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 done by 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
Born 2 August 1879
Taken Prisoner of War at Noyelles, France 28 September 1918
Died in Bures 17 June 1919 and buried in plot 47 of Bures Cemetery
Re-buried on 21 November 1962 in the German Military Cemetery,
Cannock Chase, Block 17, Row 18, Grave 427
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