MoD ignore WW2 PoWs

#1
As I am sure you know in September 1939 a British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was sent to France. By the end of May 1940 this numbered 394,165 men.
Although they were mostly professional soldiers they were ill-equipped and trained to deal with the sort of warfare that the Nazis unleashed on them.
In April another British/French/Polish Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF) of c.38,000 men was sent to Norway to help the Norwegian Armed Forces against
the Nazi invaders. Again they were ill-equipped and under-trained and by 8th June had been withdrawn leaving some PoWs behind. During the retreat to
Dunkirk two Brigade-sized forces were sent to France to attempt to defend the ports of Boulogne and Calais. Although ultimately unsuccessful they did delay
the Nazis long enough for 300,000 Allied troops to be evacuated from Dunkirk. After Dunkirk a Second BEF made up largely of Highland troops fought another
valiant rear-guard action in Normandy, ultimately to no avail.

From these forces over 80,000 prisoners were marched some 200 miles into Germany and then crammed into cattle-trucks or barges and shipped to PoW-camps
mostly in what is now Poland. There most of them stayed right up to1945.

At the beginning of the march to Germany the troops were generally well treated by their captors, but no arrangements had been made to feed or water them.
The further they got from the Front the worse they were treated, guards would beat them with rifle-butts for not being able to keep up and German civilians pelted
them with cobblestone. If they were put on barges they would be crammed into the hold, if they went by train 80-100 men would be crammed into a wagon,
standing-room only, no toilet-facilities for up to 10 days.

According to the terms of the Geneva Convention Other Ranks (Sergeants and below) were allowed to be used for non-war work. This meant working 12 hour days
down mines, in quarries, repairing bombed railway-track, cutting down trees, working for IG Farben at Auschwitz making synthetic petroleum products, processing
sugar-beet, building factories, as farm-labourers and a whole host of other manual-labouring jobs. For this they were paid in Lagergeld - practically valueless - and
fed cabbage-water soup and a few slices of bread a day (most PoWs returned about half the weight they went into captivity). For those who were not working life
consisted of an endless round of monotony. All PoWs were subjected to occasional bouts of brutality: For 3 months 1,500 were manacled on Hitler's order; some
would be shot for refusing orders or attempting to escape; many died of cold or malnutrition, others beaten with rifle-butts for not working hard enough.
Towards the end of the war, as the Soviet forces invaded from the East most PoWs were marched hundreds of miles Westward in the depths of one of the harshest
winters of the 20th Century. Here again many died of cold, malnourishment, disease (many of the columns were following in the foot-steps of Concentration-camp
columns and contracted their diseases as a result) and more brutality by their guards. PoW columns were even mistaken for Nazi troops and bombed and strafed
by the Allies. Some of these marches lasted 4 months and covered up to 930 miles. Of the c.180,000 PoWs who started the Marches some 2% died on the way.
Finally in May 1945 the PoWs were liberated. Most by American and British troops in West Germany, some by Soviet troops. Most of the latter were shipped home
via the Black Sea. The former mostly flown to the UK by the RAF in bombers. Here they were assessed and if necessary send to hospital, or given several weeks
leave. They were also given their back-pay, however a deduction was made for the wages that the Germans had "paid" them, and full Income-Tax was deducted even
though most of them never received proper wages. (This deduction was raised in Parliament in 1997 when the MoD were supposedly reviewing the situation. Despite
a thorough search of the Parliamentary websites I can find no mention of the result of this review) 13% took the opportunity to go through Civil Resettlement Units
where they were taught to cope with "Civvy Street", most did not despite the fact that many were suffering from what we now know as PTSD. Eventually they were
"demobbed" according to the standard age and service-number order applied to all Service personnel and, if fit enough, put on the Reserve.

Very few of them talked about their time as "Kriegies" to anyone other than fellow PoWs. Almost all of the memoirs of life in the Camps were written by, or about,
Officers (mostly aircrew) who were captured later in the war

After the War all members of the Armed Forces who had served for at least 28 days between 3rd September 1939 (the day Britain declared war on Germany) and
2nd September 1945 (the day Japan formally surrendered) were entitled to wear the War Medal. If you had 180 days operational service overseas (60 days for
aircrew) you were also entitled to wear the 1939-'40 Star. Clasps were added to this Star for people who participated in the Battle of Britain or were in Bomber
Command. There were 8 other Stars corresponding to major theatres of war: The Africa (1 day); Air Crew Europe (60days); Arctic (any length N of the Arctic Circle);
Atlantic (180days - 60 for aircrew); Burma (1 day); France & Germany (1 day after D-Day); Italy (1 day) and Pacific (1 day). Additionally there was a Defence Medal
for non-operational staff and the Home Guard.

Most PoWs would qualify for the War Medal; the BEF for the 1939-'45 Star, but those captured at Boulogne, Calais or sent over to supplement the 2nd BEF would not.
At any Remembrance Service or Parade long-term PoWs can immediately spot each other by the total lack of medals that they wear.

In 2014 the French Government decided to honour the men who had fought for their freedom from D-Day onward. Surely it is time for the British Government to
honour the brave men who "for our tomorrow" gave 5 years of their todays!

Recently representation has been made to the Government to consider awarding a special PoW Medal for these brave, largely forgotten men. So far the Government
has responded negatively to requests for any sort of award:

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A petition has been raised on the Petition,parliament website in order to force the Government to revisit this decision. It is after all only 18
months to the 80th anniversary of the Invasion of France and very few of these PoWs are left. If you wish to sign please visit:

Petition: Award a campaign medal to those who fought in France & Norway between 1939-40.
 
#2
tl;dr

What are your main points in brief?
 
#3
tl;dr

What are your main points in brief?
He’d like a medal for his grandad, who was a POW.

Or it may be his name’s Muttley and he’d like one for himself.

In any event MOD said no.

I think that’s about it, but I only read about one word in each paragraph.
 
#4
He’d like a medal for his grandad, who was a POW.

Or it may be his name’s Muttley and he’d like one for himself.

In any event MOD said no.

I think that’s about it, but I only read about one word in each paragraph.
Ah, OK. Thanks Donny, all those words made my eyes bleed. Well, I guess the MoD said no for a reason, its not like they are shy about these things. I don't see much medal worthy of being taken prisoner though. I wont be signing.
 
#5
Why?

HMG only recognises up to 75yrs now, and given (AIUI) they qualified for WW2 medals anyway, why should they get a medal for being a prisoner of war? This is not to diminish their awful experience, but I'm not sure what is needed, or gained by it.
 
#6
Why?

HMG only recognises up to 75yrs now, and given (AIUI) they qualified for WW2 medals anyway, why should they get a medal for being a prisoner of war? This is not to diminish their awful experience, but I'm not sure what is needed, or gained by it.
My bold: Possibly for the same reason drone operators believe they qualify for one?...………………..
 
#7
No - I'd like to see the poor sods who were left behind at Dunkirk and Narvik be given some recognition for 5 years of being treated about as badly as the better know inmates of German Camps (although they were spared the ovens).
Sorry to have made you have to read too much.

BTW Trelawny was lucky: he was not beaten, and starved for 5 years.
 
#10
Ah, OK. Thanks Donny, all those words made my eyes bleed. Well, I guess the MoD said no for a reason, its not like they are shy about these things. I don't see much medal worthy of being taken prisoner though. I wont be signing.
Strangely enough, the MOD doesn't decide these things, the Defence Services Secretary, AVM Gary Tunnicliffe is the one who has first say and, it depends on his opinion of,the 'risk and vigour' involved ! :roll:

A seat shiner, who has never deployed anywhere 'dangerous' yet is the arbiter of who and, who doesn't deserve a medal, deffo on a loser kid!
 
#11
Strangely enough, the MOD doesn't decide these things, the Defence Services Secretary, AVM Gary Tunnicliffe is the one who has first say and, it depends on his opinion of,the 'risk and vigour' involved ! :roll:

A seat shiner, who has never deployed anywhere 'dangerous' yet is the arbiter of who and, who doesn't deserve a medal, deffo on a loser kid!
Never heard of her. Well, I got mine, so I'm not worried. Pull up the ladder, I'm alright. If the OP is that bothered he can have one of mine, they aren't important to me.
 
#12
Trouble is, the 2012 Sir John Holmes Review (at the behest of Pink Cheeked Dave) opened a can of worms that should (probably) have been best left closed.

The review decided, amongst other things, that those who served on Arctic Convoys and in Bomber Command deserved some retrospective medallic recognition: thus we now have the Arctic Star and clasp 'BOMBER COMMAND' for the 39-45 Star.

1939–1945 Star - Wikipedia

Arctic Star - Wikipedia

The issue of the Bomber Command clasp instantly fired up those surviving Bomber veterans as they perceived that their efforts and sacrifices were of less value than those on the convoys.

I sincerely hope that the higher echelons of the CS continually advise against such retrospective awards, else they find themselves in the ridiculous state whereby single-issue focus groups in Australia have pressured Governments for (particularly relating to the Vietnam War) unit and individual recognition. Thus, you now have Aus Army units receiving 'backdated' awards issued on behalf a foreign government that has not existed since 1975!

1RAR recognised for Vietnam service | Australian Army
 
#13
Never heard of her. Well, I got mine, so I'm not worried. Pull up the ladder, I'm alright. If the OP is that bothered he can have one of mine, they aren't important to me.
I've got a spare non article 5 somewhere if that helps
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I knew three of them
one I posted his story one here
two were family members
they have all gone on the last march
as my old man said , dont make a fuss at my funeral and tell me how much you liked me
come and do it while I am alive
 
#16
I've got a spare non article 5 somewhere if that helps
I've got a shedload of blank ISAF certificates lying around somewhere, all you need to do is add: name, rank & tour dates - they've even got Anders Fogh Rasmussen's signature at the bottom.

We should go into business together.
 
#18
Funny, that’s basically what Trumps thoughts are about John McCain.....
I have no idea, you see, they are american, so I couldn't give any less of a blinkin-flip. They can do whatever they want. It does not affect me directly.
 
#19
Funny, that’s basically what Trumps thoughts are about John McCain.....
I don't know what Trump's problem is, there's nothing wrong with yer man's Oven Chips.
 

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