anzac POW freemen in europe

Part 6 - Incomplete ANZAC Nominal Roll & Casualty List

Chapter 3 - Incomplete ANZAC Nominal Roll & Casualty List

The following .pdf file contains the Incomplete Nominal Roll of all ANZAC POWs who became "Free Men" in Europe during World War 2.

Please Note: In any correspondence, please refer to any individual by their Name and Army Number, and not by the reference number on the extreme left hand side, as this is for database reference use only.

This is an "Incomplete" Nominal Roll still in under refinement as new information is received from both official and unofficial sources. All information is current as at April 11, 2014.

The 3,853 Anzac records are sorted alphabetically. The .pdf is 614Kb and contains 75 pages.

Every battle has its casualty list and the battle waged by AIF POW in Europe to survive their unexpected and savage imprisonment by the Axis Powers in Europe is no exception.

Of the nearly 8,000 AIF POW of WWII who saw out years of imprisonment in various European prison camps, perhaps some 1,000 escaped, mainly from work camps, particularly those located in Northern Italy.

5,139 Allied POW escaped into Switzerland. Of these, 420 were Australians and 108 were New Zealanders. 167 managed to make it back to Allied Lines.

Perhaps another ANZAC "half-battalion" remained "on the loose" in Italy, Yugoslavia, The Balkans, Greece and Crete. Some of these "Free Men" threw in their lot with local partisan groups fighting on against the Axis.

Others teamed up with various Allied Missions operating various escape routes. Still others considered their best chance of survival was to lie "doggo" succoured by friendly local families until the final day of liberation for them both.

They accepted the risk of being re-captured in civilian clothes and being summarily shot as spies, having lost any protection under both the Hague and Geneva Conventions. They existed without any logistical support from their service units. They lived hand to mouth, relentlessly hunted by the enemy, becoming almost completely reliant on the goodwill and practical support of a local population, who exposed their own freedom to even greater risks for aiding them.

These AIF POW "Free Men" of Europe, with the notable exception of those that made it to Switzerland, Turkey or other neutral countries, had the worst of all worlds, neither enjoying the amenities of well-organised and run prison camps with regular Red Cross parcels, entertainment and above all - news from home.

Kevin Canny of CARO in Melbourne recently produced a list of all POW who died in captivity in the Middle East theatre of operations in WWII. Initially this list was chronological, dating from the earliest fighting in the Western Desert in 1941, then through Greece and Crete, and finally, back to Libya, North Africa and Italy, until "Operation Liddington" - the final withdrawal in January 1943, of all AIF personnel on active service in the Middle East to fight in the Pacific campaigns.

In broad terms, half of the 7,116 AIF POW listed in AWM file 781/6/6 - The Parker File. Table "I" were listed in prison camps in Italy, the other half in camps in Germany or its satellites. This even ratio changed dramatically in September, 1943, when over 20,000 Allied Italian POW, released themselves from their camps despite orders by the War Office to stay put, while arrangements were made by the surrendering Italian army to turn them over to the Allies under the conditions of that Armistice. By the time more realistic orders were issued from London, the Germans had re-captured nearly all Allied POW held in the bigger Italian camps. The 5,000 German-held AIF POW immediately increased by half as much again.

The classification "Missing - Presumed POW" has caused some research problems to the Recorder in endeavouring to reconcile CARO Records with those maintained by Unit Associations whose later investigations from their own members often elicited information on what actually happened to some of their "missing". Furthermore when such information was obtained it was not fed back to CARO, denying them an opportunity to update their own records. A particular case in point is a battle casualty who died in an enemy rather than an Allied field hospital. If it were the former, he would have to be added to Kevin Canny‚Äôs list.

Such clarification has become much more relevant with the dedication in 2004 of the AIF POW Memorial Wall in the Victorian provincial town of Ballarat. The matter is being addressed by the continuous updating of the DVA

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