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Introduction

October 7, 2009
Alan Birley Bateman
Alan Birley Bateman

Welcome to this Blog, dedicated to the memory of Alan Birley Bateman, British Bomber pilot who flew Stirling Bombers during World War 2.

This Blog intends to tell the story of Alan Bateman, who was shot down over Southern Denmark in 1942, and held as prisoner of war in Stalagluft 3, near Sagan  for over 3 years. This blog recounts, first hand, his experiences of life in the camp, including his part in the now famous “Great Escape”.


Please feel free to contact me at justinehadden@yahoo.co.uk for further information. I am especially keen to hear from anyone who may remember Alan Bateman from his time in the RAF or from Stalagluft 3, or from anyone who may have information on the other members of RAF personnel mentioned in these pages. Thank you.

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Please also note that this site is under construction, and I will be adding information over the coming weeks. Thank you.

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14 Legacy

October 20, 2009

A few weeks ago, at the time of writing (Oct 2009), Alan’s cousin, the last blood relative of the Bateman line died in a nursing home on the south coast of England.

With each passing generation, the memories of such events as described in this blog, die out. The historical facts of such events remain, in textbooks and documents, but the association with individuals, their first hand memories and experiences, and the little, personal things that are not recorded in the National narrative are lost, and die with the individual.

I really hope that in this blog, I have managed to convey a personal narrative of this “Great Escape” story, and that Alan’s bravery, fortitude and spirit of character shines through. It needs to be remembered, however, that there were thousands of “Alan’s” of all nationalities and on both sides of the conflict, and that they all had their own stories and narratives of their shared experience of war, although we may not have a record now.

Alan never claimed any war medals that he was entitled to, and this is something Margaret and I are looking into claiming, posthumously, on his behalf. Margaret maintains that once home, Alan decided to “get on with life” and put his war years behind him to focus on his future. We are sure this is why he never claimed his medals. Alan was always reluctant to talk about his war years and I am sure that he would  be more than a little bemused that his years of incarceration were still attracting interest and research today. I am sure the same could be said for the technology that is available today, and that has made this blog possible!

Thank you for reading.

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Alan Birley Bateman’s Ex prisoner of War questionaire, part 1

October 17, 2009

Below is Alan Bateman’s Ex Prisoner-of War questionaire, completed by Alan upon his release, detailing the POW camps and hospitals he was held captive in, and information that could be used to bring War Crimes prosecutions against the enemy. Until recently, these documents were Top Secret, and the originals are held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

Many, many thanks to Soren Flenstead who hosts an excellent site, Airwar over Denmark ;

http://www.flensted.eu.com/

This site has a vast amount of information cataloguing the crews of British and American airmen that flew over Denmark during World War 2 and in many cases lost their lives in Denmark and the surrounding seas. Soren’s site is certainly worth a look.



Alan Birley Bateman’s Ex prisoner of War questionaire, part 1

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Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 2

October 17, 2009

Below is Alan Bateman’s Ex Prisoner-of War questionaire, completed by Alan upon his release, detailing the POW camps and hospitals he was held captive in, and information that could be used to bring War Crimes prosecutions against the enemy. Until recently, these documents were Top Secret, and the originals are held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

Many, many thanks to Soren Flenstead who hosts an excellent site, Airwar over Denmark ;

http://www.flensted.eu.com/

This site has a vast amount of information cataloguing the crews of British and American airmen that flew over Denmark during World War 2 and in many cases lost their lives in Denmark and the surrounding seas. Soren’s site is certainly worth a look.



Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 2

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Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 3

October 17, 2009

Below is Alan Bateman’s Ex Prisoner-of War questionaire, completed by Alan upon his release, detailing the POW camps and hospitals he was held captive in, and information that could be used to bring War Crimes prosecutions against the enemy. Until recently, these documents were Top Secret, and the originals are held in the National Archives at Kew, London.

Many, many thanks to Soren Flenstead who hosts an excellent site, Airwar over Denmark ;

http://www.flensted.eu.com/

This site has a vast amount of information cataloguing the crews of British and American airmen that flew over Denmark during World War 2 and in many cases lost their lives in Denmark and the surrounding seas. Soren’s site is certainly worth a look.


Alan Birley Bateman’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, part 3

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The Long March

October 12, 2009

By January 1945, Russian forces were rapidly approaching from the East, as part of the allied liberation of Europe. As was common in many camps at the time, Stalagluft 3 was disbanded, and its occupants started on a “Long March” hundreds of miles westwards towards Spremberg partly to avoid the approaching Russian liberators, and partly as moveable hostages for the Germans. From January to April 1945, Alan and the inmates of Stalagluft 3 were marched westwards through Germany by their captors, in sub zero temperatures, with little food or supplies, and slept rough in deserted barns, and various buildings including a cinema. On Alan’s ex prisoner of war questionaire, he states that he was sent to Stalagluft Tamstadt between January and April 1945, herded into cattle trucks without windows, 70 to a truck, for a three day journey to Bremen, and then finally onto Marlag Milag Nord camp, Lubeck, near Westertimke, a camp for Merchant Seaman and Royal Navy personnel, that had already been condemned as unfit and unsanitary by the Red Cross.

Margaret remembers Alan telling her that he had foreseen this evacuation, and had stored up rations, for the journey, made a sledge from boards from bunk beds to carry his possessions on throught the snow, and had saved an old hessian sack, which he wore over the upper half of his body to protect his head and upper body during this long cold march.

Alan and the other inmates ended their Long March on Luneberg Heath, in Lower Saxony on the 4th May 1945 … co-incidentally place and date of the unconditional surrender by German Forces to the Allied forces under Field Marshal Montgomery, marking the end of World War Two in Europe. It is also where the body of Heinrich Himmler is buried in an unmarked grave, following his suicide.

I have the original telegram from Alan, to his parents which says “Landed Safely in England Home Friday Love Alan. VE day was the 8th May 1945, a Tuesday, and Alan was transferred to England via Dunsfold, onto a hospital for de-briefing, and then allowed home. Working on his telegram, therefore, we can assume that he eventually reached home on 11thMay 1945.

Margaret remembers Alan telling her that he and his colleagues had been told that there would be a tea laid on for the returning prisoners at Dunsfold, and that they were warned not to eat too much, as after many years on a frugal diet in POW camps, the POW’s would be unable to physically eat much, and they could make themselves ill. Alan took no notice, however, as faced with a plentiful supply of tasty food for the first time in 3 years, he couldn’t resist eating all he could!

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stirling

October 11, 2009



stirling

Originally uploaded by justinehadden

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RAF list of lost Bomber aircraft during World War 2

October 11, 2009

Stirling W7514 Information

Type Stirling
Serial Number W7514
Squadron 15
X1D LS-B
Operation Rostock
Date 1 25th April 1942
Date 2 26th April 1942

Further Information

“Serial Range W7500 – W7539. 40 Stirling Mk.1. Part of a batch of 150 Short S.29 Stirling Mk.1. W7426-W7474; W7500- W7359; W7560-W7589; W7610-W7639. Delivered by Austin Motors Ltd between Feb42 and May42. Contract No.B982939/39. Delivered to No.15 Sqdn 28Mar42. Airborne 2150 25apr42 from Wyton. Abandoned after being attacked at 0105 be a Me110 from 5.NJG3. Sgt East was killed during the engagement and Sgt Surridge was mortally wounded in the stomach although he managed to bale out. He died from his injuries 28Apr42, while being treated in Tonder Hospital. Of those captured following the crash at Kravlund, 3 km SW of Tinglev, Denmark, Sgt Stephen was killed by a lightning strike in captivity 29Jul44 and he is buried in the Old Garrison Cemetery at Poznan in Poland. It is also reported that the night-fighter crew were obliged to force-land at Bylderup-Bov and although they escaped injury, their Me110 (Werk No.2276) was wrecked. F/O J.E.M.Conran PoW F/O A.B.Bateman PoW Sgt R.T.Stephen PoW P/O A.H.H.Young PoW Sgt R.R.Lawson PoW Sgt G.H.Surridge Inj Sgt R.A.J.Skinner PoW Sgt D.J.East KIA F/O A.B.Bateman was interned in Camp 9C/L3. PoW No.39647. F/O J.E.M.Conran in Camps L1/L3, PoW No.766. Sgt R.A.J.Skinner in Camps L3/L6/357, PoW No.274 with Sgt R.T.Stephen, PoW No.184. (See above). P/O A.H.H.Young in Camp L3, PoW No.217. “

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