Private Bertie Longman

  • Rank Gunner
  • Age 25 in 1940
  • Service No 815660
  • Regiment/Service Royal Artillery.
  • Date of Capture 12th June 1940
  • POW Camp Stalag 344 Lambinowice, Poland
  • POW No 5453
  • Date of Liberation 1945
Bertie (left) in Royal Artillery uniform
Bertie (Left) in Royal Artillery Uniform

Bertie Longman lived at 34 Arcola Street and worked as a motor driver. He joined the army in 1931 but was discharged for being under age; he re-enlisted in 1934 and was placed in the Royal Artillery 51st Highland Division. In June 1940 Bertie’s regiment were fighting in Northern France. The German army led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was advancing on the allied forces and the 51st Highland Division retreated to St Valery-en-Caux a small port on the coast hoping for evacuation across the English Channel. The German army quickly closed in and the trapped British and French troops were forced to surrender on 12th June. Bertie and hundreds of other captured soldiers were then force marched to Prisoner of War camps. His first stop was at Frontstalag 102 POW camp in Lille and then in November 1940 he was moved to Stalag 8b Lamsdorf in Poland. From here he was placed in a work camp in Klausberg where he worked in a coal mine. The work was hard labour in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, there were many deaths and Bertie lost a finger when coal fell on him. He remained in Klausberg until October 1943 when he was transferred to another camp in Konigshutte where he was put to work in a carbide mill. In late 1944 the Russian army advanced through Poland forcing the Germans to retreat, the Germans evacuated the Polish prisoner of war camps to prevent liberation of the prisoners forcing them to march west towards Germany. In January 1945 Bertie and his fellow prisoners were marched to Germany, in freezing conditions and suffering poor health from years of imprisonment many died along the route. Eventually they were met by liberating allied forces and finally their war had come to an end. Bertie returned home to the delight of his large family in Arcola Street, but sadly one of them was missing, his brother Reginald had been killed in Belgium in September 1944.


Sources:

Other Information:

Son of George and Harriette Longman (maiden name Terry) of 50 Arcola Street Hackney London.
Joined the army in 1931 but was discharged (possibly under-age) re-enlisted 16th April 1934 to Royal Artillery Regiment.
15th April 1946 was placed on reserve list.

UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 about B Longman

  • Name: B Longman
  • Rank: Gunner
  • Army Number: 815660
  • Regiment: Royal Artillery
  • POW Number: 5453
  • Camp Type: Stalag
  • Camp Number: 344
  • Camp Location: Lambinowice, Poland
  • Record Office: Royal Artillery (Field) Record Office, Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent
  • Record Office Number: 5