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Those of you who are WFA members take a look at the photograph of a column of German POWs in Stand To! Jan 2003 p31. If I am not mistaken at least two appear to be wearing British Army helmets? Look at the man in the 4th row back one in, and the man on the near outside 10 rows back.

Any ideas why this was permitted? I would have thought any German allowing himself to be captured whilst wearing a British helmet and continuing to do so would have been taking a risk of being accused of being a spy. It seems to demonstrate either a very laid back attitude by the British guards, or maybe they hadn't noticed?

Tim

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Tim,

I guess they would have to shoot a lot of prisoners. Even in 1915, German soldiers tried to enter British trenches to capture boots, raincoats, food and even ammunition and rifles (to shoot after the British because their ammo was rationed).

If you read the books of Jünger (I can't remember which one exactly), you can read that Jünger was wounded because he wore a British greatcoat (German uniforms were in a really bad state by 1918) and a fellow German thought he was a Englishman.

However, a German that wanted to wear a British helmet must have been a real idiot because the German helmets were a lot (:rolleyes:) better than the English ones.

Perhaps the German prisoners in the photo carry or support some English wounded?

Jan

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Tim - You're right, they are wearing British helmets, I hadn't noticed that before.

Is the first soldier you mentioned wearing a German tunic? I'm not up on German uniforms, and my eyes might not be seeing it properly, but the collar looks different on his to the others.

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Annette Burgoyne

Hi Tim

The German chap may have swooped his helmet with a British chap after capture, but this sounds a bit daft as the British chap would have been in big trouble with his C.O. if he turned up in a German helmet, would he not. But I can't see a German being take alive if he was found wearing British gear in the fighting line, he would have got a bayonet run through him, I am sure.

Regards

Annette

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Jan

The column of POWs is well back from the front, is marching (although at ease, they are in step) and some of the British guards are on horseback. There is no evidence of any walking wounded with no-one supporting anyone else.

Lee

I see what you mean about the tunic, but if you look at some of the others ( the man in the row in front of and to the right of him, and the the man in the second row near outside wearing a German helmet) the button patterns are the same suggesting that he is German. There would be no reason for an unarmed Britisher to march within the column ranks.

Annette

The swapping of helmets idea had occured to me, but I came to the same conclusion as you that it is unlikely for the reason you state.

So far as I know the only other nations which wore British style helmets were Americans and Portuguese, so that cuts them out. Another possibility which occured to me is that whilst the column was marching back within range of artillery maybe the British loaned helmets to those who had lost theirs? However about half the Germans are only wearing forage caps, and their British guards are also wearing caps.

Its certainly very strange.

Tim

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Could anyone perhaps post a scan of this picture here? I don't have Stand To! but I could perhaps tell more if I saw the picture.

Jan

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Strange coincidence.

Yesterday I saw a photo in a 1939 copy of "I Was There" (a part-work of WW1 reminisances) of three Canadian soldiers collecting their rations - two were wearing German forage caps and one a picklehaub! So it did happen!

The caption commented on their reluctance to give up their souvenirs.

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If it comes to collecting souvenirs, the Americans were really the best. They took everything they could with them to America... They went from house to house here in Flanders and asked if the people didn't have pickelhauben or other German militaria for them. The people were often very happy to get rid of their "junk"...

Jan

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Could anyone perhaps post a scan of this picture here? I don't have Stand To! but I could perhaps tell more if I saw the picture.

There might be some copyright issues here which are probably best avoided given current WFA EC attitudes to the internet, Forums and non-membership access.

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Hello,

Could anyone perhaps email me a scan?

Jan

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I would like to thank Tim and Ralph for sending me a scan. At least one German is indeed wearing a British helmet. I have never heard of this happening but I will ask some German friends if they have heard about this before.

Jan

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