Work Camp 95 GW
Location: St Marein - St Lorenzen
Type of work: Construction
Man of Confidence: Sgt Maj M.H. Mantle, RASC
Assistant: St Sgt W.J. Walters
British Medical Officer: Capt J.G. Munro, RAMC
Number of Men: 994
Date of visit: 30 November 1943
|Edwin ('Mick')||Alderson||Spr||RE||7862||Lincs.; capt'd N.Africa; Italy POW|
|George Alfred||Andrews||Gdsmn||I.G.||8075||Brighton; capt'd N. Africa; Italy POW|
|Robert William||Bell||L/Cpl||8496||New Zealand|
|Eric||Bennett||Dvr||RASC||8285||Yorkshire; capt'd Tobruk; Italy POW|
|Eric Carl Albert||Berg||Pte||2/48 Inf. Bn.||6553||South Australia; capt'd El Alamein; Italy POW|
|George Joseph||Bristow||Gnr||RA||7967||London; capt'd N.Africa|
|William Henry||Davies||Gnr||RA||8855||capt'd N. Africa; Italy POW|
|N.Y.T.||Gregory||Pte||8687||Auckland, NZ; Italy POW|
|C.A.W. (Arthur)||Hunt||Pte||25 Bn||8887||NZ; capt'd N.Africa; Italy POW; also 1139/L|
|William Fleming||Keeling||Pte||A&SH||6358||Died from work injuries, 31.1.44|
|Arthur||Kerr||L/Cpl||North. Fus.||8160||Capt'd N. Africa; Italy POW|
|Fred||Lang||Tpr||RAC||5695||Bolton; also 1/GW, 565/L|
|James Gibson||Munroe||Capt||RAMC||1503||M.O.; also 18A, 10029/GW|
|Victor Roland||Murray||L/Sgt||2/13 Inf. Bn.||7390||Australia; also 18A/Z, 1017/GW, 1046/GW, 131/L|
|David Gibson||Steven||Cpl||A&SH||7523||Midlothian; Italy POW|
|Fred O.||Thompson||Pte||2/32 Inf. Bn.||6517||Australia; capt'd N. Africa, Italy POW|
|Robert James||Thornton||Rfmn||R Ulster Rif.||7283|
|Jim Henry||Tompkins||Pte||2/24 Inf. Bn.||8694||Victoria, Australia; capt'd N. Africa, Italy POW|
|Leslie Jessie||Watson||Pte||2/32 Inf. Bn.||6626||WA, Australia|
Names and Photographs supplied by:
Leslie Brown, daughter of William Smith,
Stuart Bennett, son of Eric Bennett,
Carole Davies, daughter of William Davies,
Julie Gardener, daughter of Robert Thornton,
Bryan Alderson, son of Edwin Alderson.
Donna Tommo, daughter-in-law of Fred Thompson
Bill Kettler, now living in California, attended a boarding school near to the camp. He writes:
At your website for camp 95 are some photos; the one on the left, second row is very dear to me. You see, along the fence, on the outside was a footpath, a short cut from Spiegelfeld to St.Marein in the middle of the valley with the railway station, movie house and stores. When my mother visited me at the home she would take that path and on several occasions, with my two brothers and I, she would strike up a conversation with the POWs lingering at that end of the camp. My mother was fluent in English, having lived for 25 years in the U S. My youngest brother, he was about seven at the time remembers the chocolate he received from one of the soldiers. It was kind of curious that some fellows would gather at that fence as it was the far NE end of the camp; in fact the far end of the sports field. Now, that photo is very close to the spot where mother would talk with the fellows. If the guy on the right was not there one could see the spire of the church of St. Lorenzen, about one half mile away, also the political jurisdiction under which Spiegelfeld and the Camp were. If you look to the left, at the very end, where the fence turns to the left at a 90 degree angle there was a large Linden tree under which we kids would sing in the Summer. And then right across a narrow dirt road was Spiegelfeld. As one looks across the fence, here is a field, kukkuruz (maize) was grown there. Looks like the picture was taken in the Fall of 43 or 44.
This is a large and new camp situated about 7km north-east of Bruck in the Upper Styrian industry area. The barracks are of an improved type with a large corridor in the middle and the rooms on both sides of it. The camp consists of 6 sleeping and living barracks, 1 hospital barrack now partly used as sleeping quarters, 1 temporary cookhouse with adjoining washhouse and latrine, 1 bath and washhouse combined with another latrine, 1 magazine and 1 large cookhouse with adjoining mess-hall, under construction. The recreation space within the barbed wire is too small and will be considerably enlarged.
994 British prisoners of war; only four of them are old-timers of German captivity, the rest came from Italy. 30 Non-commissioned Officers act as camp staff.
Each barrack consists of 4 rooms with 36 beds each, 2 rooms with 16 beds each, another small room with four beds where the NCOs are lodged. The bunks are of the ordinary double-tier wooden type, with palliasses and 2 good blankets. The larger rooms have two stoves, the smaller ones, one. Electric light, feeble globes. Benches and tables are insufficient in number as there is not enough space to place them. The rooms are slightly overcrowded, but the cubic space allowed to each man is still more than the minimum prescribed by the German Army regulations. this is due to the fact that the corridors are taken into account.
Bathing and washing facilities
Unsatisfactory. There are only 24 taps with running cold water in the two washhouses. The Delegate made strong representations to the fact and was promised by the firm that the number of taps will be increased to 50 and that an additional number of washbasins will be given out. There is a shortage of water in this camp and the whole district due to the installment of numerous working camps and the erection of large factories for which the former water supply is inadequate. Enlargement of the water supply is in progress.
34 seats and 4 large urinals. This accommodation will be enlarged too. The latrines are of the pit type and are periodically emptied.
Food and Cooking
The cooking is done by British cooks. 24 men are in charge of the kitchen. The men receive heavy-workers rations and the food is reported to be good and well-cooked. There is a Red Cross parcel stock for six weeks in camp.
Medical attention and sickness
There is a resident British medical Officer, Capt. Dr. Munro, in this camp. 9 Medical Orderlies work under his supervision. The hospital which is under construction will be very satisfactory when finished, and the delegate asked the manager of the firm to have this work speeded up. The works' dentist is available for dental treatment; extractions and fillings only. As most of these men are recent arrivals from Italy, the general state of health appears to be definitely below the normal standard. Sores, boils, impetigo and carbuncles are frequent. The daily sick parade occupies about three hours. About 150 men are seen and the number incapable of work varies from 80 - 100 per day. It is hoped that under the care of the British Medical Officer the general state of health may improve.
The majority of the men has but one uniform and are very badly off for underwear and socks. The shoeing position is acute. They depend entirely upon the British Red Cross supply.
No facilities at all. The men do the washing in their time and have a soap issue from the firm.
Money and Pay
Unsettled. The men are engaged in foundation work for a large factory (Bohler-Stahl) and do mostly contract work. Two shifts.
No canteen so far.
No visits from a Padre yet.
Recreation and exercise
A nearby sports ground is at the men's disposal but they have very little sports gear.
An entertainment and sporting committee is in action.
At a conference with the works' representative all questions with regard to the new hospital, new cookhouse and mess hall, food and cooking, working hours, sports ground and entertainments had been fully discussed. The camp has good prospects.
31 January 1944: Pte Keeling, 6358, died as a result of injuries received while working in a trench.
August 1944: A serious labour dispute had to be settled . This detachment had a compliment of 854 men, who were at the point of mutiny. The Man of Confidence, WO M.H. Mantle, had resigned the day before the Delegate's arrival.
Following the Protecting Power's intervention, the civilian employers, the firm Boehler Steel Works, agreed:
a) to reduce the daily task from
3.6m3 digging and shovelling to 3.3m3 7.2m3 shovelling to 6.6m3 120 cement mixtures to 90 mixings.
b) air raid shelters are not to be built in the prisoners' spare time. All B-graded prisoners to be employed for this work on a moderate task.
This agreement was accepted by the prisoners representatives and WO Mantle continues to act as Man of Confidence. The complaint is settled.