Merchant Navy Prisoners of War


February 25th, 2012

MILAG – Captives of the Kriegsmarine

The story of the 4,500 Allied Merchant Seamen captured by the German Navy. Held hostage on makeshift prisonships, poorly fed and always at risk of attack by the R.A.F. and the Royal Navy.

Hidden by the Kriegsmarine!
Thrown into concentration camps and kept incommunicado for months to prevent the War Office learning of the success of the German Navy’s secret weapon – the Commerce Raiders.

Guarded by the Kriegsmarine!
MILAG – the PoW caviously untold story of Merchant Navy Prisoners of War.

Captured by the Kriegsmarine!
The story of the Allied Merchant Seamen held in one camp in Germany, where, guarded by elderly and disabled German sailors, more than 4,500 Merchant Seamen waited four years to regain their freedom.

MILAG – Captives of the Kriegsmarine.
The story of 4,500 British Merchant seamen, survivors of more than 200 ships, illegally taken prisoner in direct contravention of the Hague Convention. Held captive on Commerce Raiders and blockade running supply-ships in airless holds. Dressed in the rags of the clothing they were wearing when they abandoned ship they were glad to be issued with blood-stained Army uniforms.
In the camps with the seamen were: P.G, Wodehouse; Henry Mollison (Amy Johnson’s actor brother-in-law); commandos from the Dieppe and St. Nazaire raids; International Brigade volunteers from the Winter War in Finland and men from most Allied nations. Once Italy had surrendered, the Germans even sent their ex-allies to Milag!
Contemporary diaries, personal reminiscences and previously unknown extracts from the British Postal Censorship Office provide a unique insight into the private thoughts of these PoWs and their views on the lack of concern that they felt their Government and their employers had for their welfare and that of their dependents.

MILAG – Captives of the Kriegsmarine Hardback, 336 pages, 47 monochrome illustrations, 8 colour plates, indexed and referenced. ISBN 0 9525498 0 8


Occasionally copies come up on Ebay


Price £16.99 inc UK postage.
Tir Uchaf Cottage, Derwen Road, Alltwen, Pontardawe. SA8 3AU
Tel: +44 (0)1792 865377 email:




A Merchant Seaman’s Survival

Edward Sweeney, a deck boy from the Turakina, jumped from the train taking him from Bordeaux to Germany. Escaping through occupied France, he eventually reached Gibraltar and safety via Franco’s notorious Miranda del Ebro concentration camp.

For 7 months Sweeney and his fellow crew members suffered the privations and dangers of being held captive on board German ships.

ISBN 0 953662403 288 pp, 10 B&W photographs

E Sweeney, 44 Royal Esplanade, Margate, Kent. CT9 5EN
Price £13.95 plus P&P (UK £3.00, Overseas £4.00)


We would love to hear from you if you have any more information or if you have questions. Complete the form below to get in touch.