Posts Tagged ‘“Stirling Bombers”’

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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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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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The Great Escape

October 11, 2009

Alan was transferred to Stalagluft 3 at the end of 1942, and spent three years as prisoner of war in the camp. This camp had been set up to specifically receive Officers and was run and managed by the Luftwaffe, who had a degree of “respect” for the officers it held.

Alan Birley BatemanUnlike many other POW camps, Stalagluft 3 was run with a degree of civility, with the prisoners allowed to amuse themselves with the organisation of sports teams,gardening, ¬†reading clubs, debating societies, and theatrical clubs, and many productions were put on in the “theatre” to keep the prisoners busy and amused. A “University behind bars” was created, with prisoners allowed to study, as Alan did, for his legal exams, with books and papers sent to him through the Red Cross. Whilst prisoner, Alan took his Law Intermediate exams, and subsequently qualified as a solicitor on his return to England. As can be read in Alan’s letters, films were sometimes shown, and a close and communal life and comradeship was forged among the detained prisoners.

I understand that all the above were encouraged to keep the prisoners engaged during their captivity, and their minds away from the task of escaping. However, Margaret informs me, that it was bred into every RAF officer from the start of their training, that it was their DUTY to try to escape from captivity, which explains the lengths the prisoners went to, to fulfill this end.

Alan was interred in hut 104, sharing the same hut as Roger Bushell (the mastermind of the Great Escape) and was a founder member of the North Compound. As well as creating tunnels, the prisoners were involved in many ingenious activities including the forging of official documents, the making of civilian clothes, the acquisition and storage of rations for those due to make the escape, and the research and creation of maps, essential for those who made it through the tunnels. Sharing hut 104, the nerve centre of these operations, Alan was involved in all aspects of the planning of the Great Escape.

In particular, I remember him telling me that on one occasion the plans for escape had been discovered by the “Goons” ( an affectionate term for the German guards) and that all rations that had been carefully acquired and stored by prisoners, for those due to escape to take with them, had to be eaten immediately! He told me of many occasions where “goons” had been offered chocolate or cigarettes as a friendly gesture by the prisoners, which had then “bought” the guard whom they could bribe for items they needed, as accepting gifts from prisoners could land the guard in deep trouble with his superiors.

Alan also took on the role of “penguin” in the construction of the tunnels, a role which involved him inserting a bag with drawstrings attached into each trouser leg, filled up with the excavations from the tunnels. He would then casually walk around the compound, gently releasing the drawstring and therefore allowing the contents of the bags to be scuffed into the dirt as he walked. This was important, as the soil colour from the tunnels was different from that in the compound, and would have drawn attention if it had been found.

I am proud of Alan and the activities he undertook whilst in Stalagluft 3. Many might have found the strain of finding themselves a captive POW enough on its own to cope with, but to study and pass legal exams, to be part of the Great Escape team and to live successfully in reduced circumstances as prisoner in a war that was far from its conclusion, with the many hardships that brings, and still appear in good spirits, is a tribute to Alan’s character and fortitude.

On the 24th March 1944, the “Great Escape” took place. Alan was not one of the first to enter the tunnel, as the agreement about who was to go first was made on the likelihood each individual had about his ability to reach England. As Alan had had a toe amputated, he was not given priority. However, after many, many men had entered the tunnel, Alan’s turn came, but as he was descending into the tunnel, the other end of it was discovered, and so he was quickly pulled out, and the entrance hidden again.

Maybe it was just as well, as the prisoners later found out that of their comrades that had escaped, 50 were captured, rounded up and shot on the orders of Hitler, as a deterrent to other would-be escapers.

I remember Alan telling me, that as a direct result of that action, a further tunnel was started in defiance of the killings, but that the camp was disbanded and the prisoners sent on the “Long March” before it could be completed.

True bravery and determination in the face of cruel adversary.

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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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Alan’s letters 21

October 10, 2009


Alan’s letters 21

Transcript of above

21st May 1943

Dear Bill, since my last letter I received ten letters from home, the last being yours of the 9th April. Thank you for buying the saving certificates, I agree that that is the best investment from all points of view at present. Incidentally, I assume you are drawing from my account to settle all my commitments including those to yourself. Please continue this entirely at your discretion rather than defer any matters for me. I have been wondering where my articles of clerkship are now. I am afraid I cannot remember whether I left them at home, at the station or with the society. If you could trace them and deposit them in a safe place, I should be very glad. I am now receiving cigarettes from home, Lucy and Hilda for which very many thanks indeed. Your inclusions of a pipe in the clothing parcel was a brain wave, and I have many an enjoyable fill. I am perfect in health and foot stands up to football now. All the best to you all, with love, Alan.

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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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