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Stalag XVIIIA Wolfsberg (Karnten) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Stalag XVIIIA Wolfsberg (Karnten)





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    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Stalag XVIIIA Wolfsberg (Karnten)

    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. Donald Buckingham Royal Army Veterinary Corps

    Donald Buckingham is back row centre

    My Dad, Donald Buckingham was in Stalag 18a, now at the grand old age of 95 he has had to go into a home for the elderly, on sorting out his belongings, he gave his old army papers and some photos of time in the camp, a lot of them have no names on and he can no longer remember the names of the guys he was with.

    D Buckingham



    Llew James RASC

    My father was captured in North Africa and then held in Stalag XV111A. I have a few photos of him and some mates; one photo has an address on it – Bill Pullan of Harrogate.

    Does anyone have any info on my father as he never really spoke about the war?

    David James



    Llew James RASC

    My father was captured in North Africa and then held in Stalag XV111A. I have a few photos of him and some mates; one photo has an address on it – Bill Pullan of Harrogate.

    Does anyone have any info on my father as he never really spoke about the war?

    David James



    Pte. William Joseph Reid 2nd Btn. Yorks & Lancs Rgt.

    My father, Joe Reid, did not talk much about his wartime experiences except for praising the Australians, Kiwis and soldiers from the Black Watch. I have always wanted to know what my Dad did in the war and would like to correspond with anyone who knew him or the movements of his regiment.

    He joined up as a regular in August 1933 with the 2nd Yorks and Lancs after being in the TA for three years. I know he was in India in 1937 and Sudan when the WW2 broke out. I also know that he went over to Crete in 1941 but had to evacuate for obvious reasons. It's really this period that I am at a loss to. He got badly shot on HMS Ajax and was captured by the Germans. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag XV111a in Germany as POW 6301.

    My father sadly died in 1988 and had a good life but if any of you remember him and would like to get in touch, please feel free to email me.

    Martin Taylor-Reid



    Pte. William Joseph "Soapy Joe" Reid 2nd Btn, D Company Yorks & Lancs

    My father Joe Reid, joined the 2nd York & Lancs Regiment in September 1932 as a regular after being in the Teritorial Army for two years. My father like most of the heroes of any campaign did not talk about his experiences. So I am putting together my account of his involvement in the second World War to the best of my knowledge. Up until the outbreak of the war, my father's regiment during the 1930's were mainly on garrison duties in Sudan and India.

    When the war broke out his regiment was in North Africa and by all accounts they had had it rough for twelve months. His regiment made up the 14th Infantry Brigade along with the 2nd Black Watch and the 1st Leicestershire Regiment. These three regiments, in my opinion, were very professional and tough. They were in the thick of all the action such as Crete, Palestine and the break out from Tobruk on Operation Crusader. How on earth my father survived the Tobruk breakout I don't know because these three regiments took a right pasting from the crack German forces. My father got shot in this campaign and was captured by the Germans. My father never said a bad word about the Germans because I think they patched him up good and proper before he was interned in Stalag XV111A for the rest of the war.

    With the benefit of hindsight I have come to the conclusion that being captured by the Germans may not have been a bad thing from my point of view, as I dont think I would have been born. This is because the three regiments went onto to form the special force know as the Chindits and it is common knowledge what those brave soldiers achieved. My father returned home after the war and worked at Kirkstall Power Station in Leeds until he retired in 1977. He enjoyed his retirement but sadly died in 1988 at the ripe old age of 73. I loved my father but I wish he had told me more, but there you go.

    Martin Joseph Reid



    Sgt. Ronald Mayfield Cridge No8 Coy. N Group 26th Battalion

    My Father Ronald Mayfield Cridge enlisted 24/6/1940 in the No 8 Company N Group: initially as Prvte Cridge in Charge - then Batt Corporal, and Sergeant - 4 Service Chevrons as at 3.10.1944 & The Africa Star After enlisting, Ronald was sent to Burnham Camp for initial training before being sent with his friend Brownie Dann to Wellington with the 1st Section of the 4th Reinforcements on the evening of the 7th November on the “Rangitira”.

    Embarking the following morning on the Polish ship the “Batory” sailing on the eve of the 8th Nov into a howling gale, they were acompanied by The “Achilles” & the “Maunganui”to Sydney. The troops had 2 ½ days leave then sailed in convoy with three larger ships full of Australian troops escorted by three Australian Cruisers to Fremantle.

    The Batory was a liner of 14287 tons and Captained by Deyczakowski, but owned by the British and employed as a troop carrier during the war, also used to uplift the families from Singapore. The Convoy spent 5 days in Fremantle while the cruisers searched for a German Raider in the Indian Ocean. The convoy then departed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where they had a days leave in Colombo. While on board Ronald was excused from many duties and lectures as he worked six evenings a week as film projectionist in the ship’s cinema. The Convoy reached Port Tewfik on the 16th Dec. where the New Zealanders disembarked and travelled by train to the Maadi Military Camp a few miles out of Cairo. Christmas Day was spent at Maadi. After further weeks of training and two weeks guarding Italian Prisoners of War, the reinforcements were finally moved to the Helwan Military Camp where they were drafted into different battalions and other support units. Ronald joined the 26th Battalion and Brownie Dann the 20th, separated after a long time sharing the same platoon, barracks and ships. 3rd March the Infantry Battalions moved to Amiriya, about 12 miles from Alexandria and camped. On the 6th March the NZ Division sailed from Alexandria, reaching Greece the following day. Some Convoys took several days due to a storm, therefore arriving in Greece about the 11th or 12th. All Infantry Brigades camped on the slopes of Mt. Hymettus on the outskirts of Athens before moving up to the Front. They were there for about a week.

    Ronald was taken prisoner at Kalamata with some 1000 NZers and 1100 Australians and several thousand British. They were forced to marched to Corinth arriving on the 2nd May 1941 when he again met up with his friend Brownie Dann. From Corinth they were moved to Salonika arriving there on the 9th June. Two trainloads carrying most of the NZers left Salonika on the 11th & 12th June. Ronald was on the train to Wolfsberg in Austria. The main camp for all the Allied Prisoners Of War was established at Wolfsberg, Stammlager XVIIIA, attached to Wolfsberg were dozens of different types of working camps all with their own quarters and guards. Ronald spent some 300 days in solitary confinement, generally for endeavouring to escape. He also had to wear a French Uniform as his had been removed from him which meant short trousers and as he had no leggings and only had the “clogs” (boots with a fabric top and a wooden sole, very hard to walk in and NOT waterproof) he suffered from the cold until at last the Red Cross supplied him with a new uniform and boots arrived from his parents.

    Some Letters from my Father to his Family:

    22nd July 1941: My Dear Folks, At last we have been given the opportunity to write something like a decent letter I do hope that you have received my numerous notes through the Red Cross. Well we have been captured some 3 months now and have seen more in that time than I ever imagined possible. The scenery through the Balkan States is marvellous, but I will tell you more about that at a later date. You may write as often as you like to the given addresss. We are allowed to receive parcels from home amounting to 10lbs per month. The Red Cross officials were around today, they have promised us parcels in the near future, my health is keeping up well so you have no need to worry,Your ever Loving Son Ron.

    16th Aug. …Red Cross parcels, received 120 cigarettes this week something we haven’t had for months, a real luxury We are made to work outside the camp, then we are fed, long hours, hard work but at least we see some of the countryside. You’d laugh at their antiquated farming methods, really old fashioned, bullock ploughs, hay carts and the crops are cut by scythe, lots of women work in the fields who look very pretty in their gaudy and quaintly fashioned dresses. The men in short trousers made of leather and as they last up to 6 years are very short by the end. The “Jerry” ration is, 1 bowl of cabbage soup per day and 1 loaf of bread, normal size, among 8 men per day. Once a week, we get a piece of meat, but we don't starve, as some POW camps without parcels do.

    Photo POW Camp Austria 18 .1 .1942 Front Row: S. Whittel, T Newton, B. Oldham, D. Duggan. Ron Cridge, R. Jahmeton Back Row: G. Quirk, Q Gray, R. Woods G. McKay, G. Bissel, F. McCallum, S. Ryans, G. Herring 12th July, all in the pink, just received a parcel of winter clothes from NZ .. A scottish chap and I have put together an Act to entertain the guys, had no mail for a while…we do a fair bit of gambling mainly two up or “Swy” and by the way our stakes are cigarettes which hold high esteem in our little circle, mail is very slow lately. We had some reinforcements this week, some more NZers received some news too, big changes in N.Z, keep those Ruddy Japs out is the Big Thing… Moved - part of Work Camp in Klagenfurt 2nd Jan. 1943…Christmas & New Year over, very good, got a bit of a spark up too. Received your Aug. parcel with Boots, grand !! Received some more smokes, they burned down our Concert Hall, but we still carry on, Best of Love Ron

    Winter is on the wane, thank god, there’s a Blasted parade on for something may be Armistice ?? am keeping well, short of smokes & food, don’t think it’ll last much longer than 12 months now, my job at present is cutting ice which is a foot thick, just had a “pep” talk from the Officers, been Bad Boys !! no need for concern, I’m OK.. 21st Feb 1943.. have changed my address to Stalag, quite a nice change to see all my Christchurch friends, spring is fast approaching and things in general are brightening up, except the mail which has slowed again, the last one I got was sent in Nov. I came back to the Stalag with more clothes than I ever carried in my life, a great asset here, great to meet up with the old friends, Cranny Hearn & others. I am looking forward to a change. There are about 1000 men here in Stalag with a big percentage of New Zealanders. Hoping to start operating a film & organising a concert soon which is more interesting than pick & shovel especially with the food shortage, we survive on the parcels. Attending lectures mostly on episodes of different chaps lives here. ..

    5th April, Mail is infrequent a shortage of sorters here in Stalag, weather is becoming warm yesterday we had an International Boxing & Wrestling match, the French man won after a hard fight, we get some news from the boys working outside when they return, we also have a very good chap as Padre here name of Ledgerwood. My Kit Bag with personal articles & souvenirs may be had on request from the Military Authorities. I hear the NZ Division is keeping up to it’s name, I wonder how many of my (26th) Battallion are left?? Please thank the NZ Patriots Soc I received 200 cigs today. Cranny Hearn broke the 1000 metre Record today 3mins 2.5secs.

    11th July 1943 – yesterday we had a Christchurch reunion a few personalities, Vic MacDonald, Maurice Collins, Lance Rankin 26 in all a truly grand afternoon, news is good, but nothing can happen quickly enough for us.

    22nd Nov. 1943, I have been moved out of Stalag to this terrible godforsaken hole Luzon , we in Germany are entitled the “Toothless Terrors”, there are exactly 104 but 12 went through, they are doing time in the local “Boob”, there have been more “Captains” here dishing out orders than I have ever seen before even in the front line. by the late Eric Fearnside “At four o'clock in the morning, we heard the cries, "Raus! Raus!" and we were tumbled out of bed for what was to become the last time at Stalag XVIIIA at Wolfsberg. Bewildered and shivering with the cold on the parade ground, we were told by the Commandant that we were being evacuated to a safer area. Taking only the bare essentials, we marched off into the unknown. At first, the going was easy, but as we reached the mountains, it became more tiring. After twenty miles we lay down where we were. Most of our clothes were not warm enough and our shoes were not for marching in, a lot of us had sore feet and blisters. A chap in the engineer's shed at the camp had invented a little stove made from two tin cans soldered together, so it wasn't long before the darkness was lit by little stoves brewing up tea and warming our hands. We scrambled over the Tauern Pass which was 1740 mtrs above sea level, it was bitterly cold walking through snow; we were covering twenty miles every day for eleven days, it was hard going. We finally arrived at Stalag XVIIIC Markt-Pongau prison camp, where the German guards offered us their rifles. The date was the 10th of May, 1945. The war had been over for two days, we could not believe it, we were at last going home."

    28th May 1945 – Margate England N.Z.E.F. Dear folks, Reception in this Country wonderful, received cable & letters, I don’t expect to be back in NZ for some time about Xmas I guess. Everything is mighty expensive here, my friend Maurice and I are arranging a flat in Londons West End I shall look up Des Scott and see if he is interested. I landed in England with practically nothing, just ever so relieved. We had a wonderful trip over by “Lancaster” Bombers, boy what a kite. We were with the Yanks in Germany for 3 weeks they gave us a most marvellous time, they’ll do me. Today we are busy getting re equipped, we are almost finished. Just received a ‘tenner” mighty queer to handle real money again. I shall write again shortly . Cheerio, love to all Yours Ron.

    Karen McKnight



    PFC. Eduardo Perez 1st btn co. C 30th Infantry Regiment

    Uncle Ed was a POW in Stalag 18a. He was in a prisoner exchange and came home on the Gripsholm Repatriation ship in about June 1944. I wrote other POW and they claimed that there were no Americans there. Our card from him while he was in the hospital was clearly marked Stalag 18a. The people I wrote to were English. and Aussies and they found my uncle's name on roll call Stalag 18a

    George Perez



    Pte Alfred Hector Peterson Nz Infantry 22nd Motor Btn (d.3rd Dec 1942)

    Alf was my Dad's cousin and Dad remembers seeing him off to war as a 10 year old. Alf was captured at Olympus Pass in Greece in his first action of the war approximately 16 April 1941. He was held as a POW at Stalag 18a. On the 3rd of December 1942 he was killed by a sentry. He is buried at Klagenfurt War Cemetery in Austria.

    Apparently there is a Red Cross report from January 1943 that mentions Alfs death, it states that an inquiry was under way, but Alf was supposed to have threatened a sentry. There must have been more to it, as after the war a murder investigation was carried out.

    I have a newspaper clipping sent to his mother, but it has no date. The clipping tells that the sentry responsible for killing Alf received a sentence of 17 years for his murder after being tried by the United Nations War Crimes Commission. An accomplice was still on the loose and believed to be in the Mediterranean area.

    If anyone knows more or knew Alf I'd be interested to hear from them.

    Graeme Moyle



    SSM. William Thomas Cullen 22nd Field Squadron Royal Engineers

    My father, William Thomas Cullen, served in 22nd Field Squadron, Royal Engineers. He was always reluctant to talk about the war, and only gave this information later in life. Other information I have found on the internet. He was injured at Tobruk. He and other wounded were being transported in a convoy of ambulances when they were ambushed by the Italians. The other wounded soldier in my father's ambulance was killed. My father was sent to the Military hospital in Parma.

    He was later sent to Stalag 18A/Z at Spittal and der Drau. He did not have good memories of his treatment there. I have vague memories of him talking about being on a farm in Austria. My father died in 1977.

    Cath Black



    Tpr. Robert Fredrick "Scottie" Scott 1st King Dragoon Guards

    My father, Trooper Robert Fredrick Scott, was a prisoner of war in Stalag XV111A. He was taken prisoner on 28th April 1941.He was captured in Greece.

    I have his war diary, entered on the first page is the following info. Regiment 1st Dragoon Guards, Regiment # 7902063, also mentioned in his diary is the following, Royal Armoured Corps, P.O.W. # 4489, 2nd Armoured division, Stalag XV111A (68/6W/231/L/GW). He left England in November 1940 and arrived in Egypt via South Africa 31st December 1940. He left Egypt 8th March 1941 and arrived in Greece 11 March 1941. He was captured and taken prisoner on the 28th of April 1941 and I believe he was moved on to S.Greece, Salonika, Yuogo-slavia, Austria, then back to Yugo-slavia, then returned back to Austria 18 May 1941.

    He left "Blighty" in Nov 1940 and returned to Blighty in May 1945. and a diary though out his time and in the diary are the names and addresses of many other soldiers he spent time with. Like many of his kind he did not talk about his war experiences with his children. Dad died 5 years ago, only now do we realise how much the war affected his health and his mind.

    He did escape the camp the day before it was liberated. He also worked in the fields. Unfortunately, he developed skin cancer in later years as a result of this. I was named after the prisoner he escaped with.

    Ronald Scott



    Charles Randall Brown 2/6th Btn.

    I am looking for any information regarding my grandfather, Charles Randall Brown, from Victoria Australia who was in 2/6 Battalion, he was acotured in Crete and held as a POW in Stalag 18A and 18B. If anyone reading this has relatives who are still living who may have had a similar war experience or may have even known my grandfather please contact me.

    Catherine Brown



    Sgt. Edgar Harold "Ted" Everton 1st General Hospital NZ Medical Corps

    My Father Ted Everton was Captured in Corinth canal, Greece on the 28th of April 1941. Ted was in two pow camps, Stalag 18A, Wolfesberg, Austria and Stalag 383, Hofenfels, Barvaria, Germany till the 1st of May 1945 I have Ted's POW diary which describes life as a POW.

    Martin Everton



    Sgt. Lambert Fletcher Royal Artillery

    My great granddad Lambert Fletcher, was captured in the process of he and his friends leading his unit on an escape navigation from Crete to Greece. When they were captured they were held as prisoners of war in Stalag 18-A. An Austrian countess who lived near the camp disagreed with the war and secretly gave them things such as chickens and food. Even after the war she traveled to their homes and visited them because of how close they all had become.

    Unfortunately, we do not have many records of him because when he died, his wife kept his journals and detached herself from the family. On top of that their children died young and so they have been lost to us for many years.

    Hannah Fletcher



    Charles Whyte The Black Watch

    L to R: Rear - Whyte, Smythe, Love, Unknown, Serivens. Mid - Green, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Lake, Unknown, Unknown. Bottom - Unknown, Unknown, Alexander, Smith, Unknown, Unknown.

    My grandfather was called Charles Whyte, we have discovered some photos which, I assume, he took throughout his career. We know he was in the RMP and the Black Watch. We also know he served in Greece, where he was captured. The story, as far as I can remember, is that he and his colleagues took control of a town which quickly became surrounded by the enemy. Their only means of escape was a Royal Navy ship that was close by. The boat didn't dock to save them, leaving my grandfather and his colleagues to be captured. He was then sent to a prisoner of war camp. Another story is that once the war was over and they were released, my grandfather and his friends helped a Russian ex-prisoner escape the area as the Germans were looking to kill any Russians they found. The pictures we have relate to Stalag XVIII A, Stalag 383 and his time in Palestine and Buddon camp in 1933. I have attached scanned copies of some of the photos. Some of them have writing on the back but unfortunately most do not. If you can help identify some of the places or some of the people in the photos that would be great but mainly I just want to share them.

    Robin Poole



    Eric Fearnside

    At four o'clock in the morning, we heard the cries, "Raus! Raus!" and we were tumbled out of bed for what was to become the last time at Stalag XVIIIA at Wolfsberg. Bewildered and shivering with the cold on the parade ground, we were told by the Commandant that we were being evacuated to a safer area. Taking only the bare essentials, we marched off into the unknown. The date was the 10th of May, 1945. The war had been over for two days, we could not believe it, we were at last going home. We were free....

    Karen McKnight



    Cpl. Leslie Clarence Bullard B Company, 10 Platoon 2/6th Battalion

    My uncle, Leslie Clarence Bullard, was a POW in the same camp as Walter Gossner. I have the original photos of Walter and many other men who were in Stalag A XVIII in Wolfberg Germany. I have around 120 photos including on of a black dog named 'Winston Churchill' - would love to know who he belonged to and what became of him.

    Leslie Bullard enlisted in Victoria in 1939 and sailed from Melbourne on 14 April 1941. He was involved in the Battle of Bardia - 3rd Jan to 5th Jan 1941. He landed in Greece on 12th April 1941 and was taken POW on 26th April 1941 in Crete. He was held in the Corinth hell camp from 26 April 1941 until 7 June 1941. In his own handwriting in his Red Australiam Soldiers' Handbook he states "I had the pleasure of seeing the rat Himmler at Corinth Hill today" - 20 May 1941.

    Leslie spent three birthdays in POW camps in Germany, he spent his 23 birthday (1941) in Salonika on a biscuit and water, his 24th birthday (1942) at Niklasdorf near Leobon and spent his 25th birthday (1943) at Klagenfurt POW camp. Leslie escaped on 30th July 1944. He joined with the Yugoslavia partisans on 10 August 1944. He rejoned the allied forces in Italy on 21 September 1944. He was discharged from the Army in May 1945, never married and died in 1967 aged 45 years old. Unfortunately I did not know him personally as I lived on the other side of Australia and he lived in Victoria.

    If anyone has a recollection of their relative also being a POW in the same camps around the same time, please make contact as I have a list of names on some of the photos and some Army Registration Numbers which could identify your relative.

    Shirley



    Sgt. Ronald Mayfield Cridge 26th Battalion

    My Father, Ronald Mayfield Cridge, enlisted 24/6/1940 in the No 8 Company N Group: initially as Pte. Cridge in Charge - then Batt Corporal, and Sergeant - 4 Service Chevrons as at 3.10.1944 & The Africa Star. After enlisting, Ronald was sent to Burnham Camp for initial training before being sent with his friend Brownie Dann to Wellington with the 1st Section of the 4th Reinforcements on the evening of the 7th November on the “Rangitira”.

    Embarking the following morning on the Polish ship the “Batory” sailing on the eve of the 8th Nov into a howling gale, they were acompanied by the “Achilles” & the “ Maunganui” to Sydney. The troops had 2½ days leave then sailed in convoy with three larger ships full of Australian troops escorted by three Australian Cruisers to Fremantle. The Batory was a liner of 14287 tons and Captained by Deyczakowski, but owned by the British and employed as a troop carrier during the war, also used to uplift the families from Singapore. The Convoy spent 5 days in Fremantle while the cruisers searched for a German Raider in the Indian Ocean. The convoy then departed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where they had a days leave in Colombo. While on board Ronald was excused many duties and lectures as he worked six evenings a week as film projectionist in the ship’s cinema. The Convoy reached Port Tewfik on the 16th Dec. where the New Zealanders disembarked and travelled by train to the Maadi Military Camp a few miles out of Cairo. Christmas day was spent at Maadi. After further weeks of training and two weeks guarding Italian Prisoners of War, the reinforcements were finally moved to the Helwan Military Camp where they were drafted into different battalions and other support units. Ronald joined the 26th Battalion and Brownie Dann the 20th, separated after a long time sharing the same platoon, barracks and ships. 3rd March the Infantry Battalions moved to Amiriya, about 12 miles from Alexandria and camped. On the 6th March the NZ Division sailed from Alexandria, reaching Greece the following day. Some Convoys took several days due to a storm, therefore arriving in Greece about the 11th or 12th. All Infantry Brigades camped on the slopes of Mt Hymettus on the outskirts of Athens before moving up to the front. They were there for about a week. Ronald was taken prisoner at Kalamata with some 1000 NZers and 1100 Australians and several thousand British. They were forced marched to Corinth arriving on the 2nd May 1941 when he again met up with his friend Brownie Dann. From Corinth they were moved to Salonika arriving there on the 9th June. Two train loads carrying most of the NZers left Salonika on the 11th & 12th June. Ronald was on the train to Wolfsberg in Austria.

    The main camp for all the Allied Prisoners Of War was established at Wolfsberg, Stammlager XVIIIA, attached to Wolfsberg were dozens of different types of working camps all with their own quarters and guards.

    Ronald spent some 300 days in solitary confinement, generally for endeavouring to escape. He also had to wear a French Uniform as his had been removed from him which meant short trousers and as he had no leggings and only had the “clogs” (boots with a fabric top and a wooden sole, very hard to walk in and NOT waterproof) he suffered from the cold until at last the Red Cross supplied him with a new uniform and boots arrived from his parents. I have a photograph taken in the POW Camp Austria 18 .1 .1942 showing

    • S. Whittel,
    • T Newton,
    • B. Oldham,
    • D. Duggan.
    • Ron Cridge,
    • R. Jahmeton,
    • G. Quirk,
    • Q Gray,
    • R. Woods
    • G. McKay,
    • G. Bissel,
    • F. McCallum,
    • S. Ryans,
    • G. Herring
    Some Letters from my Father to his Family: 22nd July 1941 My Dear Folks, At last we have been given the opportunity to write something like a decent letter I do hope that you have received my numerous notes through the Red Cross. Well we have been captured some 3 months now and have seen more in that time than I ever imagined possible. The scenery through the Balkan States is marvellous, but I will tell you more about that at a later date. You may write as often as you like to the given addresss. We are allowed to receive parcels from home amounting to 10lbs per month. The Red Cross officials were around today, they have promised us parcels in the near future, my health is keeping up well so you have no need to worry,Your ever Loving Son Ron. 16th Aug. …Red Cross parcels, received 120 cigerettes this week something we haven’t had for months, a real luxury! We are made to work outside the camp, then we are fed, long hours, hard work but at least we see some of the countryside. You’d laugh at their antiquated farming methods, really old fashioned, bullock ploughs, haycarts and the crops are cut by scythe, lots of women work in the fields who look very pretty in their gaudy and quaintly fashioned dresses. The men in short trousers made of leather and as they last up to 6 years are very short by the end. The “Jerry” ration is, 1 bowl of cabbage soup per day and 1 loaf of bread, normal size, among 8 men per day. Once a week, we get a piece of meat, but we don't starve, as some POW camps without parcels do. 12th July, all in the pink, just received a parcel of winter clothes from NZ .. A Scotish chap and I have put together an Act to entertain the guys. Had no mail for a while.we do a fair bit of gambling mainly two up or “Swy” and by the way our stakes are cigarettes which hold high esteem in our little circle, mail is very slow lately. We had some reinforcements this week, some more NZers received some news too, big changes in N.Z, keep those Ruddy Japs out is the Big Thing… Moved - part of Work Camp in Klagenfurt 2nd Jan. 1943…Christmas & New Year over, very good, got a bit of a spark up too. Received your Aug. parcel with Boots, grand !! Received some more smokes, they burned down our Concert Hall, but we still carry on, Best of Love Ron Winter is on the wane, thank god, there’s a blasted parade on for something may be Armictice ?? am keeping well, short of smokes & food, don’t think it’ll last much longer than 12 months now, my job at present is cutting ice which is a foot thick, just had a “pep” talk from the Officers, been Bad Boys !! no need for concern, I’m OK.. 21st Feb 1943.. have changed my address to Stalag, quite a nice change to see all my Christchurch friends, spring is fast approaching and things in general are brightening up, except the mail which has slowed again, the last one I got was sent in Nov. I came back to the Stalag with more clothes than I ever carried in my life, a great asset here, great to meet up with the old friends, Cranny Hearn & others. I am looking forward to a change. There are about 1000 men here in Stalag with a big percentage of New Zealanders. Hoping to start operating a film & organising a concert soon which is more interesting than pick & shovel especially with the food shortage, we survive on the parcels. Attending lectures mostly on episodes of different chaps lives here. .. 5th April, Mail is infrequent a shortage of sorters here in Stalag, weather is becoming warm yesterday we had an International Boxing & Wrestling match, the French man won after a hard fight, we get some news from the boys working outside when they return, we also have a very good chap as Padre here name of Ledgerwood. My Kit Bag with personal articles & souvenirs may be had on request from the Military Authorities. I hear the NZ Division is keeping up to it’s name, I wonder how many of my (26th) Battallion are left?? Please thank the NZ Patriots Soc I received 200 cigs today. Cranny Hearn broke the 1000 metre Record today 3mins 2.5secs. 11th July1943 – yesterday we had a Christchurch reunion a few personalities, Vic MacDonald, Maurice Collins, Lance Rankin 26 in all a truly grand afternoon, news is good, but nothing can happen quickly enough for us. 22nd Nov. 1943, I have been moved out of Stalag to this terrible godforsaken hole Luzon , we in Germany are entitled the “Toothless Terrors”, there are exactly 104 but 12 went through, they are doing time in the local “Boob”, there have been more “Captains” here dishing out orders than I have ever seen before even in the front line. by the late Eric Fearnside “At four o'clock in the morning, we heard the cries, "Raus! Raus!" and we were tumbled out of bed for what was to become the last time at Stalag XVIIIA at Wolfsberg. Bewildered and shivering with the cold on the parade ground, we were told by the Commandant that we were being evacuated to a safer area. Taking only the bare essentials, we marched off into the unknown. At first, the going was easy, but as we reached the mountains, it became more tiring. After twenty miles we lay down where we were. Most of our clothes were not warm enough and our shoes were not for marching in, a lot of us had sore feet and blisters. A chap in the engineer's shed at the camp had invented a little stove made from two tin cans soldered together, so it wasn't long before the darkness was lit by little stoves brewing up tea and warming our hands. We scrambled over the Tauern Pass which was 1740 mtrs above sea level, it was bitterly cold walking through snow; we were covering twenty miles every day for eleven days, it was hard going. We finally arrived at Stalag XVIIIC Markt-Pongau prison camp, where the German guards offered us their rifles. The date was the 10th of May, 1945. The war had been over for two days, we could not believe it, we were at last going home." 28th May 1945 – Margate England N.Z.E.F. Dear folks, Reception in this Country wonderful, received cable & letters, I don’t expect to be back in NZ for some time about Xmas I guess. Everything is mighty expensive here, my friend Maurice and I are arranging a flat in Londons West End I shall look up Des Scott and see if he is interested. I landed in England with practically nothing, just ever so relieved. We had a wonderful trip over by “Lancaster” Bombers, boy what a kite. We were with the Yanks in Germany for 3 weeks they gave us a most marvellous time, they’ll do me. Today we are busy getting re equipped, we are almost finished. Just received a ‘tenner” mighty queer to handle real money again. I shall write again shortly . Cherrio, love to all Yours Ron. In London Ronald again met up with his friend Brownie Dann at a service Club. The travelled together on the “Rangitiki” which sailed from Liverpool on the 26th July 1945, the same day as the U.K. elections when Churchill lost to Clement Atlee. The voyage home via Panama and a leave at Colon. The day after the ship had passed through the Canal the troops received word that Japan had surrendered. The ship stopped for an hour off Pitcairn Island and eventually reached Wellington on the morning of 2nd September 1945. All South Islanders were transferred to the “Wahine” which had been held back especially to make a daylight sailing.

    Karen McKnight



    Cpl. Thomas Walsh 22nd Battalion

    My late cousin, Thomas Walsh, was a P.O.W. He was in the 22nd Battalion. He went missing in 1942 and his mother was notified to say he was in Italy Campo P.G. 57. Then he was taken to Stalag XVIIIA Germany. When he left N.Z. it was from Wellington although he enlisted in Stratford. He was single. I would very much appreciate it if anyone has any information about him.

    Sherryn Hinkley



    Sgt. Ronald Mayfield Cridge No8 Co. N Group 26th Battalion

    My Father, Ronald Cridge was as a POW in Stalag XVIIIA:

    Embarkation 22nd July 1941 - After enlisting, Ronald was sent to Burnham Camp for initial training before being sent with his friend Brownie Dann to Wellington with the 1st Section of the 4th Reinforcements on the evening of the 7th November on the “Rangitira”. Embarking the following morning on the Polish ship the “Batory” sailing on the eve of the 8th Nov into a howling gale. They were acompanied by The “Achilles” & the “Maunganui”to Sydney. The troops had 2 ½ days leave then sailed in convoy with three larger ships full of Australian troops escorted by three Australian Cruisers to Fremantle. The Batory was a liner of 14287 tons and Captained by Deyczakowski, but owned by the British and employed as a troop carrier during the war, also used to uplift the families from Singapore. The Convoy spent 5 days in Fremantle while the cruisers searched for a German Raider in the Indian Ocean. The convoy then departed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where they had a days leave in Colombo. While on board Ronald was excused many duties and lectures as he worked six evenings a week as film projectionist in the ship’s cinema.

    The Convoy reached Port Tewfik on the 16th Dec. where the New Zealanders disembarked and travelled by train to the Maadi Military Camp a few miles out of Cairo. Christmas day was spent at Maadi. After further weeks of training and two weeks guarding Italian Prisoners of War, the renforcements were finally moved to the Helwan Military Camp where they were drafted into different battalions and other support units. Ronald joined the 26th Battalion and Brownie Dann the 20th, separated after a long time sharing the same platoon, barracks and ships.

    Egypt: We get a fair amount of leave which is spent mostly visiting various places, I went to the Pyramids last time, they were marvelous affairs full of old tombs and tunnels. Another interesting place was the “Dead City”, where Egyptians have been buried for centuries, the designs are glorious and huge some as big as several of our houses put together, the zoo is also great. My mailing is: Southern Training Company, Middle East Forces,Overseas.

    21/Jan/1941 - Received your first letter today, although I see you’ve sent lots, probably missing somewhere. We have been here about 5 weeks now I have just finished a training course in Cinematography Operations, so that I will have a special job screening instructural films for the boys, entertainment and taking film. You must have had a quiet Christmas ours was quite good dinner althugh no “duff” and we had the day off !! I have been made Battalion Orderly Corporal."

    Ronald was taken prisoner at Kalamata with some 1000 NZers and 1100 Australians and several thousand British. They were force marched to Corinth arriving on the 2nd May 1941 when he again met up with his friend Brownie Dann. From Corinth they were moved to Salonika arriving there on the 9th June. Two trainloads carrying most of the NZers left Salonika on the 11th & 12th June. Ronald was on the train to Wolfsberg in Austria. The main camp for all the Allied Prisoners Of War was established at Wolfsberg, Stammlager XVIIIA, attached to Wolfsberg were dozens of different types of working camps all with their own quarters and guards.

    Ronald spent some 300 days in solitary confinement, generally for endeavouring to escape. He also had to wear a French Uniform as his had been removed from him which meant short trousers and as he had no leggings and only had the “clogs” (boots with a fabric top and a wooden sole, very hard to walk in and not waterproof) he suffered from the cold until at last the Red Cross supplied him with a new uniform and boots arrived from his parents.

    29th May 1941- Ron was listed as missing in action : "Captured - while holding rear guard action at Kalamata Bay, to allow the majority to escape out to waiting ships, taking the men to Crete - 29th April, 1941. The ships had gone we were left and took to the hills, where we were captured, carrying our friends we were marched for days to a rail junction, without food or water. We were hearded onto cattle trucks at Corinth and shunted on our way, for many days more, still without food or water. I, with two friends, managed to carry some water with us to share around. We travelled by train to a few miles North of Athens where we had to disembark and walk again as the rail tunnels had been blown up by our engineers on the retreat. From there we were marched for many miles over hills, rather like the Christchurch Port Hills, on very primitive tracks, to a town called Lamia. We slept on the track where we stopped, exhausted. The nights were cold.

    From Lamia we travelled to Salonika, we stayed there for a few days before being shunted into horse wagons and went to either Austria or Czechoslavakia. I was sent to Austria. Red Cross managed to get food parcels to us at some of the waiting junctions. – arrived at Stalaag XVIII - Near the City of Graz." The Camp Commandants, name was Hauptmann Steiner.

    22nd July 1941 "My Dear Folks, At last we have been given the opportunity to write something like a decent letter I do hope that you have received my numerous notes through the Red Cross. Well we have been captured some 3 months now and have seen more in that time than I ever imagined possible. The scenery through the Balkan States is marvellous, but I will tell you more about that at a later date. You may write as often as you like to the given addresss. We are allowed to receive parcels from home amounting to 10lbs per month. The Red Cross officials were around today, they have promised us parcels in the near future, my health is keeping up well so you have no need to worry,Your ever Loving Son Ron."

    "12th Oct. …..all’s going well, we received boots from the British Red Cross today, preparing for winter and snow, as we are in the mountains, big excitement today I received a tin of N.Z. honey in my parcel from the R.C. I don’t think I told you that only 3 from our Battalion were captured, the others all got on the boats to Egypt. So we were really unlucky. Red Cross organise a camp newspaper which we get occassionally,..."

    Photo at POW Camp Austria 18 .1 .1942

    Front Row: S.Whittel,T.Newton, B.Oldham, D.Duggan. Ron Cridge, R.Jahmeton

    Back Row: G.Quirk, Q.Gray,R.Woods,G.McKay,G.Bissel,F.McCallum,S.Ryans,G. Herring.

    "26th July 1942, well all still in the Pink, although we colonials are getting very late mail, but at least we are getting our cigs parcels.

    We had a wonderful concert last night lots of good acts. My Haggis Mate and I were runners up in the Camp Event. I can speak this lingo well now.

    Now working in a difficult job- canal work.

    There is not much food to go around, thankfully the RC parcels keep us going, we will pull through.

    Heard they caught Ned Kelly on the Coast."

    "21st Feb 1943.. have changed my address to Stalag, quite a nice change to see all my Christchurch friends Cranny Hearn & others"

    "11th July1943 – yesterday we had a Christchurch reunion a few personalities, Vic MacDonald, Maurice Collins, Lance Rankin 26 in all a truly grand afternoon. News is good, but nothing can happen quickly enough for us.- Keep smiling Mum, Cherrio.."

    "14 July - A card from my friend John (Jack) Dillon from[Brisbane,QLD]. from Stalaag VIIA Austria with his photo. "

    G Bissell & Ronald Cridge, 1942.

    "16th Nov. winter is here, becoming intensely cold again. For the last 2 months I have been out in the forest gathering wood for the winter. Carl Carlisle has just produced his latest pantomime entitled “Lights Life” a great show he is an enormous asset to our Stalag

    22nd Nov. 1943, I have been moved out of Stalag to this terrible godforsaken hole Luzon, we in Germany are entitled the “Toothless Terrors”, there are exactly 104 but 12 went through, they are doing time in the local “Boob”. There have been more “Captains” here dishing out orders than I have ever seen before even in the front line.

    Liberated 28 April 1945

    "28th May 1945 – Margate England N.Z.E.F. I landed in England with practically nothing, just ever so relieved. We had a wonderful trip over by “Lancaster” Bombers, boy what a kite. We were with the Yanks in Germany for 3 weeks they gave us a most marvellous time, they’ll do me. Today we are busy getting re equipped, we are almost finished. Just received a ‘tenner” mighty queer to handle real money again. I shall write again shortly ."

    In London Ronald again met up with his friend Brownie Dann at a service Club. They travelled home together on the “Rangitiki” which sailed from Liverpool on the 26th July 1945.

    Comment by the late Eric Fearnside: “At four o'clock in the morning, we heard the cries, "Raus! Raus!" and we were tumbled out of bed for what was to become the last time at Stalag XVIIIA at Wolfsberg. Bewildered and shivering with the cold on the parade ground, we were told by the Commandant that we were being evacuated to a safer area. Taking only the bare essentials, we marched off into the unknown. The date was the 10th of May, 1945. The war had been over for two days, we could not believe it, we were at last going home. We were free....

    Karen McKnight



    Gnr. Charles Frederick Johnson 68 H.A.A 277 Bty. Royal Artillery

    My father, Charlie Johnson, was a gunner in the Royal Artillery and served in Egypt where he suffered from dysentry before being reported missing in Tobruk on 20.6.1942. He was taken as a prisoner of war and shipped to a transit camp in Italy, PG 75, P.M. 3450, Bari.

    I have no information of what happened to him in Italy but he was transferred from there to Stalag XVIIIA in Wolfsburg, Austria sometime in 1943 where he stayed until 1945. My father didn't really talk about the war or what happened to him in the camps, all the information I have is mostly through research and the records I have received from the Army Personnel Centre. All I have of my Dad's from this time is his dog tag which has the no. 8296 and a ring which has scribed on it "Austria 1943" and in one corner an arc of the sun with rays coming off it. I was told by my Mum that she thought that someone in the camp had made it for him, but on reading a passage from the book "POW Allied Prisoners of War in Europe 1939-1945" by Adrian Gilbert, where it mentions that the Russian POW's on the other side of the fence were so badly treated that the POW's in my Dad's camp smuggled food and cigarettes to them and in gratitude the Russians gave them small wood carvings and metalwork, I now wonder whether this ring was made by a Russian prisoner of war.

    Pamela Denmead



    Sig. John William Read 6th Australian Division Signals

    Jack Read joined the Australian Army in Albert Park, Victoria in October 1939. I was told that Jack was a signaler, and was on Crete when the Germans parachuted in. The story is that he kept sending messages until the Germans bashed him with rifle butts. His daughter (my grandmother) said that Jack was promoted to Corporal and given Sergeant a few times, but had a bad temper and kept being ‘busted’ back to private. I have been told stories that Jack had a wooden leg after the war, but I don't have much to verify it. He was separated from his wife after the war, and took to drinking heavily, perhaps this is why. As such, his family never spoke of him, and we didn't even know his real name until I found his service record.

    His service record has the following information:

    • Born in Norfolk, England 1909.
    • Enlisted October 1939 at Albert Park, Victoria
    • Disembarked Aug 07, 1940 Gourock, Scotland.
    • Nov 14, 1940 sent to Liverpool.
    • Dec 26, 1940 Graded Group 2 Operator.
    • Mar 20, 1941 made SGT.
    • Mar 10, 1941 embarked M.E. For service in Greece.
    • Jun 06, 1941 Reported missing in Greece.
    • Jul 08, 1941 'previously reported "missing" now reported 'missing believed prisoner of war'.
    • Oct 01, 1941 (Casualty Section) officially reported prisoner of war. Place of detention: Stalag 18A.
    • Apr 08, 1942 now interned Stalag 8B Overseas Casualty List 494/ 9426.
    • Feb 24 1944 Embarked UK for return to Aust per SS 'Nestor'
    • May 16 1944 Disembarked Melbourne.
    According to his service record, he was classed as medically unfit, repat case, for the following reasons: 1. internal derangement of knee joint (left?) leg 2. anxiety state

    This information is all I have on my great grandfather, so if anyone can give any information on him I would be very appreciative. I have a photo of him from his service record if anyone is interested please contact me.

    Eloise



    Arthur Thomas Dyer

    Arthur Dyer in Stalag 18A, second from left, front

    Arthur Dyer was my uncle. He was captured in 1940. He sent the photo from Stalag 18A. I do not remember when, he is second from left front row. I only saw him twice on his return in 1945 due to a dispute with my father.

    William R Dyer



    Alfred Ernest Rogers South Staffordshire Regiment

    My Dad, Ernie Rogers, served with the 1st Airborne (South Staffs). He only really talked about the war in the later years, I tried to persuade him to tell his story but he said there were enough books written and films made.

    After North Africa, he was captured at the invasion of Sicily after the glider landed in the sea, which they clung onto for 17 hours before being picked up by the Italians. He tells me that his sergeant told all the men to take their boots of when they went into the water, but Dad didn't, then when they were lined up by the Italians he gave his sergeant his boots, as he was the senior officer and felt it would help the sergeant to keep his dignity. After the many camps and miles he ended up in Stalag XV111A, I have his wrist band and some photographs.

    He talks about some of his old mates but gets mixed up a bit now, Ray Shorthouse, Lucky Southall, Ivor from Newzealand. He ended up working on a farm, learned a lot of German which helped a lot.

    He is still an old soldier at heart and as always kept his sense of humour.

    Ernie Rogers Jnr.



    L/Cpl Francis Edgar Newman 4th Queens Own Hussars

    My father, Francis Edgar Newman, 1905 - 1984 was a POW. Records from the International Red Cross show he was captured by the Germans at Corinthe in 1941. He arrived at Stalag XVIIID on 5th July 1941 having been transported from Saloniki, Greece. He then ended up in Stalag XVIIIA on 25th July 1941 and so far as I know, he was there until 1945.

    Richard Newman



    Pte. George William Timcke Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

    Private George William Timcke Soldier Number - 6022382 POW Number - 8339 Stalag 18A Wolfsberg I am the grandson of George W Timcke. I am trying to find out more details regarding his wartime experiences for my father. As far as we know, he started in the Essex Regiment before transferring to the Royal West Kent Regiment. During this time he was shot and injured somewhere in North Africa, and captured by the Italians. He eventually interned into Stalag 18A in Wolfsberg. This is all the information we have for him. If anyone could help us to find out more information regarding his experiences we would be very grateful. Many thanks.

    Adam Timcke



    Trooper Adam Jamieson Cairns Scots Greys

    My father,Adam Cairns,was captured in Crete in 1940 and spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Wolfsburg Camp Stalag 18a in Austria.We have no idea how he came to be in Crete as he was in the Regular Army and had been posted to Palestine in 1938 and was in a Calvary Regiment.

    Sheila Cairns



    Cpl. Thomas Walsh 22nd Battlion

    My late cousin, Thomas Walsh, was a P.O.W. He was in the 22nd Battalion, Corporal. He went missing in 1942 and his mother was notified to say he was in Italy Campo P.G. 57 and his number was 6906 then he was taken to Stalag XVIIIA Germany prisoner of war number 39819. When he left N.Z. it was from Wellington although he enlisted in Stratford he was single. I would very much appreciate it if you have any information about him.

    Sherryn Hinkley



    Tpr. Alfred Edwin Etches 4th Queens Own Hussars

    Alf Etches was my uncle. As a reservist he was called up immediately WW2 broke out and was sent to Greece as part of the 2nd Armoured Division following the Greek request for assistance in the face of German and Italian invasion.Because of the enemy's superior strength the British troops were forced to evacuate and on the night of 28th/29th April 1941 as he was awaiting embarkation from the port of Kalamata, Alf was captured. He was taken to a temporary camp in Salonika and then dispatched to Stalag 18A, Wolfsburg. From here he was sent to work camps at Niklasdorf(924/GW) and Peggau (119/GW). He said that he was one of the luckier PoW's in that he wasn't assigned heavy manual work such as in the quarry or timber mill. He added that the camp commander, Kommandant Steiner, was a fairly amiable man. As the War came to an end he was transferred back to Stalag 18A to await liberation. There was a scare however when US aircraft mistakenly bombed the camp. A number of huts were damaged and there were some casualties. When Alf returned to his home in Wandsworth he was dreadfully thin but he had a loving wife, Violet,who made a great fuss of him and he was soon back to his cheery self.Like many others he was reluctant to talk about his experiences though.

    He had a number of jobs such as house painting and storekeeping. He and Vi led a quiet life and had no children. Alf died on the 19th January 1988 of a heart attack. The photo shows Alf (standing on the extreme left) in the camp, presumably after a game of football. I would be interested if anyone could identify his comrades in the photo.

    Mike Etches



    Sapper Lew P. Bray Royal Engineers

    I have traced my ancestor Lew Bray to Stalag 18 and then he was transferred to Stalag 375, we was with the Royal Engineers. Any information would be gratefully received.

    Andy Hall



    Steward. Arthur Overman SS Orama

    Arthur Overman is my Great Uncle, he was a Steward on the cruise ship SS Orama. The ship was sunk on the 8th June 1940 by the German Battle Ship Hipper. My Great uncle was captured and spent the war in the German prison camp Stalag X111A. I have uploaded a photo of the captured survivors from the SS Orama, if anyone can name anybody in the photo please get in touch. I never met my Great Uncle as he died before I was born, if anybody knew of him I would love to find out more.

    Sean Overman



    Trpr. Lionel Joseph Fursse Corderoy MID. Royal Armoured Corps

    Lionel Corderoy was captured in Greece and held at Stalag 18a (POW number 5888). He fell in love with the dental nurse at the camp and they remained together until they passed away in 2013.

    Update: Corporal LJF Corderoy, Royal Tank Regiment, was Mentioned in Despatches - Theatre of Combat or Operation: The London Omnibus List for Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Field. This was announced in the London Gazette on 14th February 1947.




    Pte. Arthur Charles Lacey

    My father, Arthur Lacey was a POW in Stalag 18a in Wolfsberg. Does anyone have any memories or knew friends of his? He was a quiet man with black hair who was a skilled pianist. He may have played in the camp as a lot of entertaining went on there. Like many he said very little about it. He was taken prisoner in Greece where his companions had had their heads blown off. He was very sensitive and suffered badly with his nerves when he returned. I was born in 1946 but had a childhood tainted by dad's post traumatic stress. He was discharged from the army with psychoneurosis, as it was then called.

    Vivien Woods-Scawen



    Gnr. Kenneth Herbert Cooke 4th Survey Regiment Royal Artillery

    My Father Kenneth Herbert Cooke enlisted in the Royal Artillery on the 29th of November 1939 and was posted to 41st Survey Regiment, at Preston Barracks, Brighton, then on the 29th of October 1940 he was posted to the 4th (Durham) Survey Regiment. He was Posted overseas to Beni Yuseff Eygpt, then to Greece, they were evacuated to Crete, evacuated to Alexandria, then to Tobruk captured as part of No2 composite battery. He was transferred to Italy as pow, then in 1943 transferred to Stalag 18c Wolfsburg /Markt Pongu Austria.

    John Cooke



    Sgt. Ronald Mayfield "Buck" Cridge No 8 Comp. N Grp 26th Btn.

    POW CAMP XVIII

    Maadi Training Camp, Ronald 2nd from Right.

    My father born on 19th April 1919. He went to Christchurch Cathedral Grammar School and became a movie theatre manager and cinema operator. He enlisted on 24th June 1940. Although offered training to become an officer he was keen to be away, so he started as a Private Cridge in Charge. He embarked on 2nd July 1941.

    After enlisting, Ronald went to Burnham Camp for initial training before being sent with his friend Brownie Dann to Wellington with the 1st Section of the 4th reinforcements on the evening of the 7th November on the “Rangitira”. Embarking the following morning on the Polish ship the “Batory” sailing on the eve of the 8th November into a howling gale, they were accompanied by the “Achilles” and the “Maunganui” to Sydney. The troops had 2½ days leave, then sailed in convoy with three larger ships full of Australian troops escorted by three Australian cruisers to Fremantle. The Batory was a liner of 14287 tons and was captained by Deyczakowski, but owned by the British and employed as a troop carrier during the war, also used to evacuate the families from Singapore.

    The convoy spent five days in Fremantle while the cruisers searched for a German raider in the Indian Ocean. The convoy then departed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where they had a day's leave in Colombo. While on board Ronald was excused many duties and lectures as he worked six evenings a week as film projectionist in the ship’s cinema.

    The convoy reached Port Tewfik on the 16th December where the New Zealanders disembarked and travelled by train to the Maadi Military Camp a few miles out of Cairo. Christmas day was spent at Maadi. After further weeks of training and two weeks guarding Italian Prisoners of War, the reinforcements were finally moved to the Helwan Military Camp where they were drafted into different battalions and other support units. Ronald joined the 26th Battalion and Brownie Dann the 20th, separated after a long time sharing the same platoon, barracks and ships.

    On 3rd March the infantry battalions moved to Amiriya, about 12 miles from Alexandria and camped. On 6th March the NZ Division sailed from Alexandria, reaching Greece the following day. Some convoys took several days due to a storm, therefore arriving in Greece about the 11th or 12th. All infantry brigades camped on the slopes of Mt Hymettus on the outskirts of Athens before moving up to the front. They were there for about a week.

    Ronald was taken prisoner at Kalamata with some 1000 New Zealanders and 1100 Australians and several thousand British. They were force marched to Corinth arriving on the 2nd May 1941 when he again met up with his friend Brownie Dann. From Corinth they were moved to Salonika arriving there on the 9th June. Two trainloads carrying most of the New Zealanders left Salonika on the 11th and 12th June. Ronald was on the train to Wolfsberg (Stalag 18a) in Austria, the main camp for all the Allied Prisoners Of War.

    "From letters home"

    Missing: On 29th May 1941 Ron was listed as missing in action.

    Many letters of sympathy the family received, mostly saying that “Nothing much could happen to Buck”, and that they all pray for his survival, hopefully as a POW and that news will come soon.

    A letter from Mr and Mrs Warren – `We can only hope that Ron is a Prisoner of War and while that is not a happy experience, it at least gives us some assurance that some day he will have the hope of returning to his loved ones. Today we are facing the most powerful and most efficiently equipped war machine the world has ever known and we can only do our best such as the wonderful work our boys did in Greece and are doing in Crete until it starts to run down and when we see a slackening, then we can start to drive it back to where it came from.

    At present our tactics are to do all we can to build up our resources until that time comes, and adopt such measures as will tend to hasten its exhaustion. It is very unfortunate that in the meantime we will have casualties, but we must make sure that in winning this war future generations will not have to bear the suffering that our folks bear today. For the present our thoughts are with you and your family and we hope just as earnestly that your son will some day be restored to you all. Kindest regards and best hopes from Gen. Warren.

    Prisoner of War:Captured while holding rear guard action at Kalamata Bay,to allow the majority to escape to waiting ships, taking the men to Crete - 29th April, 1941. The ships had gone, we were left and took to the hills where we were captured, carrying our friends we were marched for days to a rail junction, without food or water, we were herded onto cattle trucks at Corinth and shunted on our way, for many days more, still without food or water. I with two friends managed to carry some water with us to share around. We travelled by train to a few miles North of Athens where we had to disembark and walk again as the rail tunnels had been blown up by our engineers on the retreat. From there we were marched for many miles over hills, rather like the Christchurch Port Hills, on very primitive tracks, to a town called Lamia.

    We slept on the track where we stopped, exhausted. The nights were cold. From Lamia we travelled to Salonika, we stayed there for a few days before being shunted into horse wagons and went to either Austria or Czechoslavakia. I was sent to Austria. Red Cross managed to get food parcels to us at some of the waiting junctions – arrived at Stalaag XVIII - near the City of Graz.

    The “Jerry” ration was, 1 bowl of cabbage soup per day and 1 loaf of bread, normal size, among 8 men per day. Once a week, we got a piece of meat, but we didn't starve, as some POW camps without parcels did.

    "19th Oct...snowing like crazy, thank goodness for the clothes from the R.C. We also managed to acquire an accordion and a violin for the concert we are organising, to keep up our spirits and make some fun. Am starting to understand more German...am working this week in the carpentry store under an old chap who was a POW in Italy in the last War, tells some interesting stories."

    8th March 1942. Mail today, great to get your news, snow is thawing slowly, we had a great concert and special Sunday dinner of cabbage and potatoes and some horse flesh.

    19th April.. my birthday another year gone, still doing OK. Today is the Big International Soccer Game, Scotland & Wales v N.Z. the money’s all on the Pommies. Had several letters last week, you seem to have received very few of mine, I write each week. Hopefully this will all be over soon, I’ve had several invitations to stay with people in London. Our bread rations have been cut again but will pull through.

    26th April, Red Cross parcels of cigs today also the YMCA sent us some sports gear, snow all gone, but torrents of rain lately, no need to worry I am in good health.

    6th June, beautiful day really summery...twelve months ago we were trekking over Larisa Pass in Greece, 40 miles long and consequently enjoyed a swim in a nearby river, all’s well although food is a bit scarce, my back is giving me a bit of trouble…

    12th July, all in the pink, just received a parcel of winter clothes from NZ .. A Scottish chap and I have put together an Act to entertain the guys, had no mail for a while...we do a fair bit of gambling mainly two up or “Swy” and by the way our stakes are cigarettes which hold high esteem in our little circle, mail is very slow lately. We had some reinforcements this week, some more NZers received some news too, big changes in N.Z, keep those Ruddy Japs out is the Big Thing."

    5th April. Mail is infrequent a shortage of sorters here in Stalag, weather is becoming warm yesterday we had an International Boxing & Wrestling match, the French man won after a hard fight, we get some news from the boys working outside when they return, we also have a very good chap as Padre here name of Ledgerwood. My kit bag with personal articles and souvenirs may be had on request from the Military Authorities. I hear the NZ Division is keeping up to its name, I wonder how many of my (26th) Battalion are left?

    Please thank the NZ Patriots Soc I received 200 cigs today. We had another great sports meeting, I entered for everything consequently as stiff as blazes today. I hope we havn’t to write too many more letters from here, one day I shall write a book instead of these little one eyed things! Cherrio, Best of Love"

    27th June, well the word is that we shouldn’t be too optimistic about a peace this year.

    11th July 1943 – yesterday we had a Christchurch reunion a few personalities, Vic MacDonald, Maurice Collins, Lance Rankin, 26 in all a truly grand afternoon, news is good, but nothing can happen quickly enough for us.

    14 July. A card from my friend John (Jack) Dillon from (Brisbane, Qnslnd.) from Stalaag VIIA Austria with his photo.

    7th Aug. Hi folks, another week rolled by with the summer drawing to a close and also this war we hope. I’m still in Stalag awaiting repairs to my hut been here 8 months, finding plenty to do. I can hear the strains of our latest Stalag “Hit” “Land of Begin Again”.

    16th Nov. Winter is here, becoming intensely cold again, for the last 2 months I have been out in the forest gathering wood for the winter – Carl Carlisle has just produced his latest pantomime entitled “Lights Life” a great show he is an enormous asset to our Stalag.

    22nd Nov. 1943, I have been moved out of Stalag to this terrible godforsaken hole Luzon, we in Germany are entitled the “Toothless Terrors”, there are exactly 104 but 12 went through, they are doing time in the local “Boob”, there have been more “Captains” here dishing out orders than I have ever seen before even in the front line. I am busy at present with the Man of Confidence job on my hands.

    8th Jan 1944 Xmas and New Year festivities are over, some quite pleasant memories to relate at a later date. We had a Christmas Pantomime entitled “Aladdin” a superb effort I shall have some photos to show you – every day there are new boys coming to join our “happy band” they do bring some very different stories. Thanks for sending me the cake.

    14th June. Well here we go again folks, busy as blazes, I’m 2nd in Comm. Confidence Man at a large Camp of 600 men so you can imagine how much there is to do with all their little troubles with the authorities, works etc. but I do find it interesting, it passes the time quickly. Haven’t had a cigs. Parcel for months. I with two other chaps run a race meeting in aid of the Red Cross which was a big success raised nearly 1000 marks.- Keep smiling Mum, Cheerio.."

    Liberated 28 April 1945 - we were marched off into the unknown supposedly for safety, we walked through snow with little clothing and less food over a pass to Markt Pongau some 11 days. Leaving at last. Boarding the Dakota to Britain - departure May 1945.

    ``LONDON 28th May 1945 – Margate England N.Z.E.F. Dear folks, Reception in this country wonderful, received cable and letters, I don’t expect to be back in NZ for some time about Xmas I guess. Everything is mighty expensive here, my friend Maurice Collins and I are arranging a flat in London's West End I shall look up Des Scott and see if he is interested. I landed in England with practically nothing, just ever so relieved. We had a wonderful trip over by Lancasters, boy what a kite. We were with the Yanks in Germany for 3 weeks they gave us a most marvelous time, they’ll do me.

    Today we are busy getting re-equipped, we are almost finished. Just received a ‘tenner” mighty queer to handle real money again. I shall write again shortly."

    1st August 1945 –“ Rangitiki”. Well we are on our way to Panama City another dirty place where we will get a few days' leave, the ship is very slow only 14 knots and the engines always breaking down but I guess we shall make it OK. At present she’s rolling like the devil can’t keep the table still. Do you know that of the 5000 NZ troops who were in England on leave 2000 or more got married.

    shall never forget the glorious time I had in England and the grand friends I made, this will be the last letter until I reach home, Cheerio, love to all, Yours Ron."

    Karen McKnight



    Pte. Aubert Charles "Ticker" Bedford 2/4 Btn.

    Aubert Charles Bedford (my Dad ) was born on the 19th Oct 1919, at Annandale ,Australia, the youngest son of Walter & Annie Bedford. He enlisted at Victoria Barracks, Sydney on the 5th January, 1940.

    I remember Dad telling me how his division got separated in Italy and he soon realised he was surrounded with Germans all around. He did go some time before his capture, local farmers giving him bread and cheese to eat. Dad did say the Germans were better with POW's than the Japanese, His dear and only brother died in Burma Railway at the hands of the Japanese. Finally on his capture, he was sent off to Wolfsberg Stalag 18 POW Camp. He made many friends from England, New Zealand and Australia. One life long friend, his best mate Lyn Phillips, they shared a wonderful friendship not only in the Pow Camp but through out their lives.

    One thing I do remember Dad said they created their own Concerts. Dad had the most beautiful voice. He sounded exactly like Bing Crosby! His mates all said he was Bing the 2nd. Ticker Bedford they called him - Aubrey another name! He said the weather in Austria was freezing, certainly nothing like winters in Australia. It would have been awful for 4 years.

    Lyn Darke



    Pte. Leonard Wood Royal Corps of Signals

    My dad, Leonard Wood was captured in Greece on the 28th of April 1941 and spent four and a half years in Stalag 18A

    Ann Wood



    Cpl. James Edward Francis Ord Royal Armoured Corp 4th Hussars (d.4 September 1942)

    James Ord married Gwedonline Pollock in January 1940 in St Albans before being despatched with the 4th Hussars and Royal Armoured Corp to France with the BEF and evacuated following the Siege of Calais.

    After returning to the UK James was sent to the Middle East along with the 1st Armoured Brigade and then Greece where James was captured following the Battle of Corinth Canal.

    James was transferred to Stalag 18a POW Camp near Wolfsberg, Austria. He developed pneumonia and died 4th September 1941 in Stalag 18 and was buried in Klagenfurt Cemetery.

    Russell Greig



    L/Cpl. Harry Jack Baker T Reserve Royal Engineers

    My father, Harry Jack Baker, was a POW from 1941 until the end of the war. He was held in Stalag 18a and 18d. He was a sapper(L/Cpl.) in the Royal Engineers, T Reserve. I think this was his unit: No6 (R&R)D.B.R.E. Any information would be welcome.

    Paul Baker



    Dvr. Albert Gordon Nye Royal Signals

    My father, Bert Nye was captured in Greece in 1941 and was a prisoner of war for 4 long years at Stalag 18a in Wolfsberg, Austria and luckily survived.

    Anthony Nye



    Pte. William "Toddy" Sloan

    Does anyone have information about Private William `Toddy' Sloan? He spent time in Stalag 18A, Wolfsberg, Austria and also Camp 57, Gruppignano, Italy. Can anyone help, please?

    Diane Tonge



    Wilf "Bill" Burke Northumberland Hussars Royal Artillery

    My father, Wilf (Bill) Burke was captured on Crete in 1942. He served with the Northumberland Hussars. He was a POW in Klagenfurt Camp, Stalag XVIII-A.

    Bill Burke



    L/Cpl. Martin Stanley Larkin Royal Army Service Corp

    Martin Larkin was a POW in Stalag 18A for over four years. He was in the RASC and I am looking for information about him.

    Alan Clay



    Eugene Price South Wales Borderers

    My grandad, Eugene Price, was a POW in Stalag XVIIIa, his POW number was 8003. He was in the South Wales Borderers. He spent nine years in India and was later a POW in a Japanese camp. I think he returned in 1948.

    Alan Price



    William Thomas Denzil Christopher

    I was a POW from April 1941 to May 1945 at Stalag 18A.

    W T D Christopher



    Raymond Gordon Crook 9th Div. Supply Corps

    My grandfather, Raymond Gordon Crook, served in the Australian Army during WWII. He was in the 9th Division Supply Corps, and became a POW in Stalag 18a. He escaped twice, only to be caught again.

    Kelly



    Albert Bygrave

    Albert was a POW in Stalag 18a. Does anyone remember him?

    Linda Baker



    Roy Jeffery Royal Army Service Corps

    My father, Roy Jeffery, went to Egypt with the MEF on 15th November 1940 and then on to Greece. He was taken prisoner in Greece on 29th April 1941 and spent most of the rest of the war in Stalag 18a.

    Pete Jeffery



    Pte. David Walter Hooker Royal Sussex Rgt.

    My father was captured by the Italians in 1942 and then handed over to the Germans and sent to Stalag XVIIIA.

    Paula E Heard



    Tpr. Frank "Smokey" Kenyon Reconnaissance Corps

    Addressed to my mother from Frank Kenyon

    First page of Book by Frank Kenyon

    My father, Frank Kenyon was captured in Sicily in 1943. He was eventually taken through Italy to Stalag 18A. I was born in March 1942, so, apart from when I was first born, I did not see him until I was nearly 4 years old. Apparently I was not happy, as I had my Mother all to myself for those years and told him to 'leave Mummy alone, she's my Mummy!' I remember as a very small child seeing my mother crying, it was apparently when she got the telegram to say my father was missing, presumed killed. My sister was born after he came home, in November 1946, and I remember Dad telling us stories of camp life when we were children.

    One of the tales was of getting potatoes and hiding them in their trousers, as another contributor mentioned. He also said that he was in a working party making bricks, and they used to doctor the mix so the bricks would collapse. When my mother sent photos of me as a baby, one of the guards looked at them and was amazed, saying that they were told the British children were starving, and I was 'so fat!' One time he said he had escaped and got within half a mile of the border (with Switzerland?), before being captured by guards with Alsatians - he hated the dogs for the rest of his life.

    I have a notebook he wrote during his time there, containing stories, anecdotes, cartoons and poems, all written in tiny writing in pencil.

    June Price



    Pte. Joe Sainty

    My dad, Joe Sainty was a POW for most of WWII. He was captured in Greece in 1941 and his POW number was 2471. He was interned in Stalag 18a, Wolfsberg/Karnton.

    M Hodges



    Pte. Sidney William Puzey 4th Battalion Green Howards

    My father was captured in 1942 on the Gazala line. He spent time as a POW in PG 73 in Northern Italy - then at a work camp (GW/107)associted with Stalag XVIIIA. I have over 100 letters from him to my mother during his period as a POW.

    I am particualry interested in finding out about a fello POW called George Allen who put on many of the camp plays and musicals at PG 73.

    John Puzey



    Frederick Morgan

    My father, Frederick Morgan, was a POW in Stalag 18a for four years before he escaped. He was captured in Greece but never spoke much about his POW experiences. Roll call no 2630. Does anyone remember him?

    Carol Cope



    William Cole

    My grandad is William Cole. Ee was captured in Greece and was a prisoner of war at Stalag XV111A. He was born and bred in the East End of London and resided in Buckinghamshire. He married his childhood sweetheart Rose Burnett and had two daughters. Does anyone remember him?

    Serena Garner



    Zygmunt Frackiewicz 2nd Btn. Artillery Rgt

    I have just begun researching my late father, Zygmunt Frackiewicz. He was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1914 and was 25 years old when Germany invaded Poland. He was held POW from 1939 to 1944. I have a document with the letterhead "Comite International De La Croix-Rouge. It is dated 14.9.48 and states:

    1. Incorporation: 2e Regt Artillere

    2. a ete fair prisonnier le: 19.9.1939 a Brzezany

    3. et interne: aux Stalags XVIIA-XX A et VI J

    4. sous le numero: 36398

    Le resneignment ei dissus est atteste par: des listies de prisonniers de guerre Polonhias des Stalags XVIIA-XXA et par une carte de presence au Stalags VI J du 1.8.1944.

    Can anyone give me any information/input/comments regarding this. Did POWs travel from Stalag to Stalag? Does anyone have any information regarding Zygmunt Frackiewicz?

    Susanna Frackiewicz



    Arthur May 3rd Btn. Royal Tank Rgt.

    My grandfather, Arthur May, was in the 3rd Btn Royal Tank Regiment and was captured in Crete in April 1941. He was held in Stalag 18a and then sent to Stalag 383 where he spent most of the rest of the war until he escaped to Switzerland early in 1945. Any information would be great as he did not talk about his POW days a lot.

    Phil Stride







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