World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I


World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

A collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I


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The Clergy at Stalag Luft I

Father Michael R. Charlton - A British captain and Roman Catholic priest  (see photo below)

Father T. J. Lynch - A British captain and Roman Catholic priest

Rev. H.A.M. Mitchell -  A British captain and Presbyterian minister, from  Danedin, New Zealand.
Rev. T. A. Douglas - A British captain from South Africa and Methodist minister.

Rev. R. Drake-Brockman - Church of England chaplain

Rev. J. Hall - Roman Catholic Chaplain  (Civil-Internee)

Padre Clark -   High Church of England - North II Compound

Religious Services at Stalag Luft I

Father Michael Charlton of Stalag Luft I

After the morning roll call, men of the Catholic faith were most fortunate to be able to attend daily Mass in the compound.  There were two Catholic priests in Stalag Luft I, one captured at Dunkirk during the brilliant retreat of the British Army and the other captured in Italy.  A Lutheran pastor had been captured in France.

Father Charlton, a red-headed, fiery Scotsman, is a man I shall always remember-- as one remembers the few outstanding persons whose acquaintance is of great benefit in a normal lifetime.  His untiring efforts to bring the Mass to us under the most difficult circumstances, and his constant fight against German abuse an neglect, were inspiring to all of uw.  Father Charlton's numerous lectures on the many phases of theology and Catholicism surpassed anything I have ever heard.  Perhaps it was because I was more attentive and more interested than I had ever been before, but the personality and wisdom of this little Scottish priest claimed our admiration.

Morning Mass was held in an unheated, dirty supply room, using a table for an altar and an Army blanked for an altar cloth.  The wine, Hosts, and vestments were supplied by the Bishop of the Berlin Diocese.  On some mornings it was so cold and damp in our improvised chapel that the padre's hands would be blue before the Mass was half completed.  As the strange congregation, kneeling on the bare floor, offered up their prayers, wisps of vapor floated upward to the damp ceiling.  In all my life, I have never appreciated the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass more than I did on those daily visits to that bleak little chapel.


From "Journey to a Star" by William G. Blum



A Prisoner's Prayer

Oh God, my creator and protector, I know that thou art near me; and so I adore thee with body and soul and with complete submission to thy will.  Thou has saved me from death which hast over taken my companions and has permitted me to be a prisoner.  I will bear patiently and hopefully, for the love of thee, all the difficulties of my state.  Bless me and my companions here.  Grant us to live in peace, comforting and consoling one another with fraternal love and charity. Bless my family who are far away, my friends, and all I love.  Watch over and protect my country, and my comrades in arms.  Give me peace and protect me from melancholy and despair.  Above all keep me from offending thee, my God.  I thank thee for all the blessings and I will try to serve thee as the Bible has told us "Rejoicing in hope - patient in tribulation - instant in prayer".  Amen


Kriegies Scripture

Thus Saith The Lord:  Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded; and they shall return from the land of the enemy.

Jer 31, 16

John A. Barrett's Mass book while prisoner of war POW Mass Book

John A. Barrett's homemade Mass Book while a POW at Stalag Luft I

"On Sunday morning we had church services for those of us that were close to the church. We had an English Seminary student in our group who was our minister and it helped to lift our spirits to hear the words from the Bible to fill the voids in our lives."

Charles Reed Holden
Stalag Luft I POW - South Compound


"The religious activities of our compound were in charge of Padre Clark.  He had our services every Sunday afternoon.  On Christmas there was a special carol service.   Padre Clark was the resident padre and had charge of the service every second Sunday.  Clark was English and a member of the High Church of England.  On the odd Sundays Padre Clark was replaced by either Padre Mitchell or Douglas.  Mitchell was the dean of the three.  He was from Danedin, New Zealand and had been a Presbyterian minister before the war.  Douglas was from South Africa and had been a Baptist minister.   The facilities were not good and service was often held in a barracks hallway, but we did have religious services that were faithfully attended"

Robert Swartz
Stalag Luft I - North II Compound



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