The only German prisoner from WWI
to be interred in Bures Cemetery according to The German War Graves
Commission was Lance-Corporal Carl Volker.
Carl Volker was born in Liebenstein in the Germain State of Thuringia
on the 2nd August 1879, and was a tailor by profession.
The German War Graves Commission states that Lance-Corporal Volker
was a soldier serving with the 3rd Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment
based inHanover. He was captured shortly before the end of the war
in Noyelles, France on the 28th of September, 1918 and subsequently
brought to England.
In the immediate aftermath of the war Lance-Corporal Carl Volker
was originally posted as "missing" in the German War Losses
However, although he was registered with the huge POW camp in Pattishall,
Northamptonshire, Carl Volker was interned in Bures, probably in
the Prisoner of War camp installed in the drying shed of the Tannery
located by the bridge, generally known those days as "the jump"
and where Bridge House stands today.
The German Prisoners of WWI remained
in England for some time tohelp on the land before being repatriated,
and those in Bures were noexception. It is a fact that the gardens
at Great Bevills on the Sudbury
Road were created with the help of these prisoners.
Unfortunately, Lance-Corporal Carl Volker was drowned on the 17th
of June 1919 while taking part in a bathing parade at "the
jump", he was 39 years old.
Carl Volker left a widow, Emma, still living in a flat in Hanover
However, there do not seem to have been any children of this marriage
and according to the German War Graves Commission, to whom we owe
many thanks for helping us to fill out our picture of WWI POW Lance-
Corporal Carl Volker, all attempts at finding further relations
Courtesy of Ian Gibbs
WORLD WAR 2
There were no POW Camps in Bures.
In 1946, the year after the end of
World War Two, more than 400,000 German prisoners of war (POWs)
were still being held in Britain, with POW camps on the
outskirts of most towns. Clement Attlee's post-war government deliberately
ignored the Geneva Convention by refusing to let the Germans return
home until well after the war was over.
During 1946, up to one fifth of all
farm work in Britain was being carried out German POWs, and they
were also employed on road works and building sites. Fraternisation
between the soldiers and the local population was strictly forbidden
by the British government, and repatriation progressed extremely
slowly. Then the ban on fraternisation was finally lifted - just
in time for Christmas 1946. In towns across Britain, many people
chose to put the war behind them and invite German POWs to join
them for a family Christmas - the first the men had experienced
There were two large POW Camps at
HQ 129 north of Halstead on the A131 Sudbury Rd, holding about 500
Italians and an unknown quantity of Germans.
HQ 78 north of Halstead on the A131 Sudbury Rd, holding only German
Another local Camp was located at Stoke-by-Nayland, Tendring Hall
holding 200 Germans.
Then smaller camps holding just 100 POWs, at Bulmer, Borley, Boxford,
Bulmer and Liston
Arthur Clampin, who worked at Brook
House Farm remembers, how Italian POW`s helped out with the hoeing
and the sugar beet harvest.
In addition, four German`s housed in a Camp at Halstead were sent
over to help with the grain harvest.
One prisoner could speak very good English, as he had previously
attended an Agricultural College in Germany. Consequently, he was
a tremendous asset to the farm as well as acting as an interpreter
for the other three in the group. They were all good workers and
preferred to work on the land, rather than be locked-up in the Camp.
We know from Arthur`s account the POW`s arrived from Halstead, but
it`s very likely some others may have arrived from Stoke or Boxford.
There were Italians and German POW`s
working at Hitchcocks Mill, with other German POWs working for Jack
Leyland who managed a dairy herd at Bures Hall, others were also
employed at Gt Bevills maintaining the gardens.
One German POW, Bertram Bellag remained in Bures after the war ended
and lived along the Nayland Road
POW Camps were still occupied well
into 1947 and 1948, which is verified by these Press reports.
October 30th 1947, Bury &
Suffolk Free Press
Five German POW`s were fined 10s each for distilling spirits without
a license at Tendring Hall Camp, Stoke by Nayland.
March 11th 1948, Bury &
Suffolk Free Press
Sudbury police have a large quantity of clothing on their hands,
the property was taken from a German P.O W., Gerhart Engler, formerly
of Acton Camp who had escaped from close detention at Hardwicke
camp, he had committed many crimes in the Hartest-Somerton area.
Superintendent Butcher said had arrested Gerhart at Bures and recovered
two suitcases of property, he was handed over to the military authorities
at Colchester but he escaped again. Superintendent Butcher said
Engler had been associating with a woman at Great Cornard and that
she had a baby by him which had since died, Engler was the biggest
liar he had ever seen.
In January he had appeared at Middlesex Sessions and some of the
property recovered then had labels on from large stores in Croydon,
he is now serving 18 months in Wandsworth.
Gerhart Engler, a P.O.W. now serving a prison sentence at Pentonville
was selecting articles which belonged to him.
The Clerk said no-one came forward for some of the articles and
that an order had been made for some things unclaimed to go to the
Crown, Engler said some of the things were his and he collected
a large pile which he said were his.
Superintendent Butcher said Engler had been associating with a woman
at Great Cornard and that she had a baby by him which had since
died, Engler was the biggest liar he had ever seen
May 27th 1948, Bury &
Suffolk Free Press
There were heart-breaking scenes at Bury railway station recently
when a large number of German prisoners from Fordham and Botesdale
started on their way home after two and a half years in a POW camp.
The party included some seventy high ranking naval and army officers.
Just before the train departed a young woman, said to the wife of
one of the prisoners entered the train and clung to him, the military
and railway police tried to get them apart but they eventually came
off together and the officials parted them on the platform, the
German then hurried onto the train.
Suffolk and Essex Free Press
16th August 1945
George Austin of Mount Bures was one of many local servicemen who
were held in Prisoner of War Camps in Europe and Asia.
NOTE:- My father was the Foreman
of a very large arable farm near St Osyth, which had approximately
twenty German POW`s working on the land. The only deterrent my father
had was a 12 bore shot-gun, none of the POWs made any attempt to
escape as they preferred working on the farm where they enjoyed
free vegetables, such as Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflowers, Swedes,
Turnips, Cabbages etc to take back to their Hostel.
They also made me wooden toys carved out of scraps of timber. To
this day I still have a "ship in a bottle" which proudly
stands on a shelf at home.