Thomas Atkins
Death march from Cosel 21/1/45
Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:50

In May 2015 I will be following my fatherís march from his hospital at Cosel, which he left on 21.1.45, to Moosberg (Stalag VII A) arriving on 25.4.45 and staying there until his release on 1.5.45.

He was Dr W.T.G. Atkins, an Australian medical graduate, who was in the British army (Essex regiment, 1/4th battalion, British 8th army). He was taken prisoner of war by Rommel near Mersah Matruh in Egypt on 29.6.42. He was sent to Benghazi before being shipped to Taranto and then spending 18 months in camps and hospitals around Naples.

He left Capua in August 1943 and arrived at Moosberg (Stalag VIIA) on 10.10.43. He was then moved to Lamsdorf camp arriving on 28.12.43. Colonel T. Wilsonís diary records him arriving at the hospital on 12.01.44. The diary then records him being dispatched to Cosel hospital on 09.04.44. He may have been replacing Dr John Borrie who had been promoted and moved to Lamsdorf, from Cosel, around this date. Borrieís book names three hospitals at Cosel and my father may have been in the Abyssinian (Russian) Lager.
I have a photo of the Cosel medical staff which may have been taken in September 1944.His good friend from university Dr Norman Rose, is in the photo. All in the photo have signed the back of the photo including Bogdan Stoyit, the Serbian Colonel-Surgeon and Dr R Kaye-Webster. I can email this photo if wanted by anyone.
My father left Cosel hospital on Sunday 21.01.45 and walked to a village, between Broumov and Trutnov in Czech Republic, arriving on 10.02.45. Many years ago, he drew his route on a map and he seems to have passed near Prudnick, Nysa, Miedzylesic and Nachod before arriving near Broumov. He was then put on a train on 02.03.45 travelling to Prague then Pilsn arriving at a camp at Nuremberg on 04.03.45.
He then walked from Nuremberg, on the 04.04.45, to Regensberg then Straubin and arrived at Moosberg (again) on 25.04.45. He was then released by the Americans, after their battle with the SS guards, at midday on 01.05.45.
I hope these dates and places may help any interested descendants. Please let me know of any extra information any of you think relevant. Anna, at the Lambinowice museum, is an amazing source of information and I look forward to talking to her again next year. The museum is a wonderful tribute to the many prisoners, from many wars and many countries, but Anna seemed to have a special interest in the medical personnel.

  • Death MarchIan Bowley, Wed Oct 15 16:27
    Hi June, it's very difficult to say unless someone kept a diary. For example, I know that my dad left E22 on 22/01/45 and followed a route SW into Czechoslovakia, then anti-clockwise round Prague,... more
    • Death MarchesJune Johnson, Thu Oct 16 19:25
      Hello Ian, Thank you for that. I will do what I can to piece it together. Whichever route he took it was no holiday was it. I have read a couple of books about the marches and it was something I knew ... more
    • Death march from Cosel 21/1/45 — Thomas Atkins, Thu Oct 16 10:50
      • CoselMichael Tattersall, Tue Oct 21 20:21
        Thomas My father was also on the medical staff at Cosel. Could you please email a copy of the photo. Thanks Michael
      • Death Marchianbowley, Sat Oct 18 10:25
        Hi Thomas, I have been planning to do exactly the same to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day next year. My dad will have taken a completely different route but I would be interested to know how you... more
        • Death march from Cosel 21/1/45Thomas Atkins, Sun Oct 19 09:49
          Hi Ian I am just planning at present, what exactly I will do, as I will be traveling with family. Starting in Italy and then making our way to southern Poland, Wroclaw and Opole, with day trips to... more
      • Death MarchesJune Johnson, Fri Oct 17 20:59
        Dear Thomas, What a lot of detail you have on the route your father took. It is all useful information. I visited the museum at Lambinowce last year on a Lamsdorf V111B tour which was a most... more
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