W2-6 POW Registration: Part of the documentation to record John Braham’s incarceration as a prisoner of war.
On 25 June 1944, my father, Wing Commander John Braham, was returning from an intruder mission over Denmark and northern Germany in his Mosquito when he was attacked by two FW-190’s. With his aircraft badly damaged, he ditched his aircraft on a strip of sand on the Danish coast. He and his navigator scrambled to safety before the burning aircraft exploded. The pilot of one of the FW’s flew over and waved to them.
Unfortunately they had landed near to a German radar installation and they were soon picked up by German soldiers. They were taken to an interrogation centre in Oberursel, Germany where they were introduced to the pilot who had shot them down – Leutnant Robert Spreckels.
After the interrogation he was moved to Oflag Luft III (the officer section of Stalag Luft III) at Sagan, in Prussian Silesia near the Polish border. The form copied above is the first page of his registration card.
He remained in Stalag Luft III until 27 January 1945 when the prisoners were moved to avoid the advancing Russians. They marched on foot for most of the way in freezing conditions until 4 February, when they reached the POW camp of Marlag-Milag Nord. He remained there until the prisoners were again moved on foot to Lubeck - about180 kilometres. En route the column was strafed by Allied aircraft and ten prisoners were killed or wounded.
On 2 May 1945, the camp was liberated by the British Second Army. My father reached the No. 106 Personnel Reception Centre in Shropshire on 6 May where he was granted 42 days leave and was reunited with his family.
Postscript: After the war, my parents became good friends with the Spreckels family and I had the good fortune to meet them in their home in Hamburg and to entertain them in mine when I was posted to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Submitted by: Michael Braham, Capt (N) (Ret’d)