Austro-British Society Carinthia

Austro-British Society Klagenfurt

Society Carinthia

Like so many British and Commonwealth prisoners of war who ended up in Carinthia, Private Norman Barton of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps was captured by German forces in Greece in late April of 1941. After transiting POW camps in Kalamata, Corinth and Salonika, Norman was transferred to Stalag 18A in Wolfsberg in June 1941 and subsequently assigned to work camps in Knittelfeld and Zeltweg (both in Styria) and then in Radenthein and Gummern in Carinthia.

According to his military record, Norman was an inmate of Work Camp 10105 GW (Radenthein) from 22 October 1941 until 29 November 1942, working on road making, and of Work Camp 11088 GW (Gummern) from 10 December 1942 until 8 May 1945, possibly working on repairing damaged railways.

Norman Barton (left) with unidentified fellow inmate
Work Camp  11088 GW (Gummern)
Inmates of Work Camp  11088 GW Gummern. Norman Barton in background, highlighted.

In his personal oral account of his time as prisoner of war, written up by his wife Kathleen, Norman recounted:

Had to work, repairing bombed railway track. Also, quarry at top of mountain – helped around the quarry area. The mineral mined was used for German steelworks in Germany. Another job was large stones unloaded from rail wagons to put along riverbank.… Camp Commandant was an old Austrian, who had been forced into German Army – he was very understanding with POWs.

The jobs he describes above would have been typical of the work done by prisoners of war at the Radenthein and Gummern work camps. Radenthein was the location of the “Magnesitwerke Radenthein”, where magnesite was mined for use in producing refactories for steelmaking, while Gummern, just to the south, is very close to the railway and the river.

Son Norman believes that the camp commandant who was “very understanding” with POWs may have been called Hugo. Norman inherited one, possibly two photos of Hugo – one a portrait with “Hugo” written on the back, and one showing a uniformed railway employee who looks very like the Hugo in the other photograph, with some works in the background that have been identified as the “Österreichischen Chemischen Werke“ (ÖCW,) or Austrian Chemical Works, in Weißenstein, which is just down the road from Gummern.

(date/location unknown)
Possibly Hugo, standing near the railway with the Austrian Chemical Works in the background

Son Norman would dearly like to identify Hugo’s family and descendants, if possible, to express his thanks and gratitude to them for the kindness and consideration Hugo showed his father and the other prisoners of war under his command.

We would love to hear from anybody who recognises Hugo in the photos above and may be able to put us in touch with his descendants, on behalf of Norman and wife Debbie. Just drop us an email, perhaps with a phone number, and we’ll be in touch.