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Oflag IX-A/H

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Subject: Airey Neave, List of prisoner-of-war camps in Germany, Bruce Shand, Hank Wardle, Spangenberg, Oflag IX-C, Oliver Philpot, Harry Day, Pete Tunstall, Attempts to escape Oflag IV-C
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Oflag IX-A/H

Oflag IX-A was a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp located in Schloss Spangenberg ("Spangenberg Castle") in the small town of Spangenberg in northeastern Hesse, Germany.

Camp history

The camp was opened in October 1939 as Oflag IX-A[1] to house POWs from the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air.[2] The camp was renamed Oflag IX-A/H (Hauptlager, "Main camp") in June 1940,[1] after Oflag IX-C at Rotenburg an der Fulda became a sub-camp (Zweiglager) designated Oflag IX-A/Z.[3]

The first person to escape from the camp was Flight Lieutenant Howard Wardle in August 1940, but he was recaptured and sent to Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle.[4]

The camp was closed in February 1941, but reopened in July when it was used for housing RAF and British Army officers.[2] On 3 September 1941 three RAF officers, Dominic Bruce, Peter Tunstall and Eustace Newborn, escaped disguised as members of a "Swiss Commission". They were escorted to the main gate by another prisoner, John Milner, dressed in a German officers uniform that had been found in an apparently forgotten set of attic rooms. They passed through the gate, and then, wearing faked Luftwaffe uniforms, headed to an airfield near Kassel intending to steal a Ju 52, which Newborn had flown before the war, and fly home. Unfortunately, there were no suitable aircraft, so they decided to head to France and contact an escape line. After ten days they arrived at Frankenberg, but were challenged by soldiers suspicious of their uniforms. Speaking little German they were soon identified as escapees and arrested. Returned to Spangenberg, the three were each sentenced to fifty-three days in solitary.[5]

As a result of this, and other escape attempts, the camp was evacuated in October 1941 with all prisoners being sent to Oflag VI-B.[2] The camp was reopened in January 1942, and housed senior British Army officers, until being liberated in April 1945.[2]

Notable prisoners

The following prisoners are known to have been held at the camp:;[6]

See also

References

Notes
Bibliography
  • (German)


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