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Stephen Nulty

German Prisoners after the Armistice

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Stephen Nulty

I have two chaps who both died after thr Armistice whilst attached to PoW Companies.

Pte. John Mulhare of the Royal Berks, attached to 37th PoW Company, died on 31/03/19 and is buried in Terlincthun. I have the newspaper report of his death from influenza.

Pte. Ralph Pennington. 2/4th LNL, was attached to 93rd PoW Coy. He died on 15/02/19 and is buried at Sangatte. I assume he also died from flu.

My questions:-

1) After the armistice, were more soldiers moved arround and attached to PoW Coys?

2) How long did we keep the German men as PoW's? Until after the signing of the Peace Treaty? I hav seen many accounts of British prisoners returning home soon after the Armistice. What did the terms of the Armistice say about the return of prisoners?

3) Can anbody tell me any more about the 93rd PoW Coy and their duties around this time.

Cheers

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Moonraker

In January 1919 Britain held more than 500,000 PoWs, of whom 43,308 were civilians. Articles 214 of the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, provided for the repatriation "as soon as possible after the coming into force of the present Treaty". Britain and the USA wanted to return the PoWs as soon as possible, but France preferred to retain her prisoners for use as labour.

Britain decided not to await the ratification of the Treaty and began repatriating PoWs on August 31. By the end of September. 120,000 had been returned, with most of the others going home during the next two months. By the end of November, there were about 1,400 German officers and some orderlies left in Britain, who were released about Christmas time. Crews from the scuttled German ships at Scapa Flow were not released until January 1920.

From the new book by Graham Mark, Prisoners of War in British hands during WWI.

Moonraker

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Stephen Nulty

Cheers for that.

I'm still curious about the numbers of men guarding these PoW's. Looks like another book for Santa's list

:D

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Ivor Lee

Stephen

Not much on 93 PoW for 1919 I am afraid.

They were an interesting PoW company as when they were formed in 1917 they comprised on specialist bootmakers. but there is no mention of whether they retained this role in 1918/19.

In February 1918 they are in the Valdelievre area. The next reference to them is 17 June 1919 when they moved from Calais to Namur and appear to be working on "enemy material". They appear to have been repatriated on21 September 1919.

Incidentally Pte Pennington's number suggests he was transferred to the Labour Corps around July 1918 and there were three other members of the Company who died within a few days of his death - as you suggest probably illness.

For your information not details of 37 PoW for this time except they were in the "Devastated Area".

Pte Mulhare does not, according to his Medal Card, appear to have been transferred to the Labour Corps - strange for a man in a PoW Company.

Ivor

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Aaron Pegram

In reference to question 2. I am currently sitting in the National Library of Australia, looking through Richard B. Speed's Prisoners, Diplomats and the Great War: A study in the diplomacy of captivity, to which there is an entire chapter on the repatriation of belligerent POWs after the armistice.

Speed suggests that whilst the repatriation of Western prisoners from Europe was rapid (albeit initially in a haphazard manner), the Western powers blocked the repatriation of German prisoners until after the negotiation of the peace treaty. The French wanted to use German prisoner labour to rebuild parts of devastated northern France as a form of reparation payment. For those Germans in French/British/American custody, it took about 10-11 months for them to reach home.

The worse, however, were the Russians, who saw their German/Austo-Hungarian prisoners in terms as an army readily trained to bare arms in the Civil War who simply had to be 'politically reformed'. The Germans too, who had become dependent on Russian labour in mines and on farms, were very reluctant to relinquish their prisoners.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Stephen Nulty

Ivor

Many thanks - as usual, you are full of useful information. Bootmaker, eh? Interesting!!

Aaron

That seems to fit in with what I'm finding - that the British wished to retain the PoW's until peace had been confirmed.

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mtaylor
Stephen

Not much on 93 PoW for 1919 I am afraid.

They were an interesting PoW company as when they were formed in 1917 they comprised on specialist bootmakers. but there is no mention of whether they retained this role in 1918/19.

In February 1918 they are in the Valdelievre area. The next reference to them is 17 June 1919 when they moved from Calais to Namur and appear to be working on "enemy material". They appear to have been repatriated on21 September 1919.

Incidentally Pte Pennington's number suggests he was transferred to the Labour Corps around July 1918 and there were three other members of the Company who died within a few days of his death - as you suggest probably illness.

For your information not details of 37 PoW for this time except they were in the "Devastated Area".

Pte Mulhare does not, according to his Medal Card, appear to have been transferred to the Labour Corps - strange for a man in a PoW Company.

Ivor

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mtaylor

Ivor - my understanding is that officers and escorts of PoW Coys would be officers and men from any unit - the only common factor being that they were not category 'A' men. Although attached to a Labour Group (after the formation of the Labour Directorate) they were not Labour Corps units though the Labour Corps did provide NCOs as supervisors when the work being carried out required it.

Mike

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