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Stalag XVIIIC (317) Markt Pongau (St Johann) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Stalag XVIIIC (317) Markt Pongau (St Johann)

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

    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Stalag XVIIIC (317) Markt Pongau (St Johann)

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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    John Douglas Divall BEM 7th Btn. Royal Tank Regiment.

    My father John Douglas Divall was a POW in Stalag 18C at Markt Pongau. He escaped several times (and was awarded the BEM for doing so ) but was always recaptured! He'd been in the Royal Tank Corps. Don't suppose there's anyone out there who remembers him?.

    Doreen Devalle

    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

    Soldat. Oscar David

    Oscar David was taken POW on the 23rd of June 1940 and held in Stalag VIIIc.

    Pierrre E. David

    Winston Yeatman 19th Army Troop Engineers

    My father, Winston Yeatman from Christchurch, New Zealand was an Engineer (or 'sapper') in the 19th New Zealand Army Troop Engineers. He was a prisoner of war in Stalag V111B after being captured on Crete in 1941, arriving back in UK May 1945. His POW number was 7490. From his war record he seems to have been in a few camps - Salonika, where he was first registered as a POW at the Front. Stalag 18c; V111b; 344; Stalagluft 6; He was an Engineer in the NZ Army.

    He changed identities with Richard Pape (and others) and his exploits are in the book written by Richard Pape 'Boldness Be My Friend' and it's sequel. Dad passed away in 1986, he was always actively involved in the RSA, Ex-POW & Tin Hat Club in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    Cynthia Fraser

    Joseph Cordier

    I've recently read the diary my Grandfather wrote in WW2. I know that he has been to Stalag XVIIIC because it is written on several of his personsl affairs (his diary and his German-French dictionary). He was French and his name was Joseph Cordier.

    Julie Cordier

    S/Sgt. Olan Rice 99th Bomb Group

    Dad, Olan Rice, was a tail gunner on a B-17. He flew out of Foggia, Italy with the 15th AAF, 99th Bomb group. He was shot down over Austria on 25th of April 1945. He was taken prisoner and held at Stalag 18c at Pongau.

    Boyd Rice


    My father was sent to Stalag XVIIc. Apparently he had participated in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and had surrendered in October 1944 and was marched off to Pongau. How can I verify his internment at Stalag 317? He did not, apparently, use his real name. It seems most AK (Armia Krajowa-AK) fighters had falsified papers.

    Roman Krys

    QMS. John Thomas Tebbett Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

    Jack Tebbett was my granddad. All we know is that he was a prisoner of war in Stalag 317, we don't have any dates. His prisoner number 9067.

    Trudi Holland

    Chaim Mojsze "Maxi" Brafman

    My father Maxi Brafman served under a different identity to protect his Jewish identity. The cover identity was of James Johnson. He was injured and captured in Brac Yugoslavia, on 6th of June 1944. He first arrived at Stalag 7a, transferred to Stalag 18c few weeks later. He made a few attempts to escape with a British POW by the name of Anthony Ambleton Smith an artillery officer.

    Hope someone can fill me in with more information and hopefully pictures.

    Daphna Brafman

    Henri Tajfel

    Henri Tajfel volunteered for the French army in 1940 (we think). He was a Polish Jew, living in Paris at the time (known then as Hersz Tajfel). He later became a famous social psychologist whose biography I am writing. In this picture, taken at Stalag XVIIIC, Markt Pongau, Austria, he is second from the right, next to the man in the white shirt. He was also imprisoned in Stalag VIIIA

    I would love to hear from any relatives of other prisoners from Stalag XVIIIC, whether French or other nationality, who might have known Henri or who have diaries or other accounts of camp life.

    R Brown

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