MI5 release of files 4/03/2008

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John Wilson
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:44 pm
Location: Britain

MI5 release of files 4/03/2008

Post by John Wilson »

German activities with Irish PoWs
File ref KV 3/345

This fascinating file covers the Security Service's activities relating to German attempts to recruit first a fighting Irish Brigade, and later individual Irish agents or saboteurs, from amongst the prisoners of war from Ireland, or with Irish connections. The plan changed after the German invasion of Russia, when the German need for an Irish unit to fight in the invasion of the British Isles receded quickly. The file (which has been lightly weeded) covers 1940-1945, but includes a note from 1962 declaring that the file "reveals clearly ... that the Germans, despite a determined effort, had no success whatever in their attempt to wean Southern Irish prisoners of war from their loyalty, as members of the British Forces, to the Crown." Responsibility for this threat passed between the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service during the war, and the file shows the involvement of officers at the highest level in both services in monitoring it. The Service Director General, David Petrie, asked to be kept informed of developments, and adds manuscript minutes to the file on several occasions. There are several summary sheets prepared for him, for example at serial 57a.

The file reveals the close co-operation between the two Services on this matter. It includes lists of Irish prisoners held at the special Irish camp, Stalag XXA/301, in 1942, and includes intelligence on the German plans gleaned from intercepted mail home by the prisoners. Among the most interesting elements on the file is the account of a priest, Father Thomas O'Shaughnessy, who had been transferred from the Irish African Mission house in Rome to the Irish camp, of his experiences there and in dealing with German attempts to utilise the Church to influence the prisoners (serial 95a, April 1943). The file also includes reports of interviews with a number of repatriated Irish prisoners.

British Free Corps
File ref KV 2/2828

The Security Service began investigating the British Free Corps (BFC) as soon as the first reports were received of German efforts to organise British PoWs into a fighting force against the Russians, as can be seen from this reconstituted and heavily weeded file. Covering 1943-1948, the file includes a number of detailed interrogation reports and sworn statements of individuals with knowledge of the BFC, including many listing individuals believed to have been involved in it and assessing their views of it.
94-87 Ich bedauere nichts
57-93 Either put me in jail or kill me

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Re: MI5 release of files 4/03/2008

Post by SchnellMeyer »

Very interesting post John , there is a new book out called "Hitler's Irishmen " which is the true story of two Irishmen who served in the Waffen SS .Both these men served under Otto Skorzeny , this book is a great read and throws up some light also on the British Free Corps. The author is Terence O'Reilly , ISBN ; 978 1 85635 589 6 .
If you cannot get a copy let me know and I will get one for you .

Kampfgruppe Sud:Irelands Largest German military vehicle and
re-enactment group

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Re: MI5 release of files 4/03/2008

Post by Tychsen »

By and large the efforts to recruit from POW's never came to much , anyone from Ireland (North or South) were not "called up" - the chances of finding anyone willing to commit to the German cause - doubtful at best.

According to David Littlejohn's book for Bender's only 3 BFC men went to serve in the frontline , one was killed and two were captured by the Russians and handed over to the British.
When you mention a "heavily weeded" file it does make you wonder what has been removed or may be "missing".
Not one of Himmler's better ideas. ( Amery's actually).

The Indian troops who enlisted for service in German uniform - they ended up in an armed revolt against their "comrades" on the Dutch Island of Texel , from what I understand it was a really hard fought and bloody engagement , little quarter being given.
(Am I correct in this ??)

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