anzac POW freemen in europe

Part 6 - Full Nominal Roll & Casualty List

Incomplete Roll AIF POW "Free Men" of Europe

"We Will Remember Them"

Please go to Chapter 3 to view the incomplete roll AIF POW "Free Men" of Europe. These are viewable as .pdf files which are both zoomable and printable.

As the final days of the Third Reich grew fewer, the AIF Reception Group in England concentrated all its resources on preparing the Reception Camp at Eastbourne on the Sussex coast to receive the coming flood of some 5,000 AIF POW being progressively released from their European prison camps. Medical and Pay Corps personnel were moved from their bases in High Whycome down to the coast, debriefing Intelligence was augmented and Canteen staff increased.

But nobody was quite prepared for the rapidity with which the released POW were transported back across the Channel to England.

When VE Day dawned, the Allied Air Forces, released from relentless "thousand bomber" air raids against the enemy, were able to divert their cargoes of bombs to supplies for the victorious troops now engaged in occupational duties and fly out the just-freed POW. Suddenly hundreds of returning POW zeroed in to the Eastbourne Camp almost swamping the administration there.

Part Six records these events and their repatriation back to Australia by ship. It also lists by their names and units the 230 unfortunates who died from various causes whilst in European captivity. It completes the main thrust of the Compendium to record as much "oral history" as possible before it and the participants vanish irretrievably.

The Recorder has circulated this incomplete Nominal Roll as widely as possible to the relevant Unit Assosciations, but the march of time, unit amalgamations and the winding up of some Associations has hindered "feedback", particularly as many ex-POW never joined their Unit Associations so finding little specific space of their exploits in unit histories and regular magazine publications.

Nevertheless, in co-operation with the Australian Department of Veteran Affairs who is interviewing and filming 2,000 veterans "who were there" and have compiled a website of all servicemen in WWII and the Committee of the recently dedicated AIF POW Memorial Wall in Ballarat, Victoria, corrections and amplifications are already being made. This research is dedicated to every AIF POW name appearing on that wall. And to the International Red Cross, without whose field support, camp inspections, supply of amenities such as sporting equipment, musical instruments, books and above all regular nutritious food parcels with their cake of soap and fifty cigarettes enabled many AIF POW in Europe to survive and relate the experiences of those that have been recorded in it.

And finally, to think back on those of their mates, POW or not, who did not return home with them.

"Lest We Forget"

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