Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Anything about the crew, families, origins, etc.
Post Reply
Anthraquinone
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Anthraquinone » Thu May 31, 2018 12:27 pm

I am a philatelist rather than a naval historian and am looking for some help.

Kurt Trenkmann is listed as one of the survivors of the sinking of the Bismarck. He was detained as a POW first in the UK, then Canada and finally again in the UK before being returned to Germany. He wrote frequently to his family in Kiel from the various POW camps. I recently obtained some of his letters and cards including one from British POW Camp Number 8 dated 08/06/41 only 12 days after the sinking. This may be the first he sent to Germany.

I do not read or speak German and am looking for some help. I would be happy to post a pdf of the contents of this letter if someone could try and translate it.

Some other information would also be interesting if it is known.

By 01/01/1941 Trenkmann was sending mail from British Military Hospital 4 - I am guessing he was a patient but is that correct

Were the Bismarck survivors sent to Canada in one group on one ship and if so which ship and when.

From what I have found they would have been returned to the UK on different dates but is there any record of when Trenkmann was returned to the UK and also to Germany.

AQ

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7525
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by RF » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:28 am

There are official de-briefing documents from the interrogation of the Bismarck survivors by naval intelligence which may assist you. I do have some of these documents in PDF however this particular individual is not highlighted. Because no senior officers were captured there was little of practical use that was gained by the intelligence services, although it did present a view of the ''lower deck'' of the KM that was not particulary good.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Anthraquinone
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Anthraquinone » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:39 pm

Thank you for the reply

One officer did survive the 4th artillery officer Kaptain Kapitänleutnant Burkard Baron von Mullenheim-Rechberg. His book gives some details of his captivity but says nothing about the other crew.

AQ

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1220
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Herr Nilsson » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:38 am

The first survivors left Greenock on December 21st 1941 (3rd transport) aboard MORITON BAY and reached Camp 23 in Monteith early January. The second transport of Bismarck survivors (4th transport) left Greenock aboard RANGITIKI on March 27th and reached Camp 23 April 9th 1942. There was anoth transport (5th) in June, but as I understand it without Bismarck survivors.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

Anthraquinone
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Anthraquinone » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:14 pm

Marc

Thank you for the reply and information it was very helpfull.

Trenkmann must have crossed to Canada on the RANGITIKI as I have one card Trenkmann sent from British Military Hospital number 4 which he dates the 8th February 1942 although there are no dated postmarks on it.

I also have a letter from Camp 23 in Canada dated by Trenkmann 18th April 1942 with a Canadian BASE A.P.O. postmark dated 20th April 1942. So only the RANGITIKI fits.

I will have to hope I can get some of these cards and letters translated and see if that sheds any more information.

Do you have any info on the return of prisoners. He was still in Canada on the 1st January 1946 but was in the UK on the 16th May 1946.

John

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1220
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Herr Nilsson » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:33 am

IIRC Statz writes that some (possibly most) prisoners returned to the UK and had to do forced labour for a certain time.

I recommend you to get a copy of Josef Statz book about Bismarck. Most of it is not about the Bismarck episode, but all prisoners of war in England and Canada.

Schlachtschiff "Bismarck". gesunken. gerettet. gefangen.
Statz, Josef
ISBN 10: 3929207133 / ISBN 13: 9783929207132

It's very quite rare, but there is one copy available on abebooks.


Another possibility is to contact Malte Gaack. Mr. Gaack published 3 excellent books about the Bismarck Crew by now. I checked my copies, but couldn't find Trenkmann, whose story should be part of Volume 3. Possibly Mr. Gaack has more information about what happend to the prisoners after the war in general.

http://www.diebismarck.de/GB_Index.html
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

Anthraquinone
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Anthraquinone » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:50 pm

Marc

Thank you again

That book sounds interesting but as I do not speak or read German I do not think it will help me very much :( . I have sent an email to Malte Gaack as you suggested and will wait for his reply.

John

Anthraquinone
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Re: Kurt Trenkmann POW letters

Post by Anthraquinone » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:53 pm

After one moth I have not heard anything. I will try to find some other contact information

Post Reply