My father Chief Petty Officer Albert Ransome survived the Voltaire sinking and spent the remaining war years in a prison camp in Germany.
Unfortunately he died in 1957 when I was just eleven. My eldest brother George Albert Stuart Ransome who died more recently used to write in the Marine News, and was fanatically interested about warships and their history etc. I guess he gained this interest from dad’s career.
Thank you for your note about your Dad and his service in HMS Voltaire.
Here he is from the ship's Roll of Honour:
129. Ransome, A Petty Officer.
(I note he is listed as a Petty Officer here, was he a CPO at the time of running into Thor, and is this listing wrong? )
I am sure that many of her crew had a rather tough time as POW's, and those forced to march long distances just as the Russians were closing in on a beleagured Germany were lucky to finally get home.
When Roger Coward wrote his Sailors in Cages, it is a pity that he did not find the time to index it, to find a specific reference to a name such as your Fathers, it becomes quite a chore to peruse each page to try and find if he is mentioned, and it is easy to miss.
Have you read the book Bill? I picked up a copy signed by Roger on the internet, but think it is now long out of print.
With my best wishes from Australia.
Here is a UK copy of Sailors in Cages available, the US Dollar conversion is about 28 English Pounds.
Sailors in Cages
Coward Roger V
Bookseller: WebbooksUK.com Ltd
(NEWTON STEWART, , United Kingdom)
Price: US$ 59.09
Quantity: 1 Shipping within United Kingdom:
[Rates & Speeds]
Book Description: McDonald, London, 1967. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Press review pasted to front pastedown. Wrapper is lightly worn. Red wrap around sash still present. Bookseller Inventory # 301725
Bill, I also found this report on the internet:
Date received: October 2004. From: Roderick Reilly On behalf of: James Reilly.
"My father James Reilly (Dundee, RNVR) was a POW in Lamsdorf from 1942 to 1945. He was previously a POW in Bremerhaven, after his ship Voltaire was sunk in April of 1941.
I have just read "Sailors in Cages" by Roger V. Coward, who was a shipmate of my Dad. It is a very interesting story and made even more incredible by the fact that it is all true. I cannot imagine having to endure some of the trials through which these brave men passed. Particularly sad for me was the fact that so many prisoners died in the final months/days of the war, having survived 3 or 4 years in the camps. Mr Coward reports an incident where an American Dakota plane exploded shortly after take-off - the plane was filled with POWs finally on their way home to Great Britain...
I am amazed that my father survived his experiences given the number of ways in which he could have been killed throughout the war. I am very glad he did - otherwise, guess who wouldn't be here today?
My father died very suddenly this year on April 16th, aged 83. He always talked with great affection about the camaraderie between his fellow POWs at Lamsdorf. He had a very positive "never give up" attitude to life which I'm sure was developed during his time in WWII. I would be glad to hear from anyone who has a connection with Lamsdorf or who perhaps knew my father."
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