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6 November 2017
Private Charles Dunn 2978180, 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Quote from the site page for F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd PoW experiences at Oflag IV-C (Colditz), Stalag IV-G (Oschatz) and on the march:–

MJH could not speak German. To allow communication between the Guards & the PoWs, possibly one or more of the PoWs must have understood or spoken some German. It was also possibly the Older Guard could speak basic English as the result of his having been a PoW of the British in WW1.

Because of his injuries, MJH could not walk and was pulled along with the PoWs in a handcart at first. He later walked with the assistance of a stick after he had been given a pair of boots by another PoW – Scotsman Charlie Dunn (Dun or Dunn or Dunne, spelling unknown). The source of the boots is unknown, but thought to have been scavenged from a bombed factory.

PoW Charlie Dunn was from the British Army, a Scot who had served before WW2 in the North-West Frontier of India. He was very helpful towards MJH and to all of the PoW group. Charlie seemed to get along well with the "Older Guard", so apparently they were able to converse somehow. Charlie had told the story (perhaps jokingly) of having been a poor crofter back in Scotland. His wife had been concerned that he had not collected sufficient wood for their approaching winter. After some argument, he set off to collect more wood – then decided to keep walking and join the army!

Investigations have been made in an attempt to identify Dunn. He was in the British Army, and was known as Charlie. His full name or initials were not known, nor was his age at that time. Other than that recorded above, there was no other information about him in F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd's personal papers.

Searching for PoW Dunn in WW2

German Prisoner of War Camps were under the control of the Luftwaffe or the Wehrmacht.
The Luftwaffe camps were known as Stalag Luft (Stammlager der Luftwaffe) and numbered from I to VII, e.g. Stalag Luft VII Bankau, Poland.
The Wehrmacht camps were known as Stalag (Stammlager) and numbered in 2 categories – Roman numeral plus an Arabic capital letter, e.g. IV-G, or those with just a number e.g. 357. The Roman numeral identified the Wehrkreis or administrative area, each with headquarters within that area. For example:–
Stalag IV-G Oschatz was situated in Wehrkreis IV, Saxony, with headquarters in Dresden.
Stalag VII-A Moosburg was situated in Wehrkreis VII, Bavaria, with headquarters in Munich.

In addition to IV-G Oschatz, other Stalags in Wehrkreis IV, Saxony were:– IV-A Hohnstein (not Hohenstein near Frankfurt, not Hohenstein in Poland); IV-B Mühlberg; IV-C Wistritz (not Bystrice in Poland); IV-D Torgau; IV-D/Z Annaburg; IV-E Altenburg; IV-F Hartmannsdorf.
Oflag (Offizierlager) or Officer camps in Wehrkreis IV were:– Oflag IV-B Königstein; Oflag IV-C Colditz; and others.
Please note that spelling of the above mentioned names, and locations, varies between authors and websites.

Air Force PoW in WW2
Referring to "Footprints in the Sands of Time – RAF Bomber Command Prisoners of War in Germany 1939-45" (author Oliver Clutton-Brock), there were eleven Air Force Prisoners of War with the name Dunn, and one with the name Dunne (page 285). Two were shot down on 2 October 1943 near Munich and became PoWs at PoWs at Stalag IV-B Mühlberg, which is near to Stalag IV-G Oschatz:–
Sgt F.S. Dunn, 460 Sqdn, PoW 261224;
Sgt G.F. Dunn, 61 Sqdn, PoW 250717.
However these 2 Air Force PoWs as well as the other 9 were eliminated, due to the results of Army PoW investigations.

Army PoW in WW2
Using Ancestry and The National Archives, searches were made of the database of "British Army Prisoners of War, 1939-1945".
Results were 164 British Army PoWs with the name Dunn or Dunne or variations.
The search was repeated with filters, to segregate those PoWs named Dunn in Wehrkreis IV only, with focus on names with the initial 'C', and/or Stalag IV-G Oschatz. Some with the initial 'C' were in camps some distance away so were eliminated.

There were 26 PoWs with the name Dunn in Wehrkreis IV camps, with four at IV-G Oschatz, one of whom had the initial 'C'.

Stalag IV-A Hohnstein – 6

Stalag IV-B Mühlberg – 3

Stalag IV-C Wistritz – 4

Stalag IV-D Torgau – 1

Stalag IV-D/Z Annaburg – 1

Stalag IV-F Hartmannsdorf – 7

Stalag IV-G Oschatz – 4
Trooper J. S. Dunn 7945059 Reconnaissance Corps, PoW 253921 (Royal Armoured Corps and Reconnaissance Corps Record Office, The Drill Hall, Barnet, Hertfordshire, Record Office Number 3);
General P. Dunn 887694 Royal Artillery, PoW 10762 (Royal Artillery (Field) Record Office, Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent, Record Office Number 5);
Private R. S. Dunn 6019764 Essex Regiment, PoW 262261 (Infantry Record Office, Warwick, Record Office Number 21);
Private C. Dunn 2978180 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, PoW 12414 (Infantry Record Office, Perth, Scotland, Record Office Number 16).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website was checked to 31 December 1947. Private Charles Dunn 2978180 Stalag IV-G was not listed on the CWGC database, therefore he survived the war.

As F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd was only a PoW at Oflag IV-C (Colditz) overnight, Stalag IV-G (Oschatz) for three days, and then on the march, it was probable that the Dunn in his PoW group was also from Stalag IV-G Oschatz. Therefore it was possible that Private C. Dunn 2978180 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, PoW 12414 was the likely candidiate. However this does not totally exclude any of the other 22 Dunn PoWs above, as they may have been relocated between camps.

Army Service in North West Frontier, India

As it was known that PoW Charlie Dunn from the M.J. Hibberd group had served in the North West Frontier, the history of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was investigated using various internet sites. It was found that the 2nd Battalion served in India in two conflicts, as quoted from the official (Stirling Castle) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders History 1918 -1939 web page .....

Between 1919 and 1939 the two Regular Battalions continued to alternate between home and foreign service. The 1st Battalion served in Constantinople (Turkey) from 1918 to 1919, India from 1919 until 1923 and then Egypt and Sudan from 1925 until 1928 followed by eleven years at home. At the outbreak of war they had moved to Palestine.

Meanwhile, the 2nd Battalion remained at home until 1927 when they went to Jamaica for two years followed by four years in Hong Kong and China. They then moved to India in 1933 where they remained until just before the outbreak of war when they sailed for Malaya.

To check if PoW Dunn 2978180 had also previously served with the 2nd Battalion, A. and S. H. in India, the "UK Medal Campaign and Award Rolls, 1793-1949" were searched using Ancestry and The National Archives.
Result 1 (TNA WO 100 / 497)
C. Dunn, Regimental Number 2978180, Campaign and Location India, Service 1933-1935, 2nd Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
The record for Private C. Dunn is indicated by the blue arrow in the following Medal Roll. The form was signed by the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding 2nd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Rawalpindi on 11 December 1936. The entitlement was for the India General Service Medal 1908 and the form has been marked "North West Frontier 1935" for Clasp.

TNA WO 100 / 497 C. Dunn 2978180 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, North West Frontier India service 1933-1935

Result 2 (TNA WO 100 / 498)
C. Dunn, Regimental Number 2978180, Campaign India – NW Frontier, Location India, Service 1936-1937, 2nd Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
The record for Private C. Dunn is indicated by the blue arrow in the following Medal Roll. The form was signed by the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding 2nd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Trimulgherry on 3 December 1938. The entitlement was for the India General Service Medal 1936 and the form has been marked "North West Frontier 1936/37" for Clasp.

TNA WO 100 / 498 A. Dunn 2978180 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, North West Frontier India service 1936-1937

As these two records had the same name and regimental number as that of the PoW at Oschatz, this seemed to identify that PoW as the one who was in the same group as F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd.

Contact was made with the Museum of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Stirling for further information. They confirmed that the C. Dunn 2978180 was Charles. They also advised that he had served with C Company with the 2nd Battalion in the North West Frontier, and later transferred across to the 1st Battalion with whom he was serving when he was captured in WW2. He had been reported missing on Crete on 23 May 1941. No other personal information was permitted, however they did say that he was unlikely to be still alive, but suggested using Scottish newspapers to contact his family. This information appeared to confirm that Charlie Dunn was Scottish. It also suggested that he may have old enough to have served in WW1. F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd had said that Charlie was 'older' than the other PoWs in the group, and he seemed to get along well with the 'older' German Guard who had been a Prisoner of the British in WW1. As Charlie Dunn had been a PoW of the Germans since late May or early June 1941, it was likely that he had picked up some German language over the subsequent four years. He would probably have been able to converse in basic German with the 'older' German Guard, and this would have assisted the PoW group.

There are many books and websites with information about WW2 on the island of Crete. One website of particular interest was written by Private Tom Barker (deceased, see http://www.warlinks.com/memories/barker/index.html ). The many pages on the site cover his anecdotal memories of his service with the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from the time he joined in Glasgow on 9 August 1938, through training at Stirling Castle and Aldershot, service in the Middle East, and life as a PoW. Similar to Charlie Dunn who was also in the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Tom Barker also fought on Crete where he too captured. Barker was transferred to various German PoW camps, with the last being Stalag IV-D Torgau, Saxony, which is not far from IV-G Oschatz where Dunn was PoW. Interestingly Barker's Army Number was 2982252 and Dunn's was 2978180. Barker's PoW number was 12244 and Dunn's was 12414. Barker mentions being in a group of 200 when captured. From the difference of only 170 in their PoW numbers, it could be safely assumed that they were in the same group of PoWs when captured, and may therefore have known each other.

Army Service in WW1

Checks were the made of the "British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920" for C. Dunn /Charles Dunn, to see if one could be matched to Charles Dunn 2978180 of the North West Frontier and WW2.
Result .... (TNA WO 372/6/121684)
Charles Dunn
Regimental Number 9383, 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Rank Private;
Regimental Number 13195 Royal Highlanders, Rank Private;
Regimental Number 273695, Labour Corps, Rank Private;
Regimental Number 47666, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Rank Private.

TNA WO 372/6/121684 C. Dunn 9383 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, WWI Medal Roll Index Card

From an article on First World War Basic Records by Graham Caldwell (Your Family History Military Special 2012, pages 29-33) .. "Unlike WW2 army service numbers these were not unique to a soldier in WW1, nor did a soldier always keep the same number. They are, however, unique within the same regiment or corps, which were provided numerical batches to allocate by the War Office." Therefore it seems that this Charles Dunn served with four different units during WW1.

He received the Victory Medal, the British War Medal, the 1914 Star & 1914 Clasp (i.e. service in France/Flanders between 5 August & 22 November 1914, and being under fire during that time), and Clasp and Roses. He had departed for overseas service on 10 August 1914.

 

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website was checked using this WW1 Charles Dunn's name and each of his Army Numbers. None were listed on the CWGC database, therefore he survived the war.

As yet, no WW1 Service Record has been located for this Charles Dunn, however those available are for servicemen who did not continue in the Army after WW1. It is possible that he continued as a Regular in the Army after the end of WW1, through the two North West Frontier conflicts in the 1930s, and into WW2.

However, although this WW1 Charles Dunn had served in the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as Private 9383, it has not yet been proven if he is the same Charles Dunn 2978180 of the N. W. Frontier (C Company with the 2nd Battalion, A. and S. H.) and WW2 (Crete 1st Battalion, A. and S. H.) and PoW Stalag IV-G Oschatz.

As Charlie Dunn's age and birth/home location was not known, searches of Birth, Marriage, Death, and Census Records have not been useful due to the high number of results received for this relatively common name. As this researcher is not related to him, obtaining WW2 Army Service Records would not be possible.

If anyone can assist in confirming the identity of Charlie Dunn, PoW in the group with F/Sgt M.J. Hibberd, please make contact,
Please also forward any suggestions as to how to make further investigations.
In the unlikely event that Charlie Dunn is still alive, contact from him would also be welcome. Similarly, information would be appreciated from members of the Dunn family who may have knowledge of Charlie's time as a PoW at Stalag IV-G Oschatz, particularly if there is any recollection or mention of F/Sgt M.J. Hibberd.

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