A section of a map of Germany made to help Allied Prisoners of War (POW) to escape in July 1918 from Holzminden POW Camp in Germany to the Dutch border. The sections of map were sewn into the ...
ID numberP03473.008
Collection typePhotograph
Object typeBlack & white - Glass original quarter plate negative
MakerCash, John Richard
Date madeJuly 1918
DescriptionA section of a map of Germany made to help Allied Prisoners of War (POW) to escape in July 1918 from Holzminden POW Camp in Germany to the Dutch border. The sections of map were sewn into the clothing of those escaping and assisted ten of the 29 who escaped via the tunnel back to Allied territory. The photographer, 2875 Private John Richard Cash, 19th Battalion, exchanged food from his Red Cross parcels with German civilians in return for wirecutters, a map and photographic equipment with which to produce copies of the map for each potential escapee. He also took other photographs around the camp. Cash, a Sydney photographer, enlisted on 18 February 1916 in reinforcements to the 56th Battalion but was re-assigned to the 19th Battalion on his arrival in France. He was listed as missing on 3 May 1917, during the Battle of Bullecourt. Several witnesses claimed that they had seen him die, but in fact he had been badly wounded in the shoulder and partially buried in a shell hole. Rescued and captured by German soldiers, Cash spent the next sixteen weeks in German hospitals near Hannover and Celle before being discharged to Soltan Barrack 30 at Lager 1. In November 1917 he was moved to Holzminden Prisoner of War Camp. In June 1918 he recorded in a postcard to his family that the Germans had issued him with a new set of false teeth. Cash was not among the prisoners who escaped from Holzminden in July 1918. He was repatriated to Hull, in England, on 17 December 1918 and returned to Australia on 25 March 1919.