Draft nominal roll: Australians in Stalag Luft III. Seeking feedback.

Nominal Roll. Australian airmen in Stalag Luft III: April 1942–January 1945

One of the research tasks for my PhD thesis on Australian airmen in Stalag Luft III is to compile a nominal roll of all Australians who were incarcerated there between April 1942, when the camp opened, and January 1945 when the camp was evacuated. Incredibly, despite Stalag Luft III’s notoriety, there is no nominal roll of Australians who were imprisoned there. (If there is, I haven’t found it so please enlighten me.)

I owe much to Tom Roberts’ pioneering work, Wingless. A Biographical Index of Australian Airmen Detained in Wartime. This mammoth and incredibly detailed work is a significant guide to Australian airmen prisoners of war and I freely acknowledge my debt to it. I could not have compiled this roll without reference to Wingless but it is not my only source. I have also consulted MI9 debriefs, service files, casualty records, 11 PDRC debriefs and official prisoner musters compiled after the January 1945 evacuation.

These musters are my main source of compound details and, as such, the roll largely lists the last compound before evacuation. Compound details, therefore are incomplete. For instance, I have not yet included details for long term prisoners who were in East Compound before North Compound opened in April 1943. Unless I have sighted concrete evidence of a man’s compound, I have not included it.

Compiling a definitive roll from scratch is difficult and errors are inevitable. Since Wingless’s 2011 publication, more records are in the public domain which highlight some omissions from and errors in Roberts’ work. German POW identification cards (NAA series A13950), 11 PDRC debriefs (AWM54 779/3/129), and recently examined service and casualty files (NAA A9300, A9301 and A705) also reveal that Roberts included some men who had not been imprisoned in Stalag Luft III.

Stalag Luft III was the central depot for Luftwaffe prisoner mail where it was censored before forwarded to other camps. Archival records suggest that, when some prisoners advised their next of kin to address correspondence to Stalag Luft III, the RAAF casualty section and/or families took this to indicate that they were in Stalag Luft III, when they were in fact elsewhere. In the case of some NCOs, files indicate that they were in Stalag Luft III Lager A, which appears to be another name for Stalag IVB. (I could be wrong here so I would welcome clarification/advice.) There was also some mix ups between Stalag Luft III and Stalag IIIA.

I have kept it as simple as possible, with name, service and POW numbers, squadron/formation, compound details, and date captured—or at least date downed—rather than the date the men arrived in SLIII. I have noted Australians in the RAF. I have not included ranks because many men were promoted during the course of the war. Nor have I specified officer/NCO (other than noting when a man was in the NCO compound) because many were commissioned after captivity.

I am under no illusion (or delusion!) that it this roll is perfect. There are gaps (and probably umpteen typos which I will clear up in due course) and, as such, I am seeking feedback.

Do you know of someone I have missed? Can you fill in any of my blanks? Can you spot a glaring error? Can you provide compound details or, even better, what room/hut a man was in?

If you are a relative of one of the airmen in Stalag Luft III, please get in touch as I wish to include in my thesis reference to the experiences of as many men as possible.

The roll is too large to place on this blog so Peter Dunn, webmaster extraordinaire of the Australia @ War website has kindly agreed to host it. Just follow the link. http://www.ozatwar.com/raaf/stalagluftiii.htm

(Australia @ War is a wonderful resource for Australian military history: check it out if you haven't already visited. http://www.ozatwar.com/

Please contact me at Kristen.Alexander@student.adfa.edu.au if you can help.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Kristen Alexander

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