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Roy Nicolas Courlander, (6 December 1914-1979), nicknamed 'Reg', was born in London, the son of Edith Cater (1898-?) and Leonard Henry Courlander (1878-1970), a cinematographer, son of a Lithuanian Jew. Courlander, a former member of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), became a member of the infamous German Waffen-SS British Free Corps.



Early life

Courlander's parents divorced in 1933, after which Roy went to live with his father in the New Hebrides. In November 1938, Courlander arrived in New Zealand and found work as a clerk with the Land and Income Tax Department in Wellington.


Military life

He joined the New Zealand Army and was captured in Greece in 1941. Courlander posed as a “White Russian émigré” and claimed to have extreme anti-Russian views. He participated in the Nazi broadcast into Britain.

Subsequently, the Germans recruited Courlander for the British Free Corps. Although the name 'Leonard Courlander' appears in some records in connection with the British Free Corps, the actual member appears to be Roy Courlander. Along with Thomas Cooper, he is said to have forcibly recruited British and Dominion POWs for the British Free Corps.

Courlander and another man left the BFC by volunteering for service with the war correspondent unit SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers, which was operating on the Western Front. Their ultimate goal was to make for the Allied lines at the first chance. Courlander removed all of the BFC insignia from their uniforms, replacing them with the standard SS patches and rank. The two men boarded a train for Brussels in the company of a Flemish Waffen-SS unit. Once there, they turned themselves over to the British, becoming the first two BFC men to return to their homeland.

Courlander was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and was released after 7 years. He died in Auckland, New Zealand. in 1979.

Further reading

  • Weale, Adrian, Renegades: Hitler's Englishmen. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994. ISBN 0-7515-1426-8


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