Stalag Luft 7 (L7)

Bankau (Bakow), Poland

Stalag Luft 7 was located in Bankau, Silesia, Germany (now Baków, Opole Province, Poland)

The camp was 1km west of Bankau (now Bakow)

On the 19th January 1945 with the Russian advance almost encircling the camp, 1,500 prisoners marched out of camp in bitter cold (-13ºC). They were threatened that for every man falling out of the column a further five would be shot.

There was an urgency to the march as they had to cross a bridge over the River Oder before German sappers blew it up.

On the 5th February, after a march of over 200km they reached the Goldberg marshalling yards (now Zlotoryja, Poland). From here they were taken in cramped cattle trucks to camps deeper inside Germany.

From 'The Telegraph' March 2010:
Airman Thomas Cloran kept the diary during his time at Stalag Luft VII camp in Bakow, Poland, and documented daily life in incredible detail. The map shown above details the evacuation route.

The following 49Sqn aircrew were PoWs here at some point during WW2

Barlow W G
Darwin P C P
Ladkin A H
Milligan E A
Phillips R S

Quick E E
Silver S A
Webster F

Wellein J C
Wilson T A F
Winton A S

The following website has further information
(the website opens in a new window)

A report of the forced march from Stalag Luft 7 by the Camp's Medical Officer