Work Camp 924 GW
Type of work: Muhrwerk (building work)
Man of Confidence: Sgt Major Chapple
Number of Men: 270
|John||Adams||Cardiff; Trumpet player|
|Den||Allen||Stage electrician , Theatre|
|Peter H.||Beattie||L/Cpl||RE||1331||Theatre Player,|
|R||Beattie||Capt||NZMC||9520||Producer; also MO at Stalag 18A|
|Den||Berry||L/Cpl||RE||1790||Coventry; Musician (violin)|
|W.H.||Bigford||L/Cpl||RASC||2344||Wolverhampton; transf'd to Stalag 357|
|Arthur J.||Blake||Dvr||RE||1746||Theatre player|
|Archie||Broadbent||Sgt||R Sigs||419||Manchester; Musician (drums); also 10084/GW|
|Ethrid E. (Curly)||Busch||6 Fd. Coy, NZ Eng.||New Zealand|
|Doug||Carnell||Sgmn||R Sigs||963||Nottingham; Musician (Violin); Thugs rugby team|
|Jock||Chalmers||Dvr||RASC||1755||Alloa; Asst. Stage Manager, Theatre|
|Eddie||Chatterley||Spr||RE||2009||Theatre player; also Stalag 18A|
|Ernest A.||Congdon||Sgmn||R Sigs||4826||London|
|Charles Rickaby||Coulson||Dvr||RASC||3230||Stage prompt, Theatre|
|Vic L||Cripps||Pte||607||New Zealand|
|Fred J.||Curtis||Dvr||RASC||3240||London; Piano player|
|Winston F (Fat)||Daniell||T/L/Cpl||4205||New Zealand, theatre player|
|Harvey||Garland||Pte||4139||New Zealand; Theatre player; also Stalag 18A|
|Cambrai J||Grinter||Cpl||740||NZ, Stage sets, Theatre ; Thugs rugby team; 18A theatre; possibly 10029/GW|
|Norm||Gunn||Spr||RE||1355||Stage carpenter, Theatre; also10049/GW (Trasischk)|
|William W.||Gunther||Capt||AAMC||4940||MO; also MO Stalag 18A/Z|
|Horace||Hartwell||L/Cpl||RE||2083||Stage carpenter, Theatre|
|E.A. (Ted)||Hatcher||Pte||RASC||1702||Theatre player|
|Alfred||Haywood||Dvr||R Sigs||488||Theatre player|
|Ralph||Henry||Stage electrician, Theatre|
|Harold E.||Heslop||Pte||2/8 Inf. Bn.||1506||Victoria, Australia|
|W. (George?)||Holland||Tpr||RAC||2012||Theatre Player|
|Herbert Alan||Holmes||Dvr||RE||1686||Manchester, UK|
|William G.||Houghton||Dvr||RE||1749||Wigan, UK|
|Ray B.||Innocent||Sgmn||R Sigs||785||Manchester; Musician; also 10084/GW|
|H.C.E. 'Harry'||Johnson||Tpr||RAC||3243||Stage sets, Theatre; 4th Hussars|
|Charles||Johnstone||Song lyrics, Theatre|
|W.A. (Bill)||Lonsdale||Dvr||RASC||1628||Stage costumes, Theatre|
|Frederick M.||Malins||Dvr||R Sigs||916||Set design, Theatre|
|Jock||McCormack||Asst. Theatre Manager|
|Henry||Morgan||Producer, Script writer|
|William R.||Morgan||Dvr||RE||1750||Wales; Stage Manager, Theatre,|
|Ted||Nevison||Tpr||RAC||2021||Yorks; Stage curtains, Theatre; transf'd to Stalag 344|
|Bob||Oliver||London; Band Leader|
|Ivor H.W.||Parsons||Spr||RE||2098||Sussex; Stage carpenter, Theatre|
|George Ernest||Perry||Pte||4194||Wellington, New Zealand; musician|
|L.||Picton||Tpr||RAC||1985||Deal; transf'd to Stalag 344|
|Charles Frederick (Gus)||Rayner||Spr||4221||Auckland, New Zealand; Musician (violin)|
|G. Charles||Roper||Spr||RE||1747||Co. Durham|
|Fred (Buck)||Rowland(s)||Business Manager, Theatre|
|D.E.J.||Saint-Amand||Gnr||RA||762||Theatre Player; Set design|
|J.L.||Sharman||Tpr||RAC||1969||Ash, Kent; transf'd to Stalag 344|
|Johnny||Slack||Producer; possibly also 10029/GW|
|Les L.||Spiers||Dvr||RASC||1625||Theatre costumes|
|William E.R.||Symonds||Tpr||RAC||1669||Surrey; transf'd to Stalag 344|
|Bert Edward||Thatcher||Tpr||RAC||Also 107/GW; died 9.2.45|
|Ernest Alfred||Thomas||Sgmn||R Sigs||954||also 10049/GW|
|David J||Vinney||Spr||RE||1871||Theatre Player|
|Jack||Ward||Pte||18 Bn.||727||Wellington, NZ; Stage curtains, Theatre|
|Norman J||White||Sgmn||R Sigs||1975|
|Eric||Whitehead||London; Saxophone player|
|Les J.||Wootton||Pte||RASC||2674||London; Saxophone|
|Tom||Worfolk||Pte||RASC||2507||Stage electrician, Theatre|
|Ellis||Wroe||Pte||RAVC||823||Stage make-up & wigs, Theatre|
|Harry||Yeoman||Tpr||RAC||902||Transf'd to Stalag 344|
|Leslie Botten||Alf Hutchings||John MacIntosh|
|William Houghton||Room 4|
|William Ion||William Ion group||Capt. Gunther group|
|Three One-Act Plays||Three One-Act Plays||Room 4 Christmas Menu|
|Bob Oliver's 200th||Bob Oliver's 200th||Christmas Menu p2|
|Panto Programme, 1943||Programme inside||Christmas Menu p3|
|Roll on the Boat||Peter Craig||Christmas Menu p4|
Name and photographs kindly supplied by Ken Maris, son of William Maris, Lesley Wain, daughter of Leslie Botten, Hannah Moss, neice of Herbert Holmes and Ed Hutchings, son of Alf Hutchings.
This camp is well situated outside Nikolasdorf (sic). The sheds are of the wooden type with rooms for 24 men. There is a special drying room. The need for a second uniform is acute as the work done by the prisoners of war is dirty. The Accompanying officer informed the representatives of the Protecting Power that Oberstleutnant von Reckow (Commandant of Stalag 18A) was organising this matter so that every man will have a second uniform. In this camp there is a big recreation room where the prisoners of war can give concerts and representations.
The British patients are taken care of by Cpt. W Gunther, who has full competency to decide whether a man is able to work or not. Furthermore, the patients are attended by two recognised medical orderlies.
The conditions in the infirmary are quite adequate. At present, there are 5 patients lying in bed and 12 patients getting ambulatory treatment. Emergencies are sent to the civil hospital in Leoben, the more serious cases to the camp infirmary in Wolfsberg.
The doctor complains about the fact that Red Cross medical supply is arriving very insufficiently and irregularly. This was brought to the attention of the Commander.
The camp can be called a good one.
This is part of a general report on six Work Camps visited on the same day. The camps were:
A 956 GW: Building operations, 37 men (5 Australian, 12 NZ)
A 980 GW: Magnesium mine, 117 men (20 Australian, 25 NZ)
A 924 GW: Building operations, 270 men (12 Australian, 40 NZ)
A 47 GW: Building operations, 20 men (all British)
A 959 GW: Saw Mills, 23 men (7 Australian, 3 NZ)
A 194 GW: Brick works, 28 men (1 Australian)
The camps visited in particular were 956 GW and 924 GW.
The men of the Labour Detachments were captured in Greece
in April 1941 and arrived three months later at Stalag XVIIID. Certain Labour
Detachments date from this period, others were formed later.
The prisoners of war are lodged in barrack huts of the usual kind, well built. Generally these are provided with two tier bunks having palliasses and two blankets issued by the company for which they are working. These blankets are often both small and thin, but most of the men have a third one which is their own personal property. At night they cover themselves with their greatcoats. Both the daylight and the electric light are adequate. The heating is satisfactory.
In certain Labour Detachments the prisoners of war lock up their personal effects in cupboards, but, for the most part they have none and their place is taken by suitcases made of compressed fibre.
All the POWs in these Detachments possess one complete uniform. This is in more or less good condition depending upon the date of their last stay at the Stalag where it is possible to exchange worn clothes for some in better condition. Certain men still have some articles of French, Belgian or Yugoslav uniform which they were given at some time or other at Stalag XVIIID.
In regard to footgear, the state of this varies according to the nature of the work done by the men. In some cases shoes, as well as trousers, are taken away from the men at night and put outside the cantonments where at the present time everything freezes. In the morning the prisoners are obliged to put their shoes near the stove in order to get them soft again and the leather obviously suffers from this treatment.
Except in rare cases the prisoners get no working clothes issued to them and, as the exchange of uniforms is made only on a very reduced scale since their captivity, the condition of clothing is relatively bad for British prisoners. The officer of the battalion of the guard attached to these detachments has, however, assured the delegates that each POW will receive a complete new outfit which will come from the stocks in the old Camps XVIIIB (annexe) (ex XVIIID) and XVIIIB, which are about to be closed down. If the prisoners are able to keep these outfits strictly for working purposes everything will be all right. This matter still remains unsettled, however.
On the other hand, in regard to underclothing, prisoners have all that they need.
The laundry is done by such POWs as can heat the necessary water. In the winter the clothing has to be dried in the prisoners’ room.
The food is prepared by the prisoners on suitable stoves or in the communal kitchen of the Company for which they are working. This arrangement has given rise to no serious complaints.
The food rations correspond to those of the civilian population.
In most of the Detachments the prisoners have adapted the stoves in their rooms so that they can cook upon them the food supplies coming from their personal and collective parcels. As a general rule the food given to prisoners is satisfactory from all points of view.
The installations available to prisoners for personal washing vary a lot from one Detachment to another. Thus some are primitive while others are modern and convenient.
On the other hand, the latrines are everywhere very primitive; among other things the five seats available for 270 men in the Detachment A 924 GW are clearly insufficient.
This last mentioned Detachment has an Infirmary comprising 12 bunks. This is under the direction of an English doctor, Captain William Gunther, No. 4940. Six bunks were occupied on the day of our delegates’ visit by prisoners suffering from influenza, dysentery and some complaint suspected to be tuberculosis.
The general state of health is excellent. In case of need prisoners can go alone to consult civilian doctors. Sick prisoners and victims of accidents while at work are sent to the neighbouring town where they are well cared for.
Dental attention given to the prisoners varies much from one attachment to another. In certain of them prisoners can, without difficulty obtain all the attention they need, against payment, artificial dentures included. For this purpose they go to a local dentist. In other detachments prisoners can have nothing save extractions done. For instance, 7 men in the Detachment 924 GW were able to go to a nearby town during the last 9 months in order to get their dentures repaired or to have new ones made. Some few men have even been able to be seconded from their Detachments for a week or two in order to have their teeth attended to.
Leisure, Intellectual and Religious needs
The Detachments have been visited once or twice by an Anglican pastor and a Catholic priest. The Catholic prisoners are not allowed to attend the celebration of Mass in the local churches.
Each Detachment is in possession of books coming from individual parcels or from the Stalag Circulating Library where books can be changed two or three times a year.
No study courses have been organised but in the large Detachments prisoners give lectures and a certain number of men have obtained books from Geneva or direct from England.
A jazz orchestra plays in the largest of the Labour Detachments. The others have some guitars, Mandolins and small accordions which they have been able to obtain on the spot.
The prisoners have no indoor games.
Sports are not indulged in much, as the work is generally speaking very arduous. Moreover, besides having not much leisure time the prisoners have neither sports equipment nor a suitable ground on which to play outdoor games. Nevertheless the prisoners’ physical state is satisfactory.
There is no canteen. It is extremely difficult to procure even articles of essential necessity in this district. Prisoners are without such things as razor blades, toothbrushes, tooth powder, toilet paper, paper, pencils, black boot polish, cigarette papers, etc.
Since September 1941 it has been possible to distribute each week one parcel weighing 5 kg, or its equivalent in ‘bulk food’; each Detachment has a small reserve stock which the Camp Leader has complete authority in allotting. The only complaint is that tinned foods are opened at the time they are distributed; they are supposed to be emptied into containers which the prisoners cannot always obtain. All but 1 or 2 per cent of the men received a Xmas parcel. It has now been announced that the old system of distributing one 5 kg parcel will be reverted to in future. This news was received with great satisfaction by the prisoners.
In regard to clothing parcels, these are practically non-existent.
Work and Pay
The number of working days is not very large: 8 hours a day, 5 on Saturday and Sunday free. With regard to the nature of the work done, this varies according to the Detachment. It is usually concerned with transport or mining, in the construction of roads, embankments, buildings, and in quarries or sawmills. The prisoners with the exception of those in A 980 GW do not complain of the work.
The basic pay is 0.70 RM per day; certain prisoners who are employed on piece-work rates earn up to 2 RM per day. It is to be observed that the prisoners have no opportunity to spend their money.
The delegates received complaints from all quarters on the subject of correspondence. This together with the subject of clothing is the principal concern of the prisoners in these Detachments. A very considerable slowing-up in the distribution of mails has taken place since the summer. While at that time letters between England and the Camps took two or three weeks to come and go, it now takes as many months for them to make the journey. Moreover, one letter out of three, either outgoing or incoming, never arrives. The letters most recently received in the Detachments date from last October. Prisoners who have worked in the central Camp Administrative Department aver that many weeks elapse between the arrival of the mail at the central Camp and its distribution to the Labour Detachments.
Interview with the Camp Leaders (without witnesses)
The interview with the Camp Leaders touched on all the points mentioned above.
Interview with the German authorities
These were conciliatory. Our delegates were assured that they would give full attention to the solution of the difficulties referred to, as far as lay in their power.
The living conditions of the prisoners are fairly satisfactory as a general rule and the civilian population is well disposed to them. The country is pleasant and the climate is healthy. The New Zealanders and the Australians have now become perfectly acclimatized to it. The collective parcels service functions to the satisfaction of everyone. It is the matter of correspondence and of the clothing situation which causes concern at the moment. Our delegates, however, have been informed that a solution of the clothing problem will soon be arrived at.