N.Africa 1 SAS -> Stalag Luft III Escape Organiser

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by Matt5100, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    I missed the other posting of the SPG Lib Report so not sure if this report has been listed previously

    Attached Files:

  2. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    I have never seen this - thank you! Very interesting, I never understood the Welch Regiment link. Made me laugh about Public Nuisance Number 1! :) In Stalag Luft I. How come you had this?! Thank you very much!
  3. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Also, sorry if he had no decorations, why does he have two lines of medal ribbons in his picture? Or are they not decorations as such?
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Your grandfather appears to be wearing the MM riband plus several WW2 Campaign Medal ribands - likely (Top Row) 39/45 Star, Africa Star (with 8th Army clasp), Italy Star, (Bottom Row) Defence Medal and War Medal

    I note on the Special POW Questionnaire he mentions he has no decorations - that usually refers to Gallantry Awards rather than Campaign Medals. That suggests his MM (I’m aware other members have not turned it up in various Special Forces books) may be a post hostilities award in relation to his activities whilst a POW rather than for his wartime activities whilst serving with KAR, Welch Regiment or SAS.

    You need to go through the London Gazette from mid 1945 through to the end of 1946 with a fine tooth comb to see if the MM is listed.

    In relation to his WW2 Campaign Medals you could make an enquiry with the Army Medal Office to see what if any details they have but the first thing the Medal Office likely do is contact MOD Glasgow for his papers so you are then back in a familiar loop.

    Referring to the other post you made last night - the special POW questionnaire will have come from the National Archives. The process would be that returning POW’s would be asked to complete a returning POW questionnaire - a 3 page document. There are many examples posted on the forum. Not all POW completed the form.

    Page 2 of the form asked the POW if they engaged in sabotage or escape activities. If there was a positive response to those questions the POW was then asked to complete the questionnaire that was attached last night. That questionnaire would be further reviewed and could lead to a formal MI9 interview.



    His questionnaire shows he was in Germany by May 1943 - before the Italian Armistice and before the earliest eligibility date for the Italy Star - so that raises a further question mark about his entitlement to the Italy Star.

    NZDF Medals - The Italy Star Regulations
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

  6. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    So would I be correct in thinking there are two other pages to this questionnaire? (Page 1&3)
    And as he had items in page two to write about that’s why there is the detailed 2 page liberation report we have...
    I think I’ll try and find that questionnaire then.. it’s a shame the national archive location isn’t on it!
    Also Vitellino - well spotted, I hadn’t heard of that or noticed it, that’s also given me some routes to explore too!
    Thank you both!
    Incredibledisc likes this.
  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I’ve numbered your questions above and inserted my responses.

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  8. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Hi Vitellino, this is interesting - something I hadn't known about or noticed. I wonder if it was intentional or an accidental mix up on his questionnaire. I really don't know.. I have noticed now on a lot of resources online, even some "official" documents the use of both 1st and 1 SAS.. You would think he knew exactly who he was attached to at the time, but a few years in PoW camps may have been an excuse for the "typo", if indeed it was unintentional. I am happy now about the Welch regiment connection of him being in the Welch Regiment and attached to the SAS (whether it is 1st or 1). It's nice to know that Welch were also active in N.Africa and that they shared the same theatres of war during those times. Cairo is also mentioned a bit as one of the places they frequented which is where I believe he re-enlisted after being courtmartialed from the Kings African Rifles. But this information was given to me in person by his PoW friend of 3 years in the camps I managed to meet with last year who undoubtedly knew him very well. But it is just what he told me, some of it sounds likely and some not so likely, whether he was told "stories" from my grandfather or whether he's getting fact muddled with fiction over the years - I will never know.
  9. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Would you happen to have the other two pages please?
  10. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    From what your grandfather said in his “back pay” letter he re enlisted in Nairobi 31st July 1942 - as I flagged up in a previous post.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  11. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Steve, sorry - I hadn't noticed that and also hadn't picked up on it! Well spotted :)

    20/06/1942 – Court Martial Kings African Rifles (Confirmed Date)
    31/07/1942 – Re-Enlist Private Welch (Potentially now Nairobi?)
    30/12-1942 – Sgt. (SAS?)
    30/12/1942 – Suspected and confirmed PoW (Confirmed Date)
    May/1943 – Escape Committee Stalag Luft III

    Are the dates in his letter for “back pay” correct, or just approximates after almost 3 years in PoW camps and almost 4 years after when the letter was written.

    Tony never said he re-enlisted in Nairobi, did the war office assume this or did they have supporting documents, but the war office did write it – should be out there somewhere as we know the date and regiment and possible location, if they are indeed true.

    Only five months later he is a PoW..

    When was he attached to the SAS, when was he made a Sgt. He says in his letter he became a Sgt on 30/12/1942, the same date he was confirmed PoW from Welch Regt...

    This I would imagine would narrow significantly where he may have been captured whether it was 1stBattalion Welch or attached to 1 or 1st SAS. I understand the theatres of war for both regiments were around Libya region.

    I wonder if he was captured more than once and escaped, I have heard this but I don’t know if its true and have no documents.. time wise probably not..?

    It does seem he may have not re-enlisted for than 5 months before capture though if that was his final capture..

    Timeline from capture to my next record of him in SL III is about 5 months. So with that in mind and also the travel time as a PoW from probably N.Africa, through Italy to Poland, it might not be that far off.

    Spoke with my uncle yesterday, retired Col. from QDG. He had two things to say;

    “Matt. As we discussed – campaign medals come with the rations: viz issued if the serviceman has done so many days “in theatre” (usually a month). On the other hand, decorations are issued for valour and leadership and would be “Gazetted” in official documents and the Times newspaper. The SAS (and others, my regiment for example) took on “attachments” from other units – common practice. E.g. REME att to QDG, or ACC att to QDG. Still happens today – usually because of specialist skills that are not available in the host unit.”


    “Where are Tony’s medals? Was he wearing HIS own jacket when that picture was taken – one wonders!”
  12. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Benghazi and Crete seem common for both regiments from a quick look..
  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I’ve numbered the various questions you’ve posed in your earlier post for ease of reference in answering them in the above quote box.

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
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  14. Matt5100

    Matt5100 Member

    Thank you so much for answering SO MANY of my questions, a lot of them were me thinking out aloud. You have taken a lot of time with helping me out and it's very much appreciated. This forum, although I have only been here a short while is by far the best i've come across so far and it's people like you which make it shine! :)
    I think what I am going to do now is get a "war diary researcher" to copy the war diaries of 1st Battalion Welch and also 1 SAS for the 6 month period he was active before capture. I will also try for the other two pages of the pink "Special" PoW questionnaire that horsapassenger posted the first page of. This I am unsure of - but i've noticed that most PoW's have completed a white "General" PoW questionnaire, these seem to have place of capture in them so maybe there is one of those out there, although it might have been one or the other on these questionnaires. But the chap I have in mind does all of this so will see what he has to say.
    Unfortunately Glasgow Army disclosures only have his Kings African Rifles service history, they were unable to find the latter after two attempts.
    And i'll see if any of these medals are recorded..
    I'll post what I find in the future and thanks again,

    Tullybrone likes this.

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