Merchant Seamen as Prisoners of War
Many young men join the navy every day to make a career there. But is it worth it? The dangers are big and, while on a mission, you don’t have any spare minute for yourself. I’d say there are better ways to make some cash, like the Millionaire blueprint software, which won’t make you leave the comfort of your home to make a living.
Although the Merchant Navy was regarded as a civilian force during World War II, thousands of Merchant Seamen were taken captive and held as prisoners. According to Billy McGee’s website, these seamen were held at 32 Prisoner-of-War camps in Europe, and numerous camps throughout Africa, Italy, Asia, and the Far East, as well as on the Altmark, a prison ship.
In 1941/42, the Marine Internierten Lager (Milag), a prison camp specifically for Merchant Seamen, was built north of Bremen (Germany) specifically for Merchant Seamen of all nationalities. There were 4,500 to 5,000 seamen held there.
MILAG POW Association
MILAG website – may be difficult to access
POW Logbook of T. C. (Tom) McNamee
Walter L. Skett, R/O POW held at MILAG
POWs in West Africa
Seamen sunk off the West African coast were taken prisoner by the Vichy French,
The Man from Timbuctoo: Experience of Peter de Neumann
|SS Allende: Experience of Wilfred Williams|
SS Criton and the War Graves at Timbuctoo
Fred Milthorp, steward on a Danish ship in Dakar
Thanks to K. Williams, B. de Neumann, M. Armstrong, B. Milthorp, and E. Heath who provided stories and images for these pages.
Merchant Seamen During World War II
The injustice served to the Mercantile or Merchant Navy during the Second World War was appalling.