Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Corporal J. Costin, Monmouthshire Regt. - escaped from a German prison

Recommended Posts

The Glamorgan newspaper Llais Llafur published a brief report, on 19th August 1916, about the escape from a German prison of a J. Costin, and his return to this country. I'm looking for his first name, please (and perhaps tying him up with a Joseph Costin, of Tredegar, who served in the Prince of Wales' Light Horse in the Boer War). How unusual was it for captured Allied servicemen to escape from Germany?
…."Corporal J. Costin, of Blackwood, who went out to France with the Monmouthshire Regiment twelve months last February, was taken prisoner at the battle of Hill 60.
….His wife has received a telegram from him, stating that he escaped from the German prison and is now in Scotland, and will be home as soon as he possibly can.
….Corporal Costin attempted some time ago to make his escape, but was caught, and, as a consequence, was sentenced to imprisonment."

The four men named below seem to me to be the likeliest candidates to be Corporal J. Costin -
John Edward Costin, born 1881, Bedwellty district
Joseph Costin, born 1884, Bedwellty district 
John Francis Costin, born 1887, Bedwellty district
Stephen John Costin, born 1892, Bedwellty district
The maiden name of the mother(s) of all four of the above was Rees.
Link to post
Share on other sites

His whole report is free on TNA - quite fascinating, It begins



Edited by corisande
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, both. Joseph Costin seems to have enlisted in the Prince of Wales' Light Horse on 25th January 1901, and as his birth was registered in the 4th quarter of 1884, he must have been aged 16.


I can further add that, in 1906, Joseph Costin gave an account to a Jamaica newspaper of the experiences he and another sailor, Frank Shore, had had. After sailing from Newport to Venezuela, in September 1905, they left the ship but then found themselves stranded without work, so they then stole a fisherman's boat, only to land on a small island, after having smashed up the boat. On the fourth day on the island, without water, four armed fisherman rescued them and took them to the Venezuelan mainland, where they were put in prison. After 26 days there, they were told that they were suspected of being French spies and threatened with being shot, but all was well when Costin produced his South Africa medal. The Cuban Consul then got them work as sailors on a German ship, which they managed to get away from at Kingston, Jamaica.

If anyone would like to read the full piece, I can add it here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am unclear whether there are 1 or 2 J Costin in South Africa


The POW debrief shows Pietersburg Light Horse (rather than Prince of Wales Light Horse) as where he served


This web site shows J Costin in both, who may be 1 or 2 men



Link to post
Share on other sites

The nominal roll of the Bushveldt Carbineers has Joseph Costin joining on 13.3.1902, and being discharged on 7.7.1902. That of the PoW's Light Horse seems to have him being discharged on 20.7.1901, although there's also a second discharge date of 5.1.1902. So, like many other men did, he seems to have continued serving in the war.


Perhaps this is now going beyond what can be posted in the GWF, so I'll make enquiries in the Anglo-Boer War Forum, then report back here with any conclusive findings.



Also a J. Costin in the Essex Regiment.


Costin J 27635 Trooper Missing in action. Near Luckhoff, 3 March 1901
Source: South African Field Force Casualty Roll
Prince of Wales Light Horse
Costin J     1st Battalion
Source: QSA and KSA medal rolls
Essex Regiment
Costin Joseph 41642 Trooper Source: Nominal roll in WO127 Bushveldt Carabineers
Costin Joseph 27635 Trooper Source: Nominal roll in WO127

Prince of Wales Light Horse


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

He was awarded the Military Medal for Services as POW - LG 30/01/1920 together with Sergeant Mitchell of the Canadians who he escaped with.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...