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Stanley Clifford Andrews - RWF & POW


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My Grandfather Stanley Clifford Andrews (RWF) was captured (according to German records) in March 1918 and moved to Parchim Camp. There is a further transfer document (to where is not clear) in June 1918. He is noted as being uninjured. He ended up getting a shrapnel wound to the head and was left for dead on the side of the road after the allies left the, then deserted (of German Soldiers), camp. He was eventually found and transported to an unknown London hospital where he made a full recovery. This is known to be fact.

My query is - could he have got a shrapnel wound in prison?  My aunt told me before she died that, “towards the end of the war and as a prisoner, a German soldier hit him. A German Officer then pulled out a pistol and Stanley thought that he was going to shoot him. But the Officer pistol whipped the soldier for hitting Stanley”

This is the only family information I have. Could he have escaped and been recaptured? Did anyone escape these camps?

Any help would be appreciated.

Steve Andrews

 

@Stephen Andrews

 

Edit: Post has been moved from Calendar hence why the author is not the OP.

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He is recorded as being at Parchim in June 1918, he was transferred from Parchim to Friedrichsfeld - the list is dated 21.10.918

Charlie

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Good Morning Steve,

              An interesting tale but one that is hard to gauge either way.  Yes, he was taken POW with 9 RWF at Beugny on 21 st March 1918.  His ICRC cards both record him as being unwounded-the latter is dated  October 1918 /15th November 1918 so if he was "damaged" then it would be right at the end of the war.

 

EITHER:

     He was a POW but not moved to Germany. A very large number of POWs were kept behind the lines and used for fatigues- digging, clearing, making road,etc.  The British did the same. The stereotype is usually one of gallant officer chaps using their inventive ways to escape all day long-the reality was different. Other Ranks were required to work and there were heavy casualties  from exhaustion, malnutrition and disease as  Germany descended into defeat in 1918. 

    Many POWs kept behind the lines were administered by the POW regime in Germany-which was awkward as the chains of camps depended on which German unit had captured him in the first place. Thus, the most plausible scenario is that he was administered from Perchim, in Meckenburg, but was actually working behind the German lines in France and Flanders. And yes there were "blue on blue" casualties as the Allies advanced in 1918.

 

OR

    He was at Perchim and was mistreated.  But Germans would not have run away from their own camp in the heart of Germany would they?  Thus, the behind the lines in France is the more probable.

    Injury by war crime is more problematic. POWs were debriefed when they got back and the British had been concerned at the high number of deaths from disease. But the subject of pursuing war criminals in the Great War was fraught with difficulty-Unlike in WW2, Germany was not occupied and the few war crimes proceedings that there were got nowhere. 

By chance, I have the same problem as you- I have a local casualty also captured on the same day as your man and also with 9th RWF. He died in an industrial "accident" at Wattenscheid in the Ruhr in August 1918- supposedly falling off the roof of a railway coal bunker. But his injury was a fractured skull, at the base of his skull- slightly improbable in itself but consistent with being clubbed.

 

     The answer for your man may well lie with other members of your family and what they were told over the years.  The damage caused by shrapnel is entirely different to that caused by a rifle butt- thelatter would tend to be a depressed fracture of the skull, the former  to have left scarring.  Did he have scarring?  Or was there anything subsequent in his medical history that might elucidate this?

 

     Out of interest, many men of 9RWF were taken POW in March 1918. One of them who was debriefed at the end of the war had his answers printed up- it gives a good view of what happened to POWs of 9RWF- and it can be downloaded for FREE (REPETITION:FREE) at the moment from The National Archives website,due to a generous concession while TNA is shut down by the Lurgi. The references for the item below, that of Lance Corporal A.W.Woodward.:

 

image.png.5fdc91abc5179b62fa5ed049979dff2c.png

 

image.png.1c53212f776977ebaa36b56d9d0c6f63.png

 

 

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Matlock1418

Stephen,

Welcome to GWF.

An interesting enquiry.

The PoW details I assume have come from the Red Cross PoW records but it is not entirely clear as to exactly what else "is known to be fact" [and how known].

@charlie2 has him at Friedrichsfeld in late 1918

@Voltaire60 has provided a valuable post.

Please, as a cautionary note, also reflect [as I am pretty sure you are already doing] that in family lore discrepancies can perhaps arise.

Remember that an originally mundane condition can potentially become more colourful/heroic over time, whether from the mouth of the soldier or from others thereafter.

[ Not that it is directly relevant here but as illustration - I have encountered a number of cases of tuberculosis in military records which seem to have became 'gas injury' in life thereafter - both lung conditions typical of a war-related origin = But which later gets the most sympathy/respect/beers down the pub? ]

Often hard to tell now. :-/

Good luck with your research.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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Stephen Andrews
On 13/02/2021 at 12:44, voltaire60 said:

Good Morning Steve,

              An interesting tale but one that is hard to gauge either way.  Yes, he was taken POW with 9 RWF at Beugny on 21 st March 1918.  His ICRC cards both record him as being unwounded-the latter is dated  October 1918 /15th November 1918 so if he was "damaged" then it would be right at the end of the war.

 

EITHER:

     He was a POW but not moved to Germany. A very large number of POWs were kept behind the lines and used for fatigues- digging, clearing, making road,etc.  The British did the same. The stereotype is usually one of gallant officer chaps using their inventive ways to escape all day long-the reality was different. Other Ranks were required to work and there were heavy casualties  from exhaustion, malnutrition and disease as  Germany descended into defeat in 1918. 

    Many POWs kept behind the lines were administered by the POW regime in Germany-which was awkward as the chains of camps depended on which German unit had captured him in the first place. Thus, the most plausible scenario is that he was administered from Perchim, in Meckenburg, but was actually working behind the German lines in France and Flanders. And yes there were "blue on blue" casualties as the Allies advanced in 1918.

 

OR

    He was at Perchim and was mistreated.  But Germans would not have run away from their own camp in the heart of Germany would they?  Thus, the behind the lines in France is the more probable.

    Injury by war crime is more problematic. POWs were debriefed when they got back and the British had been concerned at the high number of deaths from disease. But the subject of pursuing war criminals in the Great War was fraught with difficulty-Unlike in WW2, Germany was not occupied and the few war crimes proceedings that there were got nowhere. 

By chance, I have the same problem as you- I have a local casualty also captured on the same day as your man and also with 9th RWF. He died in an industrial "accident" at Wattenscheid in the Ruhr in August 1918- supposedly falling off the roof of a railway coal bunker. But his injury was a fractured skull, at the base of his skull- slightly improbable in itself but consistent with being clubbed.

 

     The answer for your man may well lie with other members of your family and what they were told over the years.  The damage caused by shrapnel is entirely different to that caused by a rifle butt- thelatter would tend to be a depressed fracture of the skull, the former  to have left scarring.  Did he have scarring?  Or was there anything subsequent in his medical history that might elucidate this?

 

     Out of interest, many men of 9RWF were taken POW in March 1918. One of them who was debriefed at the end of the war had his answers printed up- it gives a good view of what happened to POWs of 9RWF- and it can be downloaded for FREE (REPETITION:FREE) at the moment from The National Archives website,due to a generous concession while TNA is shut down by the Lurgi. The references for the item below, that of Lance Corporal A.W.Woodward.:

 

image.png.5fdc91abc5179b62fa5ed049979dff2c.png

 

image.png.1c53212f776977ebaa36b56d9d0c6f63.png

 

 

Many thanks for setting down your thoughts, which are much appreciated. I'm not sure we'll ever know for sure but I'll keep probing!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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