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  #1  
Old 10th February 2015, 00:39
Mathsmal Mathsmal is offline
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Bomb Disposal

Apologies if this is the wrong section to post this question, but does anyone know if Luftwaffe POWs were used to assist with bomb disposal post-war in the UK?

Many thanks!
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Old 10th February 2015, 00:52
sidney sidney is offline
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Re: Bomb Disposal

I think that something like that would be unthinkable under the terms of the Geneva Conventions signed by both Great Britain and Germany.
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Old 10th February 2015, 00:55
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Re: Bomb Disposal

..but I believe that those who were experienced did assist. Look at the demining of the Channel Islands immediately after the war finished?
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Old 10th February 2015, 01:29
Chris Going Chris Going is offline
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Re: Bomb Disposal

I think you might find most of what you want in Westing, Arthur H (Ed)., Explosive remnants of War. Mitigating the Environmental Effects. SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Insittute/ UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Taylor and Francis, London & Phildalphia 1985, ISBN 0 85066 303 2). This reproduces, inter alia, the Hague Convention VIII of 1907, and the Geneva Convention III of 1949. For the last, note articles 7 and 52, where it is noted that P/W might volunteer to do dangerous work, of which an example is cited as ‘the removal of mines or similar devices’.

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Old 10th February 2015, 01:34
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Re: Bomb Disposal

... yes, perhaps the experienced PoWs did volunteer to assist in demining (although the unexploded bomb defusing and disposal seems much more dangerous undertaking, for which probably only handful, if any, PoWs volunteered). I wanted to say that they were not forced to do so.
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Old 10th February 2015, 11:36
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Re: Bomb Disposal

More than 25000 former Kriegsmarine sailors served in the German Minesweeping Administration (GSMA) after the war, removing half a million naval mines laid in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. About 350 of them died... serving as conscripts and not volunteers.

They were not protected by the Geneva Convention because they officially had the status "Surrendered Enemy Personnel" and were not treated as prisoners of war.
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Old 10th February 2015, 11:51
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Re: Bomb Disposal

Hi,
In Denmark German personnel under German command, but under allied control were employed to remove almost all landmines. A task that lasted until mid 1947. Technically they were not POWs, but they were given an offer they could not refuse.
bregds
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Old 10th February 2015, 15:43
Bombphoon Bombphoon is offline
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Re: Bomb Disposal

German POWs helped both de-mine Britain's coasts and took part in post-war bomb disposal - but in accordance with the Geneva Convention, they volunteered and were paid a little extra danger money for their troubles.

I'm sure the irony of Luftwaffe POWS helping dispose of German unexploded bombs was not lost on them...
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Old 10th February 2015, 22:20
Mathsmal Mathsmal is offline
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Re: Bomb Disposal

Thanks to everyone for the very interesting replies.

I wonder if there were any casualties amongst the POWs who volunteered to clear the mines and bombs in the UK?

Interestingly, I just found a reference in the book about Bert Trautmann detailing his job working on bomb disposal in Liverpool, Manchester and the surrounding areas. It appears he volunteered to do this, and was still employed in this capacity in 1949.
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