Author Topic: The British Free Corps  (Read 4998 times)

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Online John

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The British Free Corps
« on: March 17, 2014, 19:08:52 pm »
Daily Record - Tuesday 11 December 1945

Free Corps Case
Private Robert Reginald Heighes, Hampshire Regiment, of Street, near Petersfield, pleaded not guilty at a court-martial to voluntarily aiding the enemy between October 1, 1943, and May 1, 1945, by working for the British Free Corps.


Derby Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 15 January 1946

Ex-P.o.W. Gets Two Years.
Found guilty by general court martial at Aldershot of voluntarily aiding the enemy while a prisoner of war, by joining and working for the "British Free Corps," Private Robert Reginald Heighes (26), of the Hampshire Regiment, has been sentenced to two years' detention, it was announced to-day. At the trial Heighes, whose home is at Sheet, near Petersfield, Hants., said he was threatened with a court martial if he refused to join the Free Corps. He thought that he would be able to get his own back against the Germans while he was in the Corps. Before capture Heighes was mentioned in dispatches for gallant and distinguished conduct.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Online John

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 08:53:22 am »
Western Morning News - Tuesday 02 October 1945

The Free Corps. Aimed To Fight Soviet Russia.
A pamphlet handed to prisoners of war set out the aims of the organization known as the British Free Corps as the development of friendly relations between Britain and Germany and to fight Soviet Russia, said Lce.-Corpl. W. Dexter, of the Military Police, at the court-martial yesterday at Westgate-on-Sea of Lce.-Corpl. Roy Nicholas Courlander, accused of joining the German Army and helping the Germans.

Other former prisoner associates of Courlander, a Londoner who joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, told of his alleged Free Corps activities. Pte. Thomas Freeman said that Courlander told him that a man named Cooper would be Fuhrer of England and that he - Courlander - would be second in command. He - Freeman - would have "a very high job."

Trooper John Eric Wilson, a commando with the R.A.S.C. said Courlander said to him that "Jesus Christ was knee-high to a chicken compared with Hitler,"  and that Hitler's only mistake was being born in Germany - "he should have been born in England."

Courlander, who wore three service ribbons, pleaded "Not guilty." He is defended by Capt. C. P. Hutchinson, of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.


Dundee Courier - Thursday 04 October 1945

Soldier Asks No Mercy If Found Traitor.
At the close of the court-martial at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, yesterday of L.-Cpl. Roy Nicholas Courlander, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, accused of voluntarily aiding the enemy while a prisoner of war, he was asked if he had anything to say in mitigation of any sentence which might be imposed. He replied "If the Court thinks I am a traitor to my country I hope they will impose the heaviest possible punishment." Courlander has pleaded not guilty. The president, Col. R. L. Rudd. said the Court's decision will be promulgated.

Summing up, the judge advocate, Major Melford Stevenson, said the Court might decide they were dealing with a man of consuming ambitions. They would remember the evidence of one witness, that Courlander contemplated becoming second in command of this country if Germany should win.

REQUEST REFUSED.
One witness, Sgt. F. G. M'Clardy, R.A.M.C., wanted to give his answers in camera, but the request was refused, He agreed a statement he had made said Courlander was determined at all costs to make the British Free Corps a big show.

L.-Cpl. A. Howe, Military Police, speaking of a prison camp trip with Free Corps pamphlets, said "Courlander said he did not want to talk anyone into joining the corps. The trip took a month, and we wasted time. This was accomplished by Courlander saying he had so much paraphernalia to collect."



Liverpool Daily Post - Saturday 03 November 1945

HELPING GERMANS.
Sentence of fifteen years penal servitude was promulgated yesterday on Lance Corporal Roy Nicholas Courlander, a London-born member of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, who was found guilty at a Westgate-on-Sea court martial of helping the Nazis. He was found guilty of the charge of voluntarily aiding the enemy between October 2, 1942, and September 4, 1944, by writing and delivering broadcast talks, joining and working for the British Free Corps, an organisation controlled by the Germans, and by joining the armed forces of the enemy - the S.S., in which he was a war reporter.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline pomme homme

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 14:20:13 pm »
Summing up, the judge advocate, Major Melford Stevenson, said .....

He later became Mr Justice Melford Stevenson. For someone who, in 1945, prosecuted a man for, presumably, holding and giving effect to extreme right wing views, his subsequent behaviour on the bench might suggest that in 1945 he was 'the pot calling the kettle black'.

Aubrey Melford Stevenson had Sussex connections in that it was in St Leonards that he lived and, in 1987, he died. His house in the town was named 'The Truncheons'! Earlier in his legal career he had been the Recorder of Rye in the immediate post-war years. Also he was part of the prosecution team that failed to secure the conviction of Dr John Bodkin Adams of Eastbourne.

It was after he was elevated to the bench that he became notoriously outspoken and gained fame (infamy?) for this. For those who want to know more about his attitude, behaviour and views, the internet will provide all that they are likely to want to know.

Professionally I knew his son, who also is a barrister. A man as different from his father one could not imagine!

Footnote: wikipedia says that his house, the Truncheons, was in Winchelsea, although it was in St. Leonards that he died.

Offline Ron Stilwell

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 15:05:44 pm »
This is a diary entry of my brother-in-law, who was POW in Poland for 4 years:

May 20th, 1944.
Today, we found several leaflets lying around our billet.  We presume our guard left them there.  They were printed in English, by the Germans, asking us to join the 'British Free Corps' and to fight against the Russians.  Some hopes!

Bert Jones; 'B' Company, 5th Battalion, The Buffs

The British Free Corps (German: Britisches Freikorps) was a unit of the Waffen SS during World War II consisting of British and Dominion prisoners of war who had been recruited by the Nazis.  Around 54 men joined the unit at various times, and its maximum strength at any one time was 27 men.  

Offline MichaelBully

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 12:26:34 pm »
I remember reading 'Renegades- Hitler's Englishmen' by Adrian Weale - certainly worth getting hold of : There seemed very few British who fought for The Third Reich compared with those from German occupied countries. Perhaps  the most notorious would be John Amery, son of Conservative MP Leo Amery , who plead guilty to eight counts of treason and was sentenced to death in December 1945.
Interested to see the sentences handed out in our region

The Ancient sages said do not despise the snake for having no horns for who is to say it will not become a dragon.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2016, 13:11:45 pm »
And the brother of the late Julian Amery, MP for Brighton Pavilion (1969-92) and later Baron Amery.

Offline MichaelBully

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 22:10:13 pm »
Interesting - I hadn't realised that Julian Amery had a connection to Brighton : Found an interesting article on line from 'The Independent' in 1995
about Julian Amery's attempt to establish that his brother John was suffering from a mental disorder and not fit to be tried for treason, and also tried to maintain that John was a Spanish citizen.  Julian Amery seemed to have quite an exemplary war record himself.

Both brothers were in fact half Jewish.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/rear-window-john-amery-the-traitor-whom-britain-politely-forgot-1572716.html
The Ancient sages said do not despise the snake for having no horns for who is to say it will not become a dragon.

Offline MichaelBully

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Re: The British Free Corps
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2024, 19:43:16 pm »
Found this article from the Daily Mail about the British Free Corps , has some further information on Nicholas Courlander including a photo. Seems that he served about half of his fifteen year sentence.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259632/Hitlers-British-SS-Chilling-pictures-traitors-joined-Fuhrers-evil-unit--Union-Flag-sleeve.html

The Ancient sages said do not despise the snake for having no horns for who is to say it will not become a dragon.