Heinz 47?

Self and Heinz July 47 (549x800)

Andy Dennis’s Dad with Heinz, a german POW mate, in 1947. Image supplied by Andy Dennis.

Here’s an intriguing bit of offbeat local history from blog stalwart Andy Dennis, relating to a friendship his father, Derrick Dennis developed immediately following the war, during military service.

It’s a fascinating relationship I (and I’m sure readers) would love to know more about; German POW and British serviceman, brought together by the Second World War, and separated by the Cold War.

I’ll let Andy explain…

Hello Bob

Something quirky, though I’m not sure whether it will be of interest for your blog. This isn’t really local history, but it does relate to a local lad.

The coverage of VE Day reminded me of something I was going to do years ago, but things got in the way and after Dad died there didn’t seem much point. After the war Dad did his national service in the RAF. After basic training he was posted to Llanbedr, on the Welsh Coast, near Harlech, but was promoted Corporal and transferred to Tangmere, near Chichester. While there he befriended a German prisoner of war named Heinz, who worked as a mechanic. Obviously, relations between British and German personnel had become more relaxed by then. I don’t know why a POW should still be there so long after the war ended. Eventually, Dad came home and Heinz went back to his home, which I think was in the Leipzig area. They kept in touch by exchanging Christmas cards and such, but when the Wall went up in 1961 they were unable to continue.

The two chaps in front of the lorry are Heinz (left) and Dad (Cpl Derrick Dennis). On the back it says simply ‘July 47’ and ‘Heinz & Self’.

The two other images are, perhaps, more intriguing. I imagine there was once another piece of paper for the sole, but the object was that Heinz wanted some new boots ‘2 pair’ and didn’t know what size. My father dated it 19/2/48.

That is all I know.

Best wishes

This really has fascinated me. Can anyone help with this? I know it’s a long shot, but the mystery and sad termination of the friendship really has piqued my interest.

Please comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers to Andy for a very thought provoking and interesting contribution.

heel 1 (800x737)

Interesting specification… Click for a larger version. Image from Andy Dennis.

heel 2 (800x700)

New boots? Click for a larger version. Image from Andy Dennis.

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9 Responses to Heinz 47?

  1. A lot more fraternisation went on than is generally acknowledged by the looks of it.

    In my old bedroom at Dad’s house hangs a water colour painting of lake viewed through some trees. It’s nothing special in terms of its artistry but it is the story behind the painting that is interesting and would be more so if I could remember all of it. What I know. Mom inherited the painting from her Dad who towards the end of the war was very friendly with a German POW who I think (stand to be corrected) was based in Sutton Park. As a way of thanking my Grandfather for his comradeship in difficult times and at a difficult time of the POWs life, he painted the picture and it apparently represents a lake near in Germany where the POW originated.

    I can remember no more of the story. Neither Mom nor Granddad or anyone else that might know the full details is around to refresh my memory. This is another moment when I kick myself for tuning out of stories when I was just a small child.

    • Pedro says:

      Hi Linda,

      How strange, a few people had told me that there was a Prisoner of War Camp at Sutton Park, and I always presumed it to be so.

      But on just checking, it doesn’t seem to be. In Warwickshire there were at least four, probably the nearest being Long Marston or Maxstoke.

      There was a Camp and Hospital during WWI.

      • Where ever it was Pedro it must have been pretty local. My family lived just off the Kingstanding Rd between the Circle and Hawthorn Rd and I’m fairly sure my Mom remembered meeting him. She was only 8 when the war ended. There were prisoners in Shenstone and on the Chase weren’t there?

  2. Edwina. says:

    Ahhh …. Linda Mason, we are all guilty of that I bet, shame, but as the old saying goes, youth is wasted on the young. I never appreciated that as a youngster, but it’s all coming home to roost

  3. aerreg says:

    re the prisoner of war camps i believe there was as the lady says an italion pow camp at flaxley green as you aproached rugeley from hednesford it was on the right hand side the pillers of the main gate were visable from the road i cant veryfy it my only memories of the area was helping to put out a massive gorse fire as retain fire man from brownhills to help control it it woz a wopper sorry arm off agen down memory lane god bless

    • Pedro says:

      Spot on Reg!

      The oracle says…

      Flaxley Green Camp, Stilecop Field, Rugeley, Staffordshire, England

      LARGE STANDARD. Camp consisting of a guards’ compound and six prisoners’ compounds, three for tents and three with hutting.

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  5. Pingback: Researching servicemen on the Brownhills War Memorial – can you help please? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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