Tales From Stalag VII A
From Sgt R Mathieson 10th BTn Black Watch
Camp Internee 1944 - 1945
This is my father, SGT Robert Dunlop (Bob) Mathieson
aged 24 in 1942. Until he was 86 he regaled us with stories
of his time in Stalag VII A. My father passed away on 18
He was captured in Italy just after the battle for Anzio
in 1944 and taken to Moosburg Prisoner of War Camp, where
he spent the rest of the war.
He has had two strokes and his memory and understanding
are not so good but I have been able to obtain some
information from him about this time.
He remembers that the commandant of the camp was not as
portrayed in films about POW camps, he was a well educated
and gentle man who had three great loves, the army,
football and his white Scottie dog.
I have never heard him mention anything negative about
the camp, he seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and probably
the fact that nobody was shooting at him anymore.
Characters in the camp are remembered
The camp joker who spoke
fluent German and would dress in a manufactured German
uniform, walk out of the camp, around the town and come
back again in time for meals. He was never caught. The fact
that he always came back, showed that he really did not try
to escape and those guards who knew, let him have his bit
A large Australian, who bunked above my father. His name
was Rocky and one night my father was awoken by this mans
voice saying, left, right, about turn etc. My father
thought he had gone nuts, but when he asked him what he was
doing Rocky replied "I'm just getting these bloody fleas
Sometimes a relief of
Italian guards would replace the German soldiers and the
commandant put one of their senior men on a charge for not
giving a dead British officer a proper military
In their hut, they had a great mixture of tradesmen from
civvy street before the war and many items would be
manufactured. One even made a radio in a tea caddy in order
that they could listen to the BBC.
One morning, all in the hut awoke to an odd stillness, a
quietness they had not experienced for some time, and they
found it rather disquieting. On venturing forth from the
hut, they discovered the camp deserted, save for a few
early rising fellow prisoners. All of the guards had gone
and the gates were open.
He decided to take a walk along the road outside the
camp, and into the countryside. Standing by a fence
overlooking a beautiful field, he heard the beautiful
singing of a bird, a sound not experienced for six years.
His thoughts turned to earlier days and he felt that a
change had come about. On turning around, a jeep had
stopped behind him and a voice was saying "sergeant, the
war is over."
© Roy Mathieson
- E-mails by Roy
Mathieson, Scotland, to Moosburg Online, April,