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Oflag 7C Laufen in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- Oflag 7C Laufen during the Second World War -

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Oflag 7C Laufen

    If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Oflag 7C Laufen

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    Pte. Henry "Baldy" Balderson 1st Btn. Queens Own Cameron Highlanders

    Harry Balderson (right)

    My father, Henry Balderson, joined the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders 1st battalion on 19th July 1932, he died in 1996 and I am looking for any information about him, he was captured very early and was a prisoner of war until the war was over. I would like to know where my father was captured. I have the letter sent to my grandfather when he was posted missing in May 1940 the letter is dated 24/6/1940 it is from Infantry Records Office Perth. I do have a postcard with him (on teh right) and three other soldiers, on the back it is stamped oflag VII C gepruft, would anyone know who they are?

    Diane Grant

    2nd Lt. Peter Hubert Mosenthal 1st Btn. Ox and Bucks Light Infantry

    My grandfather, Peter Mosenthal, served with the TA Battalion (1 Bucks I believe) in France in 1940. He was captured in Hazebrouk on 27 May. His company had been holed up in a farmhouse which was surrounded by German infantry and armoured cars. They had fought for a number of hours before the farm house took a direct hit from a mortar and was burning fiercely. The cellar by this stage had been filled with wounded who would perish if not evacuated. The remaining men had no choice but to surrender. He had been lightly wounded and the German medics put his arm in a sling. He was part of a group that was force-marched to trains in Germany, but a young German officer saw his rank and arm in a sling and gave him a lift to the train in his Kubelwagen. He was sent to an Oflag 7C in Laufen, on the border between Germany and Austria. The prison building is now luxury flats which I visited when by coincidence when I was an exchange student in the town. He subsequently moved to various camps in Poland and suffered increasing deprivations. He was liberated by American forces on 30 April 1945 and flown back to England, but not until after he had been in charge of guarding German prisoners in early May. He had been on some fairly horrendous forced marches from Poland to Ingolstadt as the Germans emptied the camps in Poland from the advancing Soviets. Very sadly his column was strafed by the US Air Force which mistook their 1940 battledress uniform as Hungarian. A lot of prisoners were killed.

    I have photos of the farmhouse where his company was captured, taken when he visited Hazebrouk in 1946. The burnt out shells of the trucks in which they arrived on the 26th of May and which were destroyed in the fighting on 27th of May were still there. He also told me of the Battalion Adjutant going off to recce the forward elements of the Wehrmacht advance and never being seen again. On or around the 25th of May his platoon were in trenches when the German recce infantry were spotted. His platoon still had 12 inch WW1 bayonets which he ordered to be fixed. All the Germans could see were the bayonets glinting from the top of the trenches and they ran away as fast as possible. They did not shoot the fleeing Germans as it was regarded as ungentlemanly. The battalion was neither equipped nor trained to fight German armour and was effectively destroyed. His only armour training had been a battalion exercise on Newbury racecourse in December 1939 where cyclists with flags represented German tanks!

    He had had to temporarily change his name to Morten in 1939 at the Army's request, for his name was German Jewish, although he was Christian. This was lucky in view of the fate of his company.

    Charles Macdonald

    Pte. Henry Balderson 1st Btn. B Coy. Queens Own Cameron Highlanders

    My father, Harry Balderson, was a POW at Laufen Castle. On the back of a postcard that my grandmother was sent it bears the stamp Oflag VII C gepruft his P O W no is 5036. It was sent 16-3-41. My father was in the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders "B" Company 1st Btln who were part of the 5th Brigade 2nd Div, 1st Army Corp. I have received information he was one of the last men ever to fight a battle wearing a kilt that honour was unique to the battalion, and was one of the many prisoners who were marched towards Germany- but once again one of the few in a kilt.

    I was, and always will be, immensely proud of my father and the sacrifice that he and all the servicemen and women did for generations to come. They still pay that price unselflessly to-day. As the words of the poet said on Remembrance Day "They gave their tomorrow so that we could have our to-day" is so very true. This is not only for the Allies but also the Axis, both sides gave their all.

    Diane Grant

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