Work Camp  980 GW

Location: Veitsch (Gross Veitsch)

Type of work:  Magnesium mine

Man of Confidence: Unknown

Number of Men: 117 (20 Australian, 20 New Zealanders)

Known to be present

G.L. Ball Gnr RA 5764  
J.W. Barker Gnr 7 A/Tk. Rg. 3832 New Zealand
S.J. Barnett Pte RASC 2309  
F.C. Barron Pte   961 New Zealand
Jack Bavister Pte 21 Bn    
Doug ('Joe') Beckett   RAOC 2497 Ipswich
G. Boardman Gnr RA 481  
J.W.A. Bradford Spr RE 2198  
A.A. Brydon Gnr RA 5424  
N. Burchett Spr RE 1191  
Ernest T.A. Butcher Pte 21 Bn. 3339 New Zealand
J. Carter Tpr Div. Cav. 855 New Zealand
J.D. Caskie Pte Div. H.Q. 310 New Zealand
Frank P. Chitty Spr 6 Fld. Coy. 244 Gisbourne, New Zealand
Maurice V. Collins Pte   276 New Zealand
G. Elliman Spr RE 1651  
J.D. Elliot Pte   7535 New Zealand
Matthew W. Ellis Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 7117 Victoria, Australia
J.E. (Ted) Fearon Tpr Div. Cav. 194 Taranaki, New Zealand
George A. Florence Spr RE 2884  
William R. (Bill) Foggon Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 3678 Australia
L.W.V. Francis Spr   6 Fld. Coy.  3852 New Zealand
George Graham Pte 28 Bn. 4123 New Zealand
Bernie J. Groom Pte 2/6 Inf. Bn. 3728 Australia
Stanley Hancock Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 3662 Australia
T. Harrison   R Sigs    
J. Hilford Pte 24 Bn. 4216 New Zealand
L.T. Hirst Dvr   7515 New Zealand
F.J. Hydes Gnr RA 5778  
T.P. Jones Pte 21 Bn. 4253 New Zealand
J.F. Joynson Pte Buffs 5746  
Christopher Robert Kelly Pte 21 Bn. 7537 New Zealand
M.M. Kunst Pte 1 Cps. Tp. Supp. Clmn. 2889 Australia
Basil A. (Silver) Lacy L/Cpl 19 Bn. 222 New Zealand
J.E.W. Lamb Pte 22 Bn. 5814 New Zealand
J.A.K. Lang Pte 2/11 Inf. Bn. 5710 New Zealand
J.W. Lawson Tpr RAC 2234  
H.A. Lee Gnr RA 5495  
R.H. Lodge Sgmn 1 Cps. Sigs 3800 Australia
F.J. Lyons Pte  1 A.C.H.Q.  3985 Australia
G.F. Mallett Pte 1 H.Q.Gd. Bn. 2351 Australia
P.J. Mallett Gnr RA 1940  
Thomas Marsden Pte Cam. H. 1216 Argylshire, Scotland
Keith Robert McCollum Pte   4175 New Zealand
Moetu McGregor Rfmn   4376 New Zealand
W.J. McKinley Pte 19 Bn. 47 New Zealand
W. McLellan   RNR    
A.W. Miller Sgmn Div. Sigs 158 New Zealand
Frank Milton Pte Y&L 7293  
F.A. Moore Fus R Fus. 7337  
D.B. Motion Pte 24 Bn. 597 New Zealand
J.H. Newman Spr RE 2919  
W.L. Nicholls Tpr RAC 2038  
R. Oliver Pte RASC 2236  
L. Pepperell Gnr 2/2 Fld. Rg. 5751 Australia
Norman Perry Sgmn R Sigs 128 York
L. Peterson       New Zealand
A.R. Pulford Pte 24 Bn. 1002 New Zealand
C.A. Rear Tpr RAC 1383  
Joe P. Ryan Pte 18 Inf. Tng. Bn. 3802 NSW, Australia
Leon Gabriel Savage Pte H.Q. 6 Div. AASC 5813 Australia
A.F. Scott Pte  1 Cps. Tp. Supp. Col.  4062 Australia
V.R. Shuttleworth Cfmn REME 127  
J. Stevenson Spr   896 New Zealand
N. Stokoe Gnr RA 5442  
G.A. (Snowy) Storheim Pte 2/1 Inf. Bn. 3836 Australia
L. Strudwyck   Life Guards    
L.D.J. Sutherland Pte 18 Bn. 4182 New Zealand
S. Thompson   AMPC?    
W.H. Toward Gnr RA 5554  
Frank H.G. Wheatley Pte   5868 New Zealand
R.H. Williams Pte 1 Cps. Ptl. Pk. 3982 Australia
Ben J. Wilson Pte 22 Bn. 5894 New Zealand
F. Winn Gnr RA 5880  
George Young Tpr RAC 1352  
R.F. Young Pte H.Q. 6 Div. AASC 5105 Australia

Photos provided by Doug Beckett, son of 'Joe'.


Date of visit: 21 January 1943

General Description

This is a special Labour Detachment. The men from whom it is recruited are mostly prisoners who have made attempts to escape or have shown some opposition to the discipline of the camps.

Interior arrangement

The prisoners of war are lodged in barrack huts of the usual kinds, 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 small and thin but most of the men have a third blanket which is their own personal property. At night they cover themselves with their greatcoats. The heating is not satisfactory as there is not enough coal for the four stoves which are installed in two large rooms.


The footgear is in a deplorable state as magnesium is a very abrasive rock. In other cases shoes, as well as trousers are taken away 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 such treatment. At the moment most of the prisoners work in wooden shoes with all the discomforts and risks this entails (chilblains, rapid deterioration of socks, danger of slipping on ice, etc.). It is also necessary to wear gloves but the Directorate of the Company have only put 50 pairs of leather gloves at the disposal of the prisoners who are working in the mine. Those who have none are obliged to work in woollen gloves which very rapidly wear out.


Food is prepared in the communal kitchen of the Company. This has caused complaints as the men who are working in a quarry situated at rather a high altitude have their meals brought up by 'teleferique' and are often cold. They are also very monotonous in kind. During the week previous to this meeting, the prisoners had been supplied five days running with a mixture of potatoes and cucumbers. Meat is served at most but once or twice per week. Rebellion against this state of affairs has already flared up and one of the men was wounded by a rifle shot though both his buttocks.

The food rations correspond to those of the civilian population.

Money and Pay

The number of working hours is not very large; 8 hours a day, 5 on Saturday and Sunday free. The prisoners complain that the work in the mine is rendered painful by having to wear wooden shoes. The basic pay is 0.70RM per day. The prisoners have no opportunity to spend their money.


There is no canteen. It is extremely difficult in this district to procure even articles of essential necessity such as razor blades, tooth brushes, tooth powder, toilet paper, paper, pencils, black boot polish, cigarette papers, etc.

Religious activity

The Detachment has been visited once ot 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.

Recreation and exercise

There are no indoor games. Sports are not indulged in much as the work is 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.


A very considerable slowing-up of mails has taken place since the summer. While at that time letters between England and the camps took two or three weeks to go and come, it now takes as many months to make the journey. Moreover, one letter out of three, either outgoing or incoming, never arrives.

General impression

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 food 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.

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