PW Art

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Quarterfinal, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    This picture was painted in 1943, as indicated on the front:

    It carries the Stalag 383 Camp Censor Gepruft stamp on the reverse, but the sitter’s name is not reflected. It was sent with others to England during the War, to be shown as part of a series in PW art exhibitions that raised funds for the International Red Cross.

    Unusually, this piece was water-coloured on artist’s paper, as opposed to recycled Red Cross parcel wrapping, the normal medium available.

    The sitter is clearly wearing a green beret and his cap-badge appears to have the look of an Australian General Service Badge; or could it be something else? The badge is on his left, so he is unlikely to be French. Few PW photographs of the time actually show any beret wearers, less some with Tank Corps association. Others wear berets of shades of green now, but not then.

    At the time - according to the Commando Veteran’s Archive - there may have been nearly forty commandos incarcerated in the Camp, mostly taken prisoner in Crete (‘41) or at St Nazaire (‘42), ergo before the Green Beret became approved Commando headwear and also pre Hitler’s infamous Commando Order (both Oct 42).

    The artist is known to have painted at least two portraits of Sgt Colin Jones MM, who was on CAMPBELTOWN and came from Fazakerley; one, a preliminary sketch and a smaller rendition on a KGL Postkarte, given to the sitter to send home. The preliminary featured his Commando shoulder flash and possibly a 4 Independent Company arm badge, so not the chap above.

    So who might he be? Relatives were directed not to send commando associated uniform in welfare parcels to prisoners. Someone captured wearing a cap comforter now with a black beret dyed green? Was the sitter an Australian commando volunteer or ....?

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