Stalag 4b: POW South African Rugby Team

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by JJ van Rooyen, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. JJ van Rooyen

    JJ van Rooyen Member

    I have a signed photograph of the 1944 South African POW rugby team.

    Can I please get help to confirm the players and who the team were. Is their a name list of the players and the history of the games that were played in Stalag 4b.

    This is an original photograph with signatures of the players on the back and a very special piece of history.

    Any information regarding the photograph will be greatly appreciated.



    Attached Files:

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi JJ

    From an easy one to read

    D J Marais:

    Name: D J Marais
    Rank: Sgt.
    Army Number: 109006
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 4B
    Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

    If the list can be transcribed then I can look them up for you

    alieneyes likes this.
  3. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi, I found this on the wartime memories project website


    "Both my grandfathers were prisoners of war in Stalag 4b and were captured in Tobruk. They were from Natal, South Africa.
    Their names were: Horace Norwood Walker and Boet Wessels - he played in the South African POW Rugby Team - we think flank."
    I would love to hear from anyone who perhaps knew them in the camps.
    Tracey Wessels

    I don't know when this entry was made. If you want to try to contact her go to the website scroll until you see Walker or Wessels name click on" read their story" and click on her name.

    I'm posting this as there is a signature for J Wessels on the photo.( I think it is J)

    Sorry if you know this already
    alieneyes likes this.
  4. JJ van Rooyen

    JJ van Rooyen Member

    Thank Diane for the link. I read that story before very fascinating.

    TD, I will transcribe the signatures and try put a list together and then look at their service records.

  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I had a dabble with a couple of the names using the WO392 file and came up with:

    Pte. 9229 E.P. Sephton who was in Campo 82 in August 1943

    L/Corp. 9304 A. Hultzer who was also in Campo 82 as of August 1943.
  6. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hi JJ - I don't have much to add, but thanks for actually including scans of the front & back of the photo (you would be surprised how many people with similar enquiries don't or won't include copies of the documentation they hold).

    I just had a quick look at the AWM photographic archives as our blokes (and the NZ types) love Rugby Union. The AWM have a handful of photos loaded up of Aussie and NZ players held in POW camps. ( - I searched the collection for the keywords Stalag & Rugby)

    Hopefully someone else can help, but I think the Germans re-numbered a lot of camps so Stalag 4B might also be known by another designation - such as the ones mentioned in the AWM photos.
  7. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi JJ. One of the signatures on the back of the photo is E P Sephton and my neighbour has the same surname. I mentioned this to her and one of her uncles, Edgar Sephton, was a POW in Italy. Unfortunately she cannot identify him on the photo as she was a young girl when she last saw him and doesn't know a great deal about his war service. She is trying to find out more from her family.

    I have requested his record of service and will let you know if E P Sephton is a relative and if the family have any further information.

  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Name: E P Sephton
    Rank: Pte
    Army Number: 9339
    POW Number: 224775
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 4B
    Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

    But there is also:

    Name: W H Sephton
    Rank: L/Cpl.
    Army Number: 12335
    POW Number: 225010
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 344
    Camp Location: Lamsdorf, Poland
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

    Brothers perhaps???

  9. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Thanks TD. I will ask my neighbour. From what she said I gather that Sephton is an unusual surname here. In my 46 years in SA I hadn't come across it before.

  10. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi TD, I have managed to speak to my neighbour and the guys were cousins. So thanks for the information. Fortunately there are still a couple of relatives who are in their 90's and she is hoping to find out more info.. I wonder if they filled in Liberation Questionaires? She was unaware that William was a POW in Poland.

    Thanks again
  11. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    There's an " A N? Fabricius" who may be a forefather of an A.J. Fabricius, a modern professional firm of surveyors. There was a current Assistant Judge Fabricius in 2010 in South Africa, a judgment by whom is available in pdf form. May be a descendant there.

    There is a J. Gus Ackerman whose family seem to be the proprietors of a range of shops. An Ackerman appears in a book of South African biographies online.

    Bit hard to find someone called "Breakfast" or "Olla" !
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Name: J G Ackerman
    Rank: W.O.2
    Army Number: 222729
    POW Number: 275541
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 4B
    Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

  13. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Tricky Dicky, thanks for J. G. Ackerman.

    Here is the full list of names.

    The first signature is in a good turquoise ink and a really difficult one to interpret

    Left column top to bottom:

    T. S. Audly -reve or rene ( very hard to decipher, could be double-barrelled) but surname could be “Godsy..rene”

    ? Ball or Hall

    Nathan J—ez

    G. J. Caulsee

    B. Youngleer

    A. Ross Hinds

    Mervyn L. Moore

    C. Hadless Theuzen

    J.M. Ockley or, possibly, Oakley

    Neville Hinds

    Sp Zietsman

    L.G.K.L ( bottom half off picture, signed with initials only )

    Middle column, top to bottom:

    A.L. Horte

    J. Wessels ( see above post )

    C.S.?. Mendinreich could be Heydenreich

    A. Hultzer ( see above post )

    J.V. Huyssteen ( v could be for “van” , looks lower-case )

    E.A. Chapman

    A.J. Fabricius

    “ Olla “

    D. J. Marais ( see above post )

    J.S. Ritchie

    E.P. Sephton ( see above post )

    Right column

    Q. Odise ( first name definitely begins with a “Q” could be Oclise )

    J. Gus Ackerman ( see above post )

    A.V. Katzef

    “ Breakfast “

    E.H. Cowling

    S. Cochrane

    ——bertson ( beginning not in picture )

    End of list.
  14. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi, from living in SA for many years I think C Hadless Theuzen may be C H v d Westthuizen

    Mendinreich is more likely to be Heydenreich

    As you say Papiermache the first signature is tricky. At first I thought is was T S v d Merwe (nothing more South African than Van Der Merwe) but not sure.
  15. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    Brilliant! I can see the first one ends with "Merwe", and thanks for the special knowledge interpreting the others.

    A few drops of water seem to have created smudges, probably not beer, but tea made from the third time of trying to extract a flavoursome drink from dried tea leaves.

  16. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Take your pick (Merwe's)

    B S Van Der Merwe
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 195916 274771 4B

    C Van Der Merwe
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 196771 248843 4B

    N Van Der Merwe
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 196632 75936 4B

    S J Van Der Merwe
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 127822 76417 4B

    S W Van der Merwe
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 77793 274783 4B

  17. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi TD, I think it is B S van der Merwe
  18. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Yes, B.S. van der Merwe. A very stylish "B" with a flat top leading into curls. Good to get that one: at first I thought it read: " H. Podsgrowe " !
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I am going through the list and will report back later on all, but in the meantime - Chapman??

    A C Chapman
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 32536 224046 4B

    E S Chapman
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 9160 263858 4B

    G M Chapman
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 21542 76449 4B

    T W Chapman
    Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany 72564 274666 4B

  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The ones that I cannot tie down from papermaiche's list are:

    ?Ball or Hall
    Nathan J___ez (they usually only have an initial not a full first name)
    G J Caulsee
    B Youngleer
    J M Ockley or Oakley (doesn't sound SA to me but who am I to say)
    L G K L
    A L Horte
    E A Chapman (see post above)
    A J Fabricius

    The rest I have found, some with differing initials but they fit, if the ones above can be done then I can document them and post that as an attachment for anyone to download should they wish.


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