anzac POW freemen in europe

Introductory Guide / Site Map

D. Definitions

In melding the descriptions of the various types of Prisoner of War into one composite Nominal Roll to list all "WWII Anzac POW "Free Men" of Europe", it became desirable to first define the status of who actually are entitled to be on that roll.

So the first task was to confirm and use an universally accepted definition of a Prisoner of War (POW).

Could a merchant navy officer, whose ship has been sunk under him, but been taken on board of the enemy ship that did so, be regarded as a POW? Or a nursing sister protected by the International Red Cross? Or the civilian survivors of a neutral aeroplane, which had strayed into combatant ack-ack fire become POW if that plane lands in a country with which their government happens to be at war?

These are questions for others to resolve, but for the parameters of this research, a working definition of a POW had to be established and this is confined to a combatant soldier. Then for that same reason, it became necessary to define when a POW escaper transformed himself into a POW "Free Man".

Would this apply to POW escapers, such as the nineteen ANZAC POW who tunnelled their way to freedom from PG 57 Gruppignano in North Italy, but were soon re-captured? It would seem certainly applicable to others as previously discussed under Methodology.

Like the traditional campaign medal, should the length of their period of freedom be equated with their entitlement to it?

This led to defining what exactly was an escaped POW, and whether or not is was necessary to escape from enemy custody for a defined period of time, in order to qualify to be categorized as an Anzac POW "Free Man".

And what then about the POW who had escaped, but decided that he had to choose between re-entering hostile territory in civil garb in order to help establish a safe escape line?

Was he to be given any different treatment from the escaped POW who joined local independence fighters, so the he too, could actively contribute to the struggle for freedom by becoming an active Anzac POW "Freedom Fighter"? Many of those Anzac POW "Free Men" who joined and fought the enemy with local groups of patriots are entitled to wear the Italy Star Medal if their service was regarded as being significant. Moreover, this award needed to be applied for but some who may well have been eligible, never applied.

Should this service medal also be granted to those who successfully eluded capture by hiding out with other local patriots?

Consequently the Recorder, once again, made his own research definitions, now presented, more or less, as appendices to this introductory guide to the Compendium.

He places theses definitions here, rather than among the general glossaries and common terms listed with the bibliographies at the end.

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