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British POWs "liberated" by the Russians

#1
I watched an interesting documentary on the thousands of US servicemen liberated from the Germans in WW2 by the Red Army who subsequently were never returned. Similarly of those captured in the Korean & Vietnam wars making their way into Russian hands.

It briefly (only briefly) mentioned that British POWs were also liberated by the Russians.

What was their fate? Thousands still missing?
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
I watched an interesting documentary on the thousands of US servicemen liberated from the Germans in WW2 by the Red Army who subsequently were never returned. Similarly of those captured in the Korean & Vietnam wars making their way into Russian hands.

It briefly (only briefly) mentioned that British POWs were also liberated by the Russians.

What was their fate? Thousands still missing?
IIRC they held them until the end of the war pretty much ensuring theyu got what they wanted with regards to territory and the return of Ukranians etc who were hiding out in British and U.S. camps

IIRC all the POW's got returned though
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#3
The guys that disapeared a la Nelson de Mille's "The Charm School" were all supposed to be USAF Reconnaissance that got shot down in the 1940's - 1960's. And we're talking a minute amount if they actually survived being shot down. Nothing during Ze Var. Our chaps never got caught by the Russian SAMs when they were flying the U2 recon missions 1960-1962. This was when the US president banned overflights after Gary Powers so the CIA got the RAF to fly them on their behalf.

Re Korea, The Chinese and North Koreans Killed so many by starvation in POW camps during 1950 that the missing are due to the Commies probably not giving a flying **** about burying the evil capitalists properly. To be fair they probably didn't give their own much more of a send off. Vietnam I recon the missing are due to a mixture of Jungle being a good place to hide a body, stacking into the ground at 800 Mph, vast quantities of explosives and the odd poor bastard who saw Uncle Ho's bog roll delivery or the bunch of SAM's storred in the kiddies hospital and was executed on the spot to hide the secret (commies being more paranoid than most).

I find it hard to believe there hasn't been 1 of the many defectors who said to his debriefer "You'll never guess who I met in Lubyanka Prison".
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#5
Goldbricker. He was Swedish, not American or British. You've also got the Japs that Kim Il Jong kidnapped. But we're talking servicemen here. Not civvies.
 
#7
I think I'll have to add that to my reading list, thanks
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Nigel Cawthorne, in his book Iron Cage- British Prisoners Abandoned claims that 30,000 British POW 'liberated' by the Soviets never returned home!

The Iron Cage: Are British Prisoners of War Abandoned in Soviet Hands Still Alive in Siberia?: Amazon.co.uk: N. Cawthorne: Books
I would be suprised at that amount
The Germans kept records and informed the Red Cross who they were holding
As the Soviets approached they marched most POW's away from the Russians as they advanced and the Germans retreated about 3500 men died on these marches

On their return many filled in a POW questionaire so I'm sure that if loads had been left behind then a discrepancy would have ben noted
 
#9
I remember reading Fly For Your Life the biography of Wing Commander RRS Tuck when he did a bunk from the erics in the chaos of the POW moves in 1945 he was Liberated/captured by the Soviets and made to fight as an Infantryman with the russians from which he did a bunk again and made his own way to Odessa I would think that was not an isolated incident
 
#10
I would be suprised at that amount
The amount surprised me too, although I did read once that a large group of British POWs was marched back East and never seen or heard from again. Apparantly they believed they were German??
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Try "No Citation" by James Allan, Angus & Robertson 1955, Panther ppbk 1956. Allan was a Redcap captured at Dunkirk, escaped EAST from a Polish PoW camp, jailed by the NKVD, released to the British Embassy after rotting in solitary in the Lubianka & came home with the Beaverbrook mission of 1941.
 
#13
I seem to remember watching a programme years ago that was talking about the oddities that occoured at the end of world war two that pre-dated but foretold the coming cold war. In this programme they mentioned such things like the Germans surrendering at a river to the western allies (I can't remember if it was British or American) and then lining up their artillery on the opposite bank and shelling the Russains in plain view of the western force to cover their rearguard and retreating forces as they made their way west to surrender in the west.

This programme also went onto mention dogfights with British and American aircraft against Russain aircraft, with the Russians as I understand it being told to try and slow down the western allies advance so that they could capture and then hopefully retain more ground in Europe. I had also heard that Uncle Joe had ordered that all western POW's were to be taken east to be used as bargaining chips to further his ambitions in Europe.

I suppose it is no odder in the grand scheme of things than the truce that was brokered when the British came across Belsen where they worked with the (armed) Germans for something like a week until they were in a position to take over properly, whereby they gave the Germans safe passage back to the front lines to again take up the fight.

As a slight aside to this, I have often wondered how many British soldiers were captured or repatriated from the BEF venture (Arkangel etc) to Russia during their civil war throughout 1918-1920?.
 
#14
I seem to remember watching a programme years ago that was talking about the oddities that occoured at the end of world war two that pre-dated but foretold the coming cold war. In this programme they mentioned such things like the Germans surrendering at a river to the western allies (I can't remember if it was British or American) and then lining up their artillery on the opposite bank and shelling the Russains in plain view of the western force to cover their rearguard and retreating forces as they made their way west to surrender in the west.

This programme also went onto mention dogfights with British and American aircraft against Russain aircraft, with the Russians as I understand it being told to try and slow down the western allies advance so that they could capture and then hopefully retain more ground in Europe. I had also heard that Uncle Joe had ordered that all western POW's were to be taken east to be used as bargaining chips to further his ambitions in Europe.

I suppose it is no odder in the grand scheme of things than the truce that was brokered when the British came across Belsen where they worked with the (armed) Germans for something like a week until they were in a position to take over properly, whereby they gave the Germans safe passage back to the front lines to again take up the fight.

As a slight aside to this, I have often wondered how many British soldiers were captured or repatriated from the BEF venture (Arkangel etc) to Russia during their civil war throughout 1918-1920?.
I don't believe you can point to a single shred of evidence for any of your strange assertions: if you did indeed see any of them on a TV programme it must have been a Fox channel.
 
#15
I seem to remember watching a programme years ago that was talking about the oddities that occoured at the end of world war two that pre-dated but foretold the coming cold war. In this programme they mentioned such things like the Germans surrendering at a river to the western allies (I can't remember if it was British or American) and then lining up their artillery on the opposite bank and shelling the Russains in plain view of the western force to cover their rearguard and retreating forces as they made their way west to surrender in the west.
Thats a slightly garbled version of what happened when the remains of the German 9th and 12th Armies that had managed to cross the Soviet line of march south of Berlin reached the Elbe river. A rearguard of these armies formed a perimeter/ line on the eastern bank and fought off Russian approaches, whilst a huge mass of soldiers and civilian refugees crossed the Elbe and surrendered to the US 9th Army. Thus, in effect, the German armies were fighting on one side and surrendering on the other. The US soldiers on the west bank could indeed hear the arty battle on the east bank, although it was some way off. The incident naturally caused some tension between the Soviet and Allied authorities.
 
#16
Thats a slightly garbled version of what happened when the remains of the German 9th and 12th Armies that had managed to cross the Soviet line of march south of Berlin reached the Elbe river. A rearguard of these armies formed a perimeter/ line on the eastern bank and fought off Russian approaches, whilst a huge mass of soldiers and civilian refugees crossed the Elbe and surrendered to the US 9th Army. Thus, in effect, the German armies were fighting on one side and surrendering on the other. The US soldiers on the west bank could indeed hear the arty battle on the east bank, although it was some way off. The incident naturally caused some tension between the Soviet and Allied authorities.
Many thanks 4T, it was a long time a go that I watched the programme and this sounds about right, and although I did think that the artillery was closer, we all know that the TV people will embelish a story to make it that little bit better.

Jim, I can't substantiate anything I have written above (believe half of what you see and none of what you hear), however I understand that the Belsen episode (and truce) was well recorded and a short google search pulled up the following link and statement, although I am sure that you can improve on this.

Bergen-Belsen

By negotiations between British and German officers, British troops took over from the SS and the Wehrmacht the task of guarding the vast concentration camp at Belsen, a few miles northwest of Celle, which contains 60,000 prisoners, many of them political. This has been done because typhus is rampant in the camp and it is vital that no prisoners be released until the infection is checked. The advancing British agreed to refrain from bombing or shelling the area of the camp, and the Germans agreed to leave behind an armed guard which would be allowed to return to their own lines a week after the British arrival.

The story of the negotiations is curious. Two German officers presented themselves before the British outposts and explained that there were 9,000 sick in the camp and that all sanitation had failed. They proposed that the British should occupy the camp at once, as the responsibility was international in the interests of health. In return for the delay caused by the truce the Germans offered to surrender intact the bridges over the river Aller. After brief consideration the British senior officer rejected the German proposals, saying it was necessary that the British should occupy an area of ten kilometers round the camp in order to be sure of keeping their troops and lines of communication away from the disease. The British eventually took over the camp.
 
#17
Duffy has the following to say about this type of incident in Red Storm on the Reich

Help was forthcoming from some remarkable quarters. Eighteen French prisoners of war were among the fifty-six people murdered by the Russians at Krenau in East Prussia, and for a large number of ex-Allied soldiers the prospect of 'liberation' became distinctly unappealing. Many of the refugee columns were led to safety by French, Poles and Russians, and Lieutenant Hans Schäufler testified to

"something which struck me again and again, how nearly all the peasant households from East and West Prussia were accompanied by French prisoners of war, who took sedulous care of 'their' families, and were much concerned not to be separated from them in the turmoil. They were usually the only males in the column, apart from some sick old men. They were attached above all to the welfare of the children and these in turn were exceedingly fond of their 'Jean'." (Schäufler, 1979, 120. See also Dieckert and Grossmann, 1960, 102)


The same Panzer lieutenant tells in circumstantial detail the story of thirty-two British oficer prisoners of war who had been abandoned by the Germans in the camp at Schlossberg in easternmost East Prussia. The Russians tried to transport them east to some unspecified destination, but the British broke free and made their way across the width of East Prussia until they reached the 35th Panzer Regiment of the 4th Panzer Division at Heiderode:

"In the polite English way, and with all proper courtesy, they emphasised that they wanted to come back and stay with us. Without any prompting they assured us that, if necessary, they would be willing to fight on the German side.

We had been sunk in gloom, and you may imagine how their request gave a mighty boost to our morale. Naturally we took them in, and we willingly shared our rations and cigarettes."


It transpired that four of the party had been captured by the 4th Panzer Division at Bethune in 1940. The last that was seen of the officers was in late March or early April, when they were waiting with thousands of German soldiers and civilians to be shipped from Oxhöft (Schäufler, 1979, 119-20; see also Schäufler, 1973, 245). This episode invites further investigation.
Taken from:

Duffy, Christopher. Red Storm on the Reich. Atheneum, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-689-12092-3
**pages 278-9**

The other works cited are:

[Dieckert and Grossmann, 1960] Dieckert, Kurt; and Grossmann, Horst. Der Kampf um Ostpreussen. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1978.ISBN 3-87943-436-0 [NOTE: my copy of this book is a later edition licenced by the original publisher]

[Schäufler, 1979] Schäufler, Hans. 1945 - Panzer an der Weichsel. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1979. ISBN 3-87943-694-0

[Schäufler, 1973] Schäufler, Hans. Der Weg war Weit ... : Panzer zwischen Weichsel und Wolga. Kurt Vohwinckel Verlag, Neckargemünd, 1973
 
#18
I don't believe you can point to a single shred of evidence for any of your strange assertions: if you did indeed see any of them on a TV programme it must have been a Fox channel.
Fox has never broadcast any such thing, put down the crack pipe
 
#19
I don't believe you can point to a single shred of evidence for any of your strange assertions: if you did indeed see any of them on a TV programme it must have been a Fox channel.
#

LittleJim, I believe that there is some truth in the dog fights.

USAAF & RAF planes did recces to find out where the prison camps were in Russian held areas, and some did indeed get shot down.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
The only recorded Allied Soviet air battles were on the
18th March 45 when a 353th fighter Group P51 was shot down by a Russian Aircraft over Berlin
7 November1944 a US P38 flight was attacked in Yugoslavia by Soviet fighters and 2 Russians were shot down and one claimed damaged
I can't find any info to RAF units getting involved in fighting with the Russians
 

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