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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81233

  • BereniceUK
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One of the posters on the wall -


"Stavanger [in Norway] would probably not have become the "canned city" if a new product had not been introduced, "the smoked Norwegian sardines". This happened in 1879 at Stavanger Preservation's factory in Øvre Strandgate. Smoked sardines had been experimented with before, but Stavanger Preserving deserves credit for starting with the systematic production and sale of this product, which came to spread the Stavanger name on billions of cans to all corners of the world." (from Wikipedia)
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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81237

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Nice eye Berenice......
Interesting info I guess they are still in business.....

Mike
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Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591

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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81254

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Everything online about the company is in Norwegian, but I found this translation - "In 1981, after a long period of decline in the canning industry, the remaining Norwegian producers of canned sprat were merged into one group, Norway Foods Ltd., with headquarters in Stavanger."

They must have been colourful posters put on the wall to brighten up the place.
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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81257

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Hi Berence,

I was able to find another letter outlining the conditions and life whilst a Boer POW in Umballa Camp, India. The letter is from a P. Colin Meyer, but I have been unable to locate him as yet, as a Prisoner of War. I hope that another forum member with better means to conduct further research than me can locate more information about this man.

A LETTER FROM A BOER
                                                                             
PRISONER OF WAR.

(Examiner, Launceston Tas, Friday 23 May, 1902)


The following is a letter from P. Colin Meyer, a Boer prisoner in the camp at Umballa. His object in writing is, he says, "to contradict the many mis-statements that have been made regarding the treatment of prisoners of war by British 'Tommies' and the British Government." The letter is a purely voluntary contribution, and coming from India, will be read with interest: -

    "I have now been a prisoner for close on 16 months. I give my experience with pleasure, as many mis-statements have already been made on this subject. It is true that when captured some have to put up with temporary inconveniences, according to circumstance, until the prisoner of war camp is reached; but when the prisoner is once within the camp he has forthwith only to comply with the military regulations, which place no unreasonable restrictions upon him. I am personally very glad that I fell into the hands of the English rather than any other nation, as I do not think there can be a more lenient race as far as I have had to do with them during my captivity. I was captured last year in September in the Orange River Colony, and taken to Kroonstad, where I appeared before the Provost Marshal, who after some enquiries sent me to Capetown, to the prisoner of war camp at Green Point. I was shown every consideration by the 'Tommies' from the day of my capture until my arrival at Capetown. They supplied me, as well as the other prisoners who formed the batch, with tobacco, in some instances giving us the last bit and doing without any themselves, also sharing their food with us, and overstepping military laws by buying us as much liquor as we cared to drink en route! 'Tommy' is not only a soldier, but has a very tender heart for anybody in adversity. I apply this little truth not only to the 'Tommies' forming our escort to Capetown, but to all with whom I came in contact since my capture, and they are many. I will always remember them, as well as their officers, very kindly. I remained in Green Point Camp up to December 24, 1900, when we were removed to Ladysmith Camp, Natal. During my four months' stay at Green Point the camp was kept marvelously clean, as well as the wash and bathing houses. Our rations were good and substantial, and our colonial friends were given every facility for sending us vegetables, or other luxuries or money; the prisoners on the whole were well looked after. I was really surprised on my arrival at the camp to find the men with whom I was on commando, but who were captured with Cronje in February, in such good condition and so tidy. We had plenty of sports, and were served with clothing whenever we were in need of it. We broke the monotony by making curios out of wood, or making brooches and pendants out of a kind of stone we dug out in camp. There we gave many a concert, and really spent some happy days.

    "But, alas! The order came that some two hundred of us had to proceed to Ladysmith Camp, which we did on board the Columbia. We had some fun at the time, as the majority of prisoners never were on the sea before, and got sick from sheer fright. We hardly swung any hammocks, preferring to sleep just where we got ill. Next day the military officer in charge of us took compassion on us, and gave each of us a long drink of rum, so that the sickness soon disappeared, and we started singing and amusing ourselves. We had two concerts on that trip, and really enjoyed the journey, never dreaming that afterwards some of us would have to journey by sea five times that distance. We arrived at Durban on December 27, and were immediately entrained for Ladysmith Camp, where we arrived well and hearty on the 29th. I must here relate an incident that happened at Durban. Whilst we were being entrained, another train came alongside of ours containing some troops just from England, who never saw a Boer before. When they saw us they started scoffing at us, but this soon caught the eye of a watchful officer, who drew his sword and soon brought them to their bearings.

    "When we arrived at Ladysmith Camp we were highly pleased with it. It was a military camp previous to the war, consequently it was everything that could be desired, and was the best camp I ever was in. The barracks, bath-houses, and latrines were models. We had a good staff, and the rations even surpassed those we had at Green Point. After a time we got fairly tired of the cheese, hams, and jams, as we got them daily. In this camp we had nearly every kind of sport, and played matches against the military constantly. We went out on parole to Ladysmith Town whenever we felt inclined, minus an escort. We also made curios and sold them well, and also crocheted neckties. Moreover, we held concerts to our hearts' content, with an occasional dance, as we had a good piano. We had here a splendid library, where we whiled away the evenings. When the order came last September that we had to quit this nice camp for India, it may very well be imagined how we felt. We presented Major's Forster and Lee, our staff officers, with an address before leaving, thanking them for their exceeding kindness shown to us during our captivity there. We did not relish the idea of coming to India, but prisoners have no choice. This time the batch consisted of over a thousand prisoners, the majority of whom never saw a ship or the ocean before. We left Ladysmith Camp for India in September, and many a yarn we spun and many a song we sang on our way to Durban.

    "Arrived at Durban, we got into tugs and were taken to the Aurania, lying at anchor to receive us. The sea is pretty rough out there when you get into the surf, consequently you can well imagine how sick they went. Luckily I was in this pickle before, and knew the ropes, so I kept my equilibrium. In a couple of days' time we were well again, excepting those who only regained their appetites in this camp. On reaching and passing the Equator line, it reminded us of the three youths in the oven in the olden days. On reaching Bombay after a journey of 15 days, we felt like being in another oven. The heat was most excruciating, consequently we received helmets before being entrained. We here learned our destination, and accordingly sent back our future addresses. The ship's captain, crew, our escort, officers, and doctors treated us most cordially. We had a concert on board ship, and both Boers and military worked together to make it a success. We lost four prisoners at sea, who were most solemnly entrusted to the mighty deep. Measles broke out amongst the prisoners en route, and they were well cared for, and detained at Bombay, and sent up here only recently. We were rather afraid of being quarantined at Bombay, but luckily no such catastrophe befell us, as we were only too anxious to reach our destination.

    "We landed at Bombay on October 5, and were entrained on October 7. We were quite surprised to see that we were put in cages instead of carriages, as a Boer prisoner is generally very docile. We travelled mostly by night, and stopped over in the day time at the military barracks en route for rest and refreshments. At length we reached our destination, Umballa Camp, and had quite a reception. There was no lack of escort or of the fair sex, eager to catch a glimpse of the Boer. We felt rather tired, consequently we only longed for our future homes, which were soon shown to us. A prisoner of war suits himself to the occasion within a short time, consequently when we were shown our nice marquee tents, and understood that only eight men had to occupy the same, and that there was a bedstead, bedding, cutlery, crockery, tables, and benches for each of us, we could hardly believe it. We lighted our lamps, convinced ourselves of the fact, and after a good square meal, were in the arms of Morpheus. After laying on the ground and veldt for such a length of time, you can very well imagine how we appreciated a bedstead.

    "As some were in a dilapidated state on arrival here, all of us were served out with clothing and underclothing, as well as boots. Our camp is very spacious, and the latrines and the washhouses very complete. We make use of our large recreation ground by playing football, cricket, or hockey on it. We also go in for boxing and gymnastics. Some are engaged in making curios out of wood, stone, and bone, or crocheting ties and puggarees. We have played several football and cricket matches against the military already, and, being fairly acclimatised now, we manage to render a good account of ourselves. We have a splendid library where we while away the evenings. Our staff encourage recreation and show great tact in dealing with the prisoners, consequently the prisoners really respect them. We occasionally get served with tobacco, as we are rather heavy smokers and coffee drinkers. Our old men get a 'liquor' of rum and two eggs each morning, and they look well on it. The young ones could also do with a 'peg' occasionally.

    "We have lost a few of our men since we have been here, and they were buried with marked esteem. Our sick are well cared for. The only drawback is that we are so far away from our native land and those we love. I must thank our different escorts, their officers, and also the civilians for the kindness and civility shown us on our journey, and I can assure them that It will ever be gratefully remembered by us all. We gained a good bit of experience on our journey by land and sea, as we realised, and are yet realising, England's power. The fortune of war has made us prisoners, so we suit ourselves to the occasion, bury the hatchet, do away with animosity, and smoke the pipes of friendship, consoling ourselves with this fact, that the British authorities are treating their prisoners with the utmost consideration, not leaving the slightest room for complaint or misrepresentation." - "Times of India." 

P. COLIN MEYER.                                                                                                                                                                                          Prisoners' Camp, Umballa,
December 20.
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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81258

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Morning


An interesting little group to a Boer, Hendrik Johannes Meyer Vermaak, was captured at Alomohlomo on 19th March 1902. Aged just 14, he lists his home address as 'Sweethome' and Vrijheid Commando as his cornetcy. Sent to India as a POW where he was interred at Camp Umballa.
He did not claim his ABO Medalje and so this POW Pass is all there is to show for his service

Earned a WW1 Trio named to Burg. H. I. M. Vermaak Piet Retief Kdo.

Regards
Jon
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Umballa POW Camp 7 months 4 weeks ago #81259

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Hi Jon,

Thanks for adding an image of the Camp Pass for Umballa. The below story is the only other relevant information that I could locate about Umballa which outlines some of the entertainment features of the Camp.


BOER PRISONERS AT UMBALLA.

An interesting description of the life led by the Boer prisoners at the Umballa camp, in the Punjaub, Northern India, is given in a letter by one of them, which has recently been published. The camp covers an area of about 420 yards, and is enclosed by an inner bamboo fence, separated by about fifteen yards from an outer barbed wire fence. Outside this latter fence the sentries patrol day and night, and about 200 yards off a mounted native Lancer is continually on the beat on each side. There are one hundred and forty tents, and the camp boasts a General Store, managed by Parsees, two coffee shops, run by burgers, three work tents, where some admirable curios are turned out, and a public reading-room. The prisoners have taken enthusiastically to British sports, and forget their exile in the excitement of cricket, Rugby and Association football, and hockey. "In cricket," states the writer of the letter referred to, "we have at least received a drubbing, and that a severe one at the hands of a picked garrison team. Some said that the team pitted against us was not a strong one, but I must say their play looked uncommonly like first-class South African cricket, in which none of our representatives ever indulged." The grief of the burgers over this defeat, however, was forgotten in the contemplation of - to some of them - a strange and more novel thing than cricket. Miss Ada Maven's Comic Opera and Burlesque Company, which was touring in the neighbourhood of Umballa, generously gave a gratuitous performance at the camp. " Many of the spectators," the Boer writer remarks upon this event, "belonged to the unsophisticated back-country farming class, unskilled in English, and totally unacquainted with anything in the shape of a variety show. Moreover being of a religious turn, not a few of them professed to be quite shocked at clever Miss Vichara's clog dance, and various other items." Notwithstanding these little drawbacks, however, he does not fail to add that "the performance was much appreciated."
(Manawatu Times, Manawatu NZ, Tuesday 7 Oct, 1902)
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