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wyndham

Dulmen POW Camp

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wyndham

A few months ago the following site was quoted which gave a good description of this camp.

http://heimblatter.heimatverein-duelmen...1918/index.html

Infortunately, as far as I am concerned,it is in German. I realise I am pushing my luck, but is there a translation available. I am more than willing to meet any reasonable costs.

My interest is that my father was a prisoner there during the latter half of 1918 and into early January 1919.

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apwright

Wyndham,

The main text on the page you link to is a translation of a report made to the Ministry of War [according to the preamble] by POW A.L. Bonsey - probably 14650 Pte Albert Leslie BONSEY, 11th East Surreys, whose "pension" records on Ancestry show he was a POW from 9 Apr 1918 to 2 Dec 1918.

The translation was done by students at the Johann-Gutenberg-Schule in Dülmen as an English exercise, but it doesn't say where they got the original report from.

The photo captions from top to bottom are as follows:

1. Entrance to the POW camp at Hausdülmen.

2. The prisoners' hair was cut short to prevent the spread of lice.

3. The "Lousoleum", the quarantine and delousing hut at the camp.

4. The hospital complex consisted of a separate block with four ward huts, a surgical station, an office building and a shower hut.

5. POW's ID card from Dülmen Camp. The holder of this ID card, Belgian cavalryman Paul Vermeulen, was captured on 6 March 1918. Via camps in Belgium, he came to Dülmen and later to Minden. He returned to Belgium on 18 December 1918, where he died at the military hospital in Leopoldsburg, not even 20 years old.

Adrian

EDIT:

Bonsey's complete original memoir (48 pages) is available from the Imperial War Museum, ID number 9353 99/58/1

http://www.iwmcollections.org.uk/dbtw-wpd/...mp;FG=0&QS=

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wyndham

Apworth,

Thank you for your interesting reply. My wife worked with a German lady who said she would translate this paper for me but unfortunately she left to move to a new job. However, she did say that it had been translated from the English and could not understand why there was no english original available. Anyway I live in hope!

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philg

Wyndham,

I have quite a lot of stuff on Dulmen including a (roughly) translated version (by me) of the website you mention above and other POW accounts of that particular camp. If you PM me your email, I'll send it all over to you.

best regards

Phil

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wyndham

Phil,

Thank you so very much. As suggested I have sent a PM with my e-mail address and look forward to your reply.

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wyndham

Phil,

Thank you for the information in your PM. Very grateful.

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Hywyn

Phil

I came across this thread whilst searching for info on this camp

Whilst trawling Ancestry for local men I find that Pte 40368 Henry Williams RWF from Dinorwig, Caernarfonshire states he was in hospital in this camp. If this stuff you hold is easily electonically tranferrable I would appreciate a look.

Thanks

Hywyn

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philg

Hywyn,

if you PM me your email address, I'll send it all to you.

regards

Phil

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swellal
if you PM me your email address, I'll send it all to you.

Thank you for sharing the information Phil. Incredible stuff there.

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Saxon79

My great-uncle Charles Kavanagh was a member of the 8th (Irish) Batt. King's Liverpool Regt. and was captured at Guillemont along with most of the 8th on the 8th August 1916. I suppose sending the 8th into battle on the 8th day of the 8th month wasn't such a good idea.

Anyway, he was sent to Dulmen but survives the war and made it back to Liverpool.

What I'm finding suprising is that nearly all the other posts on here say their family members were captured in 1918, whereas my uncle was captured in 1916. I wonder if all the other men of the 8th went to Dulmen too or would they have been split up?

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Doug Johnson

Saxon 79.

What I'm finding suprising is that nearly all the other posts on here say their family members were captured in 1918 Not really surprising as more (British) prisoners were taken in the spring offensive of 1918 than had been taken in all the years up to then.

In the early years the unwounded would have been sent in a train load to the same camp which then became their head camp. However, on reaching the head camp they would then have been dispersed and eventually some would have been sent to another head camp. Few prisoners would have spent any time at a head camp, most being sent to a working camp of which there were a large number attached to each head camp (some attached camps were very large ones).

Doug

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wyndham

To amplify my original post; my father was in the RNAS and was captured in the North Sea on 31 May 1918 when his sea-plane was downed.

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Graemedavis

The picture below is from Dulmen 1918, of the "Camp Theatre". My grandfather Hubert James Baird RAMC (not shown on this photograph) was captured 21st March 1918 at Cerisy (near St Quentin), and was a prisoner of war first at Limburg-an-der-Lahn then at Dulmen. He was repatriated 29/11/1918 on SS Takada to Hull.

post-48252-1270245405.jpg

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Doug Johnson

Graeme,

Any chance of seeing the back of the picture, even if there is nothing much on it?

Limburg was one of a number of camps used as a registration camp. The odds are that he was never actually there. Many prisoners were given cards to send back to indicate that they were prisoners. Some of the cards for Limburg have a message on them that says "do not reply to this address".

Photographs of Dulmen do not turn up very often, (as opposed to pictures of prisoners there and the entertainments in particular)

post-7895-1270284300.jpg

This is the PoW hospital at Dulmen.

Note that "Prisoners of the Kaiser" has a plan of the camp in it.

Doug

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Graemedavis

Thanks for the reply Doug. The back of the picture is printed as a postcard (just lines) and with nothing at all written on it. I'm a bit reluctant to clutter up this board, but if you would like to email me I can send a scan (and a better quality version of this picture): mail AT graemedavis.com - in any event it would be interesting to exchange an email.

For my grandfather Hubert James Baird I have both Limburg and Dulmen from the Geneva Red Cross records, though no information about how long or short a time he spent at either (or if indeed he was ever at Limburg - an interesting thought).

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Doug Johnson

I think the original posting link is broken so here is a replacement'

Doug

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Doug Johnson

Report by Mr Jackson on visit to Prisoners’ Detention Camp at Dülmen

This camp (see note from The British Foreign Office to the American Embassy in London of the 7th October) was opened in May, its capacity being 3,000 which is being increased to 5,000. On its books there are now about 700 British non-commissioned officers and men, among them being Lieutenant D. Condon, Northumberland Fusiliers, who was captured in non-commissioned uniform, whose promotion was formally notified to the German Government on the 25th September as advised by the British Foreign Office’s note of the 21st, and will probably be transferred to an officer’s camp at an early date. The camp is in a healthy situation and well arranged, on the usual system. The English occupy large huts, housing from 120 to 140 men each, with small rooms for senior non-commissioned officers, of whom there are a good many in the camp who have been transferred from Senne. Eight Englishmen are at work in the kitchens, and they said that the food is good, although there was a certain amount of criticism of it by others. “Sick Call” was going on at the time Mr Osborne and I arrived in the camp, and waiting to see the doctor there were a number of English, most of them who complained of colds or had slight bruises or cuts received when at work. Men were apparently excused for work on very easy terms. Working parties leave the camp about 7 a.m. and return for the midday meal, going out again about 2 (after two hours rest), and returning again at sundown. Parties who work at some distance from the camp have their midday meal brought to them, but they are also allowed to rest for two hours. Under the circumstances the hours were longer in the summer than they are at this season, but the work cannot be called “hard labour”, and is nothing more than “occupation.” As it is understood that German non-commissioned officers are made to work in France, the French, non-commissioned are compelled to do so here, and owing to what seemed to be a misunderstanding some of the British non-commissioned have also been sent to work. The commandant promised to correct this, however, upon his attention being called to it. A number of attempts have been made to escape from this camp, and at least two Englishmen have been able to get away. Prior to their successful venture, an attempt had been made by tunnelling, for which some twelve or fourteen men who had accepted the blame (and not sixty) had been punished, according to the story as told me by the senior British non-commissioned officer in the camp. The punishment for an attempt to escape is fourteen days’ (increased to 21 for a second offence) solitary confinement, during which the fare for three days out of four is bread (900 grammes, or three times the usual allowance) and water. On the third day the prisoner receives the ordinary evening meal and the next day e has the usual morning and midday meals, so that he is actually on bread and water on two days out of four. The cells are small but well ventilated , and there is an inclined plank bed without bedding which they may use day and night. The punishment is of the same character as that given to German soldiers..

There were seven Englishmen in the cells when we visited the camp to-day, and I talked freely with all of them, and only one said he felt badly as a result of his confinement. These men had overcoats with them in the cells, which they could wear or use as covering. All had made attempts to escape except one who had been sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment for refusing to work at a dynamite factory. This work, as the men told me, was not in connection with the manufacturing or handling of explosives, but consisted of loading and emptying boxes on wagons and in preparing the foundations for a furnace. In the lazaret there were several slightly wounded men who had been recently captured, and who said that their treatment had been good. They had been brought from the front in a German Red Cross train togethe3r with German wounded, and had been treated in exactly the same way as the Germans. Most of the men whom we saw in this camp were well dressed in British uniforms. Clothing is distributed when required, and the senior British non-commissioned officer said that a list had been taken of all the men who had no greatcoats. The commandant said that these coats were to be distributed in a few days.

The huts are airy and clean, and there is the usual disinfection apparatus to remove vermin (lice) from the prisoners and their clothing, as men who come in from the trenches are apt to bring vermin with them. There are no Russians in the camp, and there have been no epidemics. The men are obliged to bathe once a week, but are permitted to do so more frequently. The mail, parcels, and banking arrangements are good. The prisoners may have any amount to their credit, but are not permitted to have more than 10M in their possession at one time.

We talked freely with the men as we went through the camp, and at length with the senior non-commissioned officers. On the road from Dülmen to the camp we saw a number of parties at work, and all the men were decently dressed and looked in good condition.. One man (Private B Matthews, No 981, Welsh Regiment), has lost his left eye, and complains of pains in the head, but he is able to be about. He has been excused from all work, and his case is under consideration for exchange, although he is not strictly entitled to repatriation under the existing arrangement.

October 21, 1915

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harley1962

Thanks for the interesting information on Dulmen Camp. I wondered what the place was like as a great, great cousin of mine was taken prisoner in may 1918 and sadly died in Dulmen Camp 17/11/1918.

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Doug Johnson

sadly died in Dulmen Camp 17/11/1918.

and was buried here;

post-7895-1270574921.jpg

Doug

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Doug Johnson

Many camps had war memorials built by the prisoners but this camp had the only fountain that I know of!

post-7895-1270575123.jpg

Doug

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Doug Johnson

Report of visit by Mr Dresel to Detention Camp at Dülmen

This camp, previously described in a report by Mr Jackson on the 21st October 1915, was visited on the present occasion on the 18th and 19th March, 1916. At the date of the visit 1,051 British out of 4,398 prisoners were found here, about 300 British being absent in working camps. The British are all together in one of the blocks, in barracks housing on an average of 135 men. Here, as in Westphalian camps, Hammocks are used for the upper tiers. The principal ground of complaint relate to men convalescent from wounds and partly disabled who, it was stated, were not accorded special treatment, and slept in the same barracks as the others. On this being reported at Münster, arrangements to house these cases in a separate barracks, where they could receive special attention, was immediately ordered.

There were the usual representations by prisoners as to inferior quality and insufficiency of the food, and the men relied, according to their statements, almost exclusively on supplies from home.

Relations with the authorities in this camp are unusually satisfactory, and the ranking non-commissioned officer stated, out of hearing of any Germans, that the men had no cause for complaint on account of their treatment, and that the behaviour of those in charge of the camp towards them was entirely as it should be.

In answer to enquiries of the commandant, it was stated that a football field would shortly be laid out outside of the camp, and also that new arrangements would be made for more frequent bathing; now there is provision for one a fortnight.

The British privates are allowed at this camp to spend 20M. a week, and a non-commissioned officer 40M. There is a bank deposit for surplus funds, in which the total amount credited to the British was 1,509M.

The clothing of the prisoners, all of whom were inspected, is now almost without exception satisfactory, each man having an overcoat.

There is an English library, but the non-commissioned officer reports that there is not much reading.

The work given to the prisoners in the main camp is quite light, and consists of digging, grading etc, on the adjoining heath, assistance in erection of barracks, etc.

The general aspect and atmosphere of this camp are good, and it is unusually clean, neat, and well arranged.

Ellis Loring Dresel

April 4th 1916

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Saxon79

Doug, this may be a silly question but out of interest do you know if any of this camp is still there? If not, is the cemetery in the photograph still there or were the soliders who died in the prison camps repatriated after the war? Everyone recognises the images of the rows upon rows of little white headstones in the war cemeteries of France and Belgium, but I've never really thought about what happened to the men who died in German prison camps, which I'm rather ashamed of now that I think about it.

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Tim Wright
The picture below is from Dulmen 1918, of the "Camp Theatre". My grandfather Hubert James Baird RAMC (not shown on this photograph) was captured 21st March 1918 at Cerisy (near St Quentin), and was a prisoner of war first at Limburg-an-der-Lahn then at Dulmen. He was repatriated 29/11/1918 on SS Takada to Hull.

post-48252-1270245405.jpg

Hi Graeme.

Great photo, do you have any idea when it was taken, my grand father was captured on the 27th May 1918 and looks a little like the 3rd person in from the left on the middle row.

Tim.

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Graemedavis
Hi Graeme.

Great photo, do you have any idea when it was taken, my grand father was captured on the 27th May 1918 and looks a little like the 3rd person in from the left on the middle row.

Tim.

Great to read that you may have identified someone in the photo.

The poster at the back reads "The Straggler of '35". There is an extant concert and theatre programme from Dulmen PofW camp which says this play was performed on 9th October 1918. Information is available on the Australian War Memorial web site at http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/PUBS002/007/001/001/003/

Their catalogue details are

PUBS002/007/001/001/003 Concert and Theatre Programs Collection - First World War 1914-1918, Series 7, Sub-series 1, File 1, Item 3: British Concert Camp Theater.

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Doug Johnson

Saxon79,

According to "Prisoners of the Kaiser", the camp was disbanded and cleared and the land returned to it's former owner. Unfit for cultivation the land was planted with trees. There is only the small remains of a brick structure remaining visible on site. The cemetery would have been outside the camp and I have no idea how close it was. All the British dead (96) were re-buried in the 1920's in Cologne Southern Cemetery under the familiar CWGC headstones and I think the French also removed their's though I think to a communal grave. I have no idea as to whether there are still dead buried locally though I suspect there are.

Doug

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