Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Freed from Stalag

I wrote about Flight Lieutenant W. McIlhagga as a prisoner of war on 18th December last, following up an earlier blog on 28th April about him joining the RAF. The above newspaper cutting is from the Winnipeg Free press dated Thursday, June 07, 1945. The text reads, 'FLT-LIEUT. W. McILHAGGA has been freed from Stalag 3A prison camp in Germany and is safe in the United Kingdom according to word received by his wife, who resides at 151 Ferry road. FL McIlhagga was reported missing after air operations Oct. 9. 1944 and was taken prisoner of war in November 1944. He is the son of Mrs. C. McIlhagga, 944 Sherburn street'.

First we can note that William McIlhagga was a POW for about 7 months. My earlier information was that the camp was called Stalag 4, but Stalag 3A which was situated at Luckenwald may well be correct. If anyone can confirm whether it was 3A or 4 I would be most grateful. William's wife is mentioned but not named. She was April or Ella Smith whom he married in March 1942 at Westminster, London, England. She must have moved to Canada after October 1944, presuming that she was with him when he flew from Yorkshire, England, on the air operation on which he was captured. Both her and her mother-in-law's addresses are given in this cutting. An important piece of information is that William was the son of Mrs. C. McIlhagga. No father is mentioned. Does this imply that his father had died by 1945? Also, does anyone know the full maiden name of his mother? I think I am right in saying that William's older brother was Liston Burns McIlhagga, born 1918. When he sailed to New York aged 22 or 23 he declared his 'friend' to be Mrs. C. McIlhagga. Presumably this was his mother. When the family sailed from Belfast to Montreal in 1923 there is a Sarah. Who was she?

No comments:

Post a Comment