The Crown & Anchor mat

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In 1974, by the side of the Princes Highway in Dandenong, Victoria, Australia, a passerby found a curious piece of cloth. On the cloth were the six symbols of a Crown and Anchor game: crown, anchor, diamond, heart, club and spade. In addition, the whole of the playing surface was covered with the names of over 300 POWs from Stalag 18A.

Recognising its importance, the finder handed the mat in to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Since the late 1980s, the mat has been on display in the Museum, currently in the 'Prisoners of the Germans' section in the Second World War Gallery.

The mat measures 434mm x 817mm (17x32 inches). It has been made from a drawstring calico bag opened out flat. 

(If you have any information about the mat, who made it, how it got back to Australia, then please get in touch with me by email.)

Doug Nix remembers

Doug Nix was a Gunner in the 2/1 Field Artillery, AIF, captured at Kalamata, Greece in 1941 and then a POW in Stalag 18A. His name appears on the Crown and Anchor mat. Doug, who now lives in Queensland, Australia, remembers that the mat was made from one of the bags used to bundle the straw mattresses used in the camp. The coloured dyes used to create the game symbols were extracted by soaking Red Cross parcels in water. He thinks that the mat was signed by most of the occupants of one barrack in Stalag 18A, possibly Barrack No. 3, the mat being handed around for each man to sign.

Names on the Mat

V Abraitis Dvr RASC 2489  
R.S. Aitken Pte ? 4167 New Zealand
W Allbon Cpl 24 Bn. 824 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 383
A.E. Alliman A/Sgt 9 Div. AASC 3881 Australia; Transferred to Stalag 357
J Allport Pte ? 4695 New Zealand
L Almond Tpr RAC 9201  
W.E. Andrews CQMS Sherwood Foresters 1462 Transferred to Stalag 383
J (Jock) Arbuckle Cpl RASC 7600 Stalag 18A Theatre
C Armstrong Dvr RASC 2750  
R Atkins Gnr RA 778  
H.J. Austin Dvr R Sigs 937  
S.J. Backhaus Pte 18 Inf. Tng. Bn. 4767 Australia; Transferred to Stalag 8B
A Baker   RA 359 or 9372  
D.S. Balfour Pte RAVC 776  
G.L. Ball Gnr RA 5764  
J.W. Barker Gnr 7 A.T. Rgt. 3832 New Zealand
A Barlow L/Bdr RA 5095  
S.J. Barnett Pte RASC 2309  
F.C. Barron Pte 19 Bn. 961 New Zealand
E.J. Bascombe Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 68 Australia
E.L. Baty Pte 4 Fld. Amb.   Work Party 410/L; escaped 8.4.44
Jack Bavister Pte 21 Bn. 4192 New Zealand
J.A. Baxter Pte 19 Bn. 4185 New Zealand
J.F. Baxter Gnr RA 25181  
J Beckett   RAOC    
A.C. Bedford Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 3845 Australia
A.H. Bennett Dvr RE 1033  
E.R. Beven Pte 2/10 Inf. Bn. 3669 Australia
J.J.D. Bilbrough Pte H.Q. 1 Cp. 4004 Australia
G Boardman Gnr RA 481  
E.G. Boden Pte 2/8 Inf. Bn. 3792 Australia
W A Borovich Pte 18 Bn. 4256 New Zealand
C.F. Bowden Gnr RA 8482  
J.W.A. Bradford Spr RE 2198  
W Branch L/Sgt RA 1564  
R.E. Brewis Pte 2/8 Inf. Bn. 3826 Australia
J Bright L/Cpl CMP 7360  
E.F. Brodie Gnr 2/1 Fld. Rgt. 985 Australia
J.A. Brook L/Cpl 2/2 Fld. Rgt. 7102 Australia
W.S. Broom L/Bdr RA 1199  
C Brown   MDC?   New Zealand
C.C. Brown Pte 2/2 Inf. Bn. 3734 Australia
D.B. Brundell Pte 20 Bn. 4096 New Zealand
A.A. Brydon Gnr RA 5424  
N Burchett Spr RE 1191?  
H.T. Burton Pte 2/2 Inf. Bn. 7062 Australia
R.H. Bush Sgmn 1 Cps. Sigs. 3380 Australia
Ernest T. A. Butcher Pte 21 Bn.. 3339 New Zealand
Thomas W. Cameron Dvr R Sigs 944  
A Campbell   RE    
J Campbell   RAC    
J.J. Campbell   21 Bn.   New Zealand
N Campbell Cpl RASC 3460  
P.H. Campbell Dvr RASC 2369  
T.F. Carmichael Pte 18 Bn. 124 New Zealand
J Carter Tpr Div. Cav. 855 New Zealand
W Carter   RHA    
J.D. Caskie Pte Div H.Q. 310 New Zealand
J Cassidy   1 AC   Australia
M Chanter   17 B H Q   Australia
F.P. Chitty Spr 6 Fld. Coy. 244 Gisbourne, NZ; 10030/GW transf'd to Stalag 317
P.F. Chitty   2/2 Fld. Amb.   Australia
W.T.D. Christopher Sgmn R Sigs 192  
A Clarke   2/4 Bn.   Australia
Frank Cliff Pte 2/1 Pnr. Bn. 1517 Mosman, NSW, Australia; Work Party 13048/L
R.W. Cobb Spr RE 5464  
M Collins   4 Fld. Art.   New Zealand
M.V. Collins Pte   276 New Zealand; Maurice from Christchurch?
C.H. Cooper   RTC    
F Cooper Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3895 Australia
S Copestick   RE    
Lester Morel Cosseboom Pte 24 Bn. 3458 New Zealand
K.C. Cowan Pte   5915  
H Crellin Dvr RASC 5209  
W.J. Cromie Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 1499 Australia
H Crouch   2/6  Bn.   Australia
K.E. Davis Rfmn KRRC 4917  
A Dewar Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3649 Australia
H Dewes Pte   418  
George Joseph Dixon Pte 23 Bn 2937 New Zealand
J Donohoe Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3777 Australia
R Dooley Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 3268 Australia
A.P.  Downie Tpr RAC 2647  
G Drewitt Pte? 52 Bn. Commandos 8355? Hayward has G Drewitt, Pte, Welch in Stalag 383
J.J.D. Dunbar Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3376 Victoria, Australia
R.A. Dunlop Gnr   995  
J.T. Durkin Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3441 Australia
A.E. Dyer Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn.   Australia
R Dykes Pte 2/5 Inf. Bn. 3616 Australia
G Elliman Spr RE 1651  
M.W  Ellis Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 7117 Australia
A.H. Evans Sgmn R Sigs 4800  
F Evans   RE    
W.M. Farmer Spr RE 5514  
Farrelly Pte H.Q. Gd. Bn. 4074 Australia
E.M. Farrier Bdr RA 338  
Michael Ambrose Farrington Sgt 21 Bn. 7531 New Zealand
J.E. Fearon Tpr Div. Cav. 194 New Zealand
B.L. Fenton   6 Div ASC   Australia
T.J. Fenton A/Sgt 2/1 Inf. Bn. 5963 Transferred to Stalag 357
G.W. Ferguson   ASC   Australia
L Fisher   27 MG Bn.   New Zealand
G.A. Florence Tpr RAC 2884 Work Party 10030/GW Camp Leader; Capt'd Greece; 3RTR
W.R. Foggon Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 3678 Australia
L.J. Ford Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3689 Victoria, Australia
William Wellington Fountain Gnr 5th Fld. Rgt. 889 New Zealand; 11027/?; Olbeits Work Party
R Fowler Spr 7 Fld. Coy. 270 New Zealand
L.W.V. Francis Spr 6 Fld. Coy. 3852 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 344
George McK. Fraser CQMS 2/7 Inf. Bn. 5161 Australia
A Freeman Dvr RASC 3135  
F.A. Galloway Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 5333 Australia
G Gander   RA    
W Gaunt Pte Black Watch 3140  
D.W. George Pte DLI 5543  
John Gibb S/Sgt RE 2354 from Edinburgh
E.H. Giesen       Escaped 7/44, Yugoslavia
G.R. Glanford Pte 1 Cps. Tp. Supp. Clmn. 4017 Australia
E.O. Glynn   2/2  Bn.   Australia
M.J.A. Goggin Pte 22 Bn. 7891 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 383
S Goldfinch Sgt RA 5059  
B.T. Gough Pte RAVC 1372  
C Graham   28 Maori Bn.   New Zealand
Howard Greville Sgmn R Sigs 122  
W.A. Griffin   21 Bn.   New Zealand
Bernie J. Groom Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3728 Australia; Groppenstein Work Party
W Gunn   RTC    
A Gymgell Gnr RA 953  
G.T. Hampton Gnr RA 5427  
A.E. Hardy Gnr 4 Fld Rgt 57 New Zealand
W Harefield   22 Bn.   New Zealand
P.J.J. Harper Pte H.Q. Gd. Bn. 4002 Australia
W.M. Harper   RASC   Scotland
E.W. Harris   AHQ?   Australia
H Harrison Pte H.Q. Gd. Bn. 2773 Australia
B Hart Gnr RA 5265  
H.G. Harvey Dvr 4 RMT 7521  
J.F. Hassell Spr 2/2 Fld. Pk. 7122 Australia
T.H. Hawes Pte Beds & Herts 2061  
V Hawkins Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3674 Australia
J Hilford Pte 24 Bn. 4216 New Zealand
S.R. Hodges Pte 21 Bn. 3490 New Zealand
R.G. Holdom Pte 23 Bn 5954 New Zealand
G.J. Holland Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 3563 Australia
A.D. Howard Pte 1 Cps. Sigs. 3659 Australia
W Hughes   HLI   Scotland
G.J. Hunt Gnr RA 4240  
R.T. Hurst   RMT   New Zealand
C.J. Hutton Pte 2/7 Inf. Bn. 5800 Australia
F.J. Hydes Gnr RA 5778  
B Impey Gnr RA 5498  
T.F. Jacks  Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3439 Australia
D Jackson   HLI   Scotland
H Jackson   25 Bn. 435 New Zealand
G Jacques Dvr R Sigs 830  
L.J.W. James Pte   887  
W.G. James L/Cpl RASC 1328  
R.H. Jarvis Spr RE 5048  
E.F Jobb   USAF   USA
A Joblin   7 Fld. Coy.   New Zealand
E Johnson Sgmn R Sigs 199  
W Johnston   RASC    
C Jones   HMS Gloucester    
F Jones   20 Bn.   New Zealand
J Jones   RA    
T.P. Jones   21 Bn. 4255 New Zealand
F Kay   Scots Greys   Scotland
W.P. Keary Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 3564 Australia
J.H. Keats Tpr RAC 3343  
W.D. Keith Pte 21 Bn. 54 New Zealand
Christopher Robert Kelly Pte 21 Bn. 7537 New Zealand
R.B. Kelly   RE    
L Kilian   2/1  Bn.   Australia
B. A. Lacy L/Cpl 19 Bn. 222 New Zealand
G Lake   6? Fld. Amb.   New Zealand
J.E.W. Lamb Pte 22 Bn. 5814 New Zealand
Alex Lambley Gnr RA 2692 Work Party 180/GW; assaulted
C.P. Langdon Pte 21 Bn. 5219 New Zealand
D Lawson   RM    
L Lawson Gnr RA 5283  
P Lawton Gnr RA 5050  
W Lawton Gnr RA 5348  
W.R. Lay Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 877 Australia
John H. Ledgerwood Capt 19 Bn. 3322 New Zealand Padre; Head of the Escape Committee
H.A. Lee Gnr RA 5495  
R.F. Lee Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 1451 Australia
Claude Cecil Lewis Tpr Div. Cav. 1516 New Zealand
J.C. Lewis Sgmn R Sigs 4348  
R.H. Lodge Sig 1 Cps. Sigs. 3800 Australia
Allan McLean Lowther Spr NZ Eng. 885 New Zealand; Died 12.7.43
G.V. Lynch Pte 16 Inf. Bde. 2767 Australia
John Henry Lynch Gnr RA 605  
F.J. Lyons Pte 1 A.C. H.Q. 3985 Australia; Man of Confidence: Work Party 2123/L
H.G. Malcolm Pte 2/2 Inf. Bn. 3324 Australia
D.A. Male Pte 2/5 Inf. Bn. 3778 Australia
P.J. Mallett Gnr RA 1940 Transferred to Stalag 3A
E Malling   RASC    
J.E. Martin Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 1438 Australia
J.H. Martin   RA    
E Matahiki Cpl 28 Maori Bn. 432 New Zealand
I.D. McCallum Pte   5788  
E.J. McDonald   2/1 Bn.   Australia
G.P. McDonald Gnr 7 A N Rgt? 414 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 317
M McDonald Pte 28 Bn. 722 New Zealand
R.V. McDonald Pte 27 M.G. Bn. 5957 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 3B
W.J. McDonald   6 Fld. Coy.   New Zealand
D.R. McEwan Pte RASC 2252  
R. McFarlane Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3365 Australia
F.D. McGrath Spr 6 Fld. Coy. 907 New Zealand
Moetu McGregor Rfmn   4376  
W.J. McKinley Pte 19 Bn. 47 New Zealand
C.V. McLachlan Pte 2/1 M.G. Bn. 5748 Australia
A McLarty   2/7  Inf. Bn.   Australia
W McLellan   RNR    
A McNeill Pte A&SH 5936 Transferred to Stalag 20A
J.D. Meade Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3364 Australia
G Miller   2/1 Inf. Bn..   Australia
A.W. Miller Sgmn Div. Sigs 158 New Zealand
H Milner   RTC    
F Milton   Recce Rgt.    
F.A. Moore Fus. R Fus. 7337  
J Moore   2/1 Fld. Art.   Australia
E.L. Morris   6 Div. ASC   Australia
Frank Morris Sgmn R Sigs 551  
J Morris Gnr RA 5453  
R Morris Pte Welch 5698  
D.B. Motion Pte 24 Bn. 597 New Zealand
Louis Dean Mumford Spr 6 Fld. Coy. 928 New Zealand
D.C. Munns Dvr RASC 2636  
R Munro   ASC   Australia
A Murray   2/6 Inf. Bn.   Australia
Hec G. Myers Cpl 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3675 Australia
C Neal   AIP? 3931? Australia
M Newland   25 Bn. 454? New Zealand
J.H. Newman Spr RE 2919  
J.H. Nicholas Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 5705 Australia
W.L. Nicholls Tpr RAC 2038 Transferred to Stalag 344
Doug G. Nix Gnr 2/1 Fld. Rgt. 197 Captured Kalamata; Work Party 13048/L
E Noble   RAOC    
R.J. Norman Pte 2/7 Inf. Bn. 3814 Australia
J O'Brien Tpr RAC 1279 Captured Greece; 3RTR; transferred to Stalag 344
R Oliver Pte RASC 2236  
S.C. O'Reilly Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 5882 Australia
L M O'Sullivan Pte 20 Bn. 5332 New Zealand
D O'Sullivan Dvr RASC 5007  
H Owen   RE    
H.F. Padget Pte H.Q. 6 Div. AASC 4710 Australia
Michael Leonard ('Peggy') Parlon Pte 2/5 Inf. Bn. 1453 Australia; Work Party 10925/GW
H Peet L/Bdr RA 311  
L Pepperell Gnr 2/2 Fld. Rgt. 5751 Australia
N Perry Sgmn R Sigs 128  
W J Perry Pte 20 Bn. 7486 New Zealand
Alfred Hector Peterson Pte NZ Inf   New Zealand; murdered at Work Party 256/L; Dec 1942
J Price Bdsmn Welch 3404  
W Price Pte Welch 3031  
A.R. Pulford Pte 24 Bn. 1002 New Zealand
H Raponi Pte 28 Maori Bn. 3141 New Zealand
A Rangi Rauhini T/Cpl 28 Maori Bn. 4373 New Zealand
W Ray   2/1 Eng.   Australia
C.A. Rear Tpr RAC 1383 4 QOH; transferred to Stalag 344
F.J. Reilly Pte 2/5 Inf. Bn. 940 Australia
Albert Reynolds Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn.   Australia; Killed in Air Raid, 11.12.44
W.T. Rich Dvr R Sigs 4347  
S Richardson   RASC    
R Roberts   RAAF   Australia
J Robin Rfmn 28 Maori Bn. 4331 New Zealand
G Rockliffe   Ches    
J Ruddock   24 Bn.   New Zealand
Edward Clifford Rule Pte 21 Bn. 4086 New Zealand
George Rushton       Escaped 7/44, Yugoslavia
F.R. Russell Tpr RAC 1086 Transferred to Stalag 344
J Rynehart 2/1  Bn.     Australia
K.B. Sackley Pte RAOC 5971 Transferred to Stalag 317
A.T. Scott   ASC   Australia
W.J. Sculley Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 5133 Australia
G Seymour   2/7 Inf. Bn.   Australia
J Shaw Gnr 2/2 Fld. Rgt. 1513 Australia
J Sheffield Spr RE 3208  
V.R. Shuttleworth Cfmn REME 127  
R.E. Simmons Dvr RASC 2693  
A Smith   4 Fld. Rgt.   New Zealand
G.A. Smith Pte   32744 Hamilton, NZ
S Smith   2/5  Bn.   Australia
T.C. Smith   2 Div. RAC    
W Smith   4 Hussars    
M.J. Spillane   M.A.Q?   Australia
R Starr Pte 2/2 Inf. Bn. 3300 Australia
E.L. Steele Pte 2/12 Inf. Bn. 3307 Australia
J Steele   RHA    
R Stern Pte 21 Bn. 4125 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 344
F.J. Stevens Dvr RMT 3521  
J Stevenson Spr 2NZEF 896 New Zealand
N Stokoe Gnr RA 5442  
G.A. Storheim Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 3836 Australia
E Stroner Dvr RASC 3250  
S.S. Strudwick Pte RAVC 1211  
W.H. Styles Dvr RASC 7736  
J Sunley Pte 22 Bn. 489 New Zealand
L.D.J. Sutherland Pte 18 Bn. 4182 New Zealand
T Symes   RE    
John G. Tasker Tpr RAC 1696 Alias A.G. Hayton; Zugliet Camp, Budapest (May 1945)
Hugh Conway Tate Sgm Div. Sigs. 3374 New Zealand
T.R. Tekani T/L/Cpl 28 Maori Bn. 156176 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag 17A
J.R. Terrance Pte 2/3 Inf. Bn. 7078 Australia
J Thomaine Pte 2/7 Inf. Bn. 3751 Australia
B Thompson   4 RNES?   New Zealand
S Thompson   AMPC?    
W Tier Pte   881  
Raymond Tietjen Pte 20 Bn. 5718 New Zealand
Clarence Tolchard Gnr 4 Fld. Art. 451 New Zealand
W.H. Toward Gnr RA 5554  
E.J. Turner Pte Beds & Herts 1918  
Ernest James Twist Pte 2/4 Inf. Bn. 3892 Australia
R.A. Tyler Pte 18 Bn. 7191 New Zealand
J Waddington Gnr RA 253  
G.E. Wade Pte 2/1 Fld. Coy. 8350 Australia
W Wajgiech   6 Fld. Coy.   New Zealand
J Watson   R Sigs    
S.J. Webster Pte 2/3 Inf. Bn. 7079 Australia
F.G. Wells   ASC   New Zealand
C.R. Werner Cpl 21 Bn. 7208 New Zealand; Transferred to Stalag  357
A.G. White   18 Bn.   New Zealand
C.H. Wiles Gnr RA 5494  
A.A.E. Williams   2/1  Bn.   Australia
L.A. Williams   2/2  Bn.   Australia
K.H. Williams Pte 2/1 Fld. Coy. 5790 Australia
Ben  J Wilson Pte 22 Bn. 5894 New Zealand
J.H. Wilson Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 3619 Australia
F Winn  Gnr RA 5880  
Leonard Alfred Winter Pte 21 Bn. 4084 New Zealand
J Wishart Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 5935 Australia
W.C.A. Woodward Pte 26 Bn. 4256 New Zealand
F.J.S. Workman Pte 4 Fld Amb 4264 Australia
G.A. Young   4 QOH    
James Albert Young Pte 2/7 Inf. Bn. 5785 Australia

Rules of the game

Crown and Anchor is a fast game in which any number of players play against a banker. Three special dice are used, each marked with a crown, anchor, heart, spade, diamond, and club.  These symbols also appear in a diagram  in front of the banker.
Play: Each player puts a wager on one or more of the symbols.  The player then throws the three dice, and pays out the result of the throw.  The usual odds are even on singles, 2 to 1 on pairs, and 3 to 1 on three of a kind.  The advantage always lies with the banker.

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