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William Newham - POW for 4 Years

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:09 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

William Newham joined the Northumberland Hussars in September 1939. He took part in the evacuation of Greece and was posted missing during the evacuation of Crete where he had been captured in June 1941.

William's mother received an official letter stating:
"I regret to have to inform you that a report has been received in the War Office regarding Gunner Newham, William Roberts Templeman attached to the Royal Artillery from the Northumberland Hussars, who has been posted missing on the 2nd of June, 1941."

The report said Middle East, but it was Crete. The report went onto say that a missing person doesn't necessarily mean that he's been killed he may be a prisoner of war, which is what happened.

The local paper the Shields Gazette had a regular column of people who'd been missing or become prisoners of war and he appeared in the Shield Gazette as someone who was being recorded, missing in action.

A few months later William's mother receiving a postcard from Stalag 18A in Wolfsburg in Austria in which he said:
"Hello, hope you're well? I'm well. Can you please send me some shaving equipment? The food here is very good and I'll write soon"

The Shields Gazette then published another story to say that he had been found and that is now a prisoner of war. William spent the next four years as a prisoner of war.

Audio and transcription attached


Item list and details

1. Enlistment photo 2. William in pith helmet (right) 3. Shields Gazette reported missing and Shields Gazette reported POW 4. Official letter William reported missing 5. Postcard from Stalag 18A (front and rear) 6. Group photo of Stalag 18A 7. Parcel received postcard 8. Alsatian dog in Stalag 18A

Person the story/items relate to

William Newham

Person who shared the story/items

Alan Newham

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ocean Road Community Centre, Tyne and Wear on 18 November 2023. The event was organised by South Shields Local History Group.

Record ID

99897 | SSH006