Paintings by Jack Croasdaile whilst in POW camp

HMS
                          Gloucester 1941 by Jack Croasdaile.JPG
HMS Gloucester 1941 by Jack Croasdaile.JPG


HMS Gloucester under attack, 22nd May 1941

Roger Heap (1911-2001) was with Jack in Marlag, and they must have known each other well. Roger was Navigating Officer (Lt Cdr) on the cruiser HMS Gloucester when it was sunk by dive-bombers off Crete in May 1941. He was the only serving officer to survive - survivors were heavily machine-gunned in the water. Whilst in Marlag, one of the German guards gave Roger a magazine because it contained an article about the sinking of the Gloucester. The article included a photograph taken from a Stuka as it dived on the Gloucester which was swerving to avoid the bombs. Using the photograph, Jack painted a watercolour of the incident.

In April 1943, Roger was transferred to Colditz where he spent the rest of the war.
 
It is thought that the watercolour remained in Marlag, and Jack contacted Roger after the war and sent him the painting and magazine.

 Source:  David Heap (Roger's son)



painting of
                                  Cemetery entrance.jpg
painting of Cemetery entrance.jpg
Painting of cemetery
painting in cemetery.jpg


Two watercolours showing the cemetery belonging to the naval and maritime internees of Marlag and Milag Nord in Westertimke during WW2.  The cemetery was laid out by the voluntary labour of the officers of the Merchant Navy. They were painted by Commander J L Croasadaile of the Royal Naval Reserves.  He was chief officer of the liner "Queen Mary" at the outbreak of the war.

These watercolours are in the Submariner's Museum at Gosport, Hampshire.
http://www.seayourhistory.org.uk/component/option,com_gallery2/Itemid,402/g2_itemId,20654/

They were donated to the museum in 2000. 

The catalogue entry reads: Service and other documents relating to ERA J WILKINSON. Prisoner of war and Red Cross letters and pamphlets (including information on POW parcels), telegrams and newspaper cuttings referring to ERA Wilkinson's imprisonment (HMS STARFISH) and eventual death from kidney failure. Death certificate in German and translation. Photograph of graves at Naval Cemetery. Two watercolour paintings - one of graves at POW Cemetery, Westertimke and the other of Friedhof gate.  Both painted by Commander J L Croasdaile in 1944. 
Thanks to Mr George A Malcolmson, Archivist,  Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport.

Buckley, P. N. IWM 81_5_1_logbook
                          p.29.jpg
Buckley, P. N. IWM 81_5_1_logbook p.29.jpg
Buckley, P. N. IWM 81_5_1_logbook
                          p.37.jpg
Buckley, P. N. IWM 81_5_1_logbook p.37.jpg
These two drawings were found by Clare Makepeace, a PhD student at Birkbeck College, London.  They are in the private papers of Admiral Peter Buckley in the Imperial War Museum (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030004519 ).  Peter Buckley was a submariner and was a prisoner at the same camp(s) as Jack Croasdaile.

The fireside picture is fascinating. One would imagine that it is Jackís image of himself with his wife by the fireside. But by that time his wife was dead, and I guess he would have known it. So if it is of him, one imagines it is looking back, not forward.
But if itís looking back, where are his children? I got the impression that he doted on his nephew (my father), so would imagine that his own children would be even more important to him. So is he looking forward, as the title suggests? Or is it somebody else?
The picture above the fireplace is of a 3-funneled ship.  I suspect that it is the SS Majestic; Jack had been Chief Officer on this, the Cunard flagship.  Compare this view found on this website (click image for source)


http://www.ocean-liners.com/ships/bismarck.asp

 I interpret is as follows:
1940. Ship attacked, hospital, view from POW camp (Oflag IXA, see picture below).  Time spent in hospital. 
According to his MI9 questionnaire, Jack was not wounded, and went almost straight from capture (June 10th 1940) to Oflag IXA (July 1st 1940) which suggests that he did not spend time in hospital.  Peter Buckley (in whose notebook the drawing was found) spent time in hospital in Norway, so the implication is that the hospital refers to him.  The ship is actually more like a submarine, and the scene doesn't match the Vandyk paintings, so this looks like it might be HMS Shark, Buckley's ship.
1941 Man (POW) with walking stick in front of POW huts.
  Again, the suggestion that this is Peter Buckley.
1942 POW camp.   Is that an outline of Africa at the bottom, perhaps marking allied victories in North Africa (el Alamein in 1942?)
1943 POW camp. Aircraft flying over. News of Italian landings?
1944 End of war?

Spandenberg Castle
                          Oflag IXA.jpg
Spandenberg Castle Oflag IXA.jpg




Many thanks to Clare Makepeace for drawing these to my attention. Clare Makepeace is using these illustrations in her doctoral thesis on British POWs held in Germany and Italy during the Second World War.  Her website is http://www.warfarehistorian.org/emotions-in-war/

Peter Moss.  Updated March 2014.