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Old 17-06-22, 09:49 AM
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Amy Amy is offline
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Default British Prisoners of War

A question I can't answer, and I am hoping one of the more knowledgable members on the forum may know...
Did the British POW's taken in the 1940 retreat to Dunkirk still qualify for the red war service chevrons?
I know that only qualified for the 1939-1945 Star and War Medal, which I think is sad, so, were they allowed to have qualification for the WW2 Service Chevrons when they were released? Spending five years behind barbed wire must have been horrific. Poor men.
Thank you to anyone who might know the answer.
Enjoy the sun.
Amy
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Old 17-06-22, 04:36 PM
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That's a good question and an interesting one. My wife's father spent three and a half years as a FEPOW. As a pre-war TA man he was awarded the Efficiency Medal as war service counted as double. If time as a POW counted as service then it must have counted as overseas war service as well. Probably not though for the bean counters.
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Old 17-06-22, 04:57 PM
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I seem to remember that POWs had their pay docked whilst in captivity.
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Old 17-06-22, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan O View Post
I seem to remember that POWs had their pay docked whilst in captivity.
If it had been docked I don't know by how much. I remember my father mentioning that he received his back pay on repatriation (he arrived back After August 1945).

Chris
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Old 17-06-22, 07:13 PM
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According to the Geneva & Hague Conventions regarding the treatment of Prisoners of War, they are to be paid by the capturing power at the rate of their comparable rank. In other words, an American or British private was to be paid the same as a Private in the German Army, and a captured Allied officer was to be paid the same as an officer in the Wehrmacht. Not sure if this money was paid to the Germans by the Allies.

During WW2, the Germans were pretty scrupulous about observing this - for Western allied prisoners. Captured Poles, Russians, etc did NOT receive pay. Neither did the Japanese pay their prisoners other than a few high-ranking prisoners.

Western allies - particularly the US & UK - not only paid captured German, Italian and Japanese prisoners, but also continued paying their own soldiers held as POWs as Credits to their pay accounts.

After the war, the British deducted the monies received by British POWs in German POW camps. Not sure about the Americans however.

Since FEPOW's were not paid by the Japanese they received full back pay.
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Old 17-06-22, 09:45 PM
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Thank you so very, very much for the super replies.
From what I have read, some of our lads had an okay time in German captivity and some had it very tough. As for our poor boys held by the Japanese, my heart goes out to them. So many were murdered that should have come home. Needlessly and senseless.
Thank you to everyone who replied.
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Old 18-06-22, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy View Post
A question I can't answer, and I am hoping one of the more knowledgable members on the forum may know...
Did the British POW's taken in the 1940 retreat to Dunkirk still qualify for the red war service chevrons?
I know that only qualified for the 1939-1945 Star and War Medal, which I think is sad, so, were they allowed to have qualification for the WW2 Service Chevrons when they were released? Spending five years behind barbed wire must have been horrific. Poor men.
Thank you to anyone who might know the answer.
Enjoy the sun.
Amy
While this may not apply to British POWs, I have in my collection the service dress jacket to an officer in the 2/3rd Machine Gun Bn AIF who was captured in Java in 1942 but made it home after the war. The jacket has five service chevrons on the sleeve, so clearly three of them stand for his time as a POW.
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Old 19-06-22, 09:22 AM
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Amy, I can recommend this book, if you wanted to educate yourself about the plight of allied POW's during the last war. A bit harrowing in places, but I learned a lot.

Bess
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Old 20-06-22, 06:59 AM
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Probably a well known story relating to POWs at the end of the war, but a dear old late friend of ours was shot down in a 149 Sdn Stirling in 1943.

He told us of being force marched back into Germany as the Allied advance drew closer.

With pretty much total air supremacy by this stage of the war, Allied fighters saw these columns of men and mistook them for retreating Germans.

They attacked the columns and killed many, including some who had been POWs from pretty much the beginning of hostilities...

In a fit of generousity he gave me his POW tag which, oddly enough, is a German WW2 issue oval tag instead of the usual zinc rectangle.
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