This page is dedicated to the men from Wickenby who were shot down over enemy territory and were taken Prisoner of War or who managed to evade capture and returned to Britain.
There were around 200 POW camps in Germany and the occupied countries in WWII in 16 Military Districts. They consisted of the following:
Dulag - transit camps where prisoners were processed
Stalag - for non-commissioned personnel
Offlag - for ground force Officers
Stalag Luft - for air crew
Marlag - for Naval/Marine personnel
The Stalag Luft camps were run by the Luftwaffe who generally maintained a degree of professional respect for fellow flyers. The notable exception to this was when 50 men who escaped from Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan were handed over to the Gestapo and shot on the specific orders of Hitler.
Camp layouts varied but they were all enclosed with barbed wire with guard towers manned by armed German soldiers ready to shoot anyone trying to escape. The prisoners lived in one-storey wooden buildings containing two or three tiered bunk beds and had a charcoal burning stove in the middle of the room.
Prisoners were normally given two meals a day, usually a thin soup with bread, therefore hunger was the norm. They would look forward to deliveries from the Red Cross which contained things like butter, biscuits, chocolate, condensed milk, dried fruits and vegetables which they would cook in empty milk tins.
Prisoners would parade at least once every day for roll-call and some men would work either around the camp or in the local area. To relieve the boredom sports would be played when the weather allowed and in the evenings there were sometimes concerts, but mostly it was just boredom, hunger and the hope of better things to come when the war ended.
As the war progressed several "escape lines" were set up in occuped Europe, the notable ones being the Comete Line in Belgium and France and the Shelburn Line in Brittany. A Total of 2,803 RAF air crew either escaped or evaded capture during the Second World War.
RAF air crew were issued with an escape kit which included money, maps, a compass and emergency rations. It is not generally known that some of the buttons on the air crew's battle dress could be used as a compass as could some of the fly buttons on their trousers. The contents of some of the parcels sent from home also contained escape aids such as magnetised razor blades and board games that had money and maps secreted in them. These items all helped them to escape or evade capture and return to Allied lines or to Spain or Switzerland when using one of the Escape lines.
At the end of the war, Bomber Command Lancasters taking part in Operation Exodus flew to Brussels and other airfields to collect British prisoners of war who had been liberated from the camps. Four hundred & sixty nine flights were made and approximately 75,000 men were brought back to England.
Listed below are the names of the men from Wickenby who were taken Prisoner of War or who evaded capture and returned safely to the UK. Although we have tried to be accurate we are aware that some names may be missing or wrongly spelt, if you know of any errors or omissions please let us know so that we can put them right.ommand/apr45.html
Wickenby Prisoners of War