the 6 men?

My e-mail is dorothea@livinghistory.dk

Thanks again
Dorothy




#19 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:02 PM

Dorothy,

Nothing on the men, no names on the back of the card, just one I purchased a while ago.

Doug

#20 Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,265 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northumberland
  • Interests:Gustrow

Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:01 AM

The following information found its way into my possession yesterday. It is the most detailed account I have seen of a repatriation;

24th Nov 1918 - 10.40am - left Ruhleben per special train
25th Nov 1918 - 1.00am - arrived at Stralsund; 2.45am - crossed train ferry to island of Rügen; 5.00am - arrived at Sassnitz; 10.00am - left Sassnitz per Danish steamer "Kong Haakon"; 4.00pm - arrived at Copenhagen; 7.00pm - left Copenhagen per Danish steamer "Primula".
28th Nov 1918 - 10.00am - Landed at Leith; 10.57pm arrived in Manchester.

The prisoner in question was a civilian and Manchester was home so no short stay in a camp in the UK.

No doubt someone can say whether the two vessels in question were actually Danish.

Doug

#21 thedanishscheme

thedanishscheme

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 11 posts

Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

Two ships, the Kong Haakon and the Dronning Maud sailed as a team and picked up the Ruhleben pows from Sassnitz. This was their second trip. The former pows then travelled from Copenhagen on to Leith on the Primula and the Ficaria. Their arrival can be seen on film on "Scottish moving picture news, return of the interned" .
All of these ships where Danish ships chartered by the British under "The Danish Scheme".

Dorothy

#22 JonBowd

JonBowd

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:The Danish Scheme
    POW's
    Queens Royal West Surrey Regt
    York & Lancaster Regt
    Durham Light Infantry

Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:40 PM

According to the Coasters & other ships website, there was a ship that could fit the bill for the Primula - a passenger ship built in Sweden, launched 1904, registered to Russia (Helsinki) in 1904, registered to the German Navy 1915 (captured ?) then in 1921 registered to Finland (Helsinki). I was unable to find any rcord for the Kong Haarkon, but of course King Haarkon was King of Norway at the time and came from the Danish royal family .... many thanks for the info Doug and Dorothy

#23 Jody Allen Randolph

Jody Allen Randolph

    Lance-Corporal

  • Members2
  • 5 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Dublin
  • Interests:Ruhleben, Palgrave Murphy, Merchant shipping

Posted 08 December 2012 - 09:51 AM

Dorothy and Doug,

I have a Board of Trade repatriation record for one of the Palgrave Murphy merchant seamen captains imprisoned at Ruhleben---December 3, 1918. The Irish newspapers report him arriving in Dublin with several other Palgrave Murphy captains on December 4th. I am wondering why, if the last train left Ruhleben on November 24th, did it take them so long to get home. Any help appreciated.

Jody

#24 sadsam

sadsam

    Private

  • Members2
  • 4 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southampton
  • Interests:Anything old and noisy. Southampton FC.

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

Hi,

I have a release date for my Grandfather (from ICRC records) of 17th January 1919.

Would he have been repatriated through Denmark?

#25 TARA

TARA

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 86 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Colchester

Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:23 PM

To add to the story of repatriation of POWs I have information from the diary of C E Fuller (7 Buffs). He kept a diary as a POW from 25 March 1918 until 9 October, and then restarted again on 15 December giving sketchy details of his journey back to Britain. His wrote in pencil so today many entries are difficult to decifer, and place names are often misspelled or incomplete!

15 Dec - left Linforden about 7pm, loaded into trucks. Rather uncomfortable.
16 Dec - arrived at W......de and got straight onto boat. Three ships carried the crowd. I was on the C.P. Good voyage, sea calm, Bags of grub on board.
17 Dec - landed at Arr......., good reception from people. Entrained to Viberg. British officers waiting for us. Put in some jolly fine barracks.

23 Dec - left hold camp about 7am and entrained for Aar......n. A lot of people turned out at Viborg station and gave us ..... and fags.
At Aar....n there were three ships for us, the Ficaria, the boat I was on, the Primula, the Bernstoff. Pulled out of harbour at 10. Sea rough.
24 Dec - Dozens of men looking at the bottom of buckets and that did it for me!
25 Dec - passed coast of Norway. Had medical inspection, given clothes. Got into Firth of Forth late at night.
26 Dec - run into Leith the entrained for Ripon.
27 Dec - clothed and paid out. Going tomorrow. (last entry)