Stalag IIIA SBO Letter to Soviet Commandant re Repatriation

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Buster11, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Buster11

    Buster11 Member

    Attached are copies of the letter sent on May 7th 1945 by the Senior British Officer at Stalag IIIA Luckenwalde to the Soviet commandant, concerning the delays in repatriation of allied PoWs. My father was at the camp, after being on the winter march from Stalag Luft III, and brought back a copy of the letter.

    Attached Files:

    Patmudeford, vitellino, Owen and 2 others like this.
  2. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Thanks for posting this letter. Did your father notice any difference following the letter?

  3. Buster11

    Buster11 Member

    I'm afraid he didn't refer to the letter and I only found it after his death. I do remember that my mother was concerned after the end of the War that PoWs in Soviet hands were to be repatriated by sea via Odessa, but in fact he was flown home in a US C-47 from Halle to, I think, Cosford.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Do we know the name of the officer who wrote that ?
  5. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Wing Commander Richard Charles Marler Collard, DSO, DFC. Former OC No. 12 Squadron, shot down July 1942.



    Attached Files:

  6. I too have a copy of this letter , which I found in my fathers papers. Unfortunately the bottom of the letter is missing so I had no idea who wrote it until reading your post,. belated thank you.
    I know a long time has pasted since your post but I never did get to know how my father actually got home from Luckenwalde, maybe you could help? Thanks
    Anthony Forrest
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Hello Anthony
    Buster last on the forum July 2015

    I have sent him a message on your behalf to see if he can add more for you

  8. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member


    There were three ways Allied (US, UK and Norwegian) POWs left Luckenwalde.

    On 5/6 May 1945, a convoy of American trucks from the US 83rd Division headed by a Captain Sinkovitch arrived at the camp with orders to evacuate the wounded. Priority was US first, then UK and Norwegian. But as the Russian commandant, Captain Medvedev, had not received instructions from Moscow, this convoy was fired upon. I am aware of one RCAF Pilot Officer who, while standing there, had an American officer in a jeep pull up and upon seeing the "Canada" titles on his shoulders, pulled him into the jeep saying "Canada's close enough". Said Pilot Officer was home a month before his crewmates.

    Now, this convoy was not happy about not being allowed in so word was passed about the camp that the convoy would wait three kilometers from the camp and anybody who could get out should make their way. This led to problems as W/Cdr Collard had given instructions that all POWs were to "stay put" until they could be negotiated out. Collard died at 45 in 1961 so cannot answer why he was so adamant the "stay put" order be in place. But he had W/O Andy Wiseman, RAF, a Polish Jew born in Berlin and shot down over France in 1944, as his interpreter. I was happy to call Andy a friend and over a five year period we would periodically talk about Luckenwalde. He told me Collard was a die hard, by the book, RAF officer who told him "the only way this will work is by discipline". He told me about he and Collard in a jeep driving towards the US convoy and telling POWs hiding in ditches to get "your arses back to camp".

    Between the Russian liberation of 21 April and VE Day, some 200 POWs left the camp (wire fences had been knocked down by Soviet tanks) and risking confrontation with bands of die-hard SS made their way to US lines, then only 25 miles away. I have some files from Luckenwalde with lists of POWs who "are to be court martialed" for departing.

    On VE Day, while the rest of Europe was celebrating the end of the war, the men at Luckenwalde witnessed the Soviets putting a wire fence back up around the camp's perimeter and placing armed guards every 50 feet. The number of men who departed between 8-20 May is substantially smaller than the the number who left between 22 April and 8 May.

    Finally on 20 May 1945, some 400 RAF and USAAF men were trucked to the Elbe River where they were exchanged for Soviets, having served in the German army and captured no doubt suffered a quick and unpleasant fate.

    I have a few lists of POWs. If you want to PM me your dad's service number I can have a look as to how he got home.


    canuck, CL1 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  9. Much appreciated. Thanks

  10. Thank you for your prompt reply, very much appreciated. My father was;
    Rifleman Louis Forrest
    1st Btn. Rifle Brigade
    Captured at Calais May 1940
    POW number 42921
    He was in 4 Camps ;
    Stalag VID Dortmund
    Stalag VIA Hemer
    Stalag VIIIb Lamsdorf, and finally Luckenwalde as well as 4 Work Camps
    He told me about the Russian troops clearing the wire with their Tanks and the brutal treatment of the Germans both Military and civilian
    He also spent about four weeks in a goal in Berlin (from his description I think it was the Schultheiss Brewery) because as an Irishman he was asked to join the legion of St George, which he refused , after which he got "a good hiding" and 4 weeks in goal for a trumped up charge of theft.
    Hope this helps
  11. Buster11

    Buster11 Member

    Not sure how he got to the airfield from Luckenwalde, but he was flown frm Celle to Cosford in a C-47 with an identification number M2 on the nose.
    Anthony Forrest likes this.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Airborne Troop Carrier - C-47 markings


    WWII’s ‘D-Day Doll’ Takes to the Skies in All its Glory


    The above picture shows a C-47 of the 88th Troop Carrier Squadron.
    1. Nickname or nose art. Not all aircraft had such. A lt of planes had names, for example of their loved ones in the USA.
    2. Names of crew members. Not always there or hard to see on photos. Here are the names of Lt.-Col. Bob Gates, CO of the
    88th TCS, Lt. William Bryson (pilot) and T/Sgt. George Hemingway (crew chief).
    3. Partial Squadron Code M2.

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    Cee likes this.
  13. Thanks again for your help, hope I can return the compliment one day
  14. Thanks again for your help, hope I can return the compliment one day
  15. Patmudeford

    Patmudeford Member

  16. Patmudeford

    Patmudeford Member

    Anthony, my father Sqn.Ldr Stanley Booker was at Luckenwalde - he marched from Stalag luft 3 - prior to Oct 20th 44 he was a prisoner in Buchenwald concentration camp with 168 Allied airmen. I am writing his autobiography - do you have any more background /photos re Lukenwald?
    Thanks Pat
  17. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member


    I have an entire archive on Luckenwalde. Pictures are as rare as hen's teeth but over the years I've obtained quite a few. Things like the American convoy that showed up at the camp unannounced on 5 and 6 May 1945. I would estimate I have about 40 hrs of interviews with POWs who were there when the Soviets showed up on 22 April 1945.

    And serendipity being what it is I have a rather large file on the 168 men in Buchenwald so your dad's name comes up quite often. Were it not for his research, and those of chaps like Jim Stewart (Typhoon pilot), we would know much less than we do. If he is still with us please pass on my regards. I just finished a project which has taken a couple of years - tracing every one of the 168 (169 if you include the American in the RCAF who escaped off the train on the way from Paris to Weimar) and determining their final fates. Mike Dorsey, director of "Lost Airmen of Buchenwald" is just finishing an updated version of the film.


    CL1 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  18. Patmudeford

    Patmudeford Member

    Hi Dave, I am updatingand editing my Father's original book he wrote in 1993- which is in the Imperial War Museum. I am looking for more descriptions about Luckenwalde and a photogarph for the book. Also any of the airmen's descritpions of their memories of Fresnes prison; the train journey to Buchenwald and Buchenwald itself. I have virtually everybook published on Buchenwald and book in German/ French but the actual thoughts and feelings are something I am trying to describe in this new book.My Father wrote very factually and I am encouraging him to tell me about thoughts and feelings. I have made contact with the family of Sgt Frederick Vinecombe ( He was in Joel Stevenson's crew) - Frederick is 105 years old and the family knew very little about his war time experiences - I am updating them after all these years. My Father is now 98! Pat
    CL1 likes this.
  19. Patmudeford

    Patmudeford Member

    Dave - are you in touch with Mike Dorsey? Re updating The lost airmen of Buchenwald? I would really like to link up with him.
  20. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member


    Most of the USAAF in Buchenwald were chased down after the war by the CIC to give affidavits re Buchenwald. I have most of those as well as about 20 RCAF post-war depositions. One of the RCAF depositions is by one of the men who had to bury the French lad murdered on the train.

    Joel Stevenson passed away in Gulfport, Mississippi in February of 1995. Around this time every year the press in Bristol run a story on Fred Vinecombe. I found his meeting of a female RAF pilot, who he didn't believe existed, at his retirement home quite something.

    That makes it at least three of the 168 still with us. Stanley Albert Booker; Frederick Samuel Vinecombe and Russell Duane Hilding, a B17 pilot from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I also cannot find obituaries for an RCAF bomb aimer and a USAAF co-pilot....not for lack of trying. Fellow forumite, Tricky Dicky "TD" went out of his way with the RAF chaps for me. This whole exercise was made easier by the fact Jim Stewart had written down everybody's address in his POW log back in 1944.

    I can put you in contact with Mike Dorsey. Please send me a PM with your email address and I'll pass it on.


    Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.

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