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- Papers of Reginald William Winchester ('Chester') Wilmot (1911-1954).
Papers relating to political controversy arising in the House of Commons in Jul over the 'unconditional surrender'. Including newspaper cuttings and Wilmot's examination of the available evidence. Papers relating to Soviet grand strategy including extracts of speeches made by Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Jul Feb ; Wilmot's letter to Cabinet Office Historical Section enquiring after evidence to support rumours of tentative Russo-German armistice negotiations in and ; notes on Soviet territorial ambitions during World War Two.
Copies of Fragments 1a missing 10, 16, 20, 30 and The fragments are in German and are not numbered in chronological sequence, but in the order in which they were retranscribed at the end of World War Two. Papers relating to the condition, deployment and strategy of the British Home Forces, land and sea, during , mainly statistics from British official sources, notably the War Office and Admiralty Historical Section.
Papers relating to German U-boat design and production, , including notes from the Admiralty's report, based on captured documents, on the German naval war effort . Also contains production, deployment and battle statistics of Allied and Axis naval forces.
Battle for Caen
Papers relating to the Reich war economy and effects of Allied strategic bombing, including transcripts and notes from official records of German munitions, air, planning, labour, arms and economic ministries, on manufacturing industry, transportation, tank and aircraft production and losses; notes from minutes of meetings between Albert Speer, Minister for Armaments and War Production, and Adolf Hitler, ; British and the Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee reports on German industry compiled during the Allied advance into Germany and after the German surrender in May , notably on oil, heavy metals, aircraft and armament production.
Papers relating to Operation OVERLORD and Allied air assaults during , including notes from official air force reports on strategic and deception bombing in North West France, Mar-May ; extracts from the diaries of Lt Gen Lewis Brereton, Cdr Allied Airborne Army; notes from an interview in with Professor Solly Zuckerman, war-time scientific and technical advisor to the Chief of Combined Operations, on effects of bombing; article from The Aeroplane, Dec on counter-measures employed against German radar and radio communications systems, Papers relating to Operation OVERLORD and the German military response, including notes from official German sources on deployment of air, sea and ground forces prior to and in the early stages of invasion; extracts from transcripts of BBC-monitored broadcasts by Germany and European Axis powers referring to the prospects of an Allied invasion and including post-invasion anti-Allied propaganda.
Papers relating to 2 Army intelligence reports on the build-up of German forces in North West Europe during , including pre-invasion summaries; details of the organisation and structure of German divisions, Apr-May; and reports and estimates of German positions in France, the Low Countries and German borders, Sep-Nov.
Papers relating to the use of tanks in the campaign in Northern France, including information from Allied intelligence summaries on German Army organisation and tank tactics during Aug , and text of a despatch from Wilmot for the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Commission, 'The strength and weakness of our tanks' dated Aug.
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Papers relating to the German military recovery in North West Europe, Sep-Dec , including notes on formation of new divisions. Papers relating to German V weapons, particularly development and production of V1 flying bombs pilotless aeroplanes and V2 long-range rocket bombs, and their employment in the offensive against Britain and Antwerp after Jun , including notes from German sources particularly records of Flak Regt; script of a BBC radio programme on V weapons by Bernard Newman, 'A Secret War' from the 'Now it can be told' series, broadcast in Feb ; text of an article on British intelligence on German weaponry during World War Two, from Royal United Services Institute Journal, Aug ; text of Duncan Edwin Duncan Sandys' review of flying bomb attacks on London, in The Times, 8 Sep Notebook entitled 'Invasion 1', covering the first days of the Normandy campaign, including D-Day landing in glider with 6 Airborne Div near the Orne River and canal from Caen to the sea; initial operations of 7 and 9 Parachute Bns and 3 and 5 Parachute Bdes; French civilian and German military reaction; numbers and descriptions of POWs.
Notebook entitled 'Invasion 4', covering the break-out from Normandy and advance towards Falaise, including operations of 8 Corps, particularly 11 Armoured and 15 Scottish Divs; interrogations of German POWs and hostile relations between SS and Wehrmacht troops. Notebook entitled 'Invasion 5', covering the campaign in Northern France, including advance to Falaise and the Seine and fighting around Amiens and Arras.
Notebook entitled 'Invasion 6', covering the campaign in Northern France and Belgium including battle for the Albert Canal; advance to Antwerp; the underground press in Brussels. Notebook entitled 'Invasion 8', covering the campaign in Holland particularly around Eindhoven and Arnhem including operations of 8 Corps and 1 Airborne Div. Notebook entitled 'Invasion 9', covering the campaign in Holland including operations of 7 US Armoured Div; capture of Maas Canal and Walcheran Island; German concentration camp in Vught; effects of food shortages in Eindhoven before and after liberation including rationing, malnutrition and black market.
Notebook entitled 'Invasion 10', covering operations in Belgium and Holland including attack towards the Roer River; German counter-attack in the Ardennes; Christmas rations and entertainment for Allied forces in Belgium. Notebook entitled 'Invasion 12', covering the Allied advance towards the Rhine including the Reichswald offensive; attack on the Roer River dams; operations of 30 Corps.
These powers were Japan and the Soviet Union.
Japan had signed but had not ratified it so in effect was not bound by it's terms. Russia had applied the terms of the Hague Convention of which the Geneva Convention superseded but failed to meet any of the requirements of the Geneva Convention during W. II and as a result no information was released on captured German troops and camp visits were not allowed for German prisoners in Soviet captivity.
Germany followed suit and no visits or information on Soviet PoWs held on German territory were allowed to be released. Each German PoW has a different story to tell and certainly no generalisation can be made about either Allied or Soviet captivity as conditions varied greatly from camp to camp. Factors such as weather conditions, supplies of food and medicine, the period of the war when captivity was spent and indeed the individual personality of the camp commandant were all deciding factors to the conditions endured by prisoners. Conditions of camps varied too with there being purpose built camps in use as well as requisitioned and converted premises which served as PoW camps.
The first German prisoners to be taken were by Polish forces in the opening stages of the war but as was to be the case in France as well these prisoners were quickly liberated by the invading German forces. This changed however when Luftwaffe aircrews and U-boat crews operating in British territory were captured and imprisoned in Britainand as early as there were a number of captured air crews and U-boat crews held prisoner on British soil.
The U-boat crews who survived being sunk could count themselves very lucky as many U-boats were sunk with all hands lost-a statistic which states that out of around 40, members of the U-boat arm of the Kreigsmarine who saw service only around 10, survived the war. It was a U-boat crew who were the first prisoners to be imprisoned in Britain and they came from U which was depth charged in the North Sea in September the entire crew including the commander were rescued safely. U captain Gerhard Glattes was captured by Lord Louis Montbatten - they kept in contact and remained friends for many years.
Eventually Luftwaffe aircrew outnumbered the Kreigsmarine sailors being taken prisoner and these prisoners were eventually in turn shipped to the USA and Canada.
This provoked some violent demonstrations from the men earmarked for transportation and not unduly so. Their main fear was that they would fall victim to their own U-boats and made their feelings known in no uncertain terms by smashing up furniture in their camp. Their protests were eventually overruled and they were shipped from Liverpool in Northern England to ports in Canada and the US shortly afterwards.
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One of the men to sent to America from England was the most successful U-boat commander of the war Otto Kretschmer who was in command of U and was captured March 17, with all but one of his crew. They were shipped to Bowmanville, Ontario just east of Toronto. Although a steady trickle of German prisoners found their way into PoW camps in Britain from to mid , it was not until the victories in North Africa and later after the invasion of Normandy that the camps in Britain started to fill up with German prisoners of war.
After the defeat in Africa, Italian as well as German prisoners were interned in camps across England, Scotland and Wales. Grizedale Hall was a stately home which at the time was expensive to run and prompted a certain Colonel Wedgewood to complain in a speech to the House of Commons that " The number of camps in Britain was to change drastically though and from it's humble beginnings of just two camps in the network of PoW cams was to grow to by Not all were held in Britain though and many were sent to distant parts of the British Empire in an effort to reduce the cost of feeding them as well as the fact that at the time a German invasion was imminent.
The last thing Britain wanted was prisoners although at this time the number of German PoWs was in Britain relatively small helping the invading Germans. Many were sent to the USA and Canada. The camps themselves on mainland Britain varied form site to site but the majority if not situated in existing premises such as disused factories, hotels, colleges or stately homes etc.
These structures were known as Nissen huts and can still be seen today in rural parts of Scotland and Wales. The numbered parts of the camp are as follows: 1. Pill Box 2. POW Barracks 3.
Latrines 4. Ammunition Stores 5. Canteen 6. Camp Office 7. Chapel 8. Kitchen Guard Barracks POW Barracks After the Allied invasion of western Europe took place in prisoners that were taken would be transported on large barges along with wounded Allied troops over the English Channel and would dock at a major ports such as Southampton and Portsmouth. Sometimes discipline would break down and officers would be jostled and abused by enlisted men although in general this was not the case.
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Here they would be deloused and board trains which would take them to one of the nine Command Cages which would be set up in racecourses such as Kempton Park Doncaster Catterick and Loughborough in Leicestershire or football grounds such as Preston North End's ground in Lancashire, Northern England.
Scotland who's main base was in No. It was near here, in Cockfosters, that prisoners who were thought to have vital information as well as Luftwaffe flying crews were sent for special interrogation. Interrogation methods were very thorough and employed various means to extract information from prisoners. One such method was to "plant" an undercover soldier who spoke fluent German usually a Pole who joined forces with the British to glean as much information as possible from other prisoners.
German prisoner disembark from a train under the watchful eye of British troops at Kempton Park Holding Camp where they would be interrogated and eventually be despatched to other camps. Here they would be interrogated on military matters and a good idea could be gained of the prisoners loyalty to the Nazi regime. They would be graded by a colour patch which was worn on their uniform. A white patch meant the person in question had no particular loyalty and was indifferent to National Socialism. A grey patch meant that the prisoner, although not an ardent Nazi, had no strong feelings either way wore a grey patch.
It was not just an ordinary train; we sat on upholstered seats. There was no screaming and spitting at us like in Holland. Hampden Park a large Football ground in Scotland : long rows of tables. Interrogation: your name, your rank, your company, your papers. Delousing station. Next day: Nottingham. A huge camp consisting only of tents. Of course, this caused a great disappointment. Here we received cigarettes, a bag and a white handkerchief, which made a great impression on me. But I already had one valuable extra possession: a second blanket The next camp was Crewe Hall, Cheshire Camp My first days there I felt only relief at the narrow escape out of hell.
And this hell was still going on on the other side of the Channel. My family did not know I was safe and I did not know if my parents were alive. I had already learnt of the death of my younger brother Martin". Hans Reckel who was captured in France recalls: "On 24th July on a dull almost foggy morning we stepped onto English soil at Gosport.
In the streets almost all we saw were women in working clothes smoking cigarettes who barely noticed us". Lieutnant Kurt Bock remembers: "I had nothing but my uniform. Consequently when I caught my first cold I did not have my handkerchief. Our daily diet was tea with milk and sugar twice daily poured into an empty corned beef tin-if you had one!