Colditz Castle – Oflag IVC

“The seven commandos arrived in Colditz on 7 October, and their presence left the Kommandant, Oberst Glaesche (below left), far from pleased. He had received no advance notice of their arrival, which was contrary to standing orders. However, he subsequently received orders from the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht to put the commandos in isolated custody until further notice. The following morning all seven men were photographed by the official photographer, Johannes Lange.

Their arrival at Colditz marked their sixteenth day as prisoners, but they seemed to be under no illusion as to their fate. The NCO in charge of them was ‘Tiger’ Teicher, and perhaps the sight of this somewhat decrepit warrior, coupled with the fact they had no way of knowing they were being held in the most heavily guarded prison in Europe, prompted them to attempt an abortive escape that very night. A few days later Black and Houghton were transferred to prison cells in the town where Peter Storie-Pugh (below middle) was already in solitary confinement for one of his many misdemeanours. Through the cell wall he was able to ask Black why they had been sent to Colditz. The leader of the commando team replied he didn’t know. But they had already been told, he added, that they were to be shot. Storie-Pugh, incredulous, refused to believe it, claiming that as they had been captured in uniform, their captors couldn’t possibly do that.

The British contingent in the Castle was greatly concerned about the fate of their comrades. An official request by the Senior British Officer, Lt.Col. D.S.Stayner (below right), to talk to the commandos was refused. The secrecy surrounding their arrival and the manner in which they were being kept in strict isolation gave credibility to Black’s claim that they were to be shot.

Their names were passed through illicit channels to London. The neutral Swiss authorities, among whose functions it was to represent the interests and welfare of prisoners-of-war, were notified and urged to intervene, but time was against them.”

‘Camera in Colditz’ by Ron Baybutt

 others to follow shortly

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