Sunday 11 August 2019

Murder at Camp 17: Lodge Moor Sheffield - 24th March 1945. - An update

A few years ago I posted an article to the site relating a murder at Camp 17 Lodge Moor Sheffield on 24th March 1945.

A summary is as follows

"It appears that a month or so before the war ended inmates at a German POW camp on the outskirts of Sheffield were enraged when a tunnel which was near to completion was discovered. They had spent many months tunneling. Suspecting an informer they rounded on a GERHARDT RETTIG who had been seen talking to guards near the tunnel entrance. Furthermore in a camp that had a large National Socialist contingent, he was not a Nazi. Once threats were made, it was decided by the Camp command to move him to another camp. But before the transfer was made, Gerhardt Rettig, was chased around the camp by a howling mob before he was severely beaten. He was taken to hospital but died from internal bleeding. "

The four ringleaders of the attack on Gerhardt Rettig were charged with the murder
Unteroffizier Heinz Ditzler
Soldat Juergen Kersting
Feldwebel Emil Schmittendorf
Armin Kuehne
and after a trial at a military court in London Emil Schmittendorf and Armin Kuehne were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were executed by Albert Pierrepoint at Pentonville prison on 16th November 1945"

On Thursday 4th July 2019 The Guardian posted a report about an archaeological dig that was taking place at the site of the camp. What I did not know when I posted the article was that the prisoner of war camp at Lodge Moor, was at its peak, the largest camp in the United Kingdom with nearly 11,000 captives.

The Sinking of the Athenia September 1939 - The Sheffield Connection

I came across this cutting from The Telegraph and Star dated September 1939,  Iwas going to post an article to the website about the sinking of the Athenia and the Sheffield connection.

But whilst researching material I came across this excellent blog on the Athenia and its sinking. by a German U-Boat

It really is an very informative and detailed piece of research and so I decided just to post the cutting to the blog and not post an article to the website. 

Back in Time for the Corner Shop - Hadfields Sheffield

I received an e-mail this week from the producer BBC Back in Time for the Corner Shop

"Dear Chris,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I came across your site discussing your father’s role within the Hadfield Steel Works in Sheffield. I wondered if you might be able to help me – or could point me in the direction of someone who might. 

I am a Producer on a prime-time BBC Two social history series called ‘Back in Time for the Corner Shop’ and I am writing to you regarding the Hadfield Steel Works and looking for previous workers of the site who might be able to speak to us on the programme.

Following the success of previous BAFTA nominated series’ including Back in Time for Dinner and Back in Time for Tea - which regularly reached audiences of 3 million - this new programme will see a modern family transported through one hundred years of domestic and working life as they live and work in a corner shop in the heart of a working-class community.

Guided by presenter Sara Cox and historian Polly Russell, one Sheffield-based family will experience what life was like for working families in Yorkshire as they wear the clothes, eat the food and experience the lifestyle of a different decade each week, reflecting on the social and economic changes of the era.

As part of our 1980s programme we would love to hear from someone who worked at Hadfield Steel works, perhaps someone from a generation of steel workers – and someone who was unfortunately part of the redundancies in the early 1980’s. We would love to hear from them on the programme about Hadfield, how it had played such an important part of life in the area and the effects of its closure in the 80’s. How were they affected personally and also how did it affect the local area?

I was wondering if you knew of any groups or someone who I could speak to, who might be able to help me with this. It is certainly a key part of the history of the area and something we would be keen to highlight in the programme.

I look forward to hearing from you. Kindest Regards Claire"

I replied to Claire but if anyone can help Claire out with ex-employees of Hadfields let me know and I will pass the information on

Welcome Home Hector - An Update

In November 2011 I posted a blog about an iconic photograph that was taken in 1945

Last week I received an e-mail from a descendent of the family

I recently stumbled across your blog on the photo concerning Hector Murdoch returning home after World War 2 and you wondered what became of the people in the photo.

I am married to John's daughter (the boy in the photograph) and can happily tell you that John is still alive and well and living here in Cumbria since about 1974 along with his wife.

My wife can't really remember her grandfather Hector as he died when she was very young but used to go in school holidays to visit her nanny Rose in Norfolk until she died when my wife was around 
18 which was in 1989.

John was also five years of age in the photo and not nine as stated in the blog.


In my defence the information regarding John's age came from a newspaper caption. I thought at the time he looked younger than nine years old but I believed what the newspaper said. You never learn!