The Fate of Dieppe Casualties Left Behind

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The Fate of Dieppe Casualties Left Behind
On the Beach and in the Bag
The F ate o f D ieppe C asu alties
Left B ehind
Charles G. Roland
h e n the la s t Allied sh ip s drew aw ay from
the b each es of Dieppe on 19 A ugust 1942,
th e y le ft b e h in d o v e r 2 ,7 0 0 of th e 4 ,9 6 3
C a n a d ia n s w ho h a d em b ark ed on th e raid: 807
m en were dead, in clu d in g four Royal C a n a d ian
Army Medical C orps [RCAMC] m edical orderlies,
a n d 1,946 (including four C a n a d ia n M edical
O fficers (MOs), a c h a p la in , a n d a t le a s t 11
RCAMC m edical orderlies a n d 48 accred ited
stre tc h e r-b e a re rs) w ere a b a n d o n e d to G erm an
captivity on th e b e a ch e s a n d en v iro n s.1As Lord
Lovat w rote d ecad es after the event, “th e raid
w as a n exceedingly b itte r experience, le a rn t the
h a rd w ay.”2
W
It is to the fate of th ese nearly two th o u sa n d
m en, a n d in p a rticu la rly th e 568 w ho h a d been
w o u n d ed a n d th e n cap tu red , th a t th is article is
devoted. M any of th e survivors faced lengthy
h o sp italizatio n a n d re h a b ilita tio n , frequently
u n d e r the care of POW m edical personnel ra th e r
th a n G e rm a n d o c to rs. The a c c o u n t of th a t
m edical tre a tm e n t is one of the u n to ld stories of
the D ieppe raid.
M edical Planning
iven th a t D ieppe w as in te n d e d to be a raid
of only a few h o u r s ’ d u ratio n , th e m edical
p lanning w as n o t complicated. Typical, perhaps,
w e r e t h e i n s t r u c t i o n s fo r t h e S o u t h
S ask atch ew an Regiment:
G
O p p o s ite : T op: The beach a t D ieppe im m ediately follow ing
No. 11 C a n a d ia n F ie ld A m b u la n c e h a d b e e n
s e le c te d a n d tr a in e d w ith th e m a in D ie p p e
fo r c e s , th e p l a n b e in g to s u p p l e m e n t th e
re g im e n ta l s t r e tc h e r - b e a r e r s w ith s e c tio n s of
1 1 th CFA. E a c h s e c tio n of th e field a m b u la n c e
w a s c o m p o s e d of a n officer a n d 11 m e n . T h e ir
e q u ip m e n t w a s th o r o u g h ly s u p e rv is e d a n d a n
a tt e m p t w a s m a d e to p ro v id e w h a t w a s m o s t
su ita b le . S p ecial p a c k s c o n sistin g largely of shell
d re s s in g s , m o rp h in e , s u lp h a d ru g s a n d p la s m a
w e re p ro v id e d , a n d th e e q u ip m e n t w a s d iv id ed
so t h a t e a c h m a n h a d so m e of it to t r a n s p o r t .3
Four ta n k landing craft an d two large flak landing
craft w ere selected a n d eq u ip p ed for h a n d lin g
c a su a ltie s. E a c h of th e four ta n k lan d in g craft
carried two m edical officers a n d several m edical
orderlies, a n d each of th e flak landing craft, one
m edical officer p lu s m edical orderlies. The flak
landing craft were to be grounded on the beaches
one h o u r before the w ithdraw al w as due to begin.
O nce loaded, e a ch craft h a d a cap acity of 100
c a s u a l t i e s o n s t r e t c h e r s a n d 6 0 w a lk in g
w o u n d e d to r e tu r n to th e U nited Kingdom for
tra n s fe r to h o sp itals. B ut,
n o n e of th is h a p p e n e d . F ro m tim e to tim e th e
ta n k la n d in g c ra ft, w h ic h lay w ell o u t to s e a
a w a itin g th e call to go in , a n s w e re d u r g e n t
r e q u e s ts fro m d e s tro y e rs a n d g u n b o a ts for
m ed ical officers, o rd erlie s a n d su p p lie s, a n d th a t
w a s th e to ta l o f th e i r p a r tic ip a tio n . A t te n
m in u te s to n in e o’clock, a s so o n a s it h a d becom e
c l e a r to t h e N a v a l a n d M i l i t a r y F o r c e
C o m m a n d e rs th a t th e b e a c h e s w ere n o t secu rely
h e ld , th e fo u r h o s p ita l ta n k la n d in g c ra ft w ere
o rd e re d to r e t u r n to p o rt. O f th e tw o larg e flak
la n d in g c ra ft o n e d id goo d serv ice a s a m e d ic a l
sh ip , a n d th e o th e r w a s s u n k .4
the raid on 19 A u g u st 1942.
B o tto m : A C anadian soldier w ith h e a d w o u n d is
helped by one o f his com rades fo llo w in g their
capture a t D ieppe, 19 A u g u st 1942.
By 04 3 0 h o u rs th e first c a su a ltie s h a d b eg u n to
com e a b o a rd HMS Calpe a n d HMS Fernie, even
th o u g h these sh ip s were destroyers, n o t hospital
© C anadian Military History, Volume 9, N um ber 4, A u tu m n 2000, pp.6-25.
7
CWM 1 9 8 3 0 1 3 6 -0 0 1#8
ships. D estroyers have little su rp lu s space u n d e r
any co nditions, b u t th e eq u ip m en t req u ire d to
tra n sfo rm a H u n t-c la ss d e stro y e r s u c h a s th e
Calpe into a h e a d q u a rte rs sh ip fu rth e r lim ited
th e sp ace th a t m ight have b e e n allo tted to the
w ounded.
N evertheless, m u c h of th e im m ediate care
of c a su a ltie s w as c a rrie d o u t on d estro y ers,
p rim arily Calpe a n d Fernie, a s well a s on th e
g u n b o a t Locust. Calpe a tte m p te d to cope w ith
278 w o u n d ed m en p lu s h e r own s u b s ta n tia l
n u m b e r of c a su a ltie s. S pace in th e w ardroom
a n d in th e after m ess-d eck w as soon occupied
and, after that, the w ounded lay o u t on the decks
w ith little or no p ro tectio n a n d m an y suffered
a d d itio n a l w o u n d s. G oronw y R ees, G en eral
M o n tg o m ery ’s lia iso n officer, d e s c rib e d th e
c a su a ltie s being b ro u g h t a b o a rd HMS Garth as
“the grey, lifeless faces of m en w hose vitality h a d
been d ra in e d o u t of th em ...T h e s h ip ’s m edical
o f fic e r t r i e d d e s p e r a t e l y to i m p r o v is e
arrangem ents for blood tran sfu sio n s w hich were
far beyond h is re so u rc e s.”5 Like th e o th er ships,
Garth took th e w o u n d ed a b o a rd to capacity.
P la n n in g in th e U nited K ingdom for th e
r e c e p tio n of th e e x p e c te d c a s u a l ti e s w a s
necessarily som ew hat m ore elaborate. The m ain
reception point w as to have been Stokes Bay n e a r
P ortsm outh, w ith Newhaven as a secondary site.
The m ain dressin g sta tio n w as se t up a t th e first
8
location by 10th C anadian Field Am bulance, b u t
w hen it w as lea rn ed late on th e 19th th a t m o st
of th e c a su a ltie s w ere arriving on b o a rd the
destroyers a t Portsm outh, 10th Field A m bulance
a n d No.2 C a n a d ia n M otor A m bulance Convoy
m oved th ere w ith all h a s te a n d were fully ready
w h en F ernie a n d C alpe arriv ed early on 20
A ugust. C a su a ltie s arriving a t N ew haven were
c ared for by 8 th C a n a d ia n Field A m bulance.
Ultimately, all casualties were tran sp o rted to 7th
C a n a d ian G eneral H ospital.6
Im m ediate Care o f C asualties
T
-eatm ent of th e w o u n d ed on the b e a ch e s
follow ed s ta n d a r d lin e s w here p o ssib le ,
though frequently it w as not. The extraordinarily
heavy enem y fire prevented m any of the m edical
p e r s o n n e l fro m p e r f o r m in g t h e i r d u t ie s .
N e v e r th e le s s , m u c h w a s a c h ie v e d u n d e r
appallingly difficult co nditions. One C a n a d ia n
who w as involved in getting in ju red com patriots
u n d e r cover a n d into the h a n d s of the regim ental
m edical officers on W hite B each w as H onourary
C aptain J o h n Foote, p ad re of the Royal H am ilton
Light Infantry, who s u b s e q u e n tly received th e
V ictoria C ross for h is c o u ra g e o u s a n d selfless
efforts.
C a p ta in D. Wesley C lare, RCAMC, w as also
on W hite B each w here he found fire so in te n se
th a t it w as im possible to seek o u t the w ounded.
He se t u p h is aid p o st in the lee of a derelict
ta n k landing craft th a t h a d floated in broadside
to th e b e a c h . H is b a tta lio n h a d 13 m e n to
d i s p e n s e f i r s t - a i d - tw o to e a c h of f o u r
c o m p a n ie s , a n d C la re a n d fo u r m e n w ith
h e a d q u a r te r s c o m p a n y - b u t th e y q u ic k ly
b e c a m e c a s u a ltie s th e m se lv e s. “As m y one
corporal w as killed sh o rtly after re a c h in g the
b each , a n d my se rg ean t w as evacuated a n h o u r
later on a craft th a t landed the FMR [Les Fusiliers
M ont-Royal], I h a d one first aid m a n a n d my
b a tm a n s tre tc h e r-b e a re r. The w o u n d e d h a d to
help them selves or be helped b eh in d o u r craft.”7
O n a n o th e r p a rt of B lue B each, L ie u te n a n t
R.R. L aird w as able to care for som e of the
w o u n d e d Royals. He w as u n d e r cover, b u t the
c a su a ltie s h a d to get to him since he h a d been
b ad ly w o u n d ed him self; th e la n y a rd from his
revolver h a d b e e n blow n th ro u g h h is th ig h
le a v in g o n e e n d h a n g in g o u t e a c h s id e .
U ltim ately, h is leg h a d to be a m p u ta te d , a n d
Laird w as eventually re p a tria te d to C a n a d a .9
Photo fr o m au th o r's collection
On B lue Beach, in front of Puys, the fire w as
so intense th a t little m edical work could be done.
C aptain C harles Robertson, RCAMC, who landed
w ith a s e c tio n of th e 1 1 th C a n a d ia n Field
A m bulance in s u p p o rt of th e Royal R egim ent of
C an ad a, w as p in n ed dow n by enem y fire. It was
literally im possible to v e n tu re onto th e b each ,
so only c a su a ltie s already u n d e r cover could be
tre a te d u n til after th e su rre n d e r. “Really th ere
w a sn ’t anything m edically th a t I or anybody else
d id ,” R o b ertso n recalled. “You s u re w e re n ’t o u t
on th e b e a c h .”8
W o u n d e d C a n a d i a n s o l d i e r s r e c e i v in g m e d i c a l
a tte n tio n fo llo w in g th e D ie p p e ra id .
Photo fr o m author's collection, courtesy Dr. D.W. Clare.
A b o ve: C anadian prisoners fo r m e d up on a street in
Dieppe. Front row left is H onourary C aptain Jo h n
Foote, the p a d re o f the H am ilton Light Infantry,
w h o w a s a w a r d e d th e Victoria C ross f o r h is
gallantry in tending to the w o u n d e d during the
raid. Front row right is C aptain D. W esley Clare, a
m edical officer w ho la n d ed on W hite Beach.
L eft: C anadian soldiers being m arched into captivity.
The Men Left B ehind
C a p ta in F.W. H ay ter, MO of th e S o u th
S a sk a tc h e w a n s, e sta b lish e d h is regim ental aid
p ost well off the b each a t Pourville. The m ajority
of h is c asu alties were re-em barked u n d e r heavy
fire a n d H ayter him self w as able to r e tu r n to
E ng lan d u n s c a th e d . He gave p a rtic u la r p raise
to th e r e g im e n ta l s t r e t c h e r - b e a r e r s , w ho
perform ed prodigiously u n d e r heavy fire: “The
m ajo rity of c a su a ltie s am ong th e s tr e tc h e rb e a re r s o c c u rre d w hile th e y w ere c a rry in g
w ounded across the beach, som e of them m aking
rep eated trip s .”10
T he MO for th e Q u e e n ’s O w n C a m e ro n
H ig h lan d ers of W innipeg, C a p ta in B rack m an ,
w as severely w ounded. S een floating face dow n
in the water, he w as recovered a n d retu rn e d w ith
the other casualties to E ngland. At Bem eval, the
MO w ith th e com m andos, S am Corry, h a d b o th
legs broken by m achine-gun bullets. And C aptain
Laurence Alexander, MO with the Calgary Tanks,
w as blow n off a lan d in g craft by a n e a r m iss.
Clim bing b a c k on, h e c o n tin u e d to care for th e
w o u n d ed .11
n c e th e w h ite fla g h a d b e e n r a is e d ,
im m ediate efforts were m ade to tre a t th e
w o u n d e d . G enerally, th e G e rm a n s b e h a v ed
correctly a n d a s s is te d th e w o u n d e d m en in
v arious ways. S om etim es no m ore th a n a sip of
w a te r o r a lig h te d c ig a r e t t e , t h e s e w e re
n e v e rth ele ss a p p re c ia te d g e stu re s. D ressin g s
were applied, m orphine adm inistered, m akeshift
stre tc h e rs rigged, a n d slowly the beach es began
to be c le a re d . For som e m en, s u c c o u r w as
delayed after RAF fig h ter-b o m b ers sw ept along
th e b e a c h after th e su rre n d e r. The G e rm a n s
sto p p e d picking u p th e w o u n d ed a t th is tim e,
a n d a t le a s t one m an lay th ere u n til d u s k .12
O
Som e C a n a d ia n s found th e initial a tte n tio n
th e ir w o u n d e d m a te s received w as c u rs o ry
indeed. L ucien D u m ais w as q u ite critical:
E n fin , u n m e d e c in a rriv e p o u r v oir le s b le s s e s .
S a v isite n ’e s t q u ’u n sim u la c re . II re g a rd e u n e
d iz a in e d e b le s s e s et, s a n s a v o ir to u c h e u n se u l
p a n s e m e n t, n i e ss a y e d e s o u la n g e r q u i q u e ce
so it, n i en v isa g e d e les d irig e r v e rs u n h o p ita l, il
re p a rt! Ils v o n t d o n e p a s s e r la n u it avec n o u s
d a n s ce c h a n tie r!13
F u rth erm o re, th ere are reports th a t som e of the
w o u n d e d were ex ecu ted by G erm an s after the
s u rre n d e r. J a c k P oolton (Royal R egim ent of
C anada) sta te d th a t a t Puys,
th e r e w ere tw o G e rm a n officers d o w n th e r e
a c tu a lly s h o o tin g th e w o rs t of th e w o u n d e d ,
p u ttin g th e m o u t of th e ir m isery . I a c tu a lly sa w
th is o n e G e rm a n officer s h o o t a t le a s t th re e . He
w a s p u ttin g b u lle ts th r o u g h th e ir fo re h e a d s.
E v en th o u g h I re a lis e d th e y w ere d o in g it a s a n
a c t of m ercy , I d id n ’t w a n t to se e a n y m o re
b e c a u s e it m a d e m e sick .
No o th er w riter seem s to have d o cu m en ted this
event, b u t Poolton twice confirmed his acco u n t.14
C ertainly killing b ad ly w ounded m en a s a so rt
of e u th a n a s ia w as n o t outside th e b o u n d a rie s of
k n ow n b e h a v io u r by G erm an a n d J a p a n e s e
forces d u rin g th e S econd World War. A B ritish
s u r g e o n c a p tu r e d a t A rn h e m r e c o r d e d a
co n v ersatio n he h a d w ith SS m edical officers:
“Only the sim pler casualties are w orth bothering
a b o u t, th e ones w hich will live u n til th ey rea c h
the b ase. Any o th er a p p ro ach is sentim entality,
n o t su rg ery . For th e re s t? Well, in th is Division
we have a u se fu l equation: ‘B a u c h sc h u ss Oder
K o p fsch u ss - SpritzenF [Belly w o u n d or h e a d
w o u n d - M orphia Injection!]”15
T rooper J o h n Lerigo, of No.3 C om m ando,
rep o rted th a t he saw G erm ans b ay o n etin g the
w ounded. This seem s to describe n o t e u th a n a sia
b u t ra th e r sim ple m u rd er. And w h a t m ay have
b e e n a n e a r m iss h a s also been reco rd ed from
No. 4 Com m ando, w here m edical orderly Ja m e s
Pasquale was one of six whom the G erm ans lined
u p a g a in st a d itch. “They never sa id a n y th in g
b u t it w as obvious w h a t w as going to h a p p e n .”
However, a nattily d resse d G erm an officer cam e
along a n d in te rce d e d .16
By m id-afternoon of 19 August, p erh ap s 500
C a n a d ia n POWs h a d b e e n collected in a p a rk
a d ja c e n t to th e G erm an m ilitary h o sp ita l on
D ieppe’s Avenue P a ste u r. Here, p resu m a b ly ,
m an y of the w o u n d ed received som e m edical
a tte n tio n , a t le a s t to th e ex ten t of applying or
changing dressings. The G erm ans requisitioned
local a m b u la n c e s to tra n s p o rt th e w o rst of the
injured, especially G erm an soldiers. In general,
“les b lesse s an g lais s o n t a p ied ,” th o u g h th is
sa m e D ieppois also rep o rted seeing a w o u n d ed
C an ad ian POW being moved by am b u la n c e .17At
B erneval-le-G rand, th e w ounded p riso n e rs h a d
been well treated, chiefly by the in h ab ita n ts. The
G erm ans h a d perm itted them to provide the m en
w ith d rin k in g w a te r a n d to help care for th e ir
w ounds.
In t h i s im m e d ia te p o s t - b a t t l e s ta g e ,
em ergency m edical care w as provided by th e
C a n a d ia n s , G erm an m ilitary p e rso n n e l, a n d
F re n c h civilians. In s ta n c e s a re re c o rd e d of
G erm an troops carrying w ounded on stretch ers,
t h o u g h c o m m o n ly th e G e r m a n s h a d fit
C a n a d ia n s carry th eir w ounded com rades. One
m a n rem em bers “w alking th ro u g h b ro k en glass
carrying w ounded u p to the hospital in Dieppe. ”'s
For th o se w ho survived, m ore s u b s ta n tia l aid
w ould be given in v ario u s h o sp itals.
1. H ospitals
T
ie first w o u n d ed C a n a d ia n s seem to have
arrived a t l’Hotel-D ieu, the m ain ho sp ital in
D ieppe, a b o u t no o n on th e 19th. O ne of the
siste rs saw th a t they h a d no m edical officers, so
a F re n c h p h y sic ia n a n d a n u rsin g s is te r were
r e q u e s te d . S o o n th e m o th e r s u p e r io r w as
assistin g them herself. She also arran g ed for the
s is te rs in th e h o s p ita l p h a rm a c y to provide
c o m p re sse s, b a n d a g e s, syringes, needles, a n d
a m p u le s of m e d ic in e . Oil of c a m p h o r w as
injected in an a tte m p t to stim u late the h eart, an
intern gave tetan u s shots, an d the sisters brought
food from the hospital gardens. D uring the night
of 19/2 0 August, the Canadians, fit an d wounded,
w ere rem oved from l’H otel-D ieu. By m orning,
o n ly e ig h t of th e m o s t s e v e re ly w o u n d e d
rem ain ed . O ne h a d a fra c tu re d s k u ll.19 O ther
c a su a ltie s were ta k e n first to l’Hotel Rhin. Some
h a d first aid c arried o u t there, b u t th e n m o st of
th e se m en w en t e ith e r to l’Hotel D ieu or to the
railw ay sta tio n .20
P ro b a b ly o n th e e v e n in g of 19 A u g u st,
C a p ta in C h arles R o b e rtso n acco m p an ied his
w ounded colleague, C ap tain R.R. “Pinky” Laird,
RCAMC, in a n a m b u la n ce to the Dieppe railway
station. There R obertson w as com m andeered by
a G erm an m edical officer to a s s is t in the triage
of th e m an y h u n d re d s of w ounded, s e p a ra tin g
th e serio u sly w o u n d e d from less se rio u s cases
a n d directing G erm an s tre tc h e r-b e a re rs to take
th em to different tra in s .21 The so-called “light
w o u n d e d ” w ere s e n t to V ern eu il, th e m ore
serio u sly w o u n d ed to h o sp ita ls in R ouen. Fit
POWs, a n d m any light w o u n d ed w ho p referred
to sta y w ith th e ir friends, were m arc h ed first to
E nverm eu, a n d th en , after in terro g atio n , to a
tra n s it cam p a t Verneuil, 130 kilom etres s o u th
of Dieppe.
M any of the w ounded h a d som e surgical care
there before going on to POW hospitals or cam ps.
The in ju re d m en w ere tra n s p o rte d by tru c k or
tra in , so a t le a s t w ere s p a re d w a lk in g . At
Verneuil, the three fit C anadian MOs, Robertson,
W almsley, a n d Clare, a n d a t le a s t one G erm an
d o c to r s p e n t tw o d a y s rem o v in g p ie c e s of
s h r a p n e l u n d e r lo ca l a n a e s th e tic , s e ttin g
fractures, a n d su tu rin g w ounds.
O th er survivors w ere s e n t to R ouen on 19
A ugust, m ak in g th e trip in railw ay b o x c a rs or
tru c k s. M any v e te ran s have p ain fu l m em ories
of th e ir im m ediate m edical care, especially th e
severely w ounded. T his is h a rd ly su rp risin g .
Often they h a d m ultiple injuries, an d som e m en
are still incensed, 50 years later, th a t all of th eir
w o u n d s were n o t c ared for a t th is stage. One
m an, w hose leg w as u ltim ately a m p u ta te d a t
R ouen, criticized th e care h e received. W ounds
in h is arm a n d h is h e a d were n o t tre a te d a t all,
th o u g h the G erm ans did p u t a c a st on h is leg.22
According to m ore th a n one veteran, a t least
som e of th e p a tie n ts tre a te d a t R o u e n h a d
surgical p ro ce d u re s done w ith o u t a n a e sth e sia .
R obert P ro u se of th e C a n a d ia n Provost C orps
w orked in th e R ouen h o sp ita l after receiving
tre a tm e n t for h is own s h ra p n e l w o u n d s in th e
calf. He fo u n d th a t h is d u ty w as to hold dow n
soldiers while they w ere o p e ra ted on. “We were
a n a esth etists, one for each a rm a n d one for each
leg. E ith e r th ere w ere no a n a e s th e tic s or the
G erm an s did n o t w a n t to w aste th em on u s .”23
In a sse ssin g any s u c h claim, it m u st be kept
in m in d th a t m u ch ro u g h a n d ready tre a tm e n t
is carried o u t in em ergency situ a tio n s involving
large n u m b e rs of c a su a ltie s. T he G erm an s n o t
only h a d resp o n sib ility th r u s t on th em for 600
Allied c a su a ltie s, b u t th ey also h a d 326 of th eir
own w o u n d e d w ho re q u ire d c a re .24 No local
m ilita ry m e d ic a l e s ta b l is h m e n t c a n c o p e
in sta n ta n e o u s ly a n d effectively w ith m ore th a n
900 casualties, m any very severe, th a t have been
s u s ta in e d in a few h o u r s ’ fighting in a sm all
geographical area. In c a se s w here th e w o u n d s
are (from the comfort of the histo rian ’s arm chair)
“m in o r” in n a tu re , tre a tm e n t is u su a lly curso ry
in th e initial stages. T his triage o ccu rs in peace
as in war, a n d w h e th e r c a su a ltie s are friend or
foe. M oreover, th ere w ere a p p a re n tly c u ltu ra l
differences in th e u se of a n a e s th e s ia . A B ritish
su rg e o n left b e h in d a t D u n k irk observed th is,
no tin g th a t a Belgian su rg e o n w as in clined “to
do t h i n g s w i t h o u t o r w ith i n s u f f i c i e n t
a n aesth etic. High s ta n d a rd a n a e sth e tic s w ere a
B ritish lu x u ry n o t to be found on the C o n tin en t
in th e years betw een th e w a rs .”25
C \VM 19830136-001 #18
C a n a d ia n w o u n d e d a w a i t tr e a tm e n t fo l lo w i n g th e ra id .
Finally, th re e C a n a d ia n s (C ap tain R obert
H a in a u lt of M ontreal, C orporal Melville P ark er
of T o ro n to , a n d P riv ate A delard de Seve of
M ontreal) a n d one B riton received tre a tm e n t at
th e H opital de la Pitie in P aris after th e ir initial
ev alu atio n a t D ieppe a n d im m ediate su rg e ry a t
R o uen.26 P ark er a n d de Seve m ade the trip from
R ouen to Paris on 26 A ugust 1942, b u t H ainault
w a s n o t t r a n s f e r r e d u n t il 10 N o v e m b e r,
p r e s u m a b ly b e c a u s e of th e s e v e rity of h is
in ju ries. The four m en w ere h o u se d in a fairly
large isolation w ard in one of th e b u ild in g s of
th e h o spital, in th e M axillo-Facial D epartm ent.
According to th e Red Cross, the accom m odation
a n d food were “in every resp e c t excellent a n d
e x a ctly s im ila r to th o s e to be fo u n d in a n
ab so lu tely u p -to -d a te P a risian h o sp ital, w hich
is now being u s e d by th e G erm an arm y for the
care of its own so ld ie rs.”27 P a rk e r’s disfiguring
facial w o u n d s re q u ire d re sto ra tiv e su rg e ry ,
w hich he received from a G erm an m edical officer
a t La Pitie w ho w as a sp ecialist in th is field.28
C learly , th e s e th re e m e n rec e iv e d m ed ic al
a tte n tio n of a s ta n d a rd th a t probably w ould not
have b een s u rp a s s e d in th e UK.
2. Transportation
h e G e rm a n s p ro v id e d v a rie d m e a n s of
tra n sp o rta tio n to move the c a su a ltie s away
from Dieppe a n d its environs, a n d from Verneuil
a n d R o u e n in to G e rm a n y . E x c e p tin g som e
se v ere ly w o u n d e d w ho re m a in e d lo n g e r in
D ieppe h o sp ita ls, m an y of the m en, w o u n d ed
a n d u n w o u n d ed , left th e city on th e 19th.
T
W hen they left Rouen, som e fo rtu n ate m en a m inority - were tra n sp o rte d by h o sp ita l train .
For m ost, the accom m odation w as m ore austere.
From V erneuil, all th e w o u n d ed seem to have
b een m oved in boxcars, a n u n p le a s a n t s u rp rise
for th e C a n a d ia n MOs who h a d b e e n looking
after them , a n d a grim a n d pain fu l tim e for the
w ounded. After treating over 250 casu alties w ith
m in im al equ ip m en t, th e MOs w ere sh o c k ed to
find th a t th e se rio u s s tre tc h e r c a se s w ere to be
tra n s p o rte d in th is way. In one boxcar, 21
s tr e tc h e r c a s e s w ere crow ded in w ith fo u r
C a n a d ian m edical orderlies a n d C a p ta in s Clare
a n d R o b ertso n .29
Though travelling by cattle car w as sta n d a rd
p ractice for E u ro p e a n arm ies, POWs m oved in
th is w ay were u su a lly overcrow ded a n d u n d e r ­
su p p lie d w ith food a n d o th e r n e c essities. Food
w as on som e o ccasio n s d enied to th e POWs;
w h e n a g ro u p of G erm an Red C ross w orkers a t
one railw ay s ta tio n trie d to give th em food a n d
d rin k , th e g u a rd s k n o ck ed th e food from th eir
h a n d s . S om etim es co n d itio n s in th e boxcars
were truly b a rb aro u s. One m em ber of the Royals
fo u n d th e trip a n ig h tm a re in w hich h e w as
w rack ed by h a llu c in a tio n s. Am ong h is several
injuries, h e h a d been s tru c k in th e back; “in the
h a llu c in a tio n s th e G erm an s h a d m e a n d th ere
were coils of b a rb e d wire a n d they h a d th e sm all
of m y b a c k b e n t b a c k w a rd s over th is pile of
b a rb e d wire a n d th ey w ere w rap p in g wire all
a ro u n d m y rig h t sh o u ld e r.” L ater he found the
c a u se of h is h a llu c in a to ry s ta te . He h a d been
heavily dosed w ith m orphine by h is own officers,
on th e principle th a t h e w as n o t going to live
anyw ay. “M ight a s well p u t the poor bug g er out
of h is m isery .”30
O ne of th e B ritish m edical officers w ho saw
the C an ad ian s arrive a t O berm assfeld h a d quite
u n p lea sa n t recollections of their state ab out eight
to te n days after th e Dieppe Raid: “T hese people
j u s t fell o u t — ab so lu tely w hacked. C overed in
e x creta a n d in a terrib le s ta te . T hey’d b e e n in
th e re for days. T hings w e’d re a d a b o u t, an d
im possible to describe — the stench, th e horror,
th e trag ed y of it a ll.”31
3. P risoner o f War Cam ps
n o n e r e s p e c t, th e D ie p p e PO W s w ere
p a rtic u la rly fo rtu n a te - if th ey h a d to be
p riso n e rs a t all - to e n te r captivity in 1942. By
the m iddle of th is year the general level of h ealth
of POWs in G erm an a n d Italian h a n d s reach ed
its h ig h e s t p o in t in th e en tire war. M any POWs
m ade sta te m e n ts to th is effect. One of th ese w as
L i e u t e n a n t - C o l o n e l L e s lie Le S o e u f , a n
A ustralian MO cap tu red on Crete, who s p e n t the
re m a in d e r of th e w a r in th e bag. In h is m em oir
he published a graph showing swings in the state
of h e a lth of w e ste rn POWs d u rin g th e se years.
My re se a rc h su g g e sts th a t th is c h a rt h a s broad
applicability as a g eneralization.32 [see c h a rt on
n e x t page.]
I
a. Lam sdorf
T
ie m ajority of th e fit NCOs a n d O ther R anks
from D iep p e, a lo n g w ith a s u b s ta n t ia l
p r o p o rtio n of th e lig h t w o u n d e d , w e n t to
LEOEIMO
--------------PRISONERS IN GERMAN HANDS
---------------PRISONERS IN ITALIAN HANDS
1
NORMAL
2
BELOW
3
LOW
A
NEARING
HEALTH
AVERAGESTANDARD
STANDARD
END
OF
OP
NUTRITION
ENDURANCE
R elative h ealth o f W estern POWs in German cap tivity, 1 9 4 0 -1 9 4 5
L am sdorf (now Lambinowice in w estern Poland).
S talag 8B, th e division of th e hu g e S ta la g 8
com plex th a t held th e C a n a d ia n s, th e B ritish,
a n d o th er w estern Allied POWs, w as itself a very
large camp.-33 In 1944, th is cam p was designated
S talag 344. It held a t v ario u s tim es betw een
10,000 a n d 20,000 POWs, w ith m ore in various
w ork k o m m an d o s a tta c h e d adm in istrativ ely to
the cam p. At v ario u s tim es th e re w ere also
in te rn al co m pounds w here special groups were
held in seg regation from th e re s t of th e cam p.
T h e re w a s a revier (m ed ical in s p e c tio n
room) w ith in th e cam p, a n d also a lazaret, or
h o spital, in its own en clo su re o u tsid e th e m ain
cam p wire. T his h o sp ital, into w hich th e m o st
severely w o u n d e d C a n a d ia n s w ent, h a d six
w ards, each in a se p a ra te building, a n d w as a n
efficient facility th a t p a s se d one of th e cru cial
t e s t s : d e s p i t e p o t e n t i a l p r o b le m s w ith
ste riliz a tio n , it h a d little s e p s is , e x c ep t for
w o u n d s th a t cam e in already infected.
In ad d itio n to th e MOs, th ere were tra in e d
B ritish m edical orderlies who w orked on th e
various w ards for a b o u t th ree m o n th s a t a time,
ro ta tin g so th a t no one w as too long exposed to
diseases s u c h a s tu b ercu lo sis.34 These orderlies
seem to have provided a high level of care on
th e w ards. M any of th em h a d b e e n well tra in e d
in th e ir sp ecial field before th e war, a n d since
c a p tu re th ey h a d h a d years of w ork u n d e r firstrate m edical officers to ho n e th e ir skills a n d
challenge th eir capacity to improvise. Moreover,
the w orking co n d itio n s a t L am sdorf acted to
im prove care for th e w o u n d ed a n d the sick:
w e w e re o n d u ty 2 4 h o u r s a d ay , y o u s e e .. .You
w e re th e r e o n call a t a n y tim e. W hich d id n 't
m a tte r b e c a u s e th e re w as n o th in g else to do. B ut
it m e a n t t h a t p e o p le g o t q u ic k t r e a t m e n t
w h e re a s, even in a n o rd in ary ho sp ital, they m ig h t
h a v e h a d to w a it a w h ile till a n ig h t s is te r c a m e
a r o u n d .35
S u p p lies of all k in d s were chronically scarce in
th e h o sp ita l a n d revier. As a co n seq u en ce, the
orderlies u s e d to b re a k into th e G erm an su p p ly
area to steal w h at was required. “We h a d a laddie
w ith u s who w as a professional burglar. He could
open a n y door, a n d h e w as m o st u s e fu l.”36
W hen the C anadian w ounded arrived, m any
were b u rd e n e d with p la ste r c a sts th a t h a d been
applied a t D ieppe, R ouen, or V erneuil, a n d by
th is tim e th e se were p u s -s o a k e d a n d stinking.
One p a tie n t w as especially m em orable: a sk ed
w here h e w as w ounded, he replied th a t h is right
a rm w as all right. T hough th e m edical sta ff
th o u g h t h e h a d m isu n d e rsto o d or w as being
sm a rt, w h en th ey exam ined him they fo u n d he
h a d b e e n q u ite literal; h is rig h t arm a n d only
h is rig h t a rm w as all right. He h a d 21 w o u n d s
sc a tte re d a b o u t the re s t of h is body.37
In general, th ere w ere correct, th o u g h n o t
cordial, relations betw een the POW m edical staff
C la n d e s tin e p h o to g r a p h o f o p e r a tin g ro o m s c e n e in th e la z a r e t o f S ta la g 8 B , L a m s d o r f, ca . 1 9 4 3 ,
s h o w in g f e m u r b e in g s a w n th r o u g h in a n u p p e r -le g a m p u ta tio n .
a n d th e G erm an staff doctors. The POW doctors
w ere allow ed full lib erty in th e p ro fe ssio n a l
tre a tm e n t of th e ir p a tie n ts. A lthough it w as
im possible to o b ta in m edical in s tru m e n ts in
G erm any, the B ritish doctors h a d th eir own sets
of i n s t r u m e n ts .38 W ehrkreis 8 a lso h a d a n
im pressive prosthesis program th a t included not
only a lab o ra to ry , b u t also a close w orking
r e l a ti o n s h ip w ith a p r o f e s s io n a l G e rm a n
p ro sth e tic engineer in a n eighbouring town.
b. M olsdorf, M iihlhausen, and E ic h sta tt
T
ire e o th er cam p s also h o u se d C a n a d ia n s
from Dieppe. Stalag 9C M olsdorf w as alm ost
a tra n s it cam p. The m en se n t th ere arrived ju s t
before th e e n d of A u g u st 1942, a n d on 20
Septem ber, they were moved because of repeated
e sca p e a tte m p ts. They travelled by b o x c a r to
M iih lh au se n , w here th ey occupied a new a n d
su p p o sed ly e scap e-p ro o f b u ild in g .39 O nly light
w o u n d ed were received here; n o th in g in th e ir
tre a tm e n t s ta n d s o u t a s significantly different
from o th e r c a m p s. Finally, 117 C a n a d ia n s
c a p tu re d a t D ieppe (97 officers, in clu d in g four
w ho w ere w o u n d ed , a n d 20 ordortnances or
orderlies) w ere in Oflag 7B E ic h s ta tt in the
a u tu m n of 1 9 4 2 .40 E ic h s ta tt w a s se v e re ly
overcrowded and, though the m en were generally
in good health, the w inter of 1942-43 w as bitterly
cold a n d the su p p ly of coal w as sc an ty . As a
co n seq u en ce, th ere w as a m ajor o u tb re a k of
c h ilb la in s , r h e u m a tic d iso rd e rs , a n d c h e s t
d ise a se s.41
4. POW H osp itals
hatever the deficiencies of the G erm an POW
ho sp ital sy stem m ay have b een in 1942, it
w as a b e tte r sy ste m th a n h a d existed in 1940.
W hen large n u m b e rs of B ritish a n d F re n ch
so ld iers becam e POWs in F ran ce a n d Belgium ,
th e b e s t th e G e rm a n s could do w as to leave
c a p tu re d m edical u n its intact, a n d perm it them
to u s e th e ir own su p p lie s a n d eq u ip m e n t to get
on w ith th e ir w ork. As one re p a tria te d m edical
officer p u t it, “I th in k I ca n fairly say th a t a t this
stage, following th e invasion a n d fall of F rance,
no m edical o rg an izatio n h a d b e e n w orked o u t
by th e G erm an s for p ris o n e rs .”42
W
For the Dieppe casualties, especially the m ost
severe, W ehrkreis 9 w as th e G e rm a n defence
a re a th e y cam e to know well. T his w as th e
territory bound, roughly, by F rankfurt-am -M ain
in the w est, S tu ttg a rt in the so u th , Leipzig to the
east, a n d Kassel to the north. It included medical
facilities for POWs a t O berm assfeld, K loster
Haina, B adS oden/S alm iinster, Flildburghausen,
S ta d tro d a , a n d Egendorf.
a. O berm assfeld
b o u t 180 of th e m o st severely w o u n d e d
D ieppe survivors were s e n t to th e 4 0 0 -b ed
POW hosp ital a t O berm assfeld, a few kilom etres
s o u th of M einingen. T he b u ild in g h a d b e e n a n
a g ric u ltu ra l or forestry school before th e war,
b u t in th e a u tu m n of 1 9 4 0 th e G e rm a n s
d esig n a ted it a POW h o sp ital, one of several
created to provide care for th e m an y c a su a ltie s
c a p tu re d a t the fall of F rance.
A
O ne of th e B ritish m edical officers w ho
helped e sta b lish the ho sp ital arrived j u s t before
C h ristm a s 1940. The b u ild in g w as em pty, a n d
h a d large d o rm ito rie s th a t e v e n tu a lly m ad e
suitable w ards. The site w as in th e country, a n d
one fe a tu re m ark e d it a s b ein g different from
m o st o th e r POW h o sp ita ls in G erm any: th ere
w as a d airy factory, th e Molcherei, a d ja c e n t
w hich provided the building w ith a b u n d a n t heat.
“We were centrally h e a te d from th e factory, a n d
we w ere very well h e a te d . In fact it w as alm o st
too pow erful. B u t it w as very com forting. We
never suffered from th e cold in th e w inter, a n d
we alw ays h a d h o t w ater.”43
O n th e w hole, th e m e d ic a l s ta f f fo u n d
O b e rm a s s fe ld re a s o n a b ly s a tis fa c to ry . T he
G e rm a n q u a rte rm a s te r sold S e k t (sp a rk lin g
wine) to th e m edical officers, on th e principle
th a t th e in te n d e d c o n su m e rs, th e civilians of
Oberm assfeld, were not u sed to su c h luxury, and
b esid es he could m ake som e m oney th is w ay.44
B ut despite th is com fortably civilized beginning,
O b erm ass-feld POW H ospital seem s never to
have b e e n a h a p p y in stitu tio n , largely b e c a u se
of a n active a n d interfering A b w eh r d e ta c h m e n t
th a t w as d e te rm in e d to s e a rc h a n d investigate
w h atev er seem ed a p p ro p riate . As one orderly
recalled, “s a n ita te rs [G erm an m edical orderlies]
m a in ta in e d a n alm o st c o n s ta n t p atro l th ro u g h
th e whole place p u rely to e n s u re th a t in te rn a l
discipline according to th e ir ru le s w as abided
by to th e hilt. T hose fo u n d tra n s g re s s in g often
found them selves in a stone cell for a week. Even
a double am p u tatio n case once w ent thro u g h the
p u n ish m e n t.”45
Life a t O berm assfeld w as m ade u n p le a s a n t
for b o th m edical sta ff a n d p a tie n ts by th e rigid
sta n c e of th e C hejarzt, H a u p tm a n n Dr. M artin
Falke. He took charge in early 1942 a n d proved
to be “m o st difficult to deal w ith ,” in th e w ords
of a B ritish d ental officer who w as SBMO [Senior
B ritish M edical Officer] for a s h o rt period th a t
s u m m e r. T he C h e ja rzt a s s u m e d d ic ta to ria l
pow ers a n d “gave c e rta in o rd ers w hich I could
only obey u n d e r p ro te st a n d w hich were clearly
infringem ents of the Geneva Convention relating
to P riso n e rs of W ar.”46 By Ju ly 1942, Falke h a d
forced th is officer o u t a n d M ajor G.D. Hadley,
RAMC, took over.
Hadley w as the SBMO w hen a b o u t one-third
of th e C a n a d i a n c a s u a l t i e s r e a c h e d
Oberm assfeld in A ugust 1942. An RAMC medical
o rd e rly a t O b e rm a ssfe ld re m e m b e re d th e ir
arrival clearly:
M o st of th e [D ieppe c a s u a ltie s ] re a c h e d u s still
w ith th e o rig in al field o r sh e ll d re s s in g s a p p lie d
to th e ir in ju rie s .. .A n u m b e r of th e m w ere in very
p o o r s h a p e . All o u r fellow s s p r a n g to a c tio n ,
s u r g e o n s w o rk in g fla t o u t, o r d e r lie s liftin g
them selves to new h e ig h ts of endeavour. F or once
th e h a r s h ly im p o s e d ru le s of lig h ts o u t a t n in e
o’clo ck w ere w aiv ed a n d o p e ra tio n s w e n t o n
th r o u g h th e n ig h t a n d th e follow ing n ig h t.47
Also extrem ely helpful for the Dieppe c a su alties
w a s th e e x is te n c e of a f u n c tio n in g b lo o d
t r a n s f u s io n se rv ic e a t O b e rm a s s fe ld , w ith
m edical sta ff a n d co n valescent p a tie n ts a s the
donors. W hen the C anadians arrived on a French
am bulance train, they h a d been badly neglected.
Two tea m s of su rg e o n s o p erated co n tin u o u sly
for m ore th a n 24 hours; blood tran sfu sio n s were
needed often, an d fortunately were available. The
C a n a d ia n s w ere also greatly aid ed by th e fact
th a t they arrived in ho sp ital after a sh o rt, albeit
painful, b attle a n d th u s retained th e full benefit
of th e ir excellent physical condition.
Although a few of the C anadians succum bed
to th eir w ounds a n d en su in g com plications, the
m ajority did well a t O berm assfeld. They h a d the
b en efit of first-ra te m edical a n d su rg ical care,
d e s p ite th e d e f ic ie n c ie s of s u p p li e s a n d
e q u ip m e n t t h a t p la g u e d all G e rm a n POW
e s t a b l i s h m e n t s . W h e n th e I n t e r n a t i o n a l
C o m m ittee of th e R ed C ro ss [ICRC] v isited
O berm assfeld in O ctober 1942, they found th a t
M ajor Hadley h a d te n o th e r m edical officers to
a s s is t him in ru n n in g th e ho sp ital. The w ard s
w ere large a n d well ventilated, w ith d o uble-tier
beds for the ORs and, in the officers’w ard, single
b ed s. The o p e ra tin g room w as d e sc rib e d as
“prim itive b u t c le a n .” New in s tru m e n ts were
needed, however. The x-ray installation w as “very
satisfactory.”48 Finally, m orale w as good, th a n k s
in large p a rt to th e m edical staff. P raise for the
h a rd w ork a n d d ed icatio n of th e B ritish Army
m edical orderlies w as general, from p a tie n ts a n d
from th e m edical officers.49
b. K loster H aina
ne of th e m ore in te re stin g POW m edical
e s ta b lis h m e n ts w as a t K loster H aina, a
sm all village e a st of F ra n k fu rt-a m -M a in , in a
f o rm e r C is te r c ia n A b b e y t h a t P h ilip th e
M agnanim ous converted into a m ental hospital
four cen tu ries earlier.50 Kloster H aina existed as
a POW e s ta b lis h m e n t only from the sp rin g of
1942 u n til O ctober 1943, though it h a d a m u ch
longer a n d c o n tin u in g existence as a n in sa n e
asylum . P a rt of th e b u ild in g w as u s e d for the
w o u n d e d POWs, w hile som e of th e rem ain in g
sectio n s co n tin u e d in th e ir original fu n ctio n .51
O
T h ro u g h th e effo rts of St. D u n s ta n ’s (a
tra in in g sch o o l for th e b lin d in th e U n ited
Kingdom), th e B ritish Red C ross, th e O rd er of
St. J o h n of Je ru sa le m , the ICRC, the YMCA, and
two Allied POW s, M ajor D avid L. C h a rte rs ,
RAMC, a n o p h th alm ic su rg e o n from Liverpool
who w as cap tu red in Greece, an d L ieutenant the
M arq u ess of N orm anby, of th e G reen H ow ards,
w ho w as w ounded a n d c a p tu re d n e a r D unkirk,
th e POW h o s p i t a l w a s e s t a b l i s h e d a s a
convalescent centre specializing in POWs blinded
a s a re s u lt of w o u n d s .52 All an g lophone blind
POWs w ere collected here, along w ith a large
n u m b e r of am p u tees. The original G erm an staff
w as h ead ed by th e C hefarzt, S ta b sa rzt Dr. Erich
Z e iss, w ith a n A s s is ta n ta r z t, O b e ra rzt Dr.
H e lm u th J u n g . The SBMO in th e s u m m e r of
1942 w as M ajor J o h n C hapel, RAMC.53
W hen C h a rte rs arrived a t K loster H ain a in
J u n e 1942, th e b lin d school h a d five te a c h e rs
m in iste rin g to 40 blin d POWs. At th a t tim e,
K loster H aina held 246 B ritish p a tie n ts (housed
s e p a ra te ly in two w ings of th e m ain building),
200 F re n ch p a tie n ts, a n d 600 G erm an lu n atic s
in s e p a ra te q u a rte rs .54 D espite th e sp ecialist
in terests of C harters, m ost of the p a tie n ts a t this
new c a m p w ere a m p u te e s , in c lu d in g m an y
C a n a d ia n s, a few RCAF POW c a su a ltie s before
D ieppe a n d m an y survivors of th e ra id from
S e p tem b e r 1942 on.
In S eptem ber, th e p a tie n t p o p u la tio n h a d
in c re a se d to 382, p lu s four MOs, eight m edical
orderlies, one m asse u r, two blind tea c h e rs, one
p a d re , a n d a n orderly. A lm ost h a lf th e p a tie n ts
C landestine photograph sho w in g lim b-m aking d ep a rtm en t a t Stalag 8B, Lam sdorf,..ca. 1944.
P O W in rig h t f o r e g r o u n d is A r th u r W e s to n , w h o e s t a b l i s h e d th is d e p a r t m e n t u n d e r th e g u id a n c e
o f L ie u te n a n t- C o lo n e l T.H. W ilso n , R A M C , th e S e n io r B r itis h M e d ic a l O ffic e r in th e c a m p .
were C anadian. C onditions were less th a n ideal.
The su p p ly of su rg ical in s tru m e n ts a n d o th e r
m edical e q u ip m e n t a n d su p p lie s w as deficient
for w h a t Dr. C h a rte rs h a d b e e n a s s u re d w ould
be “the only ophthalm ologic centre for p riso n ers
of w ar in G erm any.”55 By all acco u n ts, C h a rte rs
did effective w ork w ith w h a t w as available.
M o d e rn f a c i li ti e s n e e d e d fo r th e
re h a b ilita tio n of a m p u te e s w ere also scarce.
I m p r o v is a t io n p r o v id e d m u c h , n o t o n ly
rehab ilitativ e a p p a ra tu s , b u t also p ro sth e s e s
them selves. At least one C an ad ian from Dieppe,
H ow ard Large of the E ssex S c o ttish R egim ent,
a n a m p u t e e w h o s e le g w a s re m o v e d a t
O berm assfeld, occupied him self over m an y long
m o n th s b y d e v is in g f u n c t i o n a l , if R u b e
G oldbergesque, artificial lim bs in co n cert w ith
several o th er v o lu n teers.56
In th e l a s t m o n t h s of 1 9 4 2 , s o m e
o r g a n i z a t i o n to o k p la c e in p r o v id in g
r e h a b ilita tio n s e rv ic e s to a m p u te e s . N ine
m edical o rd erlie s a n d th re e m a s s e u rs w ere
available to w ork w ith th e 2 0 0 -p lu s a m p u te e s.
ICRC rep re sen ta tiv e s rep o rted th a t a room for
“m ecconotherapy,” or physical therapy, h a d been
se t u p w ith a p p a r a tu s m ad e by th e POWs.
Moreover, a C a p ta in L aurie, w ho h a d b e e n a
te a c h e r in physical tra in in g a t A berdeen before
the w ar, h a d v olunteered to go to K loster H aina
a n d su p e rv ise th e re h a b ilita tio n p rogram . And
finally, every 15 days they were visited by M ajor
Bill Tucker, a B ritish orthopaedic specialist. On
h is re c o m m e n d a tio n , p a tie n ts w ho n e e d e d
tre a tm e n t n o t available a t K loster H aina were
s e n t to O berm assfeld or to a G erm an Special
L azaret.57
M a n y of th e n o n - m e d i c a l p r o b le m s
e x p e rien c e d a t K loster H a in a seem to h ave
stem m ed from a com m on source - the Chefarzt,
Dr. J u n g , who h a d ta k e n over co m m an d from
Dr. Z e iss. J u n g h a d im p o s e d s t r i c t r u le s
p rev en tin g n o t only th e p a tie n ts b u t also th e
m edical sta ff from moving a b o u t in the evening.
T his re stric tio n com plicated th e w ork of th e
doctors a n d orderlies, w ho h a d to se n d for a
g u a rd - n o t alw ays available - to allow th em to
go an d see their patients. Moreover, J u n g ’s policy
h a d one effect th a t im pacted on everyone in the
i n s t i t u t i o n ; it m a d e c o m m o n r e c r e a tio n s
im p o s s ib le , e s p e c ia lly th e o rg a n iz a tio n of
c o n c erts a n d o th e r show s, a n d also p rev en ted
the m en from tak in g p a rt in s tu d y c o u rse s.58
T his m a tte r of collective p u n ish m e n t, itself
a c o n trav en tio n of th e G eneva Convention, w as
a m ajor issue. The SBMO pointed out that, after
a n a tte m p te d e s c a p e by tw o o ffic ers (one
C a n a d ia n a n d one A m erican), J u n g p lac e d
re stric tio n s on th e h o sp ita l a s a whole. T hese
included n o t issu in g Red C ross food, closing all
w indow s, except fanlights, closing all exits into
th e courtyard, a n d forbidding all exercise in the
open air. An ICRC in sp e c to r noted th a t th e two
“e s c a p e r s ” h a d n o t e v e n left th e h o s p ita l
buildings b u t m erely sp e n t the n ig h t in a n o th e r
block. T h u s he found it “particularly u n ju s t and
h a r d t h a t th e above re s tric tio n s s h o u ld as
collective p u n is h m e n t also b e im p o s e d on
p riso n e rs w ho could never hope to esca p e or
even th in k of it, s u c h as the totally blind or m ost
of th e a m p u te e s .”59
D espite th ese k in d s of petty oppression, the
sp irit of th e m en w as in general excellent. One
p a tie n t, a C a n a d ia n from the E sse x S cottish,
c h e rish e s a group p h o to g ra p h ta k e n a t K loster
H aina. He h a d h a d a leg a m p u ta te d , a s h a d a
large n u m b e r of th e POWs show n. B ut, a s he
pointed out, he w as easy to find b e c au se h e h a d
carefully seated him self next to the one m an who
w as a double a m p u te e. T he p ic tu re w as to be
s e n t hom e, so h is m o th er could see th a t h e w as
far from being th e m o st serio u sly in ju re d .60
Again, as a t O berm assfeld, local G erm an
b u re a u c ra c y a n d p e tty m e a n n e s s co u ld n o t
p rev e n t th e m en from ob tain in g h ig h -q u ality
m edical a n d n u r s in g care. A nd for th e v a st
m ajority of the m en they received th is care from
fellow POWs.
K loster H ain a w as closed in late O ctober
1943, after the m ajority of the POW p atien ts w ent
h o m e in th e f ir s t la rg e r e p a tr ia tio n . T he
re m a in in g p a tie n ts a n d m ed ic al s ta ff w ere
tra n sfe rre d to B ad S o d e n /S a lm u n ste r.81
c. H ildburghausen
h e n th e D iep p e c a s u a ltie s a rriv e d a t
H ild b u rg h a u s e n in A u g u s t/S e p te m b e r
1942, they found a sm all POW ho sp ital th a t h a d
b een in existence sin ce soon after th e fall of
D u n k irk . The first m edical officer th ere , who
rem a in e d as SBMO u n til the m iddle of 1943,
w as Lieutenant-Colonel T. Henry Wilson, RAMC,
late of th e 2 1 st B ritish G eneral H ospital.62
W
T h e H i l d b u r g h a u s e n s it e , a b o u t 45
k ilom etres e a st of O berm assfeld, w as a lu n a tic
asylum . Two buildings, som e h u n d re d s of yards
apart, were assigned for use as the POW hospital;
one b u ild in g w as a p a rt of the asylum , a n d the
seco n d w as on a n e a rb y farm belonging to the
i n s t i t u t i o n .63 T h e s u rg ic a l d iv is io n of th e
hospital, in th e building know n a s Frauenhaus,
h a d a capacity of 95 beds, a n d internal medicine,
w ith 15 b eds, w as allo tted a b u ild in g called
Karolinenburg. The p a tie n t w ards h a d from four
to 14 iron beds w hich, the inspectors found, h ad
“a n im a l h a ir m a ttre s s e s , two s h e e ts a n d two
w oollen b la n k e ts .” T he s h e e ts w ere c h an g ed
ev ery th r e e o r fo u r w e e k s, “m o re o fte n if
n e c e s s a ry .”64 H ot w a te r existed in good supply,
h o t b a th s or show ers were available a t least once
a w eek, a n d th e re w as a h o t-a ir a p p a ra tu s for
disinfecting clothing a n d bedding.
Food w as basically ad e q u ate , th o u g h som e
c o m p la in ts ste m m e d from th e heavy u s e of
c araw ay seed a s a flavouring. The food w as
p re p a re d by G erm an p erso n n el, a n d no control
w a s e x e rc is e d by th e POW s. N or w ere th e
c o n te n ts of Red C ross p arcels a c cep ted by the
k itch en for incorporation into th e cooked m eals,
as w as done a t m ost POW hospitals. On the other
h a n d , a b o u t 20 p a ti e n ts re c e iv e d d ie ta ry
su p p lem en ts from th e kitchens, including white
b re a d , w h e a t flakes, rolled oats, a n d so u p , on
th e p re sc rip tio n of th e POW M Os.65 U nlike the
p a t i e n t s , th e m e d ic a l s ta f f h a d f a c ilitie s
p e rm ittin g th em to p re p a re th e ir ow n food to
th e ir liking.
We know a little a b o u t specific m edical
m e th o d s u s e d a t th is la z a re t a n d , by
extrapolation, we ca n a ssu m e th eir general use
w ith C a n a d ia n a n d o th e r POWs. M en w ho h a d
d iarrh o ea were tre a te d w ith calom el (a m ercuric
co m p o u n d of co n sid erab le antiquity), anim al
charcoal, a n d m ilk. The physician who observed
th is tre a tm e n t n o ted th a t it “w ould be classed
a s good by th e G erm an doctor,” b u t it w as not
a s effective a s d ru g th e ra p ie s th e n available b u t n o t in G erm an POW cam ps. At th is sam e
lazaret a diabetic POW h a d been 25 days w ithout
in su lin , w hich th e G erm an s could n o t or w ould
n o t supply, an d w hich h a d b een req u ested from
G eneva.66
This qu estio n of th e availability of m edicines
w as a c a u se of g re a t co n cern to POW m edical
officers. A lthough som e d ru g s w ere ob tain ed
from th e G erm an s, th e se seem never to have
b e e n in la rg e q u a n ti ti e s a n d , a s th e w a r
p ro g re ssed , th is so u rc e b ecam e in creasingly
u n re lia b le . An a n a ly s is m ad e la te in 1942
indicated th a t the supply of m orphine a n d opium
w ould be totally ex p ended by J u n e or J u ly of
1943; in th e m ea n tim e , “it is re p o rte d by a
r e lia b le s o u rc e t h a t m o rp h in e is g iv en to
prisoners in th e following order: B ritish, French,
Polish, a n d lastly, the R u s s ia n s .”67 In trav en o u s
a n a e s th e tic a g e n ts w ere m a n u f a c tu r e d in
G e rm a n y a n d th e r e s h o u ld h a v e b e e n no
s h o rta g e . E th e r a n d c h lo ro fo rm h a d b e e n
rep o rted a s scarce in som e a re a s. Since M arch
1940, iodine could be o b ta in e d only w ith a
p rescrip tio n a n d tin c tu re of iodine w as red u ced
in iodine c o n te n t from 10 p e rc e n t to 5 p e rc e n t.
B u t a s w ith IV a n a e sth e tic s, m an y a n tise p tic s
were m ad e in G erm any a n d th e re sh o u ld have
been a plentiful supply. P aper ba n d a g es of poor
m a n u fa c tu re were widely u s e d in G erm any, a
fa c t c o m m o n ly r e f e rr e d to b y PO W s w h o
reg ard ed th em as in a d e q u a te s u b s titu te s for
cotton.68
S e rio u s su rg ic a l c a se s w ere h a n d le d a t
Oberm assfeld, b u t m u ch surgery was carried out
a t Hildburghausen, where the SBMO, LieutenantColonel Wilson, w as seen as “very conscientious
a n d highly esteem ed by the G erm an doctors of
the la z a re t.”69 U nfortunately, by th e tim e th e
C a n a d ia n s arrived a new C hefarzt h a d ta k e n
over, a n d relations betw een th is m an, S ta b sa rzt
Dr. F alkenberg, a n d W ilson w ere n ever good.
After a n u m b e r of co n fro n tatio n s, F alk en b erg
w o n . He r o s e in r a n k fro m S t a b s a r z t to
O b ersta b sa rzt, while W ilson w as b a n is h e d to
Oflag 9A/H Spangenberg, where he was no longer
doing m edical w ork.70 Later, h e w as tra n sfe rre d
to L am sdorf a n d took charge of the lazaret there.
d. Stadtrod a and E gendorf
h e h o s p i t a l t r a i n c a r r y in g C a n a d i a n
c a su a ltie s from R ouen to S ta d tro d a took
four days to rea c h its d e stin a tio n , a d ista n c e of
only a b o u t 500 kilom etres. The S ta d tro d a POW
H ospital, located in W ehrkreis 9 as a R eserve
Lazaret a tta c h e d to S talag 9C, w as in a twosto ry b u ild in g , w ith B ritis h a n d C a n a d ia n
p a tie n ts in a large w ard on th e m ain floor. Late
in A ugust 1942, it received 70 Dieppe casualties,
th u s effectively filling its ra te d bed c ap acity of
2 0 0 .71 S ta d tro d a h a d severe lim itatio n s a s a
hospital; for exam ple, th e supply of latrin es w as
grossly deficient, a serious problem in a hospital
setting.
250, a n d th ere w as a n all-B ritish m edical staff,
a lth o u g h m o st of th e p a tie n ts w ere n o t B ritish.
For exam ple, in O ctober 1942 th ere w ere four
m edical officers a n d 21 m edical orderlies to care
for 252 p a tie n ts; 59 were “B ritish ,” in clu d in g
48 C a n a d ian s from Dieppe, while the rem aining
193 w e re B e lg ia n , F r e n c h , S e r b ia n , a n d
R u s s ia n .72 T he SBMO w as C a p ta in Cooper,
RAMC. T h e la z a r e t h a d b e e n e s ta b lis h e d
expressly as a ty p h u s hospital, a n d each p a tie n t
w ent th ro u g h a delousing p la n t before entering.
However, n e u tra l inspectors reported in O ctober
1942 th a t “th ere is no ty p h u s case h e re a n d
therefore p a tie n ts w ith any kin d of d iseases are
b ro u g h t here from th e n e a rb y w o rk -ca m p s.”73
Inspectors found m any favourable topics for
co m m en t a t Egendorf. The B ritish cooked th e
food th em se lv e s, r a th e r th a n th e G e rm a n s.
A rrangem ents h a d been m ade w ith the Chefarzt,
S ta b sa r z t Dr. Seuw en, to p e rm it th e m edical
sta ff to have th e u se of th e electricity into the
evening. The m edical p erso n n el were p erm itted
to ta k e w alks, on parole, a lth o u g h th e sp o rts
field n e a r th e h o sp ita l w as tem porarily closed
as a reprisal for the escape of two MOs, C aptains
G ibbons a n d D eane, in early 1942. M edically,
E g e n d o r f s e e m e d to f u n c tio n e ffe c tiv e ly .
T re a tm e n ts beyond th e capacity of th e m edical
staff, in clu d in g the u s e of x-rays, were carried
out in Weimar. D ental w ork w as perform ed by a
civilian d e n tis t in n e a rb y B la n k e n h a in , b u t
d e n tu re s h a d to be o rdered th ro u g h th e m ain
Stalag, a process th a t produced lengthy delays.74
T
The E gendorf POW lazaret, located in the
country n e a r Weimar, occupied a stone building
t h a t h a d p r e v i o u s ly b e e n u s e d a s a
Reichsjuhrerschule. The bed capacity w as ab o u t
5. The G eneva C on ven tion s
t K loster H aina, M ajor C h a rte rs accu sed the
G erm an s of violating several A rticles of the
G eneva C onvention of 27 J u ly 1929, Relative to
th e T r e a tm e n t of P ris o n e rs of War; sim ila r
charges were m ade w ith resp ect to o th er cam ps
w hich held C a n a d ia n p riso n e rs. The violations
th a t involved th e sick a n d w ounded, a n d the
s t a t u s of P r o te c te d P e rs o n n e l, w ere m o s t
comm only of three types. First, there w as alleged
failure to provide su fficien t food or m edical
su p p lie s (w hich h a s alread y b e e n d isc u sse d in
som e detail). Secondly, th ere were allegations of
g ro u p re p ris a ls . And th ird ly , th e re w as th e
charge of failing to re p a tria te b o th th e severely
w ounded an d the seriously ill, as well a s su rp lu s
Protected P ersonnel.
A
C ourtesy o f Dr. D.W. Clare.
Funeral o f a POW, G erm any.
a. R eprisals
A rticle 46 of the Convention on POWs covered
. i l p e n a l san ctions against POWs, a n d specified
th a t collective pen alties for individual a c ts were
p ro h ib ite d . M oreover, A rticle 2 s ta te d th a t
“M e a s u r e s of r e p r i s a l a g a i n s t th e m a re
p ro h ib ite d .” In som e of th e in sta n c e s charged,
reprisal w as avowedly carried out a n d no defence
w as possible. In o th ers, a tte m p ts w ere m ade to
justify the behaviour. One m echanism attem pted
against POW hospitals w as to refer to the Geneva
C onvention on Sick a n d W ounded, w here Article
7 s ta te s : “T he p r o te c tio n d u e to s a n ita r y
form ations and establishm ents shall cease if they
are u se d to com m it acts injurious to the enem y.”
T his w ould seem to have been th e legalistic
u n d e rp in n in g of a n o rd er issu e d to th e 2 /5 th
A u stra lia n G eneral H ospital after its c a p tu re in
G reece in 1941: “From R outine O rder No. 3, 28
April 1941, C hange of C om m and: 1. d. Any
actio n tow ards escap in g or c o n trary to m ilitary
discipline or h a rm fu l to th e G erm an C om m and
will resu lt in the hospital ceasing to hold m edical
privileges."75
D isputes of this n a tu re are difficult to resolve
to m u tu a l s a tisfa c tio n . B u t th e re se e m s no
q u e stio n th a t collective p u n ish m e n ts of several
varieties were carried o u t ag ain st C an ad ian an d
o th e r POWs a s re p risa ls for v ario u s a c ts or
alleged acts. The m o st celeb rated of th ese , a n d
one of the m ost dram atic to affect w estern POWs
d u rin g th e war, w as th e infam ous sh ack lin g
o rd er of O ctober 1942.
T h e b r o a d i s s u e s c o n n e c te d w ith th e
sh a ck lin g of Allied a n d G erm an POWs c a n n o t
be en te red into h e re .76 B u t a p e rtin e n t qu estio n
is w hether or n o t Protected Personnel or patients
w ere m ade to suffer th is rep risal. C ertainly it
c a n be sa id th a t la z a re ts a n d reviers w ere not
g en erally s u b je c t to sh a ck lin g . At le a s t one
C a n a d ia n v e te ran of D ieppe w rote after th e w ar
th a t he h a d been tied u p b o th before a n d after a
h e rn ia o p eratio n early in 1943.77 B u t h e w as
c h a in e d only after being re tu rn e d to th e sta la g
c o m p o u n d , w h e n p re s u m a b ly h e h a d
recuperated an d w as considered once again “fit.”
It se em s re a so n a b le to conclude th a t the
m ajo r re p risa l of sh ack lin g , in effect for m ore
th a n 13 m o n th s, w as n o t u se d a g a in st p a tie n ts
of an y nationality. T h u s th is m easu re w as n o t a
f a c to r in e x a m in in g th e fa te of w o u n d e d
C a n a d ia n s from D ieppe, a lth o u g h th ere is a t
le a s t one piece of evidence in d icatin g th a t the
G erm ans th reaten ed to tie u p C anadian patients
in th e L am sd o rf L azaret. Fred H esk, a n RAMC
orderly there, rem e m b e rs th a t
th e y s t a r te d c h a in in g th e C a n a d ia n s a n d th e y
c o m p la in e d t h a t th e r e w e re n 't e n o u g h . T hey
w a n te d to co m e a n d c h a in th e o n e s in h o sp ita l.
A n d w e sa id , “No, w e w o u ld n 't a c c e p t it. C h a in
u s in s te a d .” Well, th ey th o u g h t a b o u t it, a n d th e n
th e y re a liz e d it t h a t if th e y c h a in e d th e RAMC
th e y ’d h a v e n o b o d y to d o th e n u rs in g . S o th e y
d e c id e d th e y w o u ld m a k e th e n u m b e r u p w ith
RAF p e rs o n n e l.78
b. R epatriation
t m ay h ave b een d elib erate policy on th e p a rt
of th e G e rm a n s to re ta in a s m an y P rotected
Personnel as possible in their territory. Certainly,
the m ore active Allied POW MOs a n d m edical
orderlies were in carin g for th e ir own m en, th e
less w as req u ired of G erm an p h y sic ia n s a n d
o th er m edical p ersonnel. U ltim ately th is m e a n t
th a t m ore G erm an doctors were available for the
W ehrm acht a s well as th e h om e front.
I
The first su c c e ssfu l re p a tria tio n of g ra n d s
b lesse s a n d P rotected P erso n n el took place in
O ctober 1943. The re p a tria te s arrived in th e
U nited Kingdom from G othenberg, Sw eden, on
24 a n d 25 O ctober, th e w alk in g c a s e s a n d
P rotected P erso n n el a t Leith, hav in g sailed on
HMT E m p ress o f R u s s ia a n d SS Drottingholm,
a n d s tre tc h e r cases, having sailed on A tlantis,
a t Liverpool. The total n u m b er of rep atriates was
4 ,1 5 9 : 2 ,6 5 8 d i s a b l e d , 1 ,2 4 4 P r o te c t e d
P e rso n n e l, 152 m e rc h a n t se a m e n , a n d 105
civilian in te rn e e s. T he C a n a d ia n c o n tin g e n t
co m p rised 44 c o m b a ta n t p e rs o n n e l a n d six
Protected Personnel (C aptain R.R. Laird a n d five
m edical orderlies, Corporal G.A. Fletcher, Royal
Regim ent of C anada, Corporal H.V. Jo n e s, Royal
H am ilton Light Infantry, S erg ean t D.H. Jo rd a n ,
S o u th S a s k a tc h e w a n R e g im e n t, C o rp o ra l
C orporal G. Pasquill, Q u e e n ’s Own C am eron
H ig h la n d e r s of C a n a d a , a n d S e r g e a n t L.
S tep h en so n , E ssex S co ttish R egim ent).79
6. E scapin g from POW
H osp itals and Lazarets
n o th e r is s u e t h a t b e a rs m e n tio n is th e
m orality of escap in g from m edical facilities
u se d for the care of POWs. T his is quite se p ara te
from th e a p p ro p ria te n e ss of a tte m p ts to escape
in general.80 Since C anadian PO W -patients could
be affected by rep risals th a t often were im posed
after e sca p e s, d isc u ssio n of th e iss u e s seem s
relevant.
A
The q u e stio n carries different ram ifications
for m edical p e rso n n e l a n d for p a tie n ts or n o n ­
m e d ic a l sta ff. For th e firs t g ro u p a m o ra l
im perative w ould seem to be in effect w hereby
m edical officers, m edical orderlies, a n d n u r s e s
do n o t ab a n d o n p a tie n ts w hom they are actively
carin g for a t th e tim e of a p ro jected e sca p e
a tte m p t. On th e o th er h a n d , w here no p a tie n ts
are u n d e r care, m edical p e rso n n e l w ould seem
to h ave th e sa m e rig h t - a n d d u ty? - to escape
as do o th e r POWs.
N evertheless, the m atte r is n o t a sim ple one.
T echnically, u n d e r th e G eneva C onvention of
1929 (and th e 1949 revision), c a p tu re d m edical
officers a n d orderlies are n o t POWs, b u t ra th e r
are desig n ated as P rotected Personnel. S u rp lu s
P r o t e c t e d P e r s o n n e l , u n d e r th e s a m e
in te rn a tio n a l ag reem ent, are to be re tu rn e d to
th eir hom e ju risd ictio n . C an one “escap e” if one
is n o t a p riso n e r? A nother q u e stio n w as the
s t a t u s o f v o l u n t e e r m e d ic a l o r d e r l ie s .
Technically, they were n o t Protected Personnel,
yet they were occupied tending the w ounded. The
m oral p re s s u re s have b e e n well ex p re sse d by
Steve Michell, describing h is h o sp ita l-tra in ride
into captivity in G erm any:
M an y tim e s I'd look o u t a t th e F re n c h la n d s c a p e
w ith th e n o tio n of ju m p in g o u t of a w indow a fte r
d a r k . T h e n I’d lo o k b a c k a t a ll t h e p o o r
b e d rid d e n g u y s in th e c o a c h . If 1 to o k off, w ho
w o u ld c h a n g e th e ir b a n d a g e s a n d te n d th e ir
p u tre fy in g w o u n d s ? O h, to h e ll w ith it; m a n y of
th e m h a d little e n o u g h c h a n c e a s it w as. w ith o u t
m e r u n n in g o u t o n th e m .81
P r o u s e , in th e n e x t r a ilw a y c o a c h , a ls o
considered attem pting to escape. He also decided
against it, both because of his feeling of obligation
to his w ounded m ates a n d becau se he knew th a t
if he rem ained with the train, ultim ately he would
be reg iste red in a cam p a n d h is fam ily w ould
lea rn th a t h e h a d survived.82
For non-m edical individuals the issu e s seem
clearer. It w as w idely a c ce p ted , th o u g h n o t
p e rh a p s a directive u n d e r m ilitary law, th a t
POWs h a d a d u ty to a tte m p t to escape. Given
this, w hy n o t escape from m edical installations?
Officially, a n d very widely unofficially as well, it
w as believed th a t th is sh o u ld n o t be done. The
re a s o n w as th e fear of re ta lia tio n by c a p to rs
a g a in st a n entire hospital or lazaret. M ethods of
rep risal are relatively few in type: deprivation of
food, of liberty for v ario u s activities, a n d m ore
restrictive incarceratio n . All of these, if effected
in a h o sp ita l, could w o rsen th e condition of
p a tie n ts left b e h in d by escapees.
C onclusions
h a t c a n w e c o n c lu d e fro m t h e s e
o b s e rv a tio n s ? It is a r e a s o n a b le a n d
su p p o rta b le gen erality th a t C a n a d ia n troops
c a p tu red a t Dieppe were as well tre a te d a s other
Allied POWs from the w estern natio n s. T his was
tru e of c asu alties a s well as the u n in ju red . B u t I
refer to relative conditions. I do not su g g est th a t
our POWs lived in luxury nor th a t their treatm ent
w as fau ltless, m erely th a t com pared to m any
o th e r n a tio n a l g ro u p s, it w as b etter. If one h a d
to be a POW, o n e ’s c h a n ce s of survival were
p ro fo u n d ly im proved if one w ere C a n a d ia n
ra th e r th a n R u ssian or Polish.
W
In th e im m ed iate a fte rm a th of th e raid,
m edical tre a tm e n t w as often ro u g h a n d ready.
However, excepting always the possible b rutality
of a n a r d e n t Nazi m ed ic al officer, m ed ic al
orderly, or n u rse , tre a tm e n t w as a p p ro p ria te
w i t h in r e c o g n iz e d b o u n d s of t r ia g e a n d
em ergency care for large n u m b e rs of w ounded.
O n th e q u e stio n of tra n s p o rta tio n of the
w ounded from the D ieppe/R ouen are a to cam ps
a n d h o sp ita ls in G erm any, the s itu a tio n is less
positive. It w as s ta n d a rd practice in E u ro p e to
move troops via c attle cars; th ey w ere labelled
“4 0 h o m m e s ou 8 c h e v a u x ” a n d com m only
referred to as 40 a n d 8s. U nfortunately, m an y
D ieppe c a su a ltie s w ere m oved in b o x c a rs in
co n d itio n s of filth, w ith insufficient food a n d
w ater, a n d w ith len g th y delays for th e d ista n c e
to be travelled. The provision of h o sp ita l tra in s
a n d o rd in ary railw ay p a sse n g e r c a rs for som e
of th e m en ru le s o u t th e ch a rg e of s tu d ie d
brutality. It seem s a reasonable supposition th a t
the availability of otherw ise unoccupied hospital
tra in s w as n o t large. By late A u g u st 1942 the
W ehrm acht was su stain in g prodigious casualties
on the R u s s ia n front. W ith th e w e s te rn front
quiet, a large p ro p o rtio n of m edical p e rso n n e l
a n d e quipm ent m u s t have been c o n cen trated in
th e e ast. B u t th a t situ a tio n , if tru e , does n o t
excuse th e failure to provide th e w o u n d e d w ith
ad eq u ate space, food, water, or m edical supplies
in th e boxcars.
Although they m ay n o t have realized it a t the
tim e, th e m en c a p tu r e d a t D iep p e e n te re d
captivity in G erm any a t th e b e s t p o ssib le tim e.
In the last m onths of 1940, with the huge num ber
of Belgian, F ren ch , a n d B ritish POWs ta k e n
earlier th a t year, life in th e cam ps a n d h o sp itals
w as especially h a rd , p ro d u cin g co n d itio n s th a t
did n o t exist ag ain u n til th e closing m o n th s of
th e war. The p riso n e rs h a d to be h o u sed , fed, in
som e c a se s clothed, a n d m edically tre a te d . As
h a s b e e n show n, h o s p ita ls were c re a te d from
s c ra tc h . It took som e tim e for th e POWs to be
p ro ce sse d a n d in fo rm atio n s e n t to th e ICRC in
G eneva, a n d u n til th a t w as accom plished a n d
e a c h m a n w as individually registered, n o t only
w ere th e ir fam ilies a n d th e ir g o v e rn m e n ts
u n a w a re of th e ir fate, b u t also th e v a rio u s
n a tio n a l Red C ross societies could n o t initiate
w h a t becam e, for w estern Allied POWs, the flood
of Red C ross food a n d m edical parcels. By 1942,
all of th e s e co n d itio n s h a d stabilized so th a t,
w ith isolated exceptions, housing, clothing, an d
food w ere a d e q u ate ly su p p lied , c o n ta c t w ith
fam ilies a t hom e h a d b e e n estab lish ed , a n d life
w as bearable.
T he m edical care of th e D ieppe c a su a ltie s
seem s to have b e e n a t le a st a d e q u a te in the
D ieppe a re a a n d u s u a lly su p e rio r in th e POW
h o s p ita ls a n d laz a re ts. R eprisals, in p a rtic u la r
s h a c k lin g , did n o t affect e ith e r p a tie n ts or
m edical p e rso n n e l. O th e r collective m e a su re s
were u n q u e stio n a b ly m ajor inconveniences b u t
it is difficult to prove th a t the co n dition of any
c a su a lty w as m ad e significantly w orse by su c h
m e a su re s. A lthough rep a tria tio n p la n s evolved
w ith p ain fu l slow ness, w hen re p a tria tio n did
o c c u r, C a n a d ia n s u rv iv o rs of D iep p e w ere
accorded the sam e treatm en t as all other W estern
Allied POWs.
In co n clu sio n , it is w o rth co m p arin g the
s ta tis tic s of C a n a d ia n s c a p tu re d in H ong Kong,
eight m o n th s before th e ir D ieppe co m p atrio ts
w ent into the bag. Of 1,699 m en c a p tu red by the
J a p a n e s e , 1,418 cam e hom e a n d 281 died in
captivity, a m ortality rate of nearly 17 p er cen t.83
In c o n tra st, of th e 1,946 C a n a d ian s c a p tu red a t
D ieppe, 72 died in captivity, a m o rtality ra te of
only four per cent; 1,874 cam e hom e. G ranted,
so m e b r o u g h t h o m e p h y s ic a l a n d m e n ta l
p ro b lem s th a t co n tin u e to d istu rb a n d d istre ss
th e m , b u t th e y c a m e hom e. A nd th e large
m ajority, w hile losing th re e y e a rs of th e ir lives,
re tu rn e d to jo b s a n d fam ilies.
To som e degree, c red it for th is survival rate
m u s t go to th e m edical officers a n d m edical
orderlies, tra in e d a n d volunteer. The G erm an s
cre a te d a sy stem of laz a re ts a n d reviers th a t
provided a setting where good m edical care could
exist, b u t th e ir involvem ent w as rare ly m ore
direct. With infrequent exceptions, POWs looked
after POWs, a n d they did a re m a rk a b le job.
Notes
This article is b ase d on a p a p e r p re se n te d a t a conference of
the C anadian Com m ittee for th e H istory of the S econd World
War, Q uebec City, 12-13 November 1992.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
N ational A rchives of C a n a d a [NAC], D e p a rtm e n t of
N a tio n a l D efen ce R e c o rd s, R G 2 4 , CMHQ, F B 4 5 ,
vol. 12810, file 4 5 /D IE P P E /l: “Personnel of, or employed
with, the C an ad ian Army O verseas protected u n d e r the
G eneva (Red C ross) C onvention, 1929, in G erm an
h a n d s on 2 Mar. 1944.” O m itted from th e list ofM O s in
th is d o c u m e n t w as C a p ta in L aird, w ho h a d b e e n
re p a tria te d b e c a u se of h is w o u n d s before th is d ate;
C h a rle s P. S tacey , S ix Years o j War: T h e A rm y in
C anada , Britain, a n d th e Pacific (O ttaw a: Q u e e n ’s
P rinter, 1955), p.389.
L ord L ovat, M arch P a st (L ondon: W eidenfeld a n d
Nicolson, 1978), p .271.
C harles P. Fenwick, “The Dieppe R aid,” in S ir H.L. Tidy,
ed., Inter-A llied C onferences on War M edicine, 19421945: C o n v e n e d b y th e R o ya l S o c ie ty o f M edicine
(London: S ta p le s P ress, 1947), p .3 0 6 .
R.W. T h o m p so n , D ieppe a t D aw n: The S tory o f the
D ieppe R aid, 19 A u g u st 1942 (London: W hite Lion
P u b lish ers, 1972), pp. 162-63.
G oronw y R ees, A B u n d le o f S en sa tio n s: S k e tc h e s in
A uto-bio g ra p h y (London: C h a tto & W indus, 1960),
pp. 170, 172.
Fenwick, p.307.
Dr. D. Wesley C lare, interview by C h arles G. R oland,
O ral H istory Archive, H a n n a h C h air for th e H isto ry of
M edicine, M cM aster U niversity, H am ilto n , O n ta rio
[OHA], FICM 1-80, 15 May 1980, p. 16.
Dr. C h arle s T. R o b ertso n , in terv iew by C h a rle s G.
R oland, OHA, HCM 10-80, 7 J u ly 1980, p.7.
R o n a ld A tk in , D iep p e 1942: T h e J u b ile e D isa s te r
(London, M acmillan, 1980), p. 125. At least one m em ber
of h is reg im en t h a d sc a th in g w ords for C a p ta in Laird:
He h a d h is leg off. an d all h e did - h e never once ask ed
an y of h is m en how th ey w ere feeling. ..all h e did w as
parlez vo u sfra n g a is w ith th is F re n c h doctor, to get his
m o rp h in e. T h a t’s all he ever w orried a b o u t. A nd h e ’s
th e sam e w ay a t O b erm assfeld - co m p lain in g a n d
w hining, j u s t a b o u t drove th e d o c to rs crazy - J e s u s
Christ! The m an w as a bloody disgrace to th e regim ent.
I m ean, being a do cto r y o u ’d th in k —su re h e h a d a leg
off, b u t people th ere w ere a hell of a lo t w orse off.”
H ow ard W. Bradley, interview by C h arles G. R oland,
OHA, HCM 2 0 -83, 29 J u n e 1983, p. 14.
F.W. Hayter, “The Dieppe R aid,” in Tidy, p p .3 1 1.
H ayter, p.310;
A tkin, p .90, 172.
G renville W illiam J u n ip e r, interview by C h a rle s G.
R oland, OHA, HCM 3 1 -8 3 , 27 O ctober 1983, p.1 0 .
Lucien A. D u m ais, Un C a n a d ien F rancois a D ieppe
(Paris: E d itio n s F rance-E m pire, 1968), p.191.
14. A tkin, p .2 3 9 ; J a c k Poolton to C h arles G. R oland, 17
M arch 1993
15. D an iel P a u l a n d J o h n S t. J o h n . S u rg eo n a t A rm s
(London: H ein em an n , 1958), p.4 5 .
16. A tkin, p.240.
17. C la u d e -P a u l C o u tu re, O peration <J u b ile e »: D ieppe, 19
a o u t 1 9 4 2 (P aris: E d itio n s F ra n c e -E m p ire , 1969)
p.344-5.
18. S ta n le y Allen D arch , interview by C h arles G. R oland,
OHA, HCM 20-85, 27 F e b ru ary 1985, p.4.
19. C outure, p p .363-65.
20. E dw in B en n ett, interview by C h arles G. R oland, OHA
HCM 6-81, 21 May 1981, p . 1 6 .
21. R o b ertso n interview , 7 J u ly 1980, HCM 10-80 pp 1011.
22. B radley interview, 29 J u n e 1983, HCM 20-83, p. 14.
23. A. R o b ert P ro u se, T icket to Hell, Via Dieppe: From a
P riso n e r’s W artim e Log, 1 9 4 2 -1 9 4 5 (T oronto: Van
N o stra n d R einhold, 1982), p .24.
24. J a c q u e s M o rd a l, D iep p e: T h e D a w n o f D e c isio n
(London: New E n g lish L ibrary, 1981), p .2 4 6 . M ordal
sa y s th e n u m b e r of w o u n d ed w as 268, b u t h is own
individual u n it figures total 326 an d th a t is the figure I
have used.
25. P hilip N ew m an, S a fe r T h a n a K n o w n Way: A n E sca p e
S to ry o f World War II (London: William Kimber, 1983)
p.42.
26. R G 24 C2(f), vol.8026, file 2 4 -3 6 , L azaret de la Pitie,
G erm an y [sic],
27. Ibid., ICRC re p o rt of 18 M arch 1943, p. 10.
28. Ibid., re p o rt of 10 J u n e 1943, p.2.
29. J o h n M ellor, D ieppe: C a n a d a ’s F orgotten H eroes
(S carborough, ON: Signet, 1975), p ,1 2 i
30. F red J.L . W oodcock, interview by C h arles G. R oland,
OHA, HCM 4 -81, 7 April 1981, p p .24-25
31. Dr. W illiam S. H olden interview by C h arles G. R oland
OHA, HCM 3 2-85, 25 M arch 1985, p .23.
32. L eslie Le S o eu f, To W ar W ith o u t a G un (W estern
A u stralia: p rivate, 1980), p.3 9 2 .
33. T his cam p w as identified a s S ta la g 8B u n til D ecem ber
1943, w hen it w as renam ed S talag 344 and a new cam p
a t T e sc h e n w as d e sig n a te d S ta la g 8B. B ec au se th e
L am sd o rf cam p w as S ta la g 8B w h en the C a n a d ia n s
arriv ed , th a t u sa g e is c o n tin u e d h ere. See W. W ynne
M ason, Prisoners o f War (London: O xford U niversity
P ress, 1954), p.298.
34. F red erick H esk, interview by C h arles G. R oland, OHA,
HCM 3 2 -85, 20 M arch 1985, p p .8-9.
35. Ibid., p.1 3 .
36. Ibid., p. 11.
37. Ibid., p.9 .
38. P ublic R ecord Office [PRO], W ar Office, W ar of 19391945: R eports of International Red C ross an d Protecting
Powers, WO 224, File 27, S talag V1IIB (344), 1941 Ju n e 1945 April; R p t of visit to S ta la g 3 4 4 (form erly 8B) on
4 May 1944 by D rs R ossel a n d Lehner, ICRC, p p.3-4.
39. P rouse, p.89.
40. R G 24 C2(f), vol. 8023, file 2 0-3, Oflag 7B, E ic h sta tt,
visit of Dr. R oland M arti, ICRC, 10 N ovem ber 1942,
p .l.
41. M ason, p p .236-37.
42. A u stin G. H ewer, "O rg a n iz a tio n a n d tr e a tm e n t in
G erm an m ilitary hospitals for p riso n ers of w ar,” in Tidy
p.392.
43. George E vason Sm yth, interview by C harles G. Roland
OHA, HCM 3 4 -85, 27 M arch 1985, pp.5-6.
44. Ibid., p .25.
45. H.L. "B ert” M artin, L a stin g Im pressions, 1939-1945:
The War M emoirs o j a M edical Orderly (U n p u b lish ed
MS, 1991), p.4 2 .
46. NAC. RG38, D e p a rtm e n t of V eteran s A ffairs R ecords,
C a n a d ia n M edical Intelligence D ivision, vol. 138, file
77 2 8 , R epo rt of M ajor H .S. G olding, May 1940 to
O ctober 1943; p.4.
47. M artin, p .61.
48. RG24 02(f), S pecial A ssista n t to th e A d ju ta n t G eneral,
1 9 4 5 , v o l. 8 0 2 5 , file 2 4 - 2 0 , R e s e r v e L a z a r e t
O berm assfeld Stalag IXC; visit of ICRC representatives,
16 O ctober 1942.
49. G ren J u n ip e r said feelingly, of the orderlies, “Boy, they
w ere ju s t great!” See J u n ip e r interview, HCM 3183, 27
O ctober 1983, p.2 0 ; M ajor T u ck er d e sc rib e s th e m as
b ein g “m ag n ificen t th ro u g h o u t." W illiam E. T ucker,
“E x p e rie n c e s a s a p ris o n e r of w a r in G e rm a n y ,”
P ro ceed in g s o j th e R o y a l S o c ie ty o j M ed ic in e 38
(1944), p.4 0 0 .
50. M ichelin T o u rist G uide, G erm any: W est G erm any a n d
B erlin (Paris: M ichelin et Cie, P ro p rie ta ire s-E d ite u rs,
1984), 6 th ed.. p.2 5 9 .
51. T he 4 th M arq u ess of N orm anby, O sw ald C o n sta n tin e
J o h n P h ip p s, interview by C h arles G. R oland, OHA,
HCM 16-86, 13 A u g u st 1986. p. 14.
52. RG 38, vol. 198, St. D u n s ta n ’s T ra in in g of B linded
C anadian POWs, file 9268, letter of M. S haw (?) to Major
C.G. A rthur, 24 November 1942, p.4; David L. C harters,
“Medical experiences a s a priso n er of w ar in G erm any,”
Liverpool Medico-Chirurgical Jo urnal 50 (1946), p.5 4 .
53. PRO WO 224, File 172, Reserve L azaret K loster H aina,
1942 J u n e - 1943 A ugust; rep o rt of visit 19 J u n e 1942,
by Fred 0. A u ck en th aler a n d Dr. H a n s W ehrle, p. 1.
54. C harters, p.55; PRO. WO 224, File 172, Reserve Lazaret
K loster H aina, 1942 J u n e - 1943 A ugust; re p o rt of visit
19 J u n e 1942, p .l.
55. Ibid., rep o rt of visit 28 S e p tem b er 1942, p.3.
56. W ilson H ow ard Large, interview by C h arles G. R oland,
OHA, HCM 19-83. 29 J u n e 1983. 14 pp.
57. T ucker, p.22; PRO. WO 224, File 172, R eserve L azaret
K loster H aina, 1942 J u n e - 1943 A ugust; re p o rt of visit
25 M arch 1943 by Dr. L ehner and M. Mayer, ICRC, p.2.
58. Ibid., rep o rt of visit 28 S e p te m b e r 1942, p.4.
59. Ibid., rep o rt of visit 19 J u n e 1942, p p .4 -5 .
60. N orm an W.E. Colley, interview by C h a rle s G. R oland,
OHA, HCM 20-81, 4 D ecem ber 1981.
61. PRO, WO 224, File 171, Lazaret B ad Soden-Salm unster,
two reports, one by th e Protecting Power (undated, early
1944) by Dr. m ed. M.S. Meier, and one by Dr. T hudicum
a n d M. Paul W yss, 13 M arch 1944.
62. T hom as Henry Wilson, interview by C h arles G. Roland,
OHA, HCM 3 5 -85, 29 M arch 1985, p.8.
63. R G 24 C2(f). vol. 8 0 2 5 , file 24-19. H ospital, S ta la g 9C,
H ildburghausen, R eport of Dr. Karl Krebs, M arch 1941,
p .l.
64. Ibid., R ep o rt of D rs. S c h irm e r a n d M asset, 14 M arch
1942. p .l.
65. Do.
66. RG 24. vol. 11250, folder 10-3-2 (vol. 2), R ep o rts on
ICRC Visits to H ildbu rg h au sen , O berm assfeld, a n d the
L azarett a t Stalag 20B, M arch-M ay, 1942; p.3 of rep o rt
on H ild b u rg h au sen visit by Drs. S ch irm er a n d M asset,
14 M arch 1942.
67. R G 24, vol. 11251, M iscellan eo u s R ep o rts o n POW
C am p s in G erm any, Italy, a n d the F a r E a st; D espatch
No. 76 4 , High C o m m issio n e r for C a n a d a in G reat
B rita in , 23 D e c e m b e r 1942: “E n e m y S u p p lie s of
A naesthetics, A ntiseptics a n d B an d ag es,” p .l.
68. Ibid., p.1 2 .
69. R G24 C2(f), vol. 80 2 5 , file 2 4 -1 9 H ospital, S ta lag 9C,
H ild b u rg h a u se n , re p o rt of D rs. S ch irm er a n d M asset,
14 M arch 1942, p.3.
70. Ib id ., re p o rt of G abriel Naville an d Dr. Aloys Schieper,
9 J a n u a r y 1943, p .l; W ilson interview, HCM 35-85, 29
M arch 1985, p p .14-15.
71. R G 24 C2(f), vol. 8 0 2 5 , file 2 4 -2 2 H ospital, S ta la g 9C,
S ta d tro d a , le tte r from SBMO, Maj. Leslie W. L auste, 20
O ctober 1942.
72. RG24 C2(f), vol. 8025, file 24-0, E gendorf Lazaret; visit
of S w iss P ro tectin g Power, 21 O ctober 1942, p .l.
73. Ibid., p.2.
74. Ibid., p . l 3.
75. In n e s B rodziak, e d ., Proudly We Served: Stories o f the
2 / 5 A ustralian G eneral H ospital a t War w ith G erm any,
B e h in d G erm an Lines, a n d at War w ith J a p a n in the
Pacific (Chatswood, A ustralia: 2 /5 th A ustralian General
H ospital A ssociation, 1988), p .48.
76. T he diplom atic ram ifications of th is p ractice have been
an aly sed by J o n a th a n F. Vance, “Men in M anacles: The
S h ac k lin g of P riso n e rs ofW ar, 1 9 4 2 -1 9 4 3 ,” Jo u rnal of
M ilitary H istory 59 (1995), p p .4 8 3 -5 0 4 .
77. C a n a d ia n War M u seu m , CWM 5 8 -0 4 -0 0 9 2 , J.P . G riss
P a p e r s , G ris s to T h a n e C a m p b e ll, W ar C la im s
C om m ission, O ttaw a, 7 J a n u a r y 1953.
78. H esk interview , HCM 28-85, 20 M arch 1985, p.33.
79. RG24 FB45, vol. 12812, R eport on R ep atriatio n to U.K.
of C a n a d ia n A rm y P e rso n n e l from G erm an y , file 4 5 /
REPAT/1, p p .179-182.
80. C h a rle s G. R oland, “M edical p rac tic e in W orld W ar 2
p riso n e r-o f-w a r c a m p s in E u ro p e a n d Asia: C onflict
b etw een m edical a n d m ilitary objectives,” Proceedings
o f th e 3 0 th C ongress, In tern a tio n a l S o ciety f o r the
H istory o f M edicine, D usseldorf, 1988, pp. 1160-1166.
81. Steve M ichell, T h ey Were Invincible: D ieppe a n d A fter
(B racebridge, ON: H erald-G azette P ress, 1976), p.15.
82. P rouse, p.25.
83. T h ese fig u res a re derived from A ppendix A in Carl
V incent, No R e a so n W hy: T h e C a n a d ia n Hong Kong
T ragedy, A n E xa m in a tio n (Stittsville, ON: C a n a d a ’s
Wings, 1981), p .2 5 2 -5 3 . T otal c a su alties in cluding K1A
w ere 571 of 1975, or 2 8 .8 p ercen t.
C h arles G. R oland recently retire d a s th e
J a s o n A. H a n n a h C h air for th e H istory of
M e d ic in e a t M c M a s te r U n iv e r s ity in
H am ilton, O ntario. He is the a u th o r of m any
books a n d articles, in clu d in g th e a w a rd ­
w in ning Courage Under Siege: Starvation,
D isease, a n d D eath in the W arsaw Ghetto
(Oxford U niversity P ress, 1992) a n d th e
forthcom ing Long Night's Journey Into Day:
Prisoners o f War in Hong Kong a n d Ja p a n ,
1941-1945.