George "Snow" Kirman

Born:                                        Hull, Yorkshire, England

Enlisted in the NZ Army:      12 January 1940

Unit:                                     New Zealand 24th Infantry Battalion

Rank & Serial Number:        Private – 24117

POW Serial Number            4650

Nickname:                            ‘Snow’

George Septimus Kirman was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England and emigrated with his mother and brother to New Zealand as a child in the early 1920s. Prior to enlisting in the New Zealand Army, Snow was employed as a Fish Curer in Auckland and had undertaken four years of military service as a cadet in the New Zealand Army.

He enlisted in the New Zealand Army on 12 January 1940 and entered the Papakura Military Camp, in Auckland, with the New Zealand 24th Infantry Battalion on 15 May 1940. On          27 August 1940, the 24th Battalion embarked for Egypt, arriving there on 1 October 1940.

During March and April 1941, the New Zealand 24th Infantry Battalion embarked on ships to join the ‘Lustre Force’, which was part of the 2nd New Zealand Division that was involved in the Greek Campaign. This campaign was evidently a military disaster, resulting in some 1856 NZ soldiers becoming prisoners of war. In my father’s case, he got lost in a convoy (evidently a points-man was redirecting evacuating troops back into enemy lines) and the following is a record of his movements after spending several days hiding from the Germans in an olive grove:

28/04/41      Captured at Pylos – P.O.W.

04/05/41      Kalamata

17/05/41      Korinth (Corinth)

07/06/41      Left Korinth

09/06/41      Arrived Salonika

15/06/41      Left Salonika

19//06/41     Arrived at Austrian Border

(Unknown)    P.O.W. No 4650 -  Stalag 306 XVIIID, Marburg

04/09/41      Started work POW camp

NB. Travel was by train and cattle trucks.

As a POW, his official New Zealand Army ‘History Sheet’ shows the following:

18/05/41      Reported Missing

07/09/41      Geneva confirms P. of. W.

29/09/41      P.O.W. (No 4650) Germany Stalag 306XVIIID – (Marburg, Slovenia)

23/01/43      Admitted to Graz Hospital

01/02/43      Letters or parcels formerly addressed Stalag 18D should now be addressed                                       Stalag 18B – (Spittal, Austria)

08/03/43      P.O.W.  Trfd. Stalag 18A Germany – (Wolfsberg, Austria)during his internment in Stalag XVIIIA, Snow spent a lot of the time working on farms around the Ebersdorf area (see Work Camp 29/L), which is just a few kilometres north of Wolfsberg.

10/04/45      The Long March commenced from Wolfsberg to Markt Pongau

23/04/45      Arrived at Markt Pongau

08/05/45      08.15 Americans arrive – an advance section of Paras to police camp

09/05/45      Americans now taking over and enforcing discipline within camp, no one allowed out without a pass. A convoy arrives with parcels and a Colonel to take command of evacuation.

                     Note: The above comments shown in red and italics, were not part of Snow’s New Zealand Army History Sheet, but have been included because of the significant importance that this major event had on all POW’s from Wolfsberg. This information has been copied from another source relating specifically to Stalag XVIIIA.

22/05/45      P.W. Rehab. Unit rep now safe in Italy

17/06/45      Safe in UK.

19/06/45      Embarked for New Zealand

05/09/45      Disembarked NZ

10/12/45      Discharged from the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force

In total, Snow had spent 5 years and 210 days in the New Zealand Army, of which 4 years and 11 days were as a Prisoner of War.

On his return to New Zealand in 1945, Snow married Rose Edith Pickett (nee Bussey). In December 1960 my father retired on a full War Pension due to war related health problems. He died on 27 June 1965.


Entered by Fredrick G Kirman, son of George Septimus Kirman


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