Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

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Viktor.S
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Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 20 May 2020 18:50

Hello everyone,

I've heard of Portuguese nationals who volunteered to serve in the Axis armed forces (such as those who joined the Blue Division under Germany). Were there any foreign volunteers from Portugal serving in Allied militaries?

Thanks.

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Loïc
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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Loïc » 21 May 2020 03:02

There were around 800 Portuguese listed among volunteers of the French Army in 1939
~ 83 Portuguese dead in 1939-1945

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 21 May 2020 10:13

Loïc wrote:
21 May 2020 03:02
There were around 800 Portuguese listed among volunteers of the French Army in 1939
~ 83 Portuguese dead in 1939-1945
Thank you. Did many of them manage to escape France in 1940 to join the Free French Army? Did any remain behind and join local resistance?

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Loïc
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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Loïc » 22 May 2020 01:17

the lists of Free French show 27 to 38 Portuguese-born
the dossiers kept by the SHD Free French + FFI together around 344

there is also the particular case of East Timor occupied by Japanese and Dutch-Australians
officially neutral and the colonial authorities wanting to mantain the neutrality despite everything the Portuguese Army didn't participate in the operations against the Japanese invasion of 1942 nor both Dutch Australian preventive operation of december 1941 and further reconquest, however under Japanese occupation Portuguese settlers civilians and Timorese inhabitants supported a local resistance and the Australians
the war caused 10 to 15% of dead among the Timorese population
75 Portuguese were killed including at least 5 soldiers from 4ª Bataria Expedicionária de Artilharia de Montanha in Aileu 1945 with civil servants and missionaries
Image

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Viktor.S
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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 22 May 2020 14:49

Loïc wrote:
22 May 2020 01:17
Thank you. Yes, the invasion of Timor was an unfortunate incident. A violation of Portuguese neutrality by both sides that brought unnecessary suffering.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 May 2020 16:08

Because the French countryside was depopulating, the French encouraged rural immigration from places like Portugal.

How far this was advanced by WWII, I am not sure, but such immigrants would have had the same military service obligations as other French citizens.

This leads to the question of whether they would be counted as French or Portugues? If the former, there might be considerable hidden Portuguese service in the French Army.

Cheers;

Sid.

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 22 May 2020 16:10

Sid Guttridge wrote:
22 May 2020 16:08
How far this was advanced by WWII, I am not sure, but such immigrants would have had the same military service obligations as other French citizens.
Sorry for the confusion, but do you mean that France conscripted immigrants/migrant workers? Or are you only referring to Portuguese who became naturalised French citisens?

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 May 2020 16:15

Hi Viktor S,

The latter.

A quick check shows that there were only 20,000 Portuguese-born French in 1959. Most Portuguese immigration came later, so I suspect there were not many Portuguese immigrants before 1940.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 22 May 2020 16:16

Sid Guttridge wrote:
22 May 2020 16:15
Thanks for the answer.

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 May 2020 04:33

If you Google "Portuguese Americans WWII", a couple of sites come up. One says tens of thousands volunteered while the other says at least 100,000.

The motivation is given as a desire to consolidate or gain US citizenship

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 23 May 2020 09:34

Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 May 2020 04:33
I can imagine the case was the same for many immigrant groups in that country. Do you know if US Army in WW2 had an equivalent to the "Army Beta" test from WW1 for immigrants who may not have spoken good English?

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 May 2020 10:46

I am a Brit, so I can't answer that directly. However, according to some of my old notes;

Company E of 141st Infantry Regiment in the Texan 36th Division had an entire infantry company who spoke Spanish as their first language. They mounted a successful reconnaissance for the crossing of the River Rapido on Italy, but their report was ignored.

Arizona's 158th Infantry Regiment's censors tried to stop the 30% of Hispanics in it from writing home in Spanish.

This implies that fluent English was not a prerequisite for Hispanics entering the infantry, at least.

Cheers,

Sid

P.s. This leads me to wonder whether Cajuns were concentrated in any particular units of the Louisiana National Guard when mobilised?

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Re: Portuguese volunteers for the Allies (?)

Post by Viktor.S » 23 May 2020 11:31

Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 May 2020 10:46
Arizona's 158th Infantry Regiment's censors tried to stop the 30% of Hispanics in it from writing home in Spanish.

This implies that fluent English was not a prerequisite for Hispanics entering the infantry, at least.
I have heard that California had a concentration of Portuguese immigrants since the late 19th century. I wonder if any units raised there during WW2 had a concentration of Portuguese immigrants, like the Arizona regiment with Spanish speakers...
Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 May 2020 10:46
P.s. This leads me to wonder whether Cajuns were concentrated in any particular units of the Louisiana National Guard when mobilised?
The only thing I have heard about Cajuns in WW2 is that some of them were used to liaise with the French Resistance after the D-Day landings. I wonder if Canada did the same with their Quebecois troops...

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