NOSTALGIA: Son’s search for former Portsmouth marine who was a prisoner with his dad

Ian Jardine has recently found a number of group photographs of prisoners of war (location unknown). In this one his father John is on the right. Is Harry Adams among them?
Ian Jardine has recently found a number of group photographs of prisoners of war (location unknown). In this one his father John is on the right. Is Harry Adams among them?
Wimborne Road athletics team, 1951/52.

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Like so many ex-servicemen, Royal Marine John Jardine did not discuss with his family what he went through during the Second World War.

He died in 2000 but now his son Ian has discovered exactly what happened to him.

A group of POWs at the farm in Hausmannstatten bei Graz.

A group of POWs at the farm in Hausmannstatten bei Graz.

As a result he has turned to Portsmouth in an attempt to help complete the picture of his father’s wartime record.

John was captured on Crete on June 1, 1941, and served four years as a prisoner of war.

Ian says: ‘He died without ever discussing it so we knew very little, until now.

‘We have recently found a tin box containing his military keepsakes; medals, service record, a notebook with names and addresses of POWs and various photographs of that time. So I’m starting my research in earnest.’

John Jardine, left, working on the farm in Austria and, right above,  with another POW (Harry Adams?) in a picture believed to have been taken at a quarry in Wildon

John Jardine, left, working on the farm in Austria and, right above, with another POW (Harry Adams?) in a picture believed to have been taken at a quarry in Wildon

On a page in one of those notebooks is the name H Adams, and an address – 1 Kingsley Road, Milton, Portsmouth.

Ian adds: ‘From other notes we now know it is Harry James Adams who, like my father, served in the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation and was captured on the same day as my father.’ Before the war he had been a crane driver.

The two men were initially transferred by sea to Salonika, Greece, before they were put on trains to POW work camps in southern Austria. The work camps were administered from Stalag 18A at Wolfsberg.

They were sent to work in a quarry but records unearthed by Ian show that the two men were later sent to work on a farm in Hausmannstatten bei Graz for three years.

John Jardine with another POW in a picture believed to have been taken at a quarry in Wildon, Austria.

John Jardine with another POW in a picture believed to have been taken at a quarry in Wildon, Austria.

Ian adds: ‘In dad’s collection were a number of images from the farm both of the farm owners and the POWs.

‘One of the images is of a family group and you will see a young boy standing.

‘We have made contact with him. He is Erwin Legat who is now in his eighties, the current owner of the same farm.

‘We are travelling to Austria next week to visit him and he says he has much to tell me about this time.’

The page from one of John Jardine's notebooks giving Harry Adams's address.

The page from one of John Jardine's notebooks giving Harry Adams's address.

But back to Portsmouth...

Ian says: ‘Harry Adams must feature in one of my photos and with this development I would love to trace the family.’

If you recognise Harry or are related to him please get in touch and I’ll pass on any details to Ian to help complete the jigsaw of his father’s Second World War service.

The owners of the family farm in Austria at which John Jardine was sent to work as a prisoner of war. The boy standing is now in his 80s and next week Ian Jardine will meet him. This picture was taken after the war ended in 1945.

The owners of the family farm in Austria at which John Jardine was sent to work as a prisoner of war. The boy standing is now in his 80s and next week Ian Jardine will meet him. This picture was taken after the war ended in 1945.

John  Jardine shortly after he enlisted in the Royal Marines on May 28, 1940, at Chatham Barracks.

John Jardine shortly after he enlisted in the Royal Marines on May 28, 1940, at Chatham Barracks.