Work Camp  11027 GW

Location: Frantschach St. Gertraud

Type of work: Paper factory

Man of Confidence: Unknown

Number of Men: 16 approx.

Known to be present

William H. Farmer Pte RE 5514  
William Wellington Fountain Gnr 5th Fld Rgt 889 New Zealand; also 13048/L
Ernie Knight Dvr R Sigs 480 Birmingham
Frank Henry Charles Morris Sgmn R Sigs 551 Northampton; 10030/GW?
Donald Cyril Munns Dvr RASC 2636 Surrey; also 10620/GW, 10029/GW, 27/HV
Douglas G. Nix Gnr 2/1 Fld. Rgt. 197 Australia
F. Oates Pte RAVC 105 possible; also 10030/GW
George Edward Rushton Pte 2/12 Inf. Bn.   Tasmania, Australia; escaped July 1944
John G. Tasker Tpr RAC 1696 alias A.G. Hayton (Zugliet Camp, Budapest, May 1945)

In the first photograph, Doug Nix is kneeling, far right, in the white vest and braces, Ernie Knight is standing behind him and Frank Morris is crouching, far left. John Tasker is to Doug's right. The last photograph is of John Tasker and Doug Nix

The following is an extract from the story of Doug Nix, Gnr, 2/1 Fld. Rgt., AIF.

Doug’s first “arbeitskommando” (work camp/labour camp) was a paper factory in Frantschach St Gertraud.  He was moved there in early 1942.  The work at the factory involved moving logs and different types of factory work.  It was during this time that Doug attempted to burn down the factory.  It would have been a success if not for the flames being seen by an Austrian worker on a cigarette break.  Arson was suspected and the Gestapo were called in to investigate.  This incident is recorded in Howard Greville’s book “Prison Camp Spies”.  Doug was suspected of involvement but no proof could be found at the time.  However, a few years later the German’s eventually caught up with Doug with evidence against him for sabotage.

Some of Doug’s mates during this time include George Rushton (2/12th Bn) from Tasmania, John Tasker (4th Queen’s Own Hussars) and an Englishman with the surname Oakes (RAVC) (probably F. Oates, Pte, RAVC, POW 105).

Also, during his time at the paper factory, Doug and two other POWs escaped and jumped a train (not knowing where it was heading).  As it turned out it was on route through Italy.  They got off just short of Trieste and hid in the bushes.  They eventually walked into town at night looking for food.  Unfortunately, they were unaware that a curfew was in place and they were picked up by the Italian Police.  They were questioned and returned to Stalag XVIIIA and given 21 days bread and water in solitary confinement.  However, they, like others in their predicament, did manage to get a little more (e.g. cigarettes) through the ingenuity and sleight of hand of other prisoners.


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