Questions - British run POW camps, N. Africa, WWII

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by No.9, Aug 19, 2010.

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  1. With all the Germans and Italians to contain, feed, process, etc, there must have been quite an organisation in North Africa.

    So, specifically the British run camps in North Africa (MEF area):

    #1 Who ran the camps? (as in RMP or other)
    #2 Where were they located?
    #3 What were their titles?

    What I’m trying to expand upon is a soldier from the Queens posted to one as an interpreter, being sited as then on the ‘X List’, and posted to X(iv)b 155 TC, and thereafter to X(iv)a 1/ITD

    There’s further jargon but I’m finding the above difficult enough for the moment.

    Any knowledge/pointers appreciated. :thumright:

  2. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    I think you will find most of the POW camps were set up in Kenya and South Africa until they could be transported back to the UK or in some cases Canada and I think some even ended up in Australia, and later to the USA
  3. I appreciate POWs were moved, sometime very long distances, and probably the largest for Italian POWs in Africa was in South Africa, but I'm only interested in camps in the MEF area as listed in the opening post. Possible one of them was on Pantelleria?

  4. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Pantelleria, was taken by the British 1st Infantry Division on the 11th June 1943( OP Corkscrew) a month after the surrender at Cape Bon om the 12th May, there is nothing I can find about POWs there, but as the place was just about bombed flat they must have sent a fare few Italian prisoners there to help with the rebuild of Castello Carabacane
  5. I had a neighbor who served in the Italian Army in WWII. He was held at a place called Al-Malack (spelling?) in Egypt. I don't know which unit ran it or the title, and he passed away several years ago. He did note that the treatment of the Italian prisoners improved significantly after the British took over fro the Greeks.
  6. Apologies for bumping an old thread.
    My father was in the RAF during WW11, and served as staff at a POW camp in Egypt but I don't know which one,
    Sadly he is dead now, so I can't ask him, but he served there from Nov 1943 until he arrived home in December 1946. In amongst his possessions was a cigarette lighter, engraved with the RAF wings, made for him by some of the Italian prisoners in his charge.
  7. World war 11!!! can i borrow his time machine? i want to see if i have ginger kids
  8. Apologies for the typo:oops:
  9. :D, also, there is an old WW2 pow camp not far from me, must have been a rough place!
  10. British treatment of Germans and Italians PW isnlt covered well on the on the net.

    I found an interesting site on German PW. Prisoners of War This implies that PW were not retained in the ME area for longer than necessary. The Middle East is the end of a long LoC from the UK or India and moving the German and Italian PW down the chain made sense. (Fewer mouths to feed of PW and Guards)

    It isnlt directly relevant, but I would like to think that the following is true.

  11. I think the official story will be somewhere in the Official history of the Mediterranean Campaign.

    This offers an interesting insight.

    It is the story of the estimated 100k German PW employed in Egypt at the end of WW2. So they weren't just held there in transit. It also has a list o labour camps which may match the wartime PW camps.

    Its an interesting read. it claims that a lot of British troops in the middle east had effectively gone on strike waiting for Demobilisation. The Germans started working for the British when the fall of the Third Reich meant that they weren't being paid anything any more and couldn't buy sweets or cigarettes.
  12. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Um..bit of oral history ? dad did his National Service in Benghazi/Cyrenaica in 1946-7, just after the end of hostilities.

    He was a RASC Workshops officer (802 Base Workshop) .... his entire workforce then were ex Afrika Korps POWs, the majority of whom had opted to stay in North Africa as their homes back in Gross Deutschland were in the Soviet-occupied sector. Returning Wehrmacht perss faced years in a Russian labour camp or death.

    According to the Guv'nor his Afrika Korps CSM was a top lad and kept the team of drivers and mechanics in line without any issues - but the German interpreter - a U boat Leutnant called Stolp - was an unreformed Nazi git.

    ( when Dad left the Unit, his end-of-tour gift was a cigarette case with the RASC crest on it, made out of an Afrika Korps canteen, which he still has....)
  13. My Grandfather was Lt. Colonel at Port Tewfik (sp)
    Lived on a houseboat on the Suez Canal during his command.
  14. SPIDER38

    SPIDER38 On ROPs

    Enigma played a huge role here towards the end,the Royal Navy and RAF were given instuction on which ships to sink and which ships could be allowed to go through,the Axis ships that carried Medical supplies,Food and general logistics [blankets ,clothing] were let through, were as the enemy ships carrying any war like material tanks,aircraft ect were sunk,.....this meant that when the Axis forces surrendered the British eighth Army were not responsible to a large degree to the logistical issues that they would have been without Enigma.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014