RAF POW help required

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Tricky Dicky, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Dear RAF members,

    I am doing some research on POW's who were repatriated via Odessa in 1945. I have been able to extract some names and details from some of the files from TNA. from those names etc I have extracted, I have a couple of queries (at the moment, there may be more later) as below.

    1. Service number 1217137, RAF, Sgt - No name provided can you help? Sorted by Mr Jinks & Peter - thanks

    2. Service number 1001026, RAF W/O - No name provided can you help? - Sorted by Owen & snailer - thanks

    Thanking you all in advance for your help


    30/11/2014 : Edited to update search
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks Owen, thats interesting,

    In my list I have:
    H W Turton, 188227, RAF, Pilot Officer - as above the W/O is noted as 1001026 - same man different service numbers??

    Would they change service numbers on promotion - I wouldn't have thought so, but I have been wrong before :(

  4. snailer

    snailer Country Member


    Yes they received a new number on commissioning

    The Gazette entry posted by Owen is for W/O Turton’s appointment to a Commission and shows both his service numbers.

    1001026 Herbert William Turton (188227)

    Your other chap doesn’t seem to have been commissioned but his OR service number indicates he enlisted at Cardington between April 1940 and April 1941.



    Edit: I had the enlistment details wrong
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  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Same as in the Army - Other Ranks & Officers had different numbering system.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Guys

    Just needed to bump this thread to see if anything can be found for No 1 in my post 1 above

    Thanking you all in advance

  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

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  8. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    As Kyle has mentioned Liberator EW250 on the link above........

    Loss details of aircraft.....

    17 October 1944

    34 Squadron SAAF
    Liberator VI EW250 'L'

    Shot down by enemy night-fighter near Krakow, Poland whilst on the outbound leg of a supply dropping sortie to Polish partisans in the Radomsko area south west of Warsaw. One member of the crew, Sgt. R T. Pither survived.


    Lt. D. O Cullingworth SAAF +
    Lt. C S S. Franklin SAAF +
    Lt. K J. Mcleod SAAF +
    Lt. G. Ray-Howett SAAF +
    Sgt. J E. Speed +
    Sgt. R C. Bowden +
    Sgt. D P. Richmond +
    Sgt. R T. Pither. Survived

    Movement history of Liberator VI EW250

    Ex 44-10253
    Delivered Dorval 28 April 1944
    To the Middle East arriving 10 May 1944
    To 34 Squadron SAAF
    Failed to return from low-level supplies drop to Polish Home Army, Warsaw 17 October 1944
    Struck Off Charge 20 October 1944
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thank you Peter - and others

    This is another odd one as with Turton, I already had:

    R T Pither sevice number 186093 P/O

    But I also had this unknown name and the service number 1217137 Sgt - which now turns out to be the same man (Pither)

    So they must have both been 'Gazetted' - would that have been to allow them into a different type of POW camp (officer class)??

  10. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Tricky, a little re P/O. H W. Turton......

    11-12 November 1944

    83 Squadron
    Lancaster III PB188 OL-A
    Op. Hamburg. (Target - Rhenania-Ossag oil refinery)

    Took off from Coningsby at 1638 hours (No further details of loss)


    F/L. D A. Jennings RAAF. pow
    F/S. S C. Burleigh DFM. pow
    F/O. P H. George. pow
    W/O. H W. Turton. pow
    P/O. G W. Hughes RAAF. pow
    P/O. B J F. Hayes DFM RAAF. pow
    P/O. A C. Mathews DFC +

    Source - RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.5 - W R. Chorley
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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks Peter

    I have them in a list of POW's who reached the port of Odessa on 13th March 1945. I am still unsure why they have appeared on the list using both of their service numbers ???? - which was why I initiated this thread.

    Thanks again all

  12. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad


    WO 208/3327/3101


    Flying Officer R T Pither (service number 186093).

    Service: RAF.

    Evaded capture in Poland and contacted Allied Forces.

    Possible information on this individual (including appendices) may be present in WO 208/5582-5583.


    Held by:
    The National Archives, Kew

    Legal status:
    Public Record



    Both service numbers confirmed here;-


    Subsequent promotion notification;-


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  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Thanks Kyle

    I don't think I will search for every TNA file on my list :( , but I may try to obtain a copy of his to see how he reached Odessa. It has also created a small problem on my Excel sheet as to how to include secondary service numbers - anyone have any aspirins :)

  14. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    The vast majority of the ex-POWs who made it to Odessa did so with the help of the Poles.

    Despite Yalta agreements to allow 30 MilMis to set up four collecting camps in Poland the Russians went out of their way to make things difficult ie cancellation of passes, refusal to supply transport and the laughable charge that Soviets in UK holding camps were being treated much worse than Allied ex-POWs.

    Couple very lengthy files from an Aussie perspective - I can confirm the same things happened to Canadian exPows - can be found at the NAA:


    Recovered Prisoners of War via Odessa [USSR][Includes nominal list and correspondence concerning travel arrangements for wives of POW's who married in Europe


    Australian prisoners of war Europe - repatriation via Odessa - prisoners of war recovered by Russians


  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for that, unfortunately the links are 'timed out'. I have a list of the Aus & NZ guys at Odessa. The major problem I have is that I am still trying to find the listings for UK and European ex POW's who were repatriated via Odessa, after the best part of 2 years I still come up empty handed :(. It seems odd that records can be found easily for Aus, NZ, USA and Canadian troops but the UK :angry:

    The Russians were using liberated POW's as bargaining chips either for cash or for swapping with their own who were either being held as prisoners (i.e. on the German side) or those who had been fighting with the Allies. Their treatment on return to Russia (if they made it) was in the most part abysmal to say the least.

  16. PeteTurton

    PeteTurton New Member

    I am Herbert Turton's grandson, I do sporadic research into his career (he died in 1960 and so we know very little about his time as a POW (though we do have a telegram to his wife from ?Egypt I think, and my dad thinks he escaped from a camp but we aren't sure for certain).
    is the suggestion that he somehow made it Odessa?
    any help gratefully received
  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Pete

    Turtons that are in WO 392 POW database Europe are:

    H Turton The Royal Fusiliers Konin Zaganski, Poland 3866070 86985 VIII-C 23

    H W Turton Royal Air Force : Officers & Other Ranks 188227

    Either of these your grandfather??

    If its the second one then I can see on my worksheet he reached Odessa on 13th March 1945. There is a possibility that he departed Odessa 16th March aboard Duchess of Bedford but I would guess more likely on the 27th March on the Duchess of Richmond.
    One reason for this was that each POW at Odessa who was repartiated out of there needed a visa from the Russians which could only be obtained from Moscow, so the paperwork trail would take in mt estimation more than 3 days.

    Cairo and Naples were both used as first ports after Odessa, Cairo usually more for the antipodean repatriates, but not always

  18. PeteTurton

    PeteTurton New Member

    The RAF Herbert Turton 188227 is indeed my grandfather. The London Gazette item is interesting - we thought his promotion to Pilot Officer happened whilst as a prisoner, not as it says there on the 8th November. I've got a feeling he was transferred from one stalugluft to another but can't be sure (my dad keeps a box of stuff and I haven't looked at it in years). So I'm guessing the more likely tale is his camp was liberated and he went to Odessa, rather than the idea that he escaped?
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Promotion was 8th Nov - which year??

    It is notoriously difficult to find details re ex POW's being repatriated via Odessa

    I will look back through my notes to see how I came across his name, it would either be from searching the internet or sometimes people are mentioned in some of the related diaries/files from Odessa that I have

  20. PeteTurton

    PeteTurton New Member

    That would be great thanks. Just gave dad a quick phone call - he says he was unsure of how he got to wherever, but that his older brother tells a story of granddad and two others making a break for it in the midst of fighting nearby, hiding for two days before "surrendering" themselves to some Soviet troops thinking that they would help.

    On side note - Flt Lt Jennings, the pilot, was granddads best man at his wedding survived the war and lived out his life in Tazmania.

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