This page shows all previous visitors' comments from May 2007 to August 2009.
I would like to know what you think about my web site. To leave your comments in this public guest book so that I can share your thoughts with other visitors please click on the logo.
Since first republishing this site in March 2007 I have had visitors from all over the world. I would be grateful to receive any comments, suggestions or information you may care to post here for the benefit of other visitors or myself. Please sign your comments with your name and country plus any other information you care to provide. I am still trying to find the elusive arbeitskommando W/610 "in the Wittenberg area". If anyone out there knows where it is, please contact me.
Hi Graham; Thanks so much for doing this. I found some pics I can show my husband; his dad was a "guest" at Stalag 4B. I've got telegrams from the US Army when he was MIA, and another when he was located as a POW. I also have news stories that hit the local paper. Today is the first war time pics I have found. Thanks again for helping us.
Cheryl Kale, USA
Graham, I greatly appreciate the information at this site. My dad was also a guest for approximately 5 months after being captured at the Battle of the Bulge just after Christmas of 1944. He is briefly mentioned in the book, Messengers of the Lost Battalion (551st of the 82nd Airborne). My dad, Larry D. Poston of Nashville, Tennessee, was captured along with Joe Cicchinelli of Ohio when they volunteered to stay with several of their injured mates. My dad passes away in February 2006. He shared many fond and often humorous memories of his time in Europe. If anyone would like additional information I would be happy to elaborate at a later date. I will be visiting Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic for the next three weeks. When I discovered that my wife's choir would be visiting the area near Prague, I knew that I would have the opportunity to be close to the area of Leipzig and Dresden. I knew this was the area of the PoW camp. Again, your information gives me enough information to launch into this adventure. I will be spending part of a day. When I return I will try to add to your wonderful resource. Thanks to you for this site and to your wonderful dad for his service to making the world a better place for us to live in.
Thanks, Andrew Poston
Webmaster's reply: Dear Paula,
Graham, Such an interesting website. When I visited my uncle in Italy, he showed me an olive grove just outside Villa Santa Lucia, not far from Sulmona. He was proud to mention 6 PoW Americans stayed within a limestone cave. One of the POW was a doctor. I've been searching for years to find clues as to who these POW might have been. Now I'm beginning to think that they originated form Sulmona. I spent a day there with my cousins. What a beautiful little city. I have a picture of an English POW at my office. I have been trying for months and months to get his proper identity. I hope you can help me out.
Mario F. DiSano Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Graham, I have just found your site after reading Sean Longden's book "Hitler's British Slaves". This revived my interest in finding out what happened to my dad as a prisoner of war in Stalag 4b. Like many other PoW he did not talk about his experiences but my mum who is still alive and going strong at 91 has given me some snippets that he confided in her. My dad was Pte Walter Webster from Liverpool and was a driver with the RASC and served in North Africa and my mum tells the story that he was delivering supplies to the Cameron Highlanders. The story is that his truck broke down and he was unable to return with the others and stayed waiting for repairs . It was during this period that the Camerons were involved in action and he was told to consider himself a member of the Kings Own Cameron Highlanders and was given the job of assisting a Bren or perhaps it was Sten gunner. The gunners name was "Jock" Whaley who my dad spoke of as a very strong and brave man. My dad was taken prisoner and shipped to Italy and then onto Stalag 4B in Germany . Mum said that he worked in the salt mines and was fortunate to survive until the Russian invasion when he was repatriated back to the UK. My mum said that he was very weak and thin on his return and the fact that he was prescribed a bottle of Guinness and 2 eggs per day to build him up was a source of family jokes for many years. My dad lived the rest of his life back in Liverpool and was a hard working family man who enjoyed his pint in his local. I only really got to know my dad in the latter years of his life when we would meet every Friday night in his local for a couple of pints and a chat. He told me how proud he was of me and my sister and the way we had grown up . I never got to tell him how proud I was of him and that I loved him. I really believe that he knew anyway as we seemed to connect with out words. My dad died in bed of a heart attack in August 1985 aged 71.
Ken Webster, 12 Tarn Close, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, Lancashire. WN4 8BQ
SULMONA Well done on your findings. It's really good to find out where my own father was in Italy and in a PoW camp. His name was Robert Henry McBride.
Regards Roy McBride, Cape Town
My father, Joseph L Feltz, was a PoW at Stalag 4B. Anyone with info or photos about this PoW camp I will pay for such info. Contact David Feltz, 401 SW Killarney Ln, Blue Springs MO. 64014. Thank you. God bless our heroes.
Thank you so much for filling in the gaps, The only knowledge prior to finding your site was that my dad was in 4D having been captured on Crete and a funny tale that was published about him in a local newspaper of his "food raid" on the nearby railway.
Fantastic web site. I am researching my late father's war years and your site has helped. Thank you.
Thank you for putting this site together. My father, a US army private, was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and marched, then was transferred by train, to Muhlberg. I believe he was there from December 1944 until April 1945. I plan to visit Muhlberg, the museum and camp site on my next trip to Germany, as my wife's relatives live a few hours south of there.
Thanks again, Jack
My father Sgt. Martin Potters was a "guest" in Stalag IV-B from 1943 to 1945. His stay there destroyed his life. It is good to remember the men who suffered under the Nazi regime. They all were heroes.
Peter M Potters, The Netherlands
Thank you for putting this site together. Perhaps the subject is difficult but no doubt you will have gained great satisfaction from all you detective work. A fantastic web site. I am researching my late father-in law's war years and your site has helped. Thank you. Albert John Hayward 1920 - 2004. Dad never talked about his experiences but we gleaned over the years that he worked in a mine and had an injury to his leg which ulcerated. We have a copy of a letter sent to him in North Africa indicating that he was a PoW in 1942 and a card sent by his parents to Stalag IV-D. The letter gives his Regiment and number and the PoW card his PoW number.
Thanks for all your research. Your site was the only place I could find with any details of Stalag IV-D at Torgau. I've just read through your site with my Granddad, John Kenvyn Hutchinson, who was a PoW there. A signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals, Army Air Support Control and captured in Libya in 1942, he was initially taken to an Italian PoW camp which 'wasn't bad' before being transported to Stalag IV-D in September 1943. John has asked me to relate a couple of anecdotes from his time in IV-D.
Green, Manchester, England
So in his own words:
Stalag IV-D, I was sent to Arbeitskommando D 605 where 26 of us lived in a
lean-to building in Eilenburg railway station near Leipzig. We worked re-laying
track and filling in bomb craters after Allied air-raids. We received one bowl
of thin soup a day and one loaf of bread a week. Fortunately our Red Cross
parcels helped to reduce the constant hunger.
Stalag IV-D, I was sent to Arbeitskommando D 605 where 26 of us lived in a
lean-to building in Eilenburg railway station near Leipzig. We worked re-laying
track and filling in bomb craters after Allied air-raids. We received one bowl
of thin soup a day and one loaf of bread a week. Fortunately our Red Cross
parcels helped to reduce the constant hunger.
working party of Ukrainian girls sometimes worked alongside us. Most were only
16 or 17. They could not correspond with their families so they did not know
whether their parents were still alive. Despite this they were never dismal and
came to work holding hands, singing folk songs. Their main complaint was “We
have no boyfriends to go walking with us”. Sadly we couldn’t oblige as, when
we finished work, we were locked in our building.
two sentries slept in an outer office. The senior one was a harmless little chap
in his forties who had lost several toes from frostbite on the Russian front. He
was bald so we called him “Curly”. The other – called Paul – was a
Frenchman in his twenties who found himself in the German Army after the fall of
picked up German the quickest and became interpreter and leader of our group.
This got me out of a bit of work as I would go on regular trips by train with
Curly to the nearby town to collect Red Cross parcels, and to a depot at Torgau
to collect clothing, soap etc. I would also meet the area Kommandant, a Major,
in his office in a local barracks.
didn’t speak English, and I struggled to make myself understood. He would tell
me off when he considered it necessary but he was not as bad as we expected. For
example, when one of the lads kicked down a fence, the Major told me it was a
serious offence and that he would have to go before a Military Court. I pleaded
that the lad had gone a bit mental; he took my word for it and didn’t proceed
with the prosecution. Also, after requesting some recreational facilities, the
Major allowed some outings. We had a swim in the river Elbe, a visit to a
travelling circus and a game of football. Playing in his bare feet, the sentry,
Paul, ran rings round us. He had been a professional footballer and had
represented the French Army against the British!
best outing was to another local working party of men captured during the
airborne invasion at Arnhem. This was a real tonic for us because the lads of
the Parachute Regiment were in high spirits knowing that they would not be
prisoners for long. Later I attended the funeral of one of the Paras who died of
his wounds in a local hospital where I used to take his Red Cross parcels. The
outings stopped in the last months of the war because we worked seven days a
week due to increased bomb damage.
one of my meetings with the Major, he complained that too many men were
reporting ill or pretending to be sick. I explained that we were flea-ridden and
could not sleep. The Major said he would solve this and sure enough, on 29 March 1945, a sanitation team arrived.
They sealed the doors and windows with tape and set to work. We were taken to a
nearby town to shower and have our clothes steam cleaned. Paul accompanied us
but Curly stayed behind. Once finished and waiting for the train back, Paul took
a phone call and told us that there had been some sort of explosion and our
train would be delayed for two or three hours.
waiting, Paul took the chance to chat up the stationmaster, an attractive young
lady who was looking after the station while her husband was away in the army.
He arranged a date with the stationmaster and told us to make our own way back.
we eventually got back at our station there was a lot of damage and there were
bodies still lying about. Our quarters had been blown wide open with two large
holes in the roof and the door and windows blown out. Some Russians had stolen
our food and belongings, but they were later caught by the Station Police and
our belongings returned.
an American fighter aircraft had strafed a goods train passing through our
station and hit two ammunition wagons which exploded and took out both pilot and
plane. 39 people were also killed on the ground. If we had been working that day
we may not have lived to tell the tale.
had gone into the town to post a letter to his wife and had escaped the blast.
He found us some rather dilapidated temporary accommodation in an old hut and
then asked if I would go with him to the crashed aircraft which had come down in
a nearby siding. The headless body of the pilot was still in the cockpit. I
found his ID in a pocket and used one of my letters to write to his family, but
I don’t suppose they got it.
there were no Americans near us we represented the Allies at the funeral. The
service was led by a rather severe looking German pastor who announced that he
was conducting the funeral “for one who had fought against us”.
the war was drawing to an end, the Germans moved us from the camp to a gap
between the advancing American and Russian forces north of Torgau. We had
stopped in a large field in the middle of nowhere when one of the German
sentries offered to take four of us plus two Czechs west. He told any other
German soldiers we met that he was taking us all to a job. We travelled for two
or three days, sleeping in hedgerows along the way. One morning we were woken by
a young German. I asked why he was not in the Army. He replied “This is why”
and produced his left arm, which instead of having a hand on the end, had a
fully formed foot!
Many thanks for your site. I was especially interested in the photos of the transit camp at Torgau. My pop went through there in August '44 and on to a farm in Central Germany which was bombed by an Allied plane. He saw out the war in Hartmannsdorf. Like you I would like to know more specifically where the work camp was, but this seems a forlorn hope. Like you too I am gradually piecing together the bits. Amazing how much stuff there is after all this time. What a marvellous tool the internet is. Thanks again and best wishes
Webmaster's reply: After I returned from Torgau, the director of DIZ who had been so helpful to me in my researches, compiled a list of all the known Arbeitskommandos used by Stalag IV-D from the Red Cross inspection reports which DIZ holds in its archives. These are comprehensive and cover the inspection of AKs holding all nationalities including French, British and Commonwealth (Australian, Canadian, Indian etc) and American. I have been able to add a few more to the list from correspondence via this site and from my researches at the National Archives looking at liberated PoW interrogation questionnaires. Unfortunately Hartmannsdorf does not appear on the list. Do you have a work camp number for Hartmannsdorf? If you ever go to Germany in search of the AK, since you have the name of the town/village it should not be too hard to track down the exact location.
I have now translated the DIZ list, integrated my additions and published it on this website as it is unique information as far as I know and I hope will prove useful to others. Navigate to it from the Germany>Stalag IV-D page using the "IV-D Kommandos" button on the left menu.
Just found your website. So much info. which has confirmed some things my dad told me. He was captured at Tobruk. My dad was Corporal Henry Edward Jefferyes No. 6969205 9th London Rifle Brigade. I have a postcard he sent to my mum in 1942 from Sulmona Camp. He says he represents 70 men and they all get on fine. He was given a medal by a representative of the Pope as he had a bible on him and used to hold a service for the men. The Commandant had an alsatian which he used to patrol the camp with. One day the cook said "meat in the stew tonight boys" and it was delicious. Unfortunately the dog was never seen again!! He eventually escaped with 7 others, but gashed his leg on the first row of wire which was hidden by snow. The escape route was known to them and they went north, but split up. Eventually the wound turned septic and he approached some Italians who passed him on to partisans. We now know he was taken to Monta d'Alba, a village in the mountains of northern Italy, where he was looked after. In September 1943 he set out to meet the Allies and came to the American lines in November 1943. He was in the TA in the 1930s and said this training helped him survive the war.
My father was in a German PoW camp at the end of the war. I think was Oflag VII-A at Murnau as I have 2 pics taken in May and August 1945 taken in the Murnau Alps with inscription "Murnau after liberation"(in Polish). He was taken, probably by the Americans, to Italy and I have a photo of a large group of men in uniform (not sure if they are all Poles?) taken 7th March 1946 in Sulmona. Was the camp used for post war transit of PoW? My dad was sent to the UK where he settled. He died last September and I am trying to piece together his war history - he did not talk about it much. Does anyone out there share any of this history or know anything more?
Excellent site. My father, William Webb Kemp, was a 'guest' at IV-B from Jan '45 to April. I still have his PoW tags 316454. Naturally he spoke little of the experience. I have been fortunate in finding other PoW who have done a great deal in filling in the blanks. I hope to go there someday. I tried using Google Earth to find the exact site but the roads are not named the same as on this website.
Graham, Thank you, thank you, thank you - for all the facts you've gathered. My father, Cpt Tad Boyle, was captured 22 Dec vic. St. Vith and marched/shipped to IV-B. By the time he reached there he weighed only 110 lbs. Dad credited another officer, Cpt "Hank" Cronin, also of Combat Command B, 9th Armor, with keeping him alive during those first few weeks as a PoW. Interestingly, I just located Hank Cronin,Jr. and his brother John living in Virginia and visited them last week! It was thrilling to compare notes and thank them on behalf of our family for "Hank" saving Dad's life. (He buttoned their coats together at night and shared body warmth because Dad was so weak). Both Dad and Hank kept journals that we exchanged along with photos.
Hi there. Just found your site. It's very interesting. My grandfather was there in 1941. We have a letter and a Christmas card sent from Sulmona. Don't know where he was captured or any other info. His name is Matthew Peter Kelly of the Cameron Highlanders.
My father, Cpl. John Tebbut, was a fellow POW at Sulmona, Hut 81, Compound 2. He is alive and well and living in Hunstanton, Norfolk, with a host of memories of people and occasions during the dark years of 1941-1943. Perhaps any other ex POWs would like to get in touch?
Lynn Brown, Spalding, Lincs.
Webmaster's comment: Lynn, if you want people to get in touch, please post a contact email address or telephone number etc.
I just learned something valuable concerning the [work] camp at Falkenberg where my father was a POW. Nowhere else lists this camp. From the way my father's diary reads, it must have been the work camp to which he was taken at Falkenberg from IV-D. He said it was built specifically for the Americans and that his group was the first American group there. From there, they travelled to different cities to work on the railroads. Thank you so much for listing this work camp at Falkenberg.
My uncle, Clay Seaman was also held at Stalag 4B. He was taken prisoner in the Battle of the Bulge. I know he kept a diary but have not seen it since about 1963. Does anyone remember him?
I am 84 years of age and here are some of my memories as a PoW. I was in the 7th Armored Division, Company “A”, 23rd Armored Infantry and captured at St Vith, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge) on December 22, 1944.
We were taken
to Koblenz, Germany arriving late in the evening and got caught in an air raid
by American B-17 Bombers. Air
raid sirens went off so we took cover in a bomb shelter. Then local people started coming in so
we were forced to leave and stay outside during the bombing.
Christmas we were held in a warehouse. Christmas
morning was clear and fighter planes attacked nearby rail cars. A bomb hit a brick building and a
piece of masonry came through the roof of the warehouse and hit me on the arm,
fortunately not injuring me. The
guards came and took four or five of us to dig a truck out of the rubble. A German holding a big wrench asked
what I was doing in their country and said I didn’t have any business there. I looked him straight in the eye and
he didn’t hit me with the wrench. From
there we were taken on foot and by train to Stalag II-A at Neubrandenburg. Five days without food.
On the way we
stopped at a little village to spend the night in a barn. I had a sample bottle of shaving
lotion sent to me by my family. I
saw some beets in another stable so when a little boy came out to the barn I
got him to understand that I would trade the shaving lotion for one of the
beets. We made the trade, he went
back into his house and I never saw him again.
on the march, I imagined I could see pancakes piled with strawberries, but
they stayed just out of reach. Years
later in Florida I noticed a sign that advertised strawberry pancakes so I
went in, placed an order and they looked just like the ones I thought I had
seen. I had never had strawberry
pancakes before. Several years
after this, I read in a book that when you started seeing things, you were
II-A seemed to contain only American prisoners. The Germans didn’t search us thoroughly but the barracks
were crowded with PoW. I and the
other new arrivals only stayed a few days before being sent by train to Stalag
IV-B. The train stopped at Berlin
where an air raid warning sounded. All of the Germans got off the train while
the air raids were on leaving us in the rail cars. These were so crowded that half of us
had to stand while the other half sat; then after a while we would change
IV-B the guards checked us thoroughly. We
were the only American prisoners there so they put us in with the British who
weren’t too happy because we overcrowded them. There were other nationalities in the
camp but the different countries were segregated. We got fed once a day and if it was
potatoes, they pulled up roots with all the other debris, dirt etc and cooked
it all together. One day I
remember we had horse meat and it looked “so good”, but it was so stringy
that the more I chewed the more I seemed to have in my mouth.
capture, I had been promoted to Sgt but this hadn’t been entered in my pay
book. I was picked to go on a
work detail but officers and NCOs were not required to work. So I went to the office where two or
three American PoW were assisting the Germans.
I explained the situation and they took me off of the work detail. Officers and NCOs were often sent to
other camps but as my pay book wasn’t up to date they just left me in IV-B.
I think the
reason the British didn’t like us too much was that so many of the Americans
got diarrhea. I washed my pants and
a towel and hung them by the window. I
thought I saw the pants moving but when I went to get them they were gone but
the towel was still there. I wore a
ragged blanket for a few days until the guards brought in a paratrooper wearing
very stiff canvas “jump pants” over his regular uniform, which he gave me.
We had no fires
in winter but we could volunteer to go on a wood detail, four or five of us at a
time, once a week, but we could find very little wood. When we were there it was open fields
but I noticed in your pictures that it had grown up a lot.
One day while
on a wood detail a German fighter plane shot down a B-17 bomber and it looked
like all the crew parachuted out. Three
of the crew landed at the front gate of the camp and all the guards had to do
was open the gate and let them walk in. The
rest of the crew were high in the sky and drifted out of site.
We were not
de-loused very often.
It was so cold
– supposedly the coldest winter in 30 years – that we generally doubled up
in bed at night to try and stay warm.
The camp guards
left around 1st May. We got word
that the Russians were coming so five of us – three British and two Americans
– left the camp, wandered across fields and found a bridge across the Elbe
river. Russian soldiers were
guarding the bridge and the American army was on the other side but the Russians
wouldn’t let us cross. We stayed in a little village close to the river and
considered swimming across at night but were afraid our own people would shoot
us. One morning early we went down
to the bridge and noticed that Russian PoW were crossing. They
had been forced labor during the war and the road and the bridge were
full of them so we walked backwards and just wandered in the crowd until we
crossed to the American side. I am
not positive but I think the town where the Americans were located was Belgern. Later, I met some guys that didn’t
leave the prison camp; the Russian army took control and kept them prisoner for
about 30 more days…and didn’t treat them any better than the Germans.
Duluth, Georgia, USA
PoW No 160990
Greetings. I am an Italian-American that emigrated to the US in 1958 with my family when I was 11 years old. As a little boy I played soccer at the deserted PoW camp and heard many wartime stories from my family and friends. Many instances of farmers helping some of the escaped prisoners by hiding [them] in wine cellars and other locations; prisoners giving hungry local boys some of their Red Cross rations through the security fence; San Onofrio hermitage being blown to bits by the Germans because they thought there were radio transmitters giving the allies; playing as a boy with discarded German field radios, etc. You can find wartime photos of the camp at SMPE.IT/foto/campo78/asp. I have relatives nearby that still remember the camp as little boys. My name is Michael Censurato. Email is email@example.com.
Best Wishes on your endeavors, Mike.
Webmaster's comment: Thanks for your comments, Mike. The link you have given to the photos of Campo 78 is not quite right. It should be the same as the link I give on my Campo 78 Photos page: http://www.smpe.it/photos/campo78.asp
Hello Graham, I must firstly congratulate you on a superb site. Being a member of the Forces Postal History Society I have just recently come into possession of 2 Prisoner of War Cards and 2 Letters from Camps 21, 65, 78 and 85. I found your site via the Wikipedia free encyclopedia site on the internet which has together with your site helped me in my research. Many thanks for the information.
Stan Brookes, York, Yorkshire.
My dad (KENNETH J PLACE) was also in this PoW camp, he was an army Ranger. I have some pictures of them in the PoW camp that he took, and his PoW id card. Dad died when I was young and never really talked about the war. But if anyone out there has any info on the rangers and this PoW camp please feel free to email me at BOBSKI1@OPTONLINE.NET
Thank you for the Sulmona web pages; they are quite fascinating. I came upon them while trying to trace the whereabouts of Lt Col Alan Crichton Mitchell RE who was in the 2nd Armoured Division engineers captured in Libya in 1941. I understand he was sent to Italy (Sulmona) and escaped to Switzerland in 1943. I'm writing a biography of his father Prof Alexander Crichton Mitchell FRSE and often wondered what his son got up to. Anyway, thanks for the informative site.
Regards, Dr. Richard Walding Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like many of your other guest book entries I am researching my father in law's war history. He was captured 22 July 1942 in North Africa, and spent the duration of the war in various POW camps. These were namely N.201 Beragamo Italy, PG78 Sulmona Italy, and apart from a brief stay in Stalag IV-B, finally Stalag IV-D. I have around 300 letters of correspondence, plus researched some 'events' around his war. Sadly he died in 2002, before this resource was discovered so I too would like to learn more of what his experiences were. Please contact me at email@example.com so we can share information.
Thank You very much for the work and time you put into making this web site. My father's best friend S/Sgt. Charles Eyer from Hamburg, PA was a POW at Stalag IV-B. PRISONER OF WAR No. 1226. He was a ball turret gunner on a B17 and on his 59th mission when they were shot down. I have a copy of a letter dated Aug. 3, 1944 Chas sent to my Grandmother.
Sincerely, John L.Bachman, Jr.
I have recently found a diary kept by my late father when he was a prisoner of war in which he mentions the camps in Italy Campo PG 78 PM 3200 and Campo PG N19 PM 3200 and later at Hadamar in Germany. Your site has helped me enormously in trying to get a feel for the places he mentioned.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to publish your research/and make it available online. If this helps those others tracking British POWs, there is a good reference book that was first published in 1945 by J.B.Hayward, and it lists the 107,000 British held in Germany during WW2. Whilst the US have released their list, it is available online and free, sadly the UK version still in paper. Having gained access to this book ISBN 0-903754-61-4. I have just confirmed that my father was also held as POW at Stalag IV-D Torgau. Having been captured in North Africa 2nd June 1942, he like many others was first held in Italian transit camps [Campo153] then escaped before being shipped North to STG. IV-D. As you seem to be the only STG. IV-D site, do you intend to offer to host further information. My thanks again for your work and Website.
Mike Tierney – UK
Webmaster's comment: Thanks for your comments, Mike. I think that the book you refer to is the one I mention in the "Sources & Links" tab of this website under the "The National Archives at Kew" sub-heading. I hope you didn't have to buy the book as it is very expensive (cheapest £48 from Amazon). Also note my comments in that section that the book only lists the LAST camp that the PoW was in ie as at March 1945. It is unlikely that your father went straight to IV-D from Italy. More likely to IV-B or one of the other bigger camps for initial processing.
With regards to hosting further information on the site: the stories of other PoW that have contacted me so far have been published here in the guest book. I would be glad to host any other relevant information about any of the camps covered here if people care to let me have it. If you have anything, please let me know via the e-mail link under the "Contact Me" tab.
Excellent coverage! I was one of the 400+ American prisoners at Stalag IVB during January 1945. Retrieved rusty can from garbage dump to eat my first "meal" there. British had "tea" even for us Yanks! Much boredom, walking round and round the field. Viewed from Elbe River cruise 2004 but saw very little. Hope to revisit someday! Thanks for your keeping these memories alive!
Bill Johnston 42nd Rainbow Division.
Helpful and interesting site. My father was interned at Stalag IVD - Henri Lavie - a Frenchman. He was housed with other European prisoners - eg Belgians, French, Russians. I have a Golden Book and about a dozen editions of a monthly camp newsletter written in French. Some people dad knew and mentioned included Lt Rimmel - a dentist, Abbe le Floch, Willy Magnin - who was interested in theatre, Locatelli - a violinist, Delanoe - who later went to Africa. Jean Martin - a good friend who I visited in France in about 1990, Baron de Saussay.
Dominique (please contact the webmaster for my email address)
My name is Jim Beck Jr, Montgomery, AL. My father, Flight Officer James E. Beck, was a PoW at both PG-78 until his escape in Sep 1943. He was previously held in PG-21 in Chieti. I will be visiting the area in October 2009, and would like to speak to you personally. I was not able to send an email through the "contact me" tab. My email is Bracer25@aol.com. Phone number is (334) 263-6775. Hope to hear from you. Jim Beck
Searching for information on Sgt Harry Wagner
Dear Graham, Like many others I am most appreciative of the details and information your website has given me. I am researching the history of my uncle Geoffrey Pickering who I believe ( although not positive) was a gunner with the Durham Light Infantry during World War II. He was taken prisoner during the North African campaign, again I have no exact details but am endeavouring to look into this further. However from two small bits of evidence that I have in my possession I do know that at some time he was imprisoned in Italy at PG 53 ( Section 3) PM 330, which I conclude was the camp at Sforzacosta, in Liguria. Then afterwards at PoW Camp IVD, which was at Torgau. Your website indeed is the only place I have found details of Torgau and I am intrigued to learn more. Do you have details for instance of its surrender in 1945 as I have read conflicting versions as to whether it was the Russians or Americans? I am also keen to find out more about the Arbeitskommando he was allocated to, which from the PoW Postcard I have, stated that he was at Arbeitskommando D602, which you list as being at Klitschmar? Unfortunately like many others my uncle did not speak much of his war years and he died before I became interested in its history. I do recall however that he always maintained that he received far better treatment in Germany than he did in Italy. Once again thank you for sharing your travels and discoveries.
Jenny Bufton, Auckland NZ
Dear Graham, many thanks for your excellent work. My father, Jack Goodwin (Corporal), was a POW, but like so many, talked little about it . He died in 1996. I have just started to research his war years and started with probably less than you: his paybook, a postcard from Sulmona (so faded that it took hours of web research to establish where it was from), and a photograph taken in Stalag 344. I had previously visited your website researching the camp at Sulmona but must confess to not having read the introduction. It was only when I received copies of dad's army records, initially believed "lost" by the MoD, that the Mechili link brought me back to it. Dad was a driver in the RASC and was in North Africa from December 1940 attached to the 3rd Armoured Brigade. His records show that he was taken prisoner at Mechili on 8th April 1941, although I suspect it was before that because he was reported missing on 31st March and from what I remember from his account of capture it wasn't in any major incident. He was then force marched to ?? and shipped to a transit camp at Capua in Italy before going to Sulmona until the guards opened the gates in 1943. He was taken by rail to Germany - "I woke up in the Brenner Pass" he once said - and once there to Stalag IVB. I was surprised to see how closely all that mirrored your father's experience up to that point. From there I know that he moved onto Stalag 344 (photo) and/or VIIIB (records). I have yet to clarify that, as the numbering of the camps changed at the end of 1943 I believe. The rest is more vague at present. He was sent to a work camp which I believe was in Poland, possibly numbered E250. This is not on any list I have been able to locate as yet although I am hoping that further research might bear fruit here.
Roger Goodwin, Swansea
HI GRAHAM, I CAME ACROSS YOUR SITE BY CHANCE. MY FATHER WAS CAPTURED AT TOBRUK, SPENT TIME IN AN ITALIAN CAMP AND TRANSFERRED TO STALAG 4B TILL THE END OF THE WAR. HE USED TO REFER TO THE TOWN CHEMNITZ NEAR THE CAMP. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? WAS THERE MORE THAN ONE CAMP IN THAT AREA? THEY WHERE FORCED TO WORK AT A QUARRY AND SAWMILL IN THE AREA. DID U COME ACROSS THOSE SITES DURING YOUR VISIT AT STALAG 4B. THANKS FOR ALL THE GOOD INFO ON THIS SITE!!!!!
I.A.MEYER, SOUTH AFRICA
Great site. Like so many others, my dad was captured July 22, 1942 after a tank battle in North Africa. He was a tank driver (Valentine), British Army, 7th Arm Desert Rat, 46th RTR. Went to Italy via one of two Hell Ships - the other was sunk by Royal Navy sub in Aug ' 42 (any info on that???). Ended up in Campo PG 70, later escaped only to be caught by Jerry and trained to IVB, and later a sub- camp nearby where he worked in a brewery! He escaped there April ' 45 walking some 145 miles until bumped into Russian Army. Stayed there a week, then given to Monty's guys again! First airplane ride was a C47 to England. Sadly Richard died at age 90 in Dec 2008. His grandson, also Richard, is a M1A1 Tank driver for the USMC! Hoohrah!
Michael R Green Livermore, CA 94551. USA www.offroadexperience.com/wcb If you click on ASTON MARTIN, you'll see his tank from WWII
I am the son of a former POW, Sapper Ken Thompson (Thomo).( English )...He was in Stalag IVB and produced many Camp News Sheets portraying life in the Camps on a day to day basis. I still have these with the " Gepruft Stalag IVB" stamp of censorship on them. Many are produced on the back of old Red Cross parcel packaging and the pin marks of them being affixed to the barracks are there as well. My father never spoke of his experience. He, probably like many others, felt the war stole his youth. He was captured at the fall of Tobruk in 1940 and despite a small period of escape when in Italy, was recaptured and released in April 1945. I believe it was St George's day when the Russians liberated the camp ( I may be wrong but that is my only recollection of his comments). He died at the young age of 48, but nonetheless his legacy in his drawings have left an everlasting impression of day to day life.
Mike Thompson, Bridlington, England. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fascinated by the web site. My father was captured at Fort Mechili and ended up in Sulmona. He escaped twice to be recaptured on both occasions. The last time, as with your father, was after he walked out of the camp gates. Then to Germany via Poland and Czech Rep ? He was badly injured in a coal mine. He was trapped under one of the coal hoppers but was released and nursed back to health by the wife of the man who managed the coal mine. He eventually ended up working in a petrol refinery just before he walked out of camp again to be " liberated" by the Russian army. He made it back home safely. His name was James Harold Bewley (known as Charles). I am planning a visit to Sulmona so the travel details you have provided are invaluable. Thanks. If I can dredge any details from family archives I will let you have them. Cheers!
Fascinating site Graham...I was drawn to it when looking for info on my Dad's PoW history. He was Owen (aka "Jock") Wright of the 1st Airborne Division Provost Company, attached to 1 Parachute Brigade and captured at Arnhem. He spoke little of his PoW days but we always understood he was in Stalag 4B but I have recently found a document suggesting he may have been in Stalag 4D...hence your own researches into both these camps have been enlightening. Thanks.
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