Posts Tagged ‘“letters from prisoner of war camps”’

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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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Alan and fellow RAF colleagues

October 11, 2009

Alan and fellow RAF colleagues

Back row ; Sgt Howland. Sgt Readhead. SGT Seabrook. Sgt Morris. Sgt Coleman

Front row ; P/O Mahoney P/O Coldwell P/O Bateman P/O Shoemaker P/O Newport-Tinley

I believe this photo was taken during training, and according to Margaret Bateman, all the gentlemen in this photo, apart from Alan, died during the war. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who may have any information on any of these individuals, as Alan mentions many of them by name in his letters and diaries.

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Reverse of Alan’s letter cards

October 10, 2009


Reverse of Alan’s letter cards

Originally uploaded by justinehadden

This shows the reverse side of the letter cards that Alan sent home from Stalagluft 3.

Alan Birley Bateman’s letters home from inside Stalagluft 3, while held as prisoner of war between 1942 and 1945. These letters give a first-hand, fascinating insight into life in the camp, and covers the period of “The Great Escape”

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