Charles COWARD (1905-1976)

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Military Life

Saluting the heroes of the armed forces



THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Charles Coward, soldier, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.


Charles joined the Army in June 1937 and was captured in May 1940 near Calais while serving with the 8th Reserve Regimental Royal Artillery as Quartermaster Battery Sergeant Major. In 1943 he was sent to the prisoner of war camp at Monowitz (known as Auschwitz III).


He used his position as Red Cross Liaison Officer for British and Allied POWs to bribe guards for corpses of Jewish prisoners which he exchanged for live prisoners who were able to escape. He also made a clandestine entry into Monowitz, the Jewish work barracks, in order to discover, without success, a civilian Jewish naval doctor from a British merchant ship sunk in the Indian Ocean.


He sent coded messages back to the British authorities detailing the numbers of Jews arriving at the camps and the movements of the German military, and was a prosecution witness at the Nuremburg War Trials.

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programme details...

  • Edition No: 135
  • Subject No: 135
  • Broadcast live: Mon 24 Oct 1960
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.00pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 6
  • Edition: 6

on the guest list...

  • Norbert Wollheim
  • Mrs Dixon
  • G A T Walton
  • R A Hartland
  • Cecil Sklan
  • Grigor Anderson
  • W R Kinnear
  • T Reynell
  • C Skeels
  • H J Powell
  • Herbert Rice
  • Wallace Clarke
  • T W Daldry
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Jayne Mansfield
  • Line Renaud
  • John Carter

external links...

production team...

  • Researcher: Liam Nolan
  • Writer: Robert Stuart
  • Director: Michael Goodwin
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
Series 6 subjects: Leonard Cheshire > George Bennett > David Sheppard > Sybil Thorndike > Clarence Wolfe > Charles Coward > T E B Clarke > Helene Jeanty-Raven > Cyril Smith > Victor de Spiganovicz > Bill Hartley > Ellen Martha Field > Anthony Deane-Drummond > John Mills > Richard Bancroft > Freddie Mills > William Simpson > Alan Herbert > Madame Vacani > Elizabeth Ambridge > Robert Fawcus > Flora Robson > Edward Chad Varah > James Zarb > Maryan Rawicz and Walter Landauer > James Chipperfield > Anthony Kimmins > Thomas Cosmo Jones > Jessie Matthews > Helen Wilson > Charlie Chester > Brunel Cohen > Godfrey Winn > Billy Wright