1941, Germany, Stalag XXA, The Camp Thomas Burke, WW II-Era Christmas POW Card
1941, Germany, Stalag XXA, The Camp Thomas Burke
Lievin reports 2 examples. The first, shown, is return addressed
Stalag Luft 1, posted 28 December 1941. The second, with a Stalag
XXB censor handstamp, is posted on 16 Jan 42.
Stalag Luft 1 was located in Barth, Germany, while Stalag XXA was
located in Thorn/Torun, Poland. How this card came to be used in
camps located about 500km from each other is a mystery,
Information is available on the sender of the Stalag Luft 1 card:
Vickers Wellington Mk.1a P9227 (KO-C) 115 Squadron, RAF: Written off
(destroyed) when lost (Failed To Return) from combat operations over
Germany. All six crew survived, but were captured, and taken PoWs.
According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File
AIR 81/1144): "Wellington P9227 crashed near Oldenburg, Germany,
19 July 1940. Pilot Officer W H C Hunkin, Pilot Officer J Barker,
Sergeant G Clark, Sergeant H Dickson, Sergeant J J MacGregor and
Sergeant A Colley: prisoners of war".
William Henry Clement Hunkin, POW #125, is also shown as having been
imprisoned at Stalag Luft Sagan (which would have been Stalag Luft 3
– consistent with the temporary closure of Stalag Luft 1 in April
Luft I: An Official Account of the POW Camp for Air Force Personnel
Frontline Books, 2018,
mentions (pages 54, 57, 58) Hunkin as one of the officers who brought
to Stalag Luft 1 the codes used to send secret messages to and from
The sender of the second card may have been the Henry George
Cooper mentioned at
More digging required on this one.
An illustration of GER4106 is shown at
the notation “A Christmas card sent in 1943 by Gnr
John Braysher, RA. The original was drawn by POW Thomas Burke in
Stalag XXA and printed by the POW newspaper 'The Camp'. “
An artist’s drawing, used (with modifications) for the card is
Nelson reports 1 example, postmarked 14 January 1942, from a Jewish
POW to Palestine. Return addressed and censored Stalag VIIIB, which
is over 400km from Stalag XXA.
makes 3 cards, 2 used from camps far from Stalag XXA and even farther
from each other. How they got there remains to be determined.
artist was a radio officer on the ship the Dalesman
which was sunk off the coast of Crete in 1941. He died shortly after
being release in 1945.”
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