In search of Charles Dolden

Charles Dolden was the prisoner of war who gave this drawing to Jim L’Esperance.

He was a sailor on HMS Sahib.

Jim L'Esperance 016

Charles DoldenMay we meet again Jimmy under better conditions.
Chas. Dolden

This drawing is part of many more found in Jim L’Esperance’s Wartime Log.

Jim L'Esperance 001It was given to him by the Red Cross.

Jim L'Esperance 010 (2)Jim L’Esperance used it to past inside mementoes when he was a prisoner in the Marlag und Milag Nord prison camp.


Marlag and Milag Nord

Marlag, the Royal Navy camp, was divided into two compounds; “O” housed officers and their orderlies, while “M” held NCOs and ratings. The majority of prisoners were British, but there were also small numbers of other Allied nationalities.[4] In late 1942 all the ratings were sent to Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf and assigned to Arbeitskommando (“Work details”), and “M” housed only NCOs.[5]

Milag (Marineinterniertenlager, “Marine internment camp”), the Merchant Navy camp, was 300 m (980 ft) to the east of Marlag. This also divided into two separate compounds for officers and men. The area in between contained the guard house, a prison block, fuel bunker, and the camp hospital.[4]

Just outside of the gates of Milag was the Kommandantur (“Headquarters”) and accommodation for the guards. In between the camps there was a large shower block which was used by men of both camps.[4]

Each camp contained a number of single-story wooden huts; 29 in Marlag and 36 in Milag. Most of them were barracks, while the others contained kitchens, dining rooms, washrooms, guard barracks, storehouses, a post office, and other administrative buildings. The barracks were divided into rooms each accommodating 14 to 18 men who slept in two and three-tiered bunks.[6]

The POWs occupied themselves in various ways. There was a camp theatre in Marlag and the POWs performed concerts and plays. Each camp had its own sports field, and there was also a library with around 3,000 books. Prisoners ran courses in languages and mathematics, as well as commercial, vocational, economic, and scientific subjects. Sports equipment and textbooks were obtained from the Red Cross and YMCA. POWs were allowed to send two letters and four postcards each month. There were no restrictions on the number of letters a POW could receive. Naturally all incoming and outgoing mail was censored.[6] A popular diversion was provided by the “Milag Jockey Club” which held race meetings every Saturday evening. The “horses” were wooden models that raced on a 36-foot (11 m) track, controlled by dice. The POW bet on the races, and money was raised and donated to the Red Cross.[7][8]

Under normal conditions the camps had a capacity of 5,300. According to official figures in April 1944 there were 4,268 men held there. Initially the camp was guarded by Naval troops. Later they were replaced by Army reservists.[6]

The liberation of the camp on You Tube.

Part one.

Part two.

Part three A

Part three B

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