Sunday, 29 April 2012

Escaping German Prisoners of War

4 German PoWs appear to have made an attempt to escape from Fron Goch while three German officers tried to escape from nearby Dyffren Aled in 1915.

Fron Goch
Private Julius Reinhard Koch
Cpl Heinrich Brinkmann, aged 24
Private Hans Schoenherr, aged 21
Private Wilhelm Arenkens, aged 23

left Fron Goch area on the 13th April 1916 heading for Liverpool. They hoped to get on a neutral ship and make their way back to Germany.

Dyffren Aled
Two of the German officers appear handcuffed in this photo :

Hermann Tholens, Heinrich von Hennig and Wolff-Dietrich Baron von Helldorff had a scheme to meet with a U-Boat just off the Welsh coast near Llandudno which nearly succeeded.

Tholens described part of the escape in the 1930s.

The Fron Goch Policeman

In researching the Germans and Irish prisoners at Fron Goch, I came across a photo of Police Constable Oliver Cromwell Davies on duty at Fron Goch.

An interesting photo as he appears to be armed and wearing an army ammunition bandolier but obviously the forenames struck a chord given the actions of Oliver Cromwell in Ireland.

A look up on shows him in the 1911 census as born approx 1892 in Blaenau Ffestiniog in Merionethshire, aged 19, a Police Constable lodging in Barmouth in Merionethshire.

He gave his address as Glyndwr, Frongoch, Bala when he enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 18th November 1915, number 68104. Age 23years and 5 months. His army service record shows that he was 6ft 1in tall. Sent to Dover for training. His first promotion came on the 30th May 1916 as acting Bombardier, then Bombardier (25/10/1916), Corporal (5/5/1917), acting Sgt (17/11/1917) and then Sgt (14/1/1918). He was discharged to the Class Z army reserve 13th February 1919.  He was in the UK until 29th July 1916 and then joined the BEF in France. travelling from Avonmouth to Boulogne to join 124 Siege Battery. Appears to have been wounded 10th August 1918 but no details as to what the wound was.

He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre and the Meritorious Service Medal as well as the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

He appears to have returned to the Police after WW1 and appears as an Inspector in archives at the National Archives.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

German PoWs at Fron Goch

Lyn Ebenezer's book lists 7 German PoWs as having died at Fron-Goch.

Hugo Paul Schroter is mentioned in the following webpage as having died in April 1915. The other soldier alluded to is likely to be Hubert Langenberg who died in Q1 1916 (1st March 1916)

The other German soldiers are :

Paul Vellener/Velleuer died Q3 1918. Born 13th December 1893, died 27th July 1918.
Rudolph Waschkowitz died Q4 1918. Born 26th July 1882, died 7th December 1918.
Alfred Schirmer died Q4 1918. Born 7th November 1895, died 28th November 1918.
Werner Ernst Foerster died Q4 1918. Born 19th August 1898, died 24th November 1918.
Adolph Stauch died Q3 1919. Born 18th November 1895, died 4th August 1919.

They are buried in adjacent graves at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. Hugo Schroter is in Row 4, Block 12, grave 131, Langenberg in grave 132, Foerster in 133, Velleuer in 134, Schirmer in 135, Waschkowitz in 136 and Schirmer in 137.

From a thread on the Great War Forum :

March 4th, 1916, Hubert Langenburg was buried at the village church. The newspaper report states that the 23 year old's coffin was accompanied by 30 fellow prisoners under escort and buried "with full military honours" in the parish cemetery.

From Ancestry

Name:Hugo Schröter
Birth Date:12 Jun 1891
Birth Place:Dachwich Bezirksamt Erfurt Sachsen(Saxony)
Combat Arm:Infanterie
Type of Unit:Infanterie-Regimenter
Unit:4. bayer. Infanterie-Regiment
Volume:702. Kriegstammrolle: 2. Kompanie, Bd. 1