Stalag 18A/Z

Stalag 18A/Z was located at Spittal an der Drau to the North-West of Klagenfurt and Villach. It was originally designated Stalag 18B. Initially there were two camps: a Transit Camp for POWs being moved from one area to another, and a Lazaret (hospital) which catered for sick or injured POWs. The photographs shown below may have been taken at the Camp or at the Lazaret. The same applies to the POW names. To give some idea of chronological order I have amalgamated extracts from a number of Red Cross reports.

The following description of Stalag 18A/Z comes from 'The War Story of Soldier 124280' by Mike Sadler, L/Bdr, 26th Fld. Rgt. South African Artillery. Mike had been captured in North Africa and a POW in Italy before being transferred in 1943 to Stalag 18C at Markt Pongau and then, shortly after, to 18A/Z.

Next morning we found ourself in a wide green valley, south of Markt Pongau and close to the Yugoslav border, in Stalag 18A/Z, in a town called Spittal. This was the main POW camp for Austria and was very large. (At that point Mike was obviously not aware of Stalag 18A at Wolfsberg.) There was a Transit Camp, a military hospital and a permanent camp for Allied prisoners. The Transit Camp was large and held, not only newly arrived British and Commonwealth soldiers, like ourselves, but also men of many other nationalities. such as Russians, Slavs, Czechs, Hollanders, Frenchmen and Italians but, in a sense, they were not prisoners of war. They were men who had been taken from different countries occupied by Germany. They had been brought to this camp to be registered and then would be sent to different work camps. So, on arrival, we had to complete forms and be registered as Allied Prisoners of War. We were then issued with a double rectangular Identity Tag which we were told to wear on a string round our necks so that, if we died in camp, one section would be detached and sent to the Red Cross as proof of death, and the other section would be buried with our bodies. Cheerful thought, that.

We spent two days in the Transit Camp getting sorted out and were then sent across to the Permanent Camp, in which only Allied Prisoners of War were kept. It was a large camp, divided up into four different sections with a fenced off road in the centre. The entrance gate led into the usual sorting area, except that this one also contained a kitchen and, what looked like dining hall, but we later discovered that this was only used for concerts and church services. Having been counted in the entrance area, we then passed through another gate into a fenced off roadway that ran down the middle of the compound. The main camp was on the left of the road, a smaller one on the right and a separate area fenced off at the bottom of the road. In each section there were wooden barracks, eight in the main camp and two in the smaller one on the right into which we were herded.

Captain Edward Levings of the Australian Army Medical Corps was captured in North Africa and spent some time as a Medical Officer at POW camps in Italy, before being transferred to Stalag 18A/Z in late 1943. This is his description of the lager at Spittal.

Spittal Lazarett [18A/Z] has a bed capacity of 600. An international show with the staff comprising British (3) Serbs (2) & French (4). Also a couple of Italians who have some of their own miserable horde to look after but they are not to stay with us long & will be transferred to barracks in the camp soon – thank goodness for that. There are also a couple of Russian doctors in the camp but they do not work in the hospital. The Russians are supposed to be kept away from everyone else but that’s a hopeless task. Camp comprises two separate areas – east & west lagers. East lager is exclusively British N.C.O.s. West lager is international like the hospital. We are surrounded by mule stables & normally, in peace time, the place is headquarters of an alpine regiment & our present quarters – all the hospital in fact – either barracks or stables. Administration block (wholly German) is built of brick & all the rest of timber with wooden floors. Heating seems to be adequate. After Italy the supply of drugs, dressings etc in stock is amazing, but here, too, there is no good extension apparatus. X-ray facilities are excellent. We can get as many plates as we need but, of course, must be as economical as possible. We can screen as often as we like & once a week a good x-ray specialist visits us to screen chests & stomachs & read plates. Hospital occupies about 6 acres which allows of ample room to move about in. Staff besides myself are Gunther (A.A.M.C.) Kok (S.A.M.C. – physician). Gunther is to go home next month. The orderlies are S.A.M.C., R.A.M.C. & the (Campo) 57 lads with Allen Rowey again in command. A goodly number of the 57 people are round about but nearly all have passed on to Germany.
Dentistry is done by two French officers & Doug McLeod – who can now finish the job on me he started at Campo 57 last July.
Warmer here than up in Germany but still cold enough.
Whole place is in a valley through which runs the Drau. Valley is about 2 ½ miles across with high mountains to the N & S – these are now snow clad & glint beautifully in the sun. The lower hills are forest clad.

Known to be present

Forename
Surname
Rank
Unit
POW
Comments
Arty Albrow        
Peter J. Anderson Sgt RASC 5116  
G.A.S. Atkinson Cpl DLI 39664 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
H. Bain WO RASC 9452 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
William Richard Charles Baker Dvr R Sigs 819 Liverpool
A. Ball        
J. Balshaw        
Des Barratt        
A.V. (Acker) Barsley Sgt R Sigs 9355  
Ernest Howard Batchelor Sgt RE 906 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
G. Bates        
F.W. (Vic) Baum F/Sgt RAF 9179  
H.J. Bean        
R. (Bob) Bell        
Jack Bennett        
G. Bode Pte 2/15 Inf. Bn. 8319 Australia
James W. Bofinger Pte 6 Div. Prov. Co. 6928 Australia
Alan E. Bowey S/Sgt 2/8 Inf. Bn. 7334 Australia
John Franklin Bradley T/L/Cpl 21 Bn. 1464 Wanganui, NZ; transf'd to Stalag 383
R. Brain Pte RASC 7740  
H.J. Bran RSM RA 9094  
S. Browell Cpl RAMC 8792  
E. Brown        
Frederick William Charles Brown BSM RA 7386 also 410/GW
J.S. Brown       Manchester
Matty Caldwell        
K. Cameron        
R. Carpenter        
E. Cashmore Dvr RE 1215 Tamworth; transf'd to Stalag 357
Edward Charles Castell Cpl   8235 New Zealand
D. Cavanagh Sgt   8094 New Zealand; transf'd to Stalag 357
Doug Chandler Sgt R Sigs 9344 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
R. Chapman        
J. Charton        
E. Chatwin WO2 2/28 Inf. Bn. 7629 Australia; transf'd to Stalag 357
G.G. Cleverly Sgt   7767 New Zealand
H. Cochrane        
W. Cole        
E. Collins        
R.J. Connelly        
R.C. Constable Sgt RASC 8958 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
C.H. Cook Gnr   4977 New Zealand
A.A.S. Cotman WO 1 2/15 Inf. Bn. 8821 Australia
F. Cox        
Cyril Crawford Dvr RASC 1428  
E. Crisp        
William Thomas Cullen SSM RE 9277  
Fred G Cummings Sgt R Sigs 39365  
O.C. (Gus) D'Alcorn L/Sgt Foresters 39481  
O.V.S. Damelin Pte   8574 South Africa; transf'd to Stalag 8A
R. Davey        
T. Davies        
W. T. Dear L/Sgt RA 7356 MOC Lazaret
L.J. Dyke Sgt RA 9320  
C.T. Eddy Cpl   9126 South africa
Snowy Elfic        
Horace Richard Ellis Dvr RASC 8370 Italy POW; transf'd to Stalag 18C
J. Ellis        
Ed H. Engledow   RAF 9270 R/Gnr, Wellington Bomber; shot down over Sicily
Joe B.L. Farrow        
C.S. Forbes        
Jeff Fowell        
Dave Galbraith        
J. (Jock) Galloway WO2 Cam. H. 9178  
George J. Gillet Sgt 2/3 Pnr. Bn. 7714 Australia
George Gittings L/Cpl CMP 2613 Transf'd to Stalag 357
J.W. Glare Pte 1 A/Tk. Rg. 3887 Australia
George Frank Green Bdr RA 39205 Ipswich; transf'd to Stalag 18C
Percy Green St Sgt 22 Bn. 4148 New Zealand
? Greenwood        
A. Gregg CSM RE 9053  
Les Grimward Dvr RASC 7228 Transf'd to Stalag 357
William W. Gunther Capt AAMC 4940 MO; also 924/GW
A. Hale        
Roy Hall Sgt DLI 9005 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
W. Hanlon Pte Cam. H. 7775  
A. Harnwell Sgt AAC 7769  
C. Harris        
W. Harwood        
Paddy Hayes       Ireland
R. Henderson        
Norman Henstridge Sgt 2/15 Inf. Bn. 7703 Australia
Ken Henty Sgt Queens 9273 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
J.A. Herdman Sgmn R Sigs 7976  
T. Hills Cpl RE 1203 Wales; transf'd to Stalag 383
R. Hodder Pte   4283 New Zealand
Chas. O. Holliday L/Sgt RA 9484 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
R. Hopper        
? Humphrey Sgt      
H. Husbands Bdr   7758 South Africa
W.J. (Bill) Hutchings L/Cpl RE 7322  
Alf Hutton        
J. Hynd L/Cpl Seaf. H. 6208  
A. Jeffries   RE   Birmingham
C. Jessop        
G. Johnston        
Norry Jopson Sgt PC 8179 Theatre; transf'd to Stalag 383
Harry A. Kaplin Cpl 7 Div. Sigs 5216 Australia; MOC
R. Keddie Dvr RASC 6911 100/L; transferred to Stalag 383
Peter Kilbey CSM CG 1749 Transf'd to Stalag 383
W. Kingsland Sgt R Sussex 9301 Transf'd to Stalag 357
O.V.S. Kok Capt SAMC 9546 South Africa; MO
? Kotisch       Serbian doctor
G.B. Lamsdale Tpr RAC 6040 100/L; transf'd to Stalag 383
David Lavender CQMS R Sussex 9391 Transf'd to Stalag 357
J.R. Lawrence        
R. Laws Pte RAMC 9305  
E. (Ted) Leaman        
R.L. Leggo WO 1 2/28 Inf. Bn. 7694 Australia; transf'd to Stalag 357
T.H. Leppens S/Sgt   9316 South Africa; transf'd to Stalag 357
Edward W. Levings Capt 3 A/Tk. Rg. 31588 New Zealand; MO
H. Lewin        
Neville Lodge Cpl   9333 New Zealand
W. Lowen (Lowan?)        
John Douglas Lyon Dvr RASC 7320  
D.A. Macfarlane Dvr RASC 7774  
George Maig        
R. (W?) Main-Ellen        
A.J. Marshall Pte RASC 1011 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
Bill Martin        
R.E. Mason Cpl 1 A.C. HQ 5181  
F. Masterton        
Les McConnell        
John Patrick McCosker L/Bdr 1 A/Tk. Rgt. 1495 Australia; also 11006/GW; transf'd to Stalag 357
J. McDermid Pte Cam. H. 4135  
E. McDonald        
C. McEvoy        
R.H. McGillivray Dvr   9265 New Zealand
I.B. McIver Padre   3326  
J.E. McKenzie Sgt RE 1664 Transf'd to Stalag 383
L. McWilliam        
A.E. Mecham   RE   Liverpool
Pat Miles        
? Milosevisch       Serbian Sanitator
F. Mitchell Pte Leics. 7260 Leicester
Tex Mitchell       Australia
Arthur Moore        
Thomas Garard Morley Pte 2/3 Pnr. Bn. 6487 Australia; Italy POW
Arthur Morris        
Alan Moss        
T. Motford        
Victor Roland Murray L/Sgt 2/13 Inf. Bn. 7390 Australia; also 1017/GW, 1046/GW, 131/L, 95/GW
A. Nixon        
Reg V. Nottingham Dvr R Sigs 4219 Transf'd to Stalag 357
N.T. O'Boyle        
Doug Oliver        
W. Oliver        
A.J. Onley L/Cpl 1 A.C.H.Q. 3988 Australia
L.J. O'Regan Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3977 Australia; transf'd to Stalag 18C
Taffy Owen       Theatre
A. Owens        
J. Parker        
C. Payne        
Lloyd Frederick Penn Pte 2/32 Inf. Bn. 7419 Australia
D. Potter        
Jack Power        
F.J. Pretorius L/Cpl   9493 South Africa
E.E. Price Pte RAVC 1210  
Peter Puohotaua T/L/Cpl   4149 New Zealand; also 11041/GW
Wally Redgewell L/Sgt RA 9141 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
J. Reid        
Leslie John Rhodes Pte 19 Bn. 9194 New Zealand
J. Richardson        
Les Riley BSM RA 8980  
E.B. Rishton        
J. Rivett        
Les Robbins        
J.S. Robertson        
? Rogan        
D.C. Roper WO 1 HQ 17 Inf. Bde. 5240 Australia
Len Rudgley   RASC   Repat'd 1944; died 1946
J. Russell        
Mike Sadler L/Bdr 26 Fd. Rg., SAA 7894 South Africa
F. Scales Cpl 2/7 Inf. Bn. 5139 Australia
G. Scott        
Ted Seabrook        
John (Jack) Sealby BQMS RA 9461  
Alexander Frederick Seaman Cpl RASC 1072  
W.H.A. Sefton WO 2 2/28 Inf. Bn. 7701 Australia
W. Seymour        
Basil R. Sharp        
Arthur Sibbons        
H. Smith Bdr   7145 100/L
George Grant Sneddon Sgt A&SH 7736 Aidrie; Italy POW
? Souter BSM      
David Gibson Steven Cpl A&SH 7523 Midlothian; Italy POW
A. Stone        
Albert G. Strudwick Gnr RA 6863 Cranford, London; transf'd to Stalag 383
F.J. Suddaby RSM RAC 2398 Transf'd to Stalag 18C
John (Jack) Swinnerton Bdr RA 508 Liverpool; 10030/GW, 942/GW; transf'd to Stalag 383
David Syme Bdr 3 Lt. A.A. Rgt. 7393  
P. Tarney Tpr RAC 5796  
B. Taylor        
W. Tempest Spr   8525 South Africa
Fred Thomas        
W. Thomson        
George W. Truluck Sgt RA 9327  
Johnny Verblis   Merchant Navy (Alba)    
Bill Wainwright        
L.H. Wales Pte 7 Div. Prov. Coy. 6074 100/L
Tom Walsh        
A. Ward        
W.H. Wellington L/Sgt 2/28 Inf. Bn. 7368 Australia
J. West        
Leslie Jessie Watson Pte 2/32 Inf. Bn. 6626 Australia; 95/GW
D.V. Weller L/Sgt R Sigs 4383 Transf'd to Stalag 357
F. Wheatcroft Tpr RAC 5363  
R.E. Williams        
Snowy Wilson        
A. Winter        
W. Wood        
B. Yates        
 
Ian Houston group Ian Houston group William Logie group
 
David Forsyth group David Forsyth group  
Peter Puohotaua group Peter Puohotaua on L Peter Puohotaua on R
 
Dear, Levings, Damelin, Mitchell Levings & Kok, Medical Officers  

'The Corner'

I have a number of photos, from a variety of sources, all taken at the same location which I have dubbed 'The Corner'. I'm pretty sure that they were taken in Stalag 18A/Z. The bottom left photo with the reversed title should read 'The Great Paddy O'Reilly'. The original photo had been reversed at some point.

 

'The White Door'

Similarly, the following set were all taken in front of a white door. Again, I'm pretty sure that this was in 18A/Z.

   

Edward Levings

 

 

The Theatre

Photos from some of the shows staged in 18A/Z. Supplied by Wendy Ward, daughter of Sgt Ernest Batchelor, RA.

Pygmalion

The Wind and the Rain

     

Race Day & Carnival?



Stalag 18A/Z History

November 1942

Camp

Man of Confidence: Sgt H. Kaplin
Camp Officer: Major Graf Leiningen
German Doctor: H. Fasan
British Doctor: Capt. Andrea Mikellides, RAMC (+ 3 Medical Orderlies)
Padre: G. Rex Morgan, R.A.Ch.D.
POW Strength: 209

Little coal is available and winter is setting in. Only one hot shower a week is available. Men coming in from Work Camps are often in worn-out uniforms. At least 400 uniforms are needed.S Rev. Morgan is still having problems with the camp authorities who would like to have him transferred but the POWs are supporting him.

Only minor cases are treated in the Infirmary; the rest go to the Lazaret. Capt Mickelledes wishes a transfer as he only has minor medical work to do heare.

Lazaret

Medical Officer: Capt. Ian McD. G. Stewart (Stuart?), RAMC
German Doctor: H. Fasan
Surgeon: Serbian (name unknown)
6 Medical Orderlies
3 Dentists
80 British patients

The medical equipment in the lazaret is very good. It is possible to carry out every surgical intervention. The Serbian surgeon is very efficient and clever. There is no civil hospital available. The drug supply is sufficient and there are some facilities for dietary treatment. There is no sign of vitamin deficiency but some of iron deficiency. The dentists are short of dental material. Dental treatment is free.

January 1943

Camp

Man of Confidence: Sgt H. Kaplin
POW Strength: 100 (41 English, 30 Australian, 20 NZ)

Since the new Stalag 18B was created, this camp is the equivalent of a large Work Camp. German administration is carried out by one officer and a Paymaster. The camp would have been done away with were it not for the nearby Lazaret. About 100 POWs a month pass through the camp and Lazaret. They are allowed to recover their health, morale and equipment before being moved on. The buildings of the old Stalag 18B are being used to accommodate POWs elegible for repatriation, who were once at Stalag 18D. 20 NCOs arrived in May 1942 and will shortly be transferred to Stalag 3C. About 600 men (100 permanent occupants, 100 in transit, 400 in nearby Work Camps) are dependent on this camp.

The camp contains about 10 tons of bulk food and 9 tons of Red Cross parcels (5kg each). The coal ration (1.4kg/day/head) is inadequate.

Lazaret

Medical Corps: 40 (12 British + 1 Chaplain)
7 Doctors (2 British)
293 patients (34 British)

Camp comprises 4 large huts each divided into rooms holding 20-40 patients.

May 1943

Camp

Man of Confidence: Sgt H. Kaplin
Camp Officer: Oblt. Gatternik
Padre: Capt. I.B. McIver (NZ)
POW Strength: 201

A nearby camp is to accommodate 400 NCOs (probably from Stalag 18A).

Lazaret

M.O: Capt. Stewart
Padre: Capt. J.C. Hobling
48 British patients

August 1943

Camp

Camp Leader: D.C. Roper, 5240
POW Strength: 664 (362 British)

The whole camp (excluding the Lazaret) is to be transferred to the eastern side of the camp. (Presumably this became the Ostlager.) 32 Medical Orderlies want a transfer to Stalag 8B.

Lazaret

Camp Leader: Sgt I.C. Edmundsen, 5032
M.O: Capt Stewart

November 1943

Camp

Chief MOC: Sgt H. Kaplin
Camp Officer: Oblt. Gatternig
Abwehr Officer: Haupt. Hartang
Ostlager MOC: W.O. A.G. Johnston
Padre: Capt McIver
POW Strength: 874 British
                        Ostlager - 416 (used for POWs from Italy)
                        Westlager - 312
                        Lazaret - 138

In September 1943, about 4200 British POWs passed through this camp in transit from Italy to Germany.

Lazaret

Senior M.O: Capt W.W. Gunther, AAMC
MOC: Sgt W.T. Dear, 7356
 German Doctor: H. Fasan
138 patients plus medical staff

June 1944

Camp

MOC: Sgt H. Kaplin
POW Strength: 185 (94 British)

During the last few days the POW strength has decreased as 200 NCOs have been transferred to Stalag 18C. The camp has a small theatre and an orchestra.

Lazaret

M.O: Capt O.V.S. Kok, 9546 (South Africa)
MOC: Sgt W.T. Dear
German Doctor: H. Fasan
Medical Staff: 9 Doctors (2 British), 23 Medical Orderlies (11 British)
323 patients (81 British)

From October 1944, The Red Cross reports refer to Spittal Hospital rather than the Lazaret. The description is of a building on the outskirts of Spittal rather than a camp.

October 1944

Camp

MOC: Sgt H. Kaplin

Hospital

M.O.s: Capt O.V.S. Kok, Capt E. Levings, 31588 (Australia)
MOC: Sgt W.T. Dear
Medical Staff: 28 (17 British)
234 patients (60 British)
Unfit for service: 100 (28 British)

The hospital is in the suburbs of Spittal near to a railway.
 

February 1945

Hospital

M.O.s: Capt O.V.S. Kok, Capt E. Levings, 31588 (Australia)
MOC: Sgt W.T. Dear
253 patients (102 British, 29 American)

A lot of British and American recently wounded in Italy are being treated. About 20 American and British wounded have arrived from the Western front.

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