Tag Archives: germany

Newfoundland Woman Interned in German Prison Camp

November 16, 1941

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew B. Edwards of Lawn, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland wrote Cluny Macpherson, Assistant Commissioner of the Red Cross at St. John’s on 16 November 1941 informing the Red Cross that their daughter Marie Andrew Edwards, age 22 was interned in a German prisoner of War Camp in France. The Edward’s were aware that McPherson was the local representative of the International Red Cross.

Mary Andrew Edwards: was born in Lawn, Placentia Bay. She was the daughter of Andrew Edwards and Nora (Picco). She received her early education in Lawn and at age sixteen she went to work in St. Pierre et Miquelon.

After a few years in St. Pierre et Miquelon she felt the calling to religious life, this she confided to her parish priest who encouraged her to join the St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters, a teaching order of nuns at St. Pierre. Upon being accepted into the congregation at St. Pierre she took the name Sister Therese. She left St. Pierre et Miquelon in 1938 going to a convent in Paris.

After the Nazis victory over France in 1940, Sister Therese and four hundred nuns from different congregations were rounded up and sent to Prisoner of War Camps. She was in a particularly difficult position, as a Newfoundlander, she was carrying a British passport.

POW CAMP

During one period the commander of the POW camp, allowed the nuns to have Mass celebrated by priests and bishops who were also prisoners of war there. Sister Therese and two other sisters of the order were allowed to take Religious Vows, the ritual that officially made them nuns.

Near the end of the war the Swiss Red Cross investigated the camp, finding many of the prisoners were very ill. They encouraged the Germans to release the nuns to a healthier camp. This was done.

When Sister Edward’s was liberated she was sent to Africa for six years after which she was recalled to France. After a few months in France she was sent to New Caledonia.

After twenty three years there she was allowed home to visit parents and family members, after which she returned to the mission. She did this a few times in the ensuing years and at one time she and her sister Nora – who also joined the convent – came home together.

Mary Andrew Edwards died in 1997.

Nora Edwards at 99 years young is still active in her religious community. In March she celebrated her 77th anniversary as a member of the religious community.

Recommended Archival Collection: Search the Rooms  online database for descriptions of our archival records and view thousands of digital photographs. https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Archival Collection: Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese of St. John’s File 107-15-8

Recommended Book: Did you know that German’s were interred in camps in Newfoundland during WWII? Read: Gerhard P. Bassler. Vikings to U-Boats: The German Experience in Newfoundland and Labrador. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006.

“He asks for some eats and smokes”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

 JULY 1: MEMORIAL DAY

Royal Newfoundland Regiment

George Goudie

Rank: Corporal

Service #2242

Community: Grand Falls

Age: 18

Occupation: Timekeeper

Date of Death: November 6, 1918

Regiment:  Newfoundland Regiment

Cemetery: Vevey (St. Martin’s) Cemetery, Lake Geneva,Switzerland

Parents: Elias and Mary Jane Goudie, of Grand Falls. Born at Northern Arm, Botwood.

During the war years parents often received conflicting news from the front.  If a soldier went missing in action (MIA) often the only shred of hope that the parents could cling to was that their son was prisoner of war (POW).  As a POW they could at least take comfort that he was alive.

On June 15, 1917, Elias and Mary Jane Goudie, the parents of George, received a telegram that gave them hope.  He was alive and “being treated well.”

The Telegram  read:

” Have pleasure in informing you Record Office, London, today reports  No 2242  Corporal  George Goudie, prisoner of war at Munster, Westphalia, Germany, April twenty third, suffering from gunshot wound right leg, being well treated.”

Upon hearing the news that that their was in the POW Camp in  Germany , Elias and  Jane,  through their local clergyman  Reverend W.T. D. Dunn, Pastor of the Methodist Church in Grand Falls  wrote

“In his letters to his parents (George Goudie)  pleads for a shaving outfit, a towel and some eats and smokes. His parents would be glad to furnish amounts ….” 

There was more reason for hope when news arrived that he was “being transferred from Germany to a POW Camp in Switzerland”.

Unfortunately the POW Camps were breathing grounds for disease especially tuberculosis.  News arrived (November 18, 1918) that he had contracted the disease and had died “shortly after the Armistice, just before he was to be repatriated …”

Recommended Reading: Browne, Gary. Forget-Me-Not: Fallen Boy Soldiers, St. John’s: DRC Publishing, 1911. 145p.

Recommended Archival Collection:    At the Rooms Provincial Archives there is available 6683 individual service files, 2300 have been digitized and are available at: http://www.therooms.ca/regiment/part1_entering_the_great_war.asp

This searchable database for military service records  includes the attestation papers: name, service number, community and district of origin, next of kin and relationship, religion, occupation, year of enlistment, fatality, and POW status (if applicable).  Take some time to read the stories of these young men.