Douglas Maylin (1920-1960). Merchant Navy, Ynyshir and Cardiff

Born in 1920 in Ynyshir, to a mining family who suffered great loss and hardship, Douglas Maylin joined the Merchant Nay prior to the Second World War, serving initially as a ‘Mess Room Boy’. He took part in both Atlantic and Arctic Convoys. On 28th May 1942 Douglas was serving on the Empire Ranger on an Arctic Convoy when the ship was subject to Luftwaffe air attack and sunk. Taking to the lifeboats, Douglas and other members of the ship’s crew were captured and taken prisoner by a German Destroyer. After short spells in prisoner of war (PoW) camps in Norway and Finland, the crew were transported to a PoW camp in Northern Germany and sent to Wilhelmshaven for interrogation by the German Navy, before being returned to the Milag camp in Lower Saxony. It appears to be here that Douglas was recruited as a potential volunteer for what eventually became known as the British Free Corps of the Waffen-SS. Douglas and a few other few prisoners were then taken under escort to Berlin. The extent of Doug’s involvement and activities with the British Free Corps from July 1943 to his arrest on 3rd May 1945 in Mecklenburg, Germany by the British Army, is not known. Post-war Douglas received all due awards of back payment for his time spent as a PoW and also medals of service. Douglas choose not to return to the Merchant Navy and set up home in Cardiff with his new wife Phyllis. He became a fire-fighter, driver and salesman at various points over the next 15years. Sadly, the couple lost their first, infant son, but then brought up a young family during the 1950’s. Douglas died aged just 39yrs in 1960. This account of Douglas Maylin’s short life was prepared by his family in partnership with the West Wales Veterans’ Archive, in March 2021.

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