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Captured at Arnhem (Hardback)

Men's Experiences in Their Own Words

Military WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Arnhem

By Peter Green, Foreword by Allan Mallinson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 592
Illustrations: 17 mono
ISBN: 9781399088374
Published: 1st July 2022



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For the British 1st Airborne Division, Operation Market Garden in September 1944 was a disaster. The Division was eliminated as a fighting force with around a half of its men captured.

The Germans were faced with dealing with 6,000 prisoners in a fortnight; many of them seriously wounded. The POWs were processed and despatched to camps around Germany and German occupied eastern Europe, here the men experienced the reality of the collapsing regime with little food and shrinking frontiers.

Operation Endor was put in place after the liberation in 1945 which required returning POW’s to complete liberation questionnaires on their release and repatriation to Britain. Unfortunately this was put in place after some had already returned however around a third of those captured, some 2,357, did complete the questionnaires giving a picture of everyday life of these elite troops time in captivity from capture to release.

These questionnaires show that men were often treated inhumanely particularly when moved to camps by closed box cars and when camps were evacuated. Although the German interrogators were predominately interested in Allied aircraft and airfields, they were also concerned with politics and how Germany would be treated after an Allied victory.

Despite the terrible conditions and interrogations the airborne men’s morale remained high; carrying out sabotage at artificial oil plants, railway repairs, factories and mines. Some overcame their guards when being evacuated at the end of the war, in some cases joining the Resistance and they recorded help received from Dutch, French and German civilians.

Those that enjoy reading about Arnhem or PoWs will enjoy this text..

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Beating Tsundoku

The author is the son of the late Lieutenant Alan Green (later Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral) who was wounded and captured whilst commanding 20 Platoon of the 1st Bn The Border Regiment at Arnhem. His reminiscences were published by the Regimental Museum over 30 years ago and inspired his son to explore the experiences of the men of 1st Airborne Division who were captured at Arnhem through their MI9 debriefing reports. Around one third of those captured completed debriefing on return to England and Captured at Arnhem is the author’s meticulous and fascinating analysis of over 2,000 surviving MI9 questionnaires held in The National Archives. The author provides a most useful introduction to the questionnaires, and to the context and accuracy of the data they contain, before plunging into chapters on becoming a POW, Interrogation, Prison Camps, Camp Life, Escapes, Winter and Freedom each of which is supported by detailed tables. These tables include individual names, ranks, regimental and POW numbers, whether wounded and details of the camps they were held in. Further tables include the specific answers given on the questionnaires relating to their experiences in Camps including interrogations they underwent, medical problems, camp life, escapes and physical details of individual camps. The detail in the tables is presented in alphabetical order by surname and they take up almost 500pps of the book. As such they contain a wealth of detail and make this a unique and extremely valuable reference work for anyone with an interest in the impact of the battle of Arnhem on those captured and in the, so far much neglected, study of British prisoners of war in German hands during the Second World War. Most highly recommended.

Military Historical Society - November Bulletin 2022

A really good book I would recommend to anyone, if I could put a number of stars at the end of this review, I'd put 5 stars.

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The History Fella

Author Peter Green must have spent thousands of hours transcribing these questionnaires which are catalogued by The National Archives in WO 344. The equivalent questionnaires for the First World War survive in WO 161 and have been an essential reference source for many years. The WO 344 files promise to be equally useful for the Second World War and their publication on an online platform in due course will be welcome indeed.

In the meantime, you'll need to clear an inch and a half of bookshelf space to accommodate Peter's work and there is some very useful reference on the camps and the whole interrogation process and acclimatising to life as a PoW.

5 out of 5

Amazon Customer, Paul Nixon

Captured at Arnhem is a volume with nigh on 600 pages which, by its very nature and intent, is packed with precious information about the fate of about a third of the British troops captured by the Germans at Arnhem in 1944. Additionally, the personal details and comments by those incarcerated provide a fascination in its own right.

The work of the Author in his painstaking research is to be commended as are his efforts in providing a book of great historic value to future researchers. Having said that, casual readers too will be able to 'dip into' this mighty tome with the assurance of finding something of interest on every page. Excellent!

Arrse rating: 5 stars.

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ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

For veterans and the older generation, Arnhem and Operation Market Garden stirs evocative memories. An airborne drop to seize the bridge at Arnhem, the gateway to Germany, failed because military intelligence was unaware that SS Standarte Der Fuhrer was resting near the drop zone. Dropped some six miles from the target, and armed with light weapons they fought their way to the bridge and where decimated.

6000 men were captured from a mixed force from the 1st Airborne Division, the Glider Pilot Regiment , the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, and the Dorset Regiment. In war, one expects to take prisoners but 6000, largely, wounded prisoners! The logistics of dealing with wounded, feeding prisoner and were to incarcerate them must have been immense.

The book, 'Captured at Arnhem' has 575 pages packed with some 2000 names and details of men taken prisoner at Arnhem. It describes their treatment, the prison camps they were imprisoned in, list of prisoners who tried to escape. The camps were eventually overrun by Russian or American forces. Some joined the Russians forces. The Americans often flew rescued prisoners back to the UK. Other rescued prisoners were sent to Belgium to be debriefed.

'Men captured at Arnhem were asked to fill in a questionnaire, about their experiences only 2,358 did so,
These questionnaires, form the bases of the book which is a feast of information on this bridge to far. Easy reading, supported with maps, pictures and some 2000 listed names.

Richard Gough - Historian, writer, author of the Escape from Singapore, The jungle was Red, Outpost of the Empire, SOE Singapore 1941-42. Waiting publication Tony Poe, CIA Paramilitary in SE Asia.

About Peter Green

Peter Green trained as a Graphic Designer and has worked in commercial and Government communications for 30 years. He established the Internet-based AlphaGalileo research news service for the media in 1998 and has seen it develop from a European government project into an independent company with global clients.
He has acted as a publicity consultant to the European Space Agency, produced a film in Romania and chaired a European publishing working group of development agencies.
His interest in military history was sparked by his father’s experiences whilst serving in The Border Regiment in 1st Airborne Division at Sicily, Taranto and Arnhem.
Now retired, Peter, remains a consultant to AlphaGalileo, but most of his time is devoted to editing the quarterly magazine of his father’s old Regimental Museum, Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life, in Carlisle. He also published an account of the evacuation march of his father’s German prison camp in the Spring of 1945, ‘The March East 1945’.
Peter’s interests extend to the Roman Army and natural history. He is a keen walker.

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