Pte G W Cope & Stalag XXA, Thorn/Torun (B.A.B 20), XXB Marienburg/Malbork (B.A.B 84) & VIIIB Teschen

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by LCpl Lee Cope, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Of any use:

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 about G W Cope
    Name: G W Cope
    Rank: Private
    Army Number: 5887506
    Regiment: Northamptonshire Regiment
    POW Number: 12940
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 344
    Camp Location: Lambinowice, Poland
    Record Office: Infantry Record Office, Warwick
    Record Office Number: 21

    TD
     
  2. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Hello folks,

    This morning I received a letter that was written by Pte George William Cope in 1945.

    By the looks of it the letter was intended to be delivered to the loved ones of a "Pte Henry H Chapman Reg #: 4393961 POW #: 33362".

    Pte Henry H Chapman lived at 32 Wren Street Stockton On Tees, in the County Of Durham, and according to the letter he died "upon his way to work", 11th April 1945 during an Air Raid at Gebernbach near Amberg, Germany.

    There were Three witnesses to the death (including my granduncle), and their names are written upon the letter.

    Across the letter are the words "OLD KENNETH" written in capital letters, which I'm yet to discover the meaning off.

    I have no idea if the dark red spots upon the letter are the remnants of blood, but I'll try and find out.

    I hope that you will all agree that this is a very interesting letter as Pte George William Cope was liberated from Stalag VIIIB Jan 1945, and strangely enough, for whatever reason, it appears what George never posted the letter.

    Could Pte Henry H Chapman have been killed during the "The Long March" West from Stallag VIIIB, and the term "upon his way to work" be a play on words meaning that they were on their way home?

    Pte Henry H Chapman is buried at the "Durnbach, War Cemetery".

    I'm aware that the march to freedom has many names, but I was wondering if anyone could possibly link me a plan/map or picture of all the routes that the WW2 POW's took upon "The Long March" taking them West into either the hands of the allied forces or Russian's.

    Please read this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_March_(1945)

    Stalag VIIB/344 was evacuated 22 Jan 1945 so I'm assuming that the Central route of the march would have taken them through the area of Gebernbach near Amburg, and this is where Pte Henry H Chapman lost his life.

    I hope someone can help...

    Regards,

    Lee.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=CH&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GScntry=8&GSsr=121&GRid=18610200&
     

    Attached Files:

  3. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    I now believe I'd made a mistake by thinking that Pte George William Cope was at Stalag VIII-B/344 Lamsdorf

    After reading this link:

    http://en.wikipedia....i/Stalag_VIII-D

    And the letter that George wrote to the loved ones of Pte Henry H Chapman, I'm now pretty certain that Pte George William Cope began "The Long March" from the camp originally named Stalag VIIID, which was later named Stalag IV-B/Z & then finally in 1943 named Stalag VIII-B Teschen.

    From what I've read, this looks to be an easy mistake to make as the Teschen camp fell under the control of the Lamsdorf camp and camp names changed.

    With this new information taken into account it means that Pte George William Cope would have taken the Southern Route, which makes complete sense and ties into the time line reference the letter he wrote about Pte Henry H Chapman's death due to an air raid "on the way to work" at Gebernbach near Amberg, also close to Nuremberg.




    I have attached a very basic map of the southern route, and like I said it's a basic idea, but as I build the bigger picture, hopefully the exact route through Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia will become apparent. I wonder how close to Dresden they came?

    1) The Red/White circle is where the Auschchwitz concentration camp is.

    2) The Black/Red circle is where Pte Henry H Chapman would have lost his life.

    3) Stalag VIII-B (formerly Stalag VIII-D) at Teschen under the control of Stalag 344 (formerly Stalag VIII-B ) Lamsdorf.

    4) Stalag XIII-D at Nuremberg

    5) Stalag VII-A at Moosburg in Bavaria.

    I'm very sorry to say this, but if I'm correct, and I'm pretty much 100% certain that I am, then this means that George's Third and final POW camp "Stalag VIII-B" in "Teschen, Silesia" was only 1 hr away from "Oswiecim".

    "Oswiecem" is the German for "Auschwitz"... I do not believe I need to explain much more than that... [​IMG]

    I'm very saddened to find this and will go over it all again later today, just to be certain, but all the evidence points towards this being the truth and for George to be just 1 hr away from the greatest atrocity the Nazi war machine ever created, would be too much for even the strongest of men to stomach.

    No wonder George never spoke about it all...
     

    Attached Files:

  4. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Due to Pte George William Cope working as a coal miner in his Third and final POW camp which was Stalag VIII-B (Teschen). I would like to look into Kommando E535, and the coal mine at Milowitz.

    Apparently this camp was predominantly filled with New Zealand POW's, but looking into this work camp may give me more clues.

    Does anyone have a list of the sub-camps that had working coal mines in the surrounding area of the main camp?
     
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You might try - http://www.prisonerofwar.org.uk/ - they may have some details also there are some NZ members on here who may be able to find some records, details, etc etc

    TD

    edited to add:
    from the link above:

    Seeking information?

    On a former prisoner of war or prison camp? Our Historian Mr Philip Chinnery can help you.

    Contact Phil Chinnery Click Below
     
  6. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Thanks TD, I'll try that link and see where it leads, but I think I may have found at-least part of what I'm looking for.

    The camp originally called VIII-D fell under Military District VIII (Breslau) and these were all the main Stalag's & Oflag's, but sub camps are proving a little harder to nail down.

    Military District VIII (Breslau)
     
  7. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Hello folks,

    More images of George arrived today.

    These ones are particularly interesting due to them being taken around Jul - Dec 1940 when many men of the BEF (including George) were first captured and spent their early POW days as road builders at Stalag XXA Thorn/Torun (Poland).
     

    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  9. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Many thanks TD.

    George stated upon his liberation questionnaire that he was the recipient of no ill treatment whatsoever, but as I'm pealing away at the details I'm beginning to feel that George has not been forthcoming with the truth of what happened over there.

    George never spoke about the war to anyone at all, but I know for a fact that he saw his fare share of death and loss, so I honestly believe he would have filled that questionnaire form out at a rapid rate of knots just to get the hell out of there and away from everything.

    Are these files from TNA Kew free, or is there a charge?
     
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I must admit I have not checked to see if they are available for free download, perhaps you can check that out and if they are not then I suggest you PM either PsyWar.Org or Drew5233 who are regular visitors and copy files at cheaper rates than TNA will charge you

    TD
     
  11. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Sounds like a plan... I know Drew via this site and he's been a great help. I'll look into it, and thanks again! :)
     
  12. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Here are a few thoughts upon the images I received today. I was wondering if you agreed with my comments and assumptions.

    I think the Swastika's may have been purposely removed, but a picture paints a thousand words...
     
  13. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

  14. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    I think I have the answer for this photo, and why George tore it away forever:

    Upon the trains carriages was written the German words:

    "die Räder müssen rollen für den Sieg"

    Which means in the English tongue:

    "The wheels must roll for victory"

    Pretty hard to stomach.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Hello again folks,

    Upon closer inspection of these Two images I have noticed that upon the rear of the first photo there is some writing, but I cannot read what it says.

    Upon the Second image there is something under the front of the vehicle... It looks like a car jack, but I cannot clear or enhance the images enough to be sure.

    I was wondering if anyone knew of any online photo editor that could help in making the obscure more clear.

    Regards.
     

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  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Can you repost them as seperate images - as to good online photo editors I do not know

    Thanks

    TD
     
  17. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    I have put the images separately upon a previous post TD.

    I think this is the best I can do... A combination of an online editor and paint.

    It looks like it's an English address in Derbyshire:

    18 Birchwood Lane Sommercotes Nr Alfreton, Derby

    But why has George got so many photo's with different addresses ranging from Derby to Durham upon them.?

    Is George removing these images from the pockets of his mates who have fallen along the way and passed away due to drastic events?

    There is most certainly something under the front of that car in the second image... It does look like a car jack, but car jacks go to the side of the vehicle (don't they?). Or were vehicles in Europe different back then for a Tyre change.

    A car breakdown as the train stops alongside with the words "The Wheels must roll for victory" would very much explain why the German's are laughing.

    But if not a car jack, then what else could it be?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The address is:

    H Beasl??
    16 Birchwood Lane
    Somercotes
    Nr Alfreton
    Derbys

    I cannot fully make out his name which makes it difficult to try abd trace him through Ancestry POW's to see what camps he was in - if he is on the database of course

    TD
     
  19. LCpl Lee Cope

    LCpl Lee Cope Active Member

    Could be Regimental Sergeant Major H E Beesley?

    Name: H E Beesley
    Rank: Regimental Serjeant Major
    Army Number: 549217 Regiment: Reconnaissance Corps
    POW Number: 26398
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 344
    Camp Location: Lambinowice, Poland
    Record Office: Royal Armoured Corps and No 3 Commando Reconnaissance Corps
    Record Office, The Drill Hall, Barnet, Hertfordshire
    Record Office Number: 3

    I think I may be getting good at this! But do you not hate it when it's a sad ending... :(


    Name: Harold Edwin Beesley
    Age: 39
    Birth Date: abt 1906
    Death Date: 10 Mar 1945
    Cemetery: Kracow Military
    Cemetery Pol. 1
    Father: John Beesley
    Mother: Clara Beesley
    Service number: 549217
    Region or Memorial: Poland, U.S.S.R.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    1911 England Census about Harold Beesley
    Name: Harold Beesley
    Age in 1911: 5
    Estimated birth year: abt 1906
    Relation to Head: Son
    Gender: Male
    Birth Place: Theale, Middlesex, England
    Civil Parish: Staines
    County/Island: Middlesex
    Country: England
    Street address: 5 Fair Field Terrace, Mill Mead, Staines
    Registration district: Staines
    Registration District Number: 126
    Sub-registration district: Staines
    ED, institution, or vessel: 8
    Household schedule number: 244
    Piece: 6751
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    John Beesley 58
    Clara Beesley 35
    Sidney Beesley 13
    Florrie Beesley 12
    Edward Beesley 9
    Charles Beesley 8
    Harold Beesley 5
    John Beesley 3


    UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947 about Harold Edwin Beesley
    Name: Harold Edwin Beesley
    Age: 39
    Birth Date: abt 1906
    Death Date: 10 Mar 1945
    Cemetery: Cracow Military Cemetery Pol. 1
    Father: John Beesley
    Mother: Clara Beesley
    Service number: 549217
    Region or Memorial: Poland, U.S.S.R.


    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945 about Harold Beesley
    Name: Harold Beesley
    Given Initials: H E
    Rank: Warrant Officer Class I
    Death Date: 10 Mar 1945
    Number: 549217
    Birth Place: Berkshire
    Residence: Middlesex
    Regiment at Enlistment: 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) RAC
    Branch at Enlistment: Royal Armoured Corps
    Theatre of War: United Kingdom
    Regiment at Death: Royal Armoured Corps
    Branch at Death: Royal Armoured Corps


    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 about Harold Edwin Beesley
    Name: Harold Edwin Beesley
    Probate Date: 10 Jul 1945
    Death Date: 10 Mar 1945
    Death Place: Middlesex, England
    Registry: Llandudno



    32858_611411_1997-00210.jpg


    As he was born and raised in Staines Middx, and his probate has an address as Staines Middx, not sure why he would have put an address in Derbyshire on the back of a postcard :(

    Maybe not quite so easy

    TD
     

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