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 The Notes on the Book

























Bill Balmer and his Green Beret



Chapter 17    The Last Post




Bill’s Reflections




 Just like everybody else in the PoW camps, I was friendly with everyone. We did not know each other’s names but addressed each other  by our nicknames, Paddy, Taff or Jock. We could be friendly with each other for months without asking each other our real names.


From the time I was taken a Prisoner of War until my liberation it was impossible to have long-term friendships. While on the march and then in the camps we were constantly split up into small units. At one time I was the only Royal Marine in my work party. In fact a Marine taken in Crete ended up in my work party and a month passed before we found out we were fellow Marines.  He was one of the Osbourne’s from Belfast


Geordie Thwaites was my best mate but we were continually broken up on the march and while in the camps. After the liberation I never met up with him again until 1952. By that time he was a driver to the Royal Family.


My friend and fellow PoW on the march, Sam Maxwell, never recovered from the brutal treatment he suffered in the German PoW and Labour camps. We were separated from the start of our incarceration. He spent a long time in the salt mines in Upper Silesia. After five years of ill health he died at home in 1950.  



The Enemy


It was no joke being behind barbed wire for five years. It also depended on who captured you. Sometimes we were treated well and on other occasions we were treated brutally. The younger guards were always the worst. They used the butt of their rifle against you more often and when the occasion presented itself they would use the bayonet on you. They were also in the habit of carrying a big stick or baton because that was easier to use than the rifle. As time went on the younger men were selected to fight on the fronts, much older men took their place.


We always knew how the war was going by the attitude of the guards towards us. When the Germans were losing the war at any stage they were very brutal towards their prisoners. You had to be careful and not step out of line at these times.


When we were out in the working parties we managed to get on with our guards, who again were all older men, too old for the front.




Even when we were in the coalmines or in other work parties we managed to get on with the German civilians. Some of them even shared their food with us. Despite being forced to labour I have no animosity towards the German people.


The Germans appear to have more problems relating to ex-PoWs than I have in relating to them. There have been several occasions after the war when I met German civilians who were on holiday in Ireland. One day in Killarney my wife and friends went off to kiss the Blarney Stone.


As I waited in the car park for their return a German couple joined me. They asked if I minded them sitting beside me and I said, ‘Of course not’. Then the wife said something to her husband in German and I replied in German before he did. They asked me where I had learned to speak the German language. As soon as I informed them that I had learned to speak German in a PoW camp they rose straight away and scuttled off. My conscience was clear but theirs appeared not to be.


One day on the Ballymoney road I gave a lift to two German tourists. At one stage of the journey they started speaking to each other in German. I started speaking to them in German as well. After they found out where I had learned to speak German they could not wait to get away from me. Perhaps they thought I was going to turn nasty on them but nothing was further from my mind.


I never could trust the French man for many reasons. While I was a PoW there were many French soldiers in our accommodation. If you did anything out of order at all the German guards would hear about it within the hour.


The French women we encountered on the march to the PoW camp were very brave. They would risk a kick from the German guards or even worse to leave us out some water or bread by the roadside. The French men always kept a low profile at these times.


Suffering and Stress During and After Captivity


You always felt so sorry for your people back home. I worried about my family all the time and then I worried because of what I was going through myself. It was my aim to come through the PoW experience both physically and mentally intact.


All the PoWs worried about what their reception would be once they did get back home. It was impossible to imagine how you were going to be received by your family, friends or your unit. We had listened to stories about men who were repatriated through illness and some of the stories left us all depressed. But I need not have worried because my family received me well enough.


Life as a PoW was never boring. You spent all your time worrying about food and obtaining food. I always worried about when I was going to get something to eat because it was obvious the Germans could not feed themselves never mind the prisoners.


When I returned home and even today, over sixty years later my wife has noted that I find it impossible to leave any food on my plate after any meal.


There is one point I must emphasize in relation to all Prisoners of War. I was a seventeen year-old lad when I first became a PoW of the Germans but my suffering was nothing compared to the experiences of those Allied soldiers taken by the Japanese.


I had five years of suffering at the German hands but those taken by the Japanese went through more suffering in a couple of months than I ever did. I met some of the ex-PoWs and I know we suffered in our own way but their suffering was entirely different.


Rejection of PoWs


After the humiliating experience at Lubeck I felt that all my fears coming true. Luckily for me this was an isolated incident but my confidence suffered. Later on I had to listen to other Marines telling their ‘war stories’ in the barracks. I always felt that they were jibing me and there were a few sly smiles directed my way when I did say I was a PoW. But I had seen more action in one day than they had seen in the whole of the war.


Other Prisoners of War have had worse rejections than mine. During the Malayan campaign I met up with a commando who had served in the Burma campaign and was taken prisoner.

When he was repatriated after the war his family rejected him and his wife would not let him see his children. He was one of the finest cooks and decorator of cakes in the Marines but he had his problems. Every so often he would just disappear for days on end.


The CO was in despair because he knew part of the problem was due to the way his family rejected him. After a repeat incident the CO decided to promote him to Corporal and put him in charge of the cookhouse. That was a good move because all the problems stopped there. Promoting him and then giving him some responsibility made him feel that he was accepted as a man again.


Satisfying Experiences


The most satisfying experience I ever had in the services was completing the commando course and earning the green beret. I was twenty-seven years old and that was the age limit for the commando course. At that age we were much too old for active service in the Royal Marines but there were plenty of supporting roles we could play at that age, such as drivers, radio operators and cooks. We still had to be as fit as the other commandos for these roles.


On my previous driving duties at the commando school I had witnessed the state of some of the Royal Marines as they completed various stages of the course and I had to admire those who passed out as commandos. I never imagined that I would earn the green beret myself.  I am proud to have been a member of one of the most renowned units in the British armed forces, the Royal Marines.


My Medals


Because I spent most of the war in a German PoW camp I failed to qualify for the Defence Medal. Most of the early duties as a seventeen-year-old Royal Marine only lasted for one or two weeks. That was far too short a period to qualify for the medal.  


I have my Allied PoW Medal mounted along with my campaign medals. When I parade every Remembrance Sunday I know that I will have to listen to some adverse comments, just as in previous years.


I understand that the Allied PoW Medal is only a commemorative medal and is supposed to be worn below my campaign medals. But I always wear the Allied PoW medal with the same pride I have for my other medals. I have the same attitude since I wore my PoW battledress jacket with the black diamond on the back on the first Remembrance Parade after the War in 1945.



From the left I wear the 1939-1945 Star, The War Medal, The Malay General Service Medal, The Northern Ireland General Service Medal Medal, The B Specials Medal and finally, The Allied PoW Medal.


My Service Life


Despite the fact that I found it difficult to discuss my experiences until I was aged eighty-three I can honestly say I have no regrets about my life of service.




Bill Balmer aged 86 in 2008


In the first place I always wanted to be a soldier. I always intended to join up as soon as I was old enough. My father and all his brothers had served the Crown at different times. I never imagined that I would do anything different.


All I ever looked forward to, as a Prisoner of War, was getting home to Ballymoney for a while to see my family and then getting straight back into the Royal Marines.


That’s the way my life worked out. Fourteen years in the Royal Marines, seventeen in the B Specials, seven years in the Ulster Defence Regiment. In between that I served thirty-one years in the Post Office and another fifty-five in the Royal British Legion. It is just the way I lived my life. My wife had many a lonely night while I was in the Royal Marines or out on patrol with the Bs and the UDR.


I did have a life of service to the Crown and the community of Ballymoney. I have often been asked if I would do it all over again and I have always said that I would.



Chapter 18


This work has been about the life history of Bill Balmer, who committed himself to a life of service before the age of sixteen. The focus has been on Bills experiences and not the minutiae of political and military factors relating in those experiences.


Bills initial commitment and subsequent life of service was always selfless. Ideally, that commitment should not have prevented subsequent British governments from paying full tribute to Bill and his World War Two comrades.




At the end of World War Two the British government reimbursed the German government for monies paid to British PoWs during their incarceration. This happened despite the fact that many PoWs like Bill were never adequately paid, nourished or clothed by their German captors.


In 1967 the West German government agreed to provide £1m in compensation to the British victims of National Socialism. That episode has turned out to be the only time the British government has been involved in recompensing the ex-PoW veterans who were in German custody.


The episode became a public scandal when the British Foreign Office rejected many of the submitted claims, including claims from veterans who survived the Nazi reprisals against those who took part in the ‘Great Escape’ from Stalag Luft III, Poland, in March 1944.


The Revenge Factor


While Bill was at Chatham in 1946, he applied for the post of security police in Germany. He was informed that as an ex-PoW he probably wanted to go back to Germany to work because he was after revenge. This is a recurring theme in ex-PoW stories and shows that the government departments were aware of the suffering experienced by PoWs in German camps.


Bill experienced and witnessed many horrifying acts of brutality at the hands of his German captors. At no time during my interactions with Bill has he expressed or displayed any collective hatred for the German people. Take for example the incident in Dummerstuck Hof when he requisitioned the SS officers food supply and distributed it between the people of the village.


Bill has always differentiated between those specific individuals who abused the PoWs, other guards and then the ordinary German population. At the same time he has never shown any hostility for his abusers, his focus has always been on telling his story.


Bills attitude is not unique amongst World War Two veterans. I have talked to other veterans as they recalled their experiences during the liberation of the Belsen and Sandbostel concentration camps. In the next breath they would talk about the normal German people and their beautiful German countryside (Gamble, p110).


Although many PoWs were treated brutally by German civilians in the coalmines, Bill and others were lucky. Bill recalls that one former PoW intended returning to Germany, when his time in the Royal Marines was completed, to marry a farmer’s daughter. This was not an isolated case. Barbour (2008) recalls that Guardsman Sam Quigley, 2nd Bn Irish Guards and a former PoW, returned to Germany and married a farmer’s daughter.




The two 1940 battles that Bill Balmer took part in were part of a strategy to evacuate the defeated Allied forces through Dunkirk. The rearguard actions at Boulogne, Calais, the perimeter of Dunkirk and many other small battles made this retreat a success. The evacuation has always been highlighted to the detriment of the sacrifice made by the rearguard troops.


This state of affairs has left veterans like Bill talking about the ‘stigma’ of being a prisoner of war and the feelings of personal failure. That was despite the fact he went to his last battle with those terrible words ringing in his ears, ‘You will be going to Calais and you will not be coming back’.




It is difficult to determine what motivates an individual to select any career, never mind the armed forces. That particular choice could lead to your deliberate killing or serious injury at any time. Objective factors in past arguments have considered peer pressure, comradeship, family tradition and economic pressure. Subjective factors include an adventurous spirit, moral imperative, and loyalty to the Crown.


I have found that questioning veterans on the subject quite often forces the veterans to construct a response. Perhaps their original motivations for volunteering are either long forgotten or too private. Sometimes the veterans have given me a different answer on subsequent interviews leading me to surmise that there was more than one motivating factor influencing their decision to volunteer.


From my own personal experiences of twenty-seven years in different service units I can honestly say the motivation included a need for adventure, world travel, the danger, the money, the escape from academia and doing the right thing. All these factors were incremental and combined in no particular order to account for my enrolment from the age of fifteen.


During World War Two one of the factors that motivated the people of Ireland to serve in the British armed forces was their attitude towards Nazi aggression. There were 80,000 volunteers from the south and 38,000 from the north who enrolled in British units.


There were also thousands of volunteers from the island who served in a civilian capacity. For example, they staffed the munitions factories, farms, and hospitals and also acted as driving instructors to the WAAF in 1942. As Richard Doherty stated, many volunteers were motivated with a ‘moral imperative to become involved in the war’ (1990, p46)


One of the disparaging comments aimed at the Irish volunteer is that monetary gain was the motivating factor. But that claim was countered long ago when the Irish Government published a very revealing document at the end of the Second World War.

That document is called, “List of personnel of the Defence Forces dismissed for desertion in time of National Emergency pursuant to the terms of Emergency Powers (No 362) Order 1945 (S.R. & O. 1945 No 198) or Section 13 of the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1946 (No 7/1946).


This Naval and Military Press reprint lists in alphabetical order the names and personal details of five thousand Irish soldiers who were dismissed for deserting and then joining the British Armed Forces during the Second World War.

The document was issued to all Irish Government and Civil Service departments in order to identify, for whatever reason, the men after their war service.

The deserter’s motivation was not the money as Richard Doherty (1999, p10) states that the pay was no better.


The Irish volunteers, from the 1790’s onwards were always volunteers. As such they had to meet the recruiter’s criteria for an ideal recruit and were enrolled because they wanted to be.

During World War Two the majority of mainland conscripts, with the exception of the volunteers for the special forces, regular units and Bomber Command, were always enrolled whether they wanted to be or not. 


The motivations of the volunteers in the British forces will always promote a lively debate. Identifying the relationship between all the subjective and objective motivational factors may be more productive than trying to identify one single overriding factor that fits all volunteers.


Despite all that, there are exceptions, the motivation for Bill Balmer was more singular. He joined the Royal Marines while Great Britain was at peace.


‘In the first place I always wanted to be a soldier. I always intended to join up as soon as I was old enough’.


Despite his horrifying experiences as a seventeen-year-old Royal Marine and the brutal treatment he experienced in German PoW camps, he continued to serve in the armed forces for the remainder of his working life.


‘All I ever looked forward to, as a Prisoner of War, was getting home to Ballymoney for a while to see my family and then getting straight back into the Royal Marines’.


Bill was never motivated by money. For example he served in the B Specials for seventeen years. During that service there were occasions when he jeopardised his civilian employment by staying out late on patrol. All that, and more, for a free uniform and £6 a year.


Bill Balmer was the consummate soldier, feared by all enemies and loved by all Company Sergeant Majors. This is epitomised in many of his personal photos; the quiet man in the background, waiting to do his duty.


Modern trends


Each generation over the last century has been more educated than their previous generation.  This trend has produced a more literate and articulate population. We still have a generation of willing volunteers, but they will not suffer in silence as the last generation did.

When young soldiers go into battle today, they have the opportunity to carry personal computers, pocket memos and digital cameras. Modern combatants can now get their experiences in print, in many cases, well before the politicians and strategists.


This modern trend has reduced the options for the future military historian. As interested parties we no longer have to wait for sixty years until a veteran feels they can address their wartime experiences.  The modern combatant has eclipsed that line of research.


Because Bill Balmer’s story was an individual story it has not covered the full gamut of all PoW experiences. Rather, it covers in detail what happened to Bill Balmer.

Many ex-PoWs have carried their horror stories to the grave. I hope that Bill’s story speaks at the very least for those silent heroes who fought at Boulogne and Calais and others who served as slave labourers in Nazi Germany.


Appendix 2


Prisoners of War


Human warfare has made incremental advances since early Antiquity. Some of the advances were influenced by the social changes, including the advance from tribal leadership to city-states and then empires of ruling elites. Technological advances in the design of weaponry have also influenced the nature of human warfare.


Treatment Of PoWs


What has changed relatively little since the dawn of time is the treatment of prisoners of war (PoWs). Modern religious practices may have eliminated the acts of cannibalising and sacrificing PoWs. Other than that, atrocities are still being inflicted on PoWs. This includes the practices of murder, massacre, mutilation, battering, starvation, torture, human shields, neglect, enslavement, retaliation and ransom.


For example, on Tuesday 28 May 1940; on the third day of Bill Balmer’s capture; Private Thomas John Hanna from Bushmills was reported missing in action. He was a member of A Company 2nd Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His company had been tasked to fight the rearguard in the village of Wormhout. The purpose of that action was to allow the evacuation of the defeated Allied army through Dunkirk to proceed.


That day A Company had fought valiantly but lost the battle to the 2nd Bn. Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH). In retribution for all the casualties they sustained, the LSSAH shot the injured Warwick’s dead and escorted the 200 survivors 3km away to a barn in Esquelbecq.


The LSSAH tried to kill the Warwick’s by throwing hand grenades into the barn. That was not efficient enough so they escorted the survivors out, five at a time and shot them in the head. The process was too slow so they entered the barn to machine-gun and then finish off the remainder.


That evening a local farmer filled a churn with milk and went out to comfort the fifteen survivors and the dying. The milk churn remains at the scene of the massacre as a poignant memorial to the brave Warwick’s. (Rodgers, p21)






Courtesy of G Rodgers, 2008


For the LSSAH this was not an isolated incident. Their war record is peppered with atrocities. Their last actions included the torture and murder of eleven African-American soldiers from the 333rd Field Bn. US Army and the massacre of 130 Belgian civilians in December 1944. Present-day wars are still throwing up people of this ilk.


PoW Numbers


As belief systems, technology, strategy and tactics advanced so did the number of prisoners taken in battle. Data referred to by Davis (1977) shows that during World War One there was a total of 8,500,000 prisoners of war. During World War Two this rose to a total of 35,000,000.


The Function of PoWs


One reason for holding prisoners of war is to deny the enemy their fighting personnel. An example of this took place during World War Two when the admiralty refused to consider the exchange of sailors and merchant marines. The Allies could only have their sailors and merchant marines back at the expense of re-staffing the German U-Boat operations.


The prisoners of war also represented a measure of military success that would undermine the enemy’s morale. In Germany the prisoners of war were used as replacements for the workforce who could then be called up for military service. Germany had taken eight million prisoners of war during World War Two and in 1943 twenty per cent of them were forced to labour in the coal mining industry (Davis, 1977).


Prisoners of war were also a drain on enemy manpower. If troops were tasked to guard the enemy prisoners this reduced the number of troops available to fight the war. Vance (1993, p676) states that during World War Two, the working ratio was one guard for every four prisoners. By 1943 over 400,000 German personnel were employed to guard Germany’s PoWs.


Prisoner of War Camps


The German PoW camps were located in a broad corridor that extended from the German coast south of Denmark, through Germany, occupied Poland and annexed Austria to Italy, in that order.


These German territories were split into military districts known by their Roman numeral. If there was more than one camp in a specific military district they were designated a letter according to their order of build.


The PoW camps were usually sited in World War One training grounds, former PoW camps, Napoleonic Forts and castles. The German army manned most of the PoW camps. To a lesser extent Allied Air Force personnel were usually sent to PoW camps manned by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and naval PoWs to camps usually manned by Kriegsmarine (German Navy).


The word Stalag is an abbreviation of Mannschaftsstammlager; a PoW camp used to hold enlisted men and NCOs. Stalag VIIIB is therefore the second PoW camp for enlisted men and NCOs to be built in the military district VIII. This was located in southwest Poland.

Other abbreviations for PoW camps include; Oflags for officers, Marlags for sailors, Milags for merchant marines, Stalag Lufts for Air Force personnel and Dulags for transit camps.


Control of PoW Camps


The German guards were responsible for maintaining the security of the PoW camps and the internal administration and self-government of the camps was the responsibility of an officer or a SNCO (Lunden, 1949). The compounds within each PoW camp were under the control of an NCO.


Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde, was located about 30 miles south of Berlin. It held approximately 20,000 PoWs. The PoWs held there included Australians, Canadians, Americans, Poles and Russians.

Bill Balmer was also held there between his postings to the von Putlitz estate and the lime kilns.


During 1944/45, CSM Dessie Lynch of the 1st Battalion the Irish Guards was in charge of the internal administration and self-government of the camp. Ex-PoWs Guardsmen Fitzpatrick and Fallon, related to ex-Guardsman Cpl. T. W. Barbour that CSM Dessie Lynch and his Guards regime was not popular with the other PoWs; indeed he was most especially disliked by men from other Regiments. CSM Lynch kept the men busy at keeping themselves looking soldierly, repairing their uniforms when necessary and other military disciplines (Barbour, 2008).


Squadron Leader George Dudly Craig recalls in Rollings (2007, p318) that during the month of April 1945, every night small parties of German guards were observed slipping away. Then on 21 April the remainder of the guard handed the camp over to the PoWs.


That was the day the Camp Commandant went to CSM Lynch and presented him with his formal surrender. CSM Lynch accepted the surrender along with the Camp Commandants Luger pistol.

Later that day CSM Lynch paraded all the PoWs and addressed them with the Luger still in his hand.


‘For 18 months you have been thinking about ways of getting me back. Well, now’s your chance.’


He then fired the pistol once in the air and then threw it down on the ground in front of him. No one stepped forward to take up the offer (Barbour, 2008).




Having to surrender in the heat of the battle is as terrifying as fighting the battle. PoWs are immediately under emotional and physical duress; they have exhausted all means of escape and are now at the mercy of the victors. They will be held for an indeterminate period and will be called prisoners although they have not committed any crime.


There is a small section in all populations who will have a dysfunctional reaction to these traumatic experiences. They will seek to avoid physical punishment and mental stress by developing an empathy with their captors. As a consequence, the individual seeks the favour of their captors by committing deeds of treachery against their own comrades. This behaviour has been witnessed in PoW and Concentration camps throughout the Nazi controlled states.


During Bills time as a PoW he observed few incidences of treachery.  For example, reporting the use of illicit radios and SNCOs accompanying other ranks. One of the reasons these incidents were so infrequent was because camp inmates had a ruthless attitude towards treacherous comrades.


Longden (2005, p54-56) reports that traitors were killed on many occasions and there was an incident in Lamsdorf where the PoWs found a corpse in the pool. It was no idle comment when Bill mentioned that the PTI who reported the illicit radios at Sternberg labour camp stood a good chance of being hung on the wire.




Bill also observed a few incidences of theft from fellow prisoners.

Longden (2005, p54-56) also reported that thieves could be dumped in the latrine pits, punched unconscious or flogged by fellow inmates.




It can be inferred from the documentation on the repatriation of PoWs that there were three classes of PoW. First there was the physically and mentally ill and the wounded. This group was considered to be the most eligible for repatriation. This group was followed by the eldest of the PoWs, many of whom were over the age of sixty near the end of the war. The longest serving PoWs was the final group for consideration. The first two groups were exchanged but the third group remained in captivity until they were liberated at the end of the war (Kohavi, 2004).


Although the negotiations between the governments of Great Britain and Germany started in 1940, they achieved nothing. At that time the Germans had captured over 2,200,000 Allied troops at Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk whereas the Allied forces had captured a negligible number of Axis troops. The Germans in a much stronger bargaining position and they capitalised on this PoW disparity to block all progress in the negotiations.


Serious negotiations with the German government started in October 1943. By that time the tide of war and the number of PoWs captured turned in favour of the Allied forces.


In the meantime the PoW exchanges between Italy and Great Britain started in June 1943 when the hospital ship Newfoundland sailed from England to Lisbon with Italian PoWs. The ship then picked up Allied PoWs for a seven-day return trip to England.


According to an article in the Winter (2005) Newsletter of The National Ex-Prisoner of War Association, British Commonwealth and German PoW exchanges started in October 1943.

The final exchange of wounded and sick PoWs took place after the abortive Arnhem operation. In February 1945 1,259 British PoWs were exchanged for 1,579 Germans in Berne, Switzerland.




When the war ended, Cpl W.T. Barbour of the Irish Guards was given leave. The order was; those who had fought from Normandy got first rights. He went to London en-route to Belfast and described the place as choc-a-block. Men of all nations and Regiments were there; Americans, Australians and Canadians.


He also muses that during the liberation of one PoW camp by the Irish Guards, a set of trestle tables had been set up at the gates. During the issue of travel documents, the men were asked where they were from. Each and every one replied, ‘London!’ That included many with an American or Aussie accent (Barbour, 2008).


Later on all ex-PoWs were expected to complete debriefing forms at the staging camps before they were allowed home. Bill Balmer’s debriefing forms show a significant lack of detail considering the deprivation and horror they had all experienced. Amongst other points, Rollings (2007, p335) relates how the ex-PoWs used these unwelcome forms for obscenities, complaints or simple Yes and No responses and in true PoW mind-set, even stole the pencils.




Personal Communications, Corrections and Additions


William T. Barbour (2008).


Philip Baker, (2008), Stalag VIIIB/344 Prisoners of War.

David O’Mara, (2008), Croonaert Research Services


Chris Kirkpatrick (2008)






Childs, D., Britain Since 1939:Progress and Decline, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 1995


Churchill, W. S. L., The Second World War, Volume II: Their Finest Hour, The Reprint Society, London, 1949


Crawford, W.H., and Foy, R.H., Townlands In Ulster: Local History Studies, Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast, 1998


Doherty, R., Irish Men and Women in The Second World War, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1999


Ellis, J., World War Two: a Statistical Survey: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants, Facts on File, New York, 1993


Evans, M.M., Battles of World War I, Acturus, London, 2002,


Gamble, R., The Coleraine Battery: The History of 6 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery RA (SR) 1939-1945, Causeway Museum Service, Coleraine, 2006


Harclerode, P., Fighting Dirty; The Inside Story of Covert Operations From Ho Chi Minh to Osama Bin Laden, Cassell, London, 2001


Longden, S., Hitler’s British Slaves: British and Commonwealth PoWs in German Industry 1939-1945, Arris Publishing Ltd, Gloucestershire, 2005


Miller, H., Service to the Services: The story of Naafi, NAAFI, London, 1971


Parker, J., Royal Marines Commandos: The Inside Story of a Force for the Future, Headline Review, London, 2006


Robertson, T., Dieppe: The Shame and The Glory, Pan Books Limited, London, 1962


Rodgers, G., The Fallen of the Causeway Coast 1939-1945:Bushmills, Glenda Rodgers, Bushmills, 2008


Rollings, C., Prisoner of War: Voices from Captivity During the Second World War, Ebury Press, London


Taylor, A.J.P., How Wars Begin, Book Club Associates, London, 1979


Thompson, J., The Royal Marines: From Sea Soldiers to a Special Force, Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 2000


Vella P., National War Museum Souvenir Handbook: With an Account of Malta in World War Two, NWMA, Malta G.C.. 1979


Watson, P., War On The Mind, Hutchinson of London, London, 1978


Williamson, G., and Andrew, S., German Mountain and Ski Troops 1939-45, Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 1996



Unpublished Material/Taped Memoirs/Conversations/Photographs


Bill Balmer, Audio Taped Conversations, 2008


Regimental Association, Ulster Defence Regiment, Ballymoney Branch, Audio Tapes and Archives, 2008







Davis, G.H., Prisoners of War in Twentieth-Century War Economies, Journal of Contemporary History, 12 (1977) p623-634


Kohavi, A., Why None of Britain’s Long-Term PoWs in Nazi Germany Were Repatriated During World War II, Canadian Journal of History, April 2004.


List of personnel of the Defence Forces dismissed for desertion in time of National Emergency pursuant to the terms of Emergency Powers (No 362) Order 1945 (S.R. & O. 1945 No 198) or Section 13 of the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1946 (No 7/1946) Naval and Military Press


Lunden, W.A., Captivity Psychosis among Prisoners of War, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1931- 1951), Vol. 39, No. 6, (Mar – Apr., 1949). pp 721-733


McKenzie, Don, The Day The Queen Came To Toon, North Antrim Cultural and Musical Society, Ballymoney, 2002


Presentation of Colours to 40, 42 and 45 Commando Royal Marines by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Gale & Polden Ltd, Aldershot, 1952


Vance, J.F., The War Behind The Wire: The Battle to Escape From a German Prison Camp, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 28, No.4, (OCT., 1993) pp675-693


Vance, J.F., Men in Manacles: The Shackling of Prisoners of War, 1942-1943, The Journal of Military History Vol.59, No.3, (Jul., 1995) pp483-504



World Wide Web


Harris, T., (2002) Artillery History.


Rickard, J (19 February 2008), Siege of Calais, 23-26 May 1940,


Stalag VIIIB/344 Prisoners of War.

The Lee-Enfield Rifle website.