Merchant Navy Prisoners of War

The Merchant Navy

February 25th, 2012

“Their job was to steam on and on and on, which they did through thick and thin, to their eternal credit and our sincerest admiration”
Anonymous British Naval Officer

Despite being officially classed as non-combatants and hence not liable to capture, the German authorities created a special camp for Allied merchant seamen and their civilian passengers. At first Milag (a Marine Internment Lager) was merely a barbed wire compound (Stalag XB) inside the Sandbostel concentration camp. Eventually, as a result of protests by the Protecting Powers, the seamen were marched away to Westertimke where they had to build their own huts and fence themselves in.

Some 4,500 merchant seamen from the British Empire, the USA and from all over the world, spent up to 5 years in captivity in this camp.

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