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Chimintz POW Camp in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Chimintz POW Camp during the Great War -

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Chimintz POW Camp

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  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Those known to have been held in

Chimintz POW Camp

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.


Pte. William Robert Clegg 1st Btn. East Lancashire Regiment

My grandfather, William Clegg, served in India with the 2nd Btn East Lancs until December 1913. He was recalled and was captured at Le Cateau in August 1914. It is known that he was at Chemnitz and Doberitz POW camps.

John Neal


Pte. Charles Smith 1st Btn. East Lancashire Regiment (d.30th Jul 1918)

Charles Smith was the brother of Miss E. Smith of 27 Richard Street, Fulledge, Burnley, Lancashire. Before the war he worked as a miner at Clifton Colliery, and he had enlisted in the Army in 1902.

He was taken prisoner on September 18th 1914 after being wounded in the leg during a battle on the Western Front. He was picked up by the Germans, and upon recovering from his injuries was made to work in the German fields. Charles Smith had been a POW for three years and eleven months when he was murdered by his captors. He is buried in Berlin South-Western Cemetery in Germany.

S Flynn


Pte. Haigh Swallow 2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

My grandfather, Haigh Swallow, enlisted with KOYLI on the 10th December 1913. He had been a coal-miner up to this date, and told me that he enlisted as he wanted to get out of the pits and see something of the world.

After initial training he was posted to 2 KOYLI in Dublin and was there at the outbreak of war. 2 KOYLI were sent to France by ship from Dublin and arrived on 16th August 1914. He was at the Battle of Le Cateau on 26th August 1914 when 2 KOYLI, among others, were left to defend the retreat of the BEF. He was one of the last 19 survivors, taking part in the famous charge led by Major Charles Yate, VC on the German Army when ammunition had run out.

He fell wounded in both arms during this engagement and was subsequently picked up by the Germans and taken to a field hospital. He recalled being beaten by a German officer for drinking water that had been put out for German wounded. Once his wounds had been treated he was sent back to a holding camp, from which he escaped in a group some days later. The whole group was recaptured by a cavalry patrol as they emerged from woods and after having been tied to stirrups were trotted back to the camp. From there he was sent on to the large camp at Chemnitz (Stalag IV-F). He did not take well to incarceration and after other escape attempts was sent to a camp at Riga on the Baltic. His final destination was to a camp in what is now Austria, from which he also escaped, spending three weeks wandering hopelessly lost before finding himself back at the camp. The gates were open, and it turned out that during his most uncomfortable three weeks of freedom the war had ended.

He was repatriated in May 1919 by sea from one of the Baltic ports. After the war he returned to the pits in Barnsley. He was always willing to talk about his wartime experiences, and expressed his liking for what he called the ordinary Germans he met. He told how the camp guards, who were mainly old reservists, would bring in little presents at Christmas such as home-made wooden pipes and so on.

He had the very opposite view of the German officer class, and commented on their brutality not only to prisoners but also to their own men.

In WW 2 he served in the local Home Guard, and told some very funny stories indeed about their lack of equipment at the beginning of their service. When sent to guard one of the big local reservoirs which were thought to be a target for troop-carrying seaplane landings, his platoon had no weapons at all. They were each issued with a stick and a box of pepper, with the instructions:

  • 1. Confront your German
  • 2. Throw the pepper in his face
  • 3. Strike him with the stick and knock him out
  • 4. Seize his weapon and take him prisoner/shoot him as appropriate.

Yes, indeed, Captain Mainwaring. Fortunately they never came. He died in 1972 at the age of 84. All his life he was a living lesson in how to seize the moment and enjoy it; he had seen his mates shot down around him and realised that he was the lucky one. He saw the beauty in the simple things of life;a cup of tea and a Woodbine were sweet to him. I was fortunate to know him.

Frank Beevers


Percy " " Harvey 2nd Btn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers

I am looking for information on my grandfather and his son, my uncle. My grandfathers name was Percy Harvey and he was in the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was wounded and captured at Mons and taken POW, I think to Chimintz in Germany.

My Uncle's name was Roy Harvey and he was in the 1st Airborne and was captured at Arnhem and made POW but I do not know where. It is a remarkable story that both father and son would be POW's in 2 different World Wars. Both men survived and my grandfather lived on into old age (97) and I have some photos of him in uniform. He join the Duke of York's School in Chelsea when he was about 12 and was 23 when the Great War started.

Alan Twyford

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