anzac POW freemen in europe

Introductory Guide / Site Map

E. Structure

Part One - Missing in Action - Believed POW - Middle East
"What was it like to be A POW, Daddy?"

The first part of the Compendium covers the general nature of becoming "Missing in action - believed POW" in the Middle East and being forced to adjust to a new army life under vastly different rules and conditions. It includes extracts from the Geneva Conventions, with its rules and protocols governing POW rights and obligations generally. Switzerland is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions.

Part Two - Escape of ANZAC POW from Prison Camps in Italy into neutral Switzerland.
"I don’t like the look of those bloody high mountains".

This discusses how the unexpected promulgation of the Italian Armistice allowed many Allied POW to escape, how some chose to head for Switzerland. What the Swiss thought of them and they, the Swiss, hoped to spend their time in land-locked Switzerland before the Swiss border was opened allowing them to be repatriated. This part includes extracts from the Hague Conventions and its rules and protocols governing the conduct of neutral nations in times of war. It includes a general discussion of how the Swiss interpreted the Hague Conventions in difficult and differing problems of neutrality, lodgement and eventual repatriation of POW "evades". Switzerland was a founding signatory to the Hague Conventions.

Part Three - The RAAF in Switzerland - Abstraction from AIF Nominal Roll
"The Intrepid Alpine Airmen - Some In Their Flying Machines".

Deals exclusively with the lodgement and treatment of the 13 RAAF "evades" and the 3 RAAF "internees" in Switzerland. Their difference in status well illustrates the essential differences between the Geneva and the Hague Conventions.

Part Four - The Nominal Roll of all AIF "evades" in Switzerland.
"The "Who’s Who" of the Composite Swiss Half Battalion - Which Blokes made it to Switzerland".

There were representatives of 36 different AIF units from all three Divisions in Switzerland. The nominal roll is split up into sub-rolls for each of these units, allowing each unit to contribute stories of their "Swiss captivity" as they saw it. It lists every "representative" and to what units they belonged. It describes their "Camps" and their living conditions, how they reacted to the disciplines and regulations of their reluctant hosts and how they were warmly accepted by Swiss civilians. It is hoped that this material will be regarded as filling in a gap in CARO records which, by their very nature, are sparse.

Part Five - The Extension of the Swiss Nominal Roll to cover all AIF POW "Free Men" in Europe.
"Another AIF Composite Half Battalion Behind Enemy Lines Elsewhere in Europe ?"

The experiences of those AIF POW who, by the luck of the draw and local circumstance, became "Free Men" in enemy occupied territories of Europe, neither reaching Switzerland, another neutral country, nor regaining Allied Lines. Some such men joined local partisan groups and continue to fight as irregulars. Some saw their best chance of survival in "lying doggo" underground. The status of those reaching neutral Turkey and being immediately repatriated to Allied lines is still a matter of debate.

Part Six - Incomplete Nominal Roll and Casualty List of AIF POW who did not return from Europe.
"We Will Remember Them"

From various causes and circumstances, 230 AIF POW died in captivity on enemy soil. Their names, together with those who were exchanged or repatriated by the International Red Cross on humanitarian grounds, have been incorporated in the incomplete nominal roll of AIF POW "Free Men" in Europe from the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Divisions AIF. This Roll in under continuous review.

Web Design Web Hosting by FirstLine