David McLean survivor of H.M.S. Voltaire, spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp - Stalag VIIIb

Dear Mac,

I was very interested to read the letters regarding the experiences of the crew of the Voltaire and that a book exists about the survivors  "Sailors in Cages". My uncle - David McLean  joined the naval reserve in Dundee at the start of the war. He lived at that time in Glenesk Avenue, Dundee and after being called up joined the H.M.S. Voltaire.

When German radio reported the sinking of the ship most of the family thought he had been killed, however, after a period in the sea was picked up by the German vessel. He was taken back to Germany and  spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp - Stalag VIIIb. Where he was made to work in fields and mines. I understand that he played in the band. Our family has a photograph, with him playing with others, but I have yet to find this photograph which has been mislaid.

He talked about the mis-treatment of Russian prisoners and that the Camp Commander was a rather nasty individual. He rarely talked about his experiences, but he was mis-treated and beaten after attemping to escape. After the war
he emmigrated to Canada and lived with his wife and two daughters in London, Ontario until his death two years ago.

I would be interested to find out more about this chapter in our family's history and in particular about my late uncle. I will look for war time photographs and if I find them will send you a scanned copy.

Kind regards,
Denis Keenlyside.


Thank you  for your letter, we have generated a good deal of interest about the gallant Voltaire, her fight, sinking, and the subsequent caputure of her crew and their time in Germany as POW's. You have added to that today.

I will have another run through " Sailors in Cages" to see if David McLean gets a guernsey at all, and come back to you later.

Please do send us any photos and my web master Terry Kearns in Atlanta Georgia ( without whom, Ahoy would neither exist or function) will add them to our Voltaire segment.

Nice to hear from you.

Best regards,

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