Stalag 4b: POW South African Rugby Team

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

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Middle column (top to bottom)

    Name: A L Foster
    Rank: Cpl.
    Army Number: 236424
    POW Number: 261329

    Name: W J Wessels
    Rank: S/Sgt.
    Army Number: S.A.P.198135
    POW Number: 224833

    Name: C F Heydenreich
    Rank: Sgt.
    Army Number: 12151
    POW Number: 224858

    Name: A Hultzer
    Rank: L/Cpl.
    Army Number: 9304
    POW Number: 224814

    Name: I Van Huyssteen
    Rank: Pte
    Army Number: 196561
    POW Number: 274728

    Name: E S Chapman
    Rank: Cpl.
    Army Number: 9160
    POW Number: 263858

    Name: A J Fabricus
    Rank: Cpl.
    Army Number: 1607
    POW Number: 263864

    "Olla" - Unfound/unknown

    Name: D J Marais
    Rank: Sgt.
    Army Number: 109006
    Note: No POW given for this record

    Name: J H B Ritchie
    Rank: Cpl.
    Army Number: 11873
    POW Number: 263871

    Name: E P Sephton
    Rank: Pte
    Army Number: 9339
    POW Number: 224775

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Right column (top to bottom)

    Name: J Q Ochse
    Rank: Maj.
    Army Number: 188446
    POW Number: 249174

    Name: J G Ackerman
    Rank: W.O.2
    Army Number: 222729
    POW Number: 275541

    Name: D Katzeff
    Rank: Pte
    Army Number: 27426
    POW Number: 247613

    "Breakfast" - Unfound/unknown

    Name: E W H Cowling
    Rank: L/Cpl.
    Army Number: 5548
    POW Number: 274968

    Name: A A Cochrane
    Rank: S/Sgt.
    Army Number: 73495
    POW Number: 224508

    Name: N H Robertson
    Rank: Sgt.
    Army Number: 8987
    POW Number: 223644

    papiermache likes this.
  3. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    TD, looks a bit different from my initial list !

    Great job.

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    I think it was a combined operation I was just the producer of the end product

    Thanks to you and Diane

  5. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Great job TD and Papiermache. JJ will be surprised when he gets back from visiting the POW camps.

  6. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    I have found this from the SA Military website (I was looking for something else!)

    From: morne.strydom
    Subject: Rubgy match Stalag POWs
    Date posted: 1st October 2007
    I am doing some research on the Springbok team (selected from the POW's) that played Wales on the 21 May 1944 at Stalag 4 or 5b. Does anybody know about this? I have memoribilia. (We beat Wales 17 - 03).
    Any info welcome!
    Morne Strydom

    What a pity it was posted in 2007and replies are not posted. Will have to see if Morne Strydom still works for the City of Cape Town

  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Maybe in the memorabilia there are missing names - eg L.G.K.L

  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    I got this from the "Wartime Memories" website, but have not signed up to it. Perhaps Tracey is in the Cape Town phone book ?

    “ 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 “
  9. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi JJ is aware of that see posts 3 and 4
  10. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    Sorry, not paying attention.

    This reference comes up searching "Rugby ivb" at the Imperial War Museum.

    " Catalogue number
    • 2011-01-06
    Photographic prints relating to Allied prisoners of war in Stalag IVB, located 8km north-east of Muhlburg. This was one of the largest prisoner of war camps in Germany, covering some 75 acres. The photographs show details of a secret radio kept by RAF prisoners inside a Red Cross parcel box; Jerry Hunt with his secret camera concealed inside a book; British prisoners rugby team; RAF 'cheer party' in fancy dress supporting their team at an Army v RAF rugby or football match; theatre performance by prisoners; funeral of a British prisoner; French prisoners inside a hut; British prisoners washing clothes; parade of German guards; general view of the camp; British prisoners parade; prisoners attending outdoor church service; main gate of the camp; Soviet and Yugoslav prisoners; Russian prisoners awaiting de-lousing; Italian troops tented compound."
  11. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Very interesting. A pity they are not available to view online
  12. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Found this on Bid or Buy. Dave Katzeff is one of the names on the reverse of the photo. It wasn't sold. Perhaps JJ will be interested in following this up.


    Dave Katzeff (ed) - THE OBSERVER. STALAG IV B. POW wall newspaper 6 Dec 1943 to 1 JUNE 1944.

    1 was available / Secondhand


    Closed 15 Feb 16 21:06


    The Bedouin3628

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  13. JJ van Rooyen

    JJ van Rooyen Member

    Hi everyone

    WOW! This is amazing research! Thank you for everyone's input!

    I recently returned from Italy and Germany visiting the POW camps my grandfather was in.
    It was an amazing experience as I shared those moments with my own father and I could feel our bond grow talking about my grandfathers war story.

    I stood on the ground where these rugby players did something special.


  14. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi JJ I bought the book "The Observer" as it came up for sale again. Attached are two pages which will be of interest to you. I have a lot of reading to do.

    The introduction by Dave Katzeff tells of how the newspapers came about and is a story in itself. In your photo Dave Katzeff is middle row 6th from left.

    Some of the names on the reverse of the photo are not mentioned as part of the Springbok teams. Two men who are mentioned do not appear to have signed their names. They are Schaefer, Uys and Van Der Venter.

    I will let you know if there are any more details.


    Attached Files:

  15. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi JJ, I can tell you a bit about one of the signatories on the back of the photo - E P Sephton. My neighbour thought that he could be an uncle of hers and this has been confirmed from his service record. The SANDF Document Centre sent me his full service history whereas in the past I have only received a certificate of service.

    Edgar Pote Sephton aged 18 enlisted on 29th June 1940 in Die Middelandse Regiment. He was from Barkly East.

    The regiment embarked from Durban on 10th June 1941 on the Mauretania. He was with "C" Company. They disembarked Port Suez on 21 June 1941

    20th June 1942 he was reported missing after the battle for Tobruk

    14th September 1942 he was confirmed as POW at Camp 82 Italy

    His record has no mention of his transfer to Stalag 1VB

    28th May 1945 he was released

    He eventually returned by sea to Cape Town and disembarked on 3rd August 1945

    (Die Middelandse Regiment was established in 1935 in the Eastern Cape
    In March 1941 the DMR converted from a rifle regiment to a machine gun battalion and was detached under command of the 2nd SA Infantry Division.)

    His family are so pleased with the information so thanks for posting the photo.


  16. JJ van Rooyen

    JJ van Rooyen Member

    Wow that is amazing Diane. So awesome to know more about a player in the camp.
    Thank you very much for the information.

    Hope the family of Sephton feels proud.

    I also bought the book - 'Observer' - the Stalag IVB POW newspaper. So interesting.

    Best Regards

  17. TonySav

    TonySav New Member

    Hi All.

    I'm new to this site; and am intrigued by this discussion..

    My wife's family has the same photograph (although ours is slightly more the worse for wear). Her late dad was Sgt JV Rall of the SAP whose signature you all correctly identified. The team captain was Fiks Van Der Merwe who played for the real Springboks against Fred Allen's All Blacks in 1948.

    We think that the photograph belongs in the SA Rugby Museum where, believe it or not, they even have a Springbok jersey from one of the POW camps - not sure if it was Stalag IVB.

    In Jack Rall's case there is more to the tale than just the photo and I've attached a pdf document in this regard.

    Best regards to you all (by the way, I live in the Pretoria area, although I am currently near Ballito on the KZN North Coast)

    Tony Savides

    Attached Files:

  18. TonySav

    TonySav New Member

    Sorry; just to add to this. It is interesting that signatures on the backs of our and JJ's photographs are not in the same sequence; which adds to the authenticity.

    Secondly, Dr Karen Horn at Stellenbosch University is something of an expert on SA POWs in WW2 and has just published a book "In Enemy Hands".; which results from her research into the subject.

    Best regards

    Tony Savides
  19. TonySav

    TonySav New Member

    Some further information: Fiks Van Der Merwe actually Barend Stephanus Van Der Merwe played against the 1949 (not 1948) all Blacks. He died in 2005 at the ripe old age of 88. He was decorated with the Military Medal for gallantry before he was captured.
  20. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Tony, welcome to the forum.

    I had him down as Ball or Hall until Tricky Dicky found Rall.

    Thanks for posting the documents, and the poetry.

    I liked the lines:

    " We've seen a mark three tank ride on a Scammel

    ( Can't think of further words to rhyme with camel "

    My rhyming dictionary doesn't give anything that doesn't truly fit or is obscure, so he wasn't doing too badly, especially drinking black tea from enamel.


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