SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
young Johann von Ravenstein - photographed in dress uniform in 1910
Generalleutnant Johann von Ravenstein wearing his
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and Prussian Pour le Mérite Order
Johann “Hans” Theodor von Ravenstein
PW NO: 22301
CAPTURED: Vicinity of Tobruk, North Africa
DATE: 29 November 1941
DATE OF BIRTH:
1 January 1889
PLACE OF BIRTH: Strehlen
DATE OF DEATH: 26 March 1962
PLACE OF DEATH: Brehmsweg
OCCUPATION: Army Officer
HAIR COLOUR: Fair
EYE COLOUR: Blue
NEXT OF KIN: Elisabeth Ravenstein, Iserlohn,
Buergergarten (British Zone)
& Assignments (included):
- 1 January 1889:
Johann Theodor von Ravenstein was born in Strehlen, Germany. His father,
Fritz von Ravenstein (1863-1905), was an Army officer. His great-grandfather,
Johann Friedrich August von Ravenstein (1792-1874), served in the Prussian
Army against Napoleon, 1813-1815, and received the Iron Cross, 1st Class.
An adjutant to Generalfeldmarschall Prince Gebbhard Leberecht Fürst Blücher
von Wahlstatt, he served as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington
at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
- 1899: Entered the
Cadet Institute at Wahlstatt.
- 1903: Entered the
Senior Cadet Institute at Gross Lichterfelde (he also served in the Corps
of Pages at the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II).
- 24 March 1909:
Commissioned a Leutnant in Grenadier-Regiment König Wilhelm I (2. Westpreußisches)
- 1912: Transferred
to 7. Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.155.
- 15 June 1915: Promoted
- 30 March 1918: Assumed
command of the I Battalion of Füsilier-Regiment von Steinmetz (1. Westpreußisches)
- 23 June 1918: Awarded
the Prussian Order Pour le Mérite for distinction in action during the
engagement and capture of the Chatelet Woods on the Western Front. [On
27 May 1918, Oberleutnant von Ravenstein and six of his men, mounted on
bicycles, dashed ahead of his battalion and seized a vital bridge over
the river Aisne near Chemin des Dames. The seven men held French troops
at bay with hand grenades until joined by the remainder of the battalion.
On 31 May 1918, von Ravenstein's regiment suffered heavy losses attacking
French positions near the Chatelet Woods. Ordered to attack again, von
Ravenstein and 15 volunteers infiltrated the French lines and occupied
the deserted Genevroy Farm in the enemy rear. A French battalion approached
through the woods to investigate the farmhouse but was promptly put to
flight with many casualties by heavy machinegun fire delivered by von
Ravenstein's volunteers. His actions allowed Füsilier Regiment 37 to continue
its advance and capture the Chatelet Woods.]
- June 1918: Promoted
- 31 March 1920: Separated
from the Army. After attending university, he worked for an electrical
company in Duisburg and, later, worked for the city government.
- 1 May 1934: Returned
to the Army with the rank of Major and command of II Battalion of Infantry
- 1 October 1936:
Promoted to Oberstleutnant.
- 24 November 1938:
Received command of Schützen Regiment 4 of the 6th Panzer Division.
- 1 August 1939: Promoted
to Oberst (RDA 1 April 1939).
- September 1939:
Took part in the campaign in Poland.
- May-June 1940: Took
part in the campaign against France.
- 3 June 1940: Awarded
the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
- 15 July 1940: Received
command of 16th Schützen Brigade of the 16th Panzer Division.
- April 1941: Took
part in the campaign in Greece.
- 20 May 1941: Promoted
- 20 May 1941-1 October
1941: Commanded the 5th Light Division in North Africa (this division
was reorganized, strengthened and redesignated 21st Panzer Division on
1 October 1941).
- 1 October 1941-29
November 1941: Commanded the 21st Panzer Division in North Africa.
- 29 November 1941:
He was captured by New Zealand troops near Tobruk on his way to a staff
meeting at Afrikakorps headquarters. He thus became the first German
general captured during World War II.
- 30 November 1941:
Arrived at Tobruk.
at Tobruk shortly after his capture
by New Zealand troops, 29 November 1941.
December 1941: Departed Tobruk aboard the British vessel Chakdina;
torpedoed and sunk that evening by enemy aircraft. Rescued by the British
corvette HMS Thogrim.
December 1941: Arrived at Mersa Matruh; flown to Alexandria and then to
March 1942: Departed Cairo for Durban, South Africa aboard the ocean liner
March 1942: Arrived Durban.
April 1942: Departed Durban aboard the steamer Nieuw Amsterdam.
May 1942: Arrived at Simonstown; transferred to ocean liner Queen Elizabeth
the next day; departed on 7 May.
May 1942: Arrived at New York, New York; departed aboard train on 24 May
May 1942: Imprisoned at Bowmanville Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Ontario,
1943: Transferred to Grandeligne POW camp in Quebec, Canada.
October 1943: Promoted to Generalleutnant.
1945: Transferred to Farnham POW camp in Canada.
June 1946-25 November 1947: Returned to the United Kingdom and imprisoned
at Island Farm POW Camp in Bridgend, Wales until his repatriation to Germany.
- 13th June 1946 transferred
to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp 17
- 25th November 1947
March 1962: Died in Brehmsweg, Germany.
- Knight's Cross of the
Iron Cross: 3 June 1940, Oberst, Commander of Schützen Regiment 4 of the 6th
Order Pour le Mérite: 23 June 1918, Oberleutnant, Commander of I Battalion
of Füsilier-Regiment von Steinmetz (1. Westpreußisches) Nr.37.
- Prussian Royal Hohenzollern
House Order, Knight's Cross with Swords
- Prussian Iron Cross,
1st Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
- Prussian Iron Cross,
2nd Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
- Cross of Honor for Combatants
This unique photo depicts then Oberst von Ravenstein
in conversation with King Boris III of Bulgaria (right).
from Frau Elisabeth von Ravenstein to Rowland Ryder as quoted in his book Ravenstein:
Portrait of a German General (Hamish Hamilton, Ltd., London, 1978, page
[Generalleutnant Johann von Ravenstein] rather disliked Bridgend in comparison
to the camp in Canada [Bowmannville] where they had found great understanding.
At Bridgend the generals were more strictly confined than the orderlies. The
latter were allowed occasional visits to English families they knew, but not
the generals. What my husband regretted very much at Bridgend was the fact that
it was entirely a general's camp, the majority "Hitler's generals" which was
what we called rapidly promoted officers, who may have been efficient, but whose
bearing and manners were not what one understood a general to posses. At Bowmannville
there had been only young POW officers; thus my husband was able to work with
them and for them: listening, advising, trying to patch up family marriages,
etc. Apart from the favourable external circumstances-the farm, the lecture
courses, and finally even the connection with Toronto University, which allowed
its professors to visit the camp-to co-organize, just to help was very much
in his line.
six-year-old son, Simeon II, ascended to the throne in 1943 upon the death of
his father. Simeon fled the country in 1946 when the Communists took over and
lived in exile in Spain until just recently.
abdicated the throne, so his title of "King of Bulgaria" remained valid. He
goes by the name of "Mr. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha," his royal house title. He's a distant
cousin of Queen Elizabeth II who is also of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha via
her relation to Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Named New Prime Minister
monarch from Eastern Europe to return to political power in his homeland since
the collapse of Communism. In a historic first for Eastern Europe, former King
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha accepted the role of prime minister on July 12, with
full support of the party he founded, the National Movement Simeon II (NMS).
"With great emotion but with a sense of responsibility, and having in mind the
trust that the voters gave me on June 17, I accept this proposal," Simeon said.