The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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Those who Served

It is not possible to fully understand the history of the Second World War without refering to the forces of the Axis.

The Wartime Memories Project is purely a historical resource and the information contacted in this section is for historical educational. We are a Non Political organisation and do not support the ideas of The Third Riech, we simply present the facts.

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Hans George Hanagarth .     German Navy U-Boat

My father, Hans Hanagarth was a German Prisoner of War at Sudeley Castle near Winchcome in Gloucestershire. His U-Boat was sunk by the Americans and he was one of only a few survivors. He eventually finished up at the POW Camp at Sudeley Castle. My Father spoke very good English and he prepared the working parties that went out to the local Farms to help with the labouring. My mother worked in the Camp Office and they were eventually married. I know very little about my Father's U-Boat experiences and I am currently researching the Archives.

My mother's sister married an American GI, but he was killed in the Battle of the Bulge on 15th Jan 1945. It was very traumatic for the family, as it caused great consternation that my mother should marry a German POW and her sister an American GI.

I was able to research my uncle Clifford Dusang's War History as the USA have some tremendous Archives. I was able to find out everything surrounding his tragic death when the War was almost over. He is buried at the Henri-Chapel Cemetary in Belgium. His unit was the 'Old Hickories' and their website is still uploading information on Action Reports and Photos.

Feldwebel. Gerald Hanel .     German Army Fallschirmj�ger

Glen Mill Camp was in a disused cotton mill in Wellyhole Road in Oldham, Lancashire and heldd a large number of Russian volunteers who had been captured fighting for the Germans in France. It was at this camp also that a number of Fallschirmj�ger were also sent who, coming straight from the battlefields in France and with their strong sense of discipline intact, were enraged at the behaviour of the ill-disciplined Russians. At mealtimes they would violently push the German prisoners out of the way and eat with their bare hands straight from the serving pots, shovelling as much food into their mouths as possible. Feldwebel Gerald Hanel who was among the number of Fallschirmj�ger remembers that this was a very turbulent time at Glen Mill with discipline non-existant among the prisoners and on their arrival decided "...these Russians must be taught the sharpest lesson!" He relates that the next mealtime, at a hand signal from him, his tough Fallschirmj�ger comrades descended on the Russians who were like pigs feeding at a trough. Using their fists, elbows and knees dragged the Russians away from the food back to the other end of the hall. This enraged the Russians who hated the Germans far more that the British guards and they planned their revenge. Two nights later the German prisoners had planned a concert but the Russians seeing this as a chance for revenge decided to smash the stage up shortly before it was due to begin so no concert could take place. Word got back to Hanel's paratroopers about the Russian's plans and they decided to ambush the Russians and armed themselves with iron bars, wooden staves and planks of wood with nails hammered in to the ends. The Russians were taken by surprise and the stage remained undamaged-which is more than can said for a large number of Russians who required medical treatment for their injuries! Needless to say there was no reoccurance of such incidents again. Hanel and his paratroopers imposed a strict Nazi-style type of order and the anti-Nazi contingent among the German prisoners were quick to fall into line. Kangaroo courts were set up for offenders who could expect severe beating when found guilty. They encouraged other prisoners to be awkward with the British guards and when ordered to salute a British officer, did so with a Nazi salute. They stated that under the Geneva Convention, flying crews were not allowed to work and as they were part of the Luftwaffe they were not going to work. The British replied with a "No work, No food" policy but although this forced the paras to work they practised a go-slow so very little productivity was gained from them. Another method of causing annoyance to the British guards took place at night when the prisoners would throw paper aeroplanes from the top floor of the camp into the streets below. The guards (much to their anger) had to pick up every single one in case they contained secret messages. Also when the prisoners went on work duty early in the morning they would sing Nazi marching songs at the tops of their voices and occasionally spat at the locals they passed. More than once the guards were forced to separate enraged locals and German prisoners who had come to blows with each other.

There were several escape attempts made and various methods were employed such as tunnelling and breaching the wire fences although most ended in failure with the escapees being re-captured within a few days. Four prisoners escaped by hiding in a hole on a tennis court they were constructing, quickly recaptured. Guard did 3 months in Glasshouse. The locals around the vicinity of the camp were alert to the possibility of escaped German prisoners and many were turned over by the locals to the authorities. There was one case however of two German POWs escaping from Glen Mill prison camp and making it back to Hamburg. From there they sent a rude letter to the camp commandant stating that they would not be coming back to enjoy any more of his kind hospitality!!

Georg Hartig .     German Army (d.3rd Nov 1944)

In 1944 (when I was in diapers) four of my uncles were dodging German bullets in Europe. One had already died in Italy. My dad (Ralph Roscoe Brandt) was working in the food industry, he was declared vital to the operation and was deferred. That deferral carried a freeze in pay at 1941 level. Part of his job involved picking up a truck load of prisoners each day at Camp Michaux near Gardners PA. These prisoners worked at the plant my dad did, Adams Apple at Aspers PA.

During this time there was a traumatic event for him. A German soldier that he said was not an "SS" died at the plant. It was ruled a suicide but I know there was one person who was sure it was not, my dad. He had just lost a brother, Nesber Gilton Brandt, in this war and had little for anything German but this one man somehow impressed him so that I don't think he ever saw him as a German soldier. He saw him as a husband and father who worked hard during work hours and during lunches went off to himself, ate and looked at pictures of his family. I believe my dad saw him as a representative of the brother he lost in Italy, a farmer and mechanic who somehow wound up on a battlefield. My dad never believed the man took his own life. He felt the "SS" men killed him because he seemed to be cooperating too much.

Last week my two older sisters and I spent an evening together working on genealogy. My one sister mentioned that a man had spoken at a meeting about the camp. I mentioned that I wondered who that German soldier was. I never expected an answer.

About an hour ago I talked to my sister. She checked with the man who gave the speech. He came back with an answer. He believes the man was a Private in the German Army named Georg Hartig, 38 years old, died Nov 3 1944. There is a story about it in the Aspers PA. Gettysburg Compiler. The story says he was hanged which agrees with the account my dad gave. The man (I will get his name) made an interesting comment to my sister. He observed that it would have been difficult for the man to hang himself with his hands tied behind his back. (How did his hands get tied I wondered.)

So this man in reading the story came to the same conclusion my dad did and the one the authorities ignored. I now ask a couple of questions. Is there any of this man's family alive? Has anyone ever told them how he died over 60 years ago? Let's face it, they could have all been killed in bombings. But I don't know that. I don't even have any idea what part of Germany he was from.

There is something about this that feels like unfinished business, something my dad maybe should have done but probably lacked even the place to start.

Copyright 2005 Ralph Brandt not to be used without permission.

Albert Heilmann .     Wehrmacht Panzer Lehr Div.

My father was captured in France near St Lo after the heaviest bombardment during Operation Cobra. He was captured on 26th July 1944. His POW No. was 514165.

He was in Happendon Camp, Douglas, Lanarkshire from 30th July 1944 to 11th August 1944. I have a photo when he was released in France in November 1948. Does anyone know anything about him, or have photos?

Hessenmuller .     Luftwaffe 3./NJG3

Can you help us to add to our records?

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Did you or your relatives live through the Second World War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial? Were you or your relative evacuated? Did an air raid affect your area?

If so please let us know.

Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.

Celebrate your own Family History

Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Secomd World War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.

Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.

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