16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Prisoners of War 1943-45

The postcard above (click it to enlarge) was sent from Bad Schmiedeberg, Germany to Thornley Colliery in the UK in early 1944. All POWs in Germany were assigned a POW number. Pte Tom Tunney’s, 227987, is written on the card, as is the designation of the Bad Schmiedeberg work camp, W603. Stalag 4D at Torgau was the main camp from which the many work camps in the Wittenberg area were administered. All POWs below the rank of corporal were required to work. The metal identification tag at bottom (click it to enlarge) also carries the POW number and was issued to Pte Tunney at Stalag 4B in October 1943. If the soldier died in captivity, the tag was snapped in two, one half staying with the body. The group photograph below of the British POWs at Bad Schmiedeberg (click it to enlarge) was taken in 1944.

This dedicated Prisoner of War companion to my main 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry website at www.16dli.net will explore the prisoner of war experiences of 16th DLI soldiers and of some of the other servicemen they met while in captivity.

By far the majority of the 16th DLI soldiers who were taken POW in World War Two were captured in the Battalion’s first major action, the Battle of Sedjenane in late February and early March 1943. According to their battalion history, the elite German Parachute Engineer Battalion that the DLI fought over this period, Major Rudolf Witzig’s Korps-Fallschirm Pioniere-Battallon, took around 100 British POWs in the Battle for Sedjenane.

However, some of these soldiers were from the other British units involved in the fighting, including: the 70th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, the 6th Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment, No 1 Army Commando, the North Irish Horse and the 2nd/5th Sherwood Foresters. My father, Pte Tom Tunney, was taken POW in this battle, as were his later POW friends in Germany, Pte Pat O’Sullivan and Horace ‘Georgie’ Gent, both of the 2nd/5th Sherwood Foresters. Their experiences in a work camp of Stalag 4D at Bad Schmiedeberg, Germany will make up a considerable part of this section.

However, a small but steady stream of 16th DLI men were taken POW during the Italian Campaign and a further number by the ELAS guerilla movement in Greece in December 1944. Documents, eyewitness memories and name and number details referring to these events will also be placed here.

DLI Other Ranks POWs arranged by consecutive POW number

DLI Other Ranks Fatal Casualties POWs, and Gallantry Awards (all battalions) arranged by Army Number (unfinished)

Camp PG 66 and Camp PG 53 Italy, Eyewitness Memories

Pte T Tunney, POW Documents and Letters, 1943-45

A Cattle Truck to Stalag 4B, Eyewitness Memories

From Stalag 4B to Stalag 4D: the Bad Schmiedeberg Work Camp in 1943-45, Eyewitness Memories

A Captioned Group Photograph of the British POWs in Bad Schmiedeberg

‘There was the Yanks, the Russians and me and Ben.’ Bad Schmiedeberg on April 30th 1945.

Camp PG 146 Escaper Pte Evan Darlington, 16 DLI, Photographs and Documents

Camp PG 82 Escapers Sgt Danny Feasey and Sgt James Hood MM, 16 DLI

Pte G R Hamilton, B Company, 16 DLI and POW at Camp E 715, photographs and documents.

Site written, designed and copyright Tom Tunney,
37 St Andrews Mews, London, N16 5HR, England
Last Updated: 28th November 2016
Pte T Tunney 16 DLI
Bad Schmiedeberg British POWs, click to enlarge
Stalag 4D POW Card, Click to Enlarge
Stalag 4B ID Disc, Pte T Tunney, Click to Enlarge

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PG 53 Camp Money, Click to Enlarge
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