Saturday, November 13, 2010

Private J Farmer 4901 1st Coldstream Guards

I found this interesting article on the Essex Police Memorial website today.

Essex Police Memorial Trust: Joseph Farmer

Joseph was one of the 2000 British Prisoners of War held by the Germans near the eastern Front in what is now Latvia.

From what I have read and understand about the treatment of 500 of these prisoners from Number 4 company, "Englaender Kommando 1" Joseph was very likely to have been on the receiving end of a premeditated policy of maltreatment and neglect carried out by German Forces as a reprisal for alleged mistreatment of their prisoners.

Another document (WO /161/ 100 557) states that Joseph was moved from the camp where he was being held to the hospital at Mitau ( Now Jelgava ) and that he died of his wounds there.

Conditions at the hospital were described by Company Sergeant Major A. Gibb in his report as "inadequate" with medical facilities non existent. I understand that the personnel consisted mostly of Russian "volunteers" made up of deserters and prisoners. Subjected to such conditions prisoners were said to have died at these temporary hospitals from starvation and exhaustion a situation which could have been relieved if there had been access to appropriate medical treatment and the food parcels sent from families and loved ones at home but which were looted and allowed to perish while the men were allowed to suffer.