2bn Glosters Cassel 1940 POWs

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by stewart_M, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. stewart_M

    stewart_M Junior Member

    My grandfather served in the 2bn Gloucester Regt during the war and was taken prisoner in 1940 where he spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

    From the records I have found it seems that he was most likely captured in May 1940 at Cassel when 472 soldiers from his batallion were taken prisoner. My father says he never spoke of his time in the war or in Korea but he was apparantly held in a POW camp in Poland.

    Can anyone advise where I can track down exactly where he was held during the war? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    My grandfather served in the 2bn Gloucester Regt during the war and was taken prisoner in 1940 where he spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

    From the records I have found it seems that he was most likely captured in May 1940 at Cassel when 472 soldiers from his batallion were taken prisoner. My father says he never spoke of his time in the war or in Korea but he was apparantly held in a POW camp in Poland.

    Can anyone advise where I can track down exactly where he was held during the war? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Can you post his name? If not PM it to me.
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Welcome to the Forum, Stewart.
    I see you've been here awhile, why such a long time to post? (Join Date: Sep 2005)
    Having read about the fighting at Cassel that was one hell of a fight.
    Went there once, years ago, must go back one day.
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Welcome back Stewart.

    Hope we are able to assist.
     
  5. stewart_M

    stewart_M Junior Member

    Can you post his name? If not PM it to me.

    Many thanks for the responses.

    In reply to 52nd Airborne's question my grandfather was private Archie Mallett. I've got his Glosters forage cap with his number inside which is 5619764.

    Many thanks
     
  6. stewart_M

    stewart_M Junior Member

    Can you post his name? If not PM it to me.

    Many thanks for your responses. In reply to 52nd Airborne's question my grandfather was private Archie Mallett and I believe he was in A company during WW2 although I could be wrong on that point.

    He joined the 1st Bn when they merged with the 2 Bn in the late 1940s and was one of the lucky few to escape back to the UK from Korea in 1951 after the fight for Gloster Hill on the Imjin River although he did suffer shrapnel wounds to his head.

    Regards
     
  7. stewart_M

    stewart_M Junior Member

    Ignore the message I posted at 3.39pm as I'm not sure now that this number in his forage hat is actually his army number!! I think it might simply be a number for the cap!
     
  8. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    I hope this helps!

    A. Mallett, Gloucestershire Regiment, Army Nu: 5619764, POW Nu: 5861. His last reported camp was Stalag VIIIB at Teschen.
     
  9. stewart_M

    stewart_M Junior Member

    I hope this helps!

    A. Mallett, Gloucestershire Regiment, Army Nu: 5619764, POW Nu: 5861. His last reported camp was Stalag VIIIB at Teschen.

    52nd Airbone

    Firstly, so it was actually his army number! I feel stupid now for thinking it could be a form of NATO Stock Number :D

    Secondly, and far more importantly, I cannot thank you enough for that information! That is absolutely brilliant.

    I will now try and find out more about that particular camp and anything I can about his time as a POW.

    As I said previously, he never spoke of his experiences but my father once said that he suffered badly at the hands of the Germans and he was left scarred across his body from beatings. Whether this was generally dished out to the soldiers or whether it was a case of him not conforming and bringing attention to himself I do not know.

    In any case I am very grateful for your assistance in this.
     
  10. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    Stewart,

    You can now contact the Veterans Agency to ascertain whether they hold his German POW record. Also you could look for his "Liberated POW Interrogation Questionnaire" (File WO344) at the National Archive.

    My grandfather was also at Stalag VIIIB and he never spoke of his experiences. However, by obtaining his German POW record from the Veterans Agency and his Liberated POW Interrogation Questionnaire I was able to piece together most of his time as a POW.

    Good Luck.
     
  11. Gordon Comley

    Gordon Comley Member

    My father (Albert Edwin Comley, known as Bert) was in 2nd Battalion Gloster's and fought and was captured at Cassel, force marched to a POW camp in Poland and ended up at Stalag V111B. He was forced to work in coal mines and at end of war was on the infamous "Death March".

    This was his 3rd time in the army and was 34 years old when captured, his family lived in Berkshire at the time of call up and on his return home came back to Bristol, where my mother had moved.

    If anyone has more information about Cassel or Stalag 8B, please post or private message me.
     
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: A E Comley
    Rank: Private
    Army Number: 5178958
    Regiment: Gloucestershire Regiment
    POW Number: 11000
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 344
    Camp Location: Lambinowice, Poland
    Record Office: Infantry Record Office, Exeter
    Record Office Number: 22

    I see you have a family tree - link to above info http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bi...h=5nr&pcat=39&fh=1&h=42318&recoff=7&ml_rpos=2

    Might be worth obtaining his service record - Request records of deceased service personnel - GOV.UK

    Re his camp (Stalag) theres plenty on the net and this site as it was one of the more famous camps

    TD
     
    Lindele likes this.
  13. Gordon Comley

    Gordon Comley Member

    Thanks Tricky, I did know the info about my Dad that you gave, just a question what database did you get the info from?.

    I did obtain a report from the Red Cross, who hold records of POW's.

    For the information of those who asked what went on in these camps, see some of the tales he did talk about:

    Dad said that they used to have to work in small groups in the mines and used to take it turns to break their little finger so that they could get a couple of days off.....also there were no showers so the only way to get cleaned up was a forced dip in the reservoir (whether you could swim or not, with some "accidents" occurring).

    The camp held British and Canadians, and when there was a large battle somewhere and the Canadian forces won a massive victory, the guards took it out on everyone by not giving adequate food and severely restricting water (a loaf of bread and a bucket of water in the middle of the parade ground, for hundreds of POW's).....the German Sergeant who was responsible for this and many other abuses met a sticky end, towards the end of the war, and inmates took their revenge !!

    But to top it all, after 5 years of imprisonment along with thousands of POW's from many camps, he was also involved in the infamous "Death March", undertaken in freezing cold winter conditions, with inadequate clothing or food and the threat of a bullet in the head!.

    He later said "that there were 2 things he did not want do, one was fly in a plane, the other was to work down a coal mine - and I was forced to do one and was glad to do the other". He was released home in 1945.
     
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    On Ancestry select 'Military' from left hand side, then top right corner select 'WW2' this opens to various options, one of which is 'UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945'

    TD

    Edited to add:
    Use the search function on this site and type in Stalag 344 or Death March, several members fathers were on it as well
     
  15. Gordon Comley

    Gordon Comley Member

  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    There's a book recently published that I would highly recommend called The Battle of Cassel by Jerry Murland ;)
     
  17. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    My dad was at the Imjin - with 55 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. The only letter he wrote that my mum remembers said that he was safe and with the Glosters, 'a great bunch of lads' He was also wounded and briefly captured but made it back to the UN lines on the back of an Irish Hussars tank as far as I know. There hasn't been a lot written about the Korean conflict in good detail, but I found Andrew Salmon's book, "To the last round - the epic British stand on the Imjin River" . (Aurum Press 2010) was very good. Of course Anthony Farrar-Hockley, the adjutant of the Glosters wrote "Edge of the Sword" about his time in Korea - there's doubtless other stuff about the Glosters.
     
  18. Gordon Comley

    Gordon Comley Member

    As it is the anniversary for when my Dad (Albert Edwin Comley (Bert)) was captured at Cassell and also the anniversary of when he died in 1981, my daughter has spent some time expanding my research and has produced the following article.

    Comley family (or anyone interested in a bit of WW2 history), I’ve been trying to occupy my time with some more research on Grandad. As it’s a pretty big anniversary I thought I’d share it with you.
    80 years ago TODAY (30th May 1940) Grandad was captured and spent the next 5 hard years on marches and in forced labour PoW camps in Poland, I shared dad’s research on that in my earlier post. I’ve now wanted to find out more about the days before he was captured.
    He was with the 2nd Battalion Glosters, they amongst others were part of 145th Brigade ‘Somerforce’, commanded by Brigadier Nigel F Somerset.
    During the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) retreat they were tasked with the defence of the Dunkirk perimeter and Grandad was sent to Cassel.
    Unbeknown to the Bridages commanders at the time, Somerforce’s task was to hold Cassel at all costs in order to delay the German advance while the Operation Dynamo evacuation was underway at the beaches in Dunkirk allowing the BEF to be evacuated.
    The information here is more of a summary, the detailed sources are in the various links I’ve added throughout this post;
    Cassel and Ledringhem - Soldiers Of Gloucestershire Museum
    By reading through all of the various accounts and diaries available, some of which are included on the links (& with some input from a few historians online) we can assume, although never be sure, that when he was at Cassel he would have been in ‘A Company’. Given the date we know he was captured, it is reasonable to assume he was also part of ‘No. 8 Platoon’ under 2/Lieut. R.W. Cresswell, he and 13 men were sent to occupy a partially completed blockhouse at Le Peckel about two miles out of Cassel on the road to Dunkirk.
    We’ve made this assumption on the basis that the rest of A Company were sent to defend the village of Zuytpeene and were overcome on the 27th May, with the majority being captured or killed.
    8 Platoon also came under attack, they held out against continuous attacks from the evening of 27th to the late afternoon of 30th May when casualties, a fire in the blockhouse, lack of food and an ominous silence from the main position at Cassel caused them to give in to overwhelming numbers.
    As detailed in the link below Cassel was described by German Officers as a 'nest of furious resistance'. General von Block wrote in his diary 'this struggle is hard. The British are as tough as leather and my divisions are exhausted...'
    Cassel 29th May 1940 – 140th (5th London) Army Field Regiment, Royal Artillery - The final day, Cassel holds out
    Somerforce 25th May 1940 – 140th (5th London) Army Field Regiment, Royal Artillery - Arrival at Cassel
    As it’s the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk numerous documentaries are being shown on TV, I’ve been quite astonished that in most there was absolutely no mention of the BEF soldiers sent to defend the evacuation routes and some went as far as to say it was the French Allied forces alone that did this. In reality c.80,000 were left behind, 40,000 British and 40,000 Allied forces.
    I’m obviously not alone in my dismay of this apparent omission from history;
    Brigadier Nigel Somerset wrote in his prisoner-of-war camp diary: ‘I realised we were the Joe Soaps (stooges/scapegoats) of Dunkirk, that we were being sacrificed so that as many British and French as possible could get away and get all the kudos. I felt very bitter.’
    He also wrote a letter in February 1948 to the editor of The Telegraph referencing Churchill’s memoirs and ending with;
    “All these facts appear to have utterly escaped the notice of the authorities at the time owing to the indescribable confusion, and I feel that an opportunity has now been afforded me of bringing them to light.”
    His full letter can be seen in the link below along with another account of the battle at Cassel.
    Dunkirk - the untold story
     
    Buteman likes this.
  19. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96


    In my research for what happened in a number of POW camps with officers and privates captured near Cassel and Watou,
    I came across many names.
    Did your dad ever mention any officer names?
    Stefan.
     
  20. Gordon Comley

    Gordon Comley Member

    Hi Stefan,

    Sorry no he didn't talk much about it at all to me (after all I wasn't born until 1946 !!).

    Most of the info I got was via my Mum, unfortunately both of them have passed away.

    Gordon
     

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