Dr W T G Atkins – Long March from Cosel Hospital


Information provided by Thomas Atkins (son) with assistance from Philip Baker and Michael Tattersall.

I have now found my father’s diary detailing the exact route when he marched from Cosel, probably from the Abyssinian Lager (Russian) hospital. He left on Sunday 21.01.45. The localities or villages are all written in German and I’m sure they travelled cross-country, which makes following the route difficult. The progress was slow, with sick and injured patients to care for.

· 12km to Gerolsdorf 21.01.45
· 24km to Grobnick 23.01.45
· 18km to Hotzenplatz 25.01.45
· 12km to Graflichwiese 27.01.45
· 10km to Ludwigedorf 29.01.45
· 9km to Gursdorf 30.01.45
· 11km to Grinsdorf 01.02.45
· 11km to Ober Hermsdorf 02.02.45
· 16km to Krautenwalde 05.02.45
· 14km to Rogersdorf 06.02.45
· 34km to Wallisfurth 08.02.45
· 14km to Ober Rathen 09.02.45
· 12km to Braunau 10.02.45

Many of these places can’t be identified. Any help would be appreciated (see below).

· Then the train from Braunau (Broumov – Czech) 02.03.45 to Nuremburg via Prague, arriving 04.03.45.
· Marched from Nuremburg 04.04.45, towards Munich, with the Air Force columns from Sagan. He records that most of the Stalag 344 prisoners continued walking through “Bohemia”.
· Arrived at Moosberg (Stalag VIIA) on 25.04.45.
· Released from Stalag VIIA, by the Americans on 01.05.45 at mid-day.
· Rehabilitated in England with his best friend from the Essex Regiment, Lt.-Col. Leonard Chappell, who had led the regiment at Monte Cassino, before returning to his family in Sydney, Australia, in January 1946.


From: Philip Baker
To: Tom Atkins
I’ve done some work on the route you sent me, and I think the information below is probably correct (I hope so!). I have also attached it as a Word document because the links below (re co-ordinates and present names) might not work. I’ve put in present-day driving distances, but of course the walking distances in 1945 taken by the POWs might have been a lot different sometimes.

From Cosel
Now known as: Kędzierzyn-Koźle
co-ordinates: 50°21′N 18°12′E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C4%99dzierzyn-Ko%C5%BAle

Diary says: 12km to Gerolsdorf 21.01.45
Now known as: Gierałtowice (Poland)
Driving distance from last stop: 12 km
co-ordinates: 50°16′26″N 18°5′22″E
Confirmation of present name: http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.mso-archeologia.pl/navigart/select/taxonomy%3Fpage%3D351%26tid%3D6%26sort%3Dnumer_id%26order%3Dasc%26vt%3Dlist&prev=search

Diary says: 24km to Grobnick (Poland) 23.01.45
Now known as Grobniki (Poland)
Driving distance from last stop: 21 km
Co-ordinates: 50 ° 11’48 “N 17 ° 52’19” E
Confirmation of present name: http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://opolskie.regiopedia.pl/kategoria/kultura/religia%3Fpage%3D9%26destination%3Dtaxonomy%252Fterm%252F25814%253Fpage%253D1&prev=search

Diary says: 18km to Hotzenplatz 25.01.45
Now known as: Osoblaha (Czech republic)
Driving distance from last stop: 14 km
Co-ordinates: 50°16′N 17°43′E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osoblaha

Diary says: 12km to Graflich Wiese 27.01.45
Now known as: Łąka Prudnicka (Poland)
Driving distance from last stop: 18 km
Co-ordinates: 50°18′40″N 17°31′38″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%81%C4%85ka_Prudnicka

Diary says: 10 km to Ludwigsdorf 29.01.45
Now known as: Charbielin (Poland)
Driving distance from last stop: 8 km
Co-ordinates: 50°20′25″N 17°25′56″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charbielin,_Opole_Voivodeship

Diary says: 9 km to Gurschdorf 30.01.45
Now known as: Skorošice (Czech republic)
Driving distance from last stop: 30 km
Co-ordinates: 50°17′52″N 17°4′11″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skoro%C5%A1ice

Diary says: 11 km to Grenzsdorf 01.02.45
Hraničky (CzechRepublic)
Driving distance from last stop: 40 km (there is no direct road so this is a very long way around – there might be a much shorter walking route. These places certainly seem very close on the map).
50°18′50″N 16°58′22″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hrani%C4%8Dky

Diary says: 11 km to Ober Hermsdorf 02.02.45
Now known as: Sobięcin (Poland)
Co-ordinates: 50° 46’ 0” n 16° 14’ 0” E
Confirmation of present name:http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://gov.genealogy.net/item/show/object_188080&prev=search

Diary says: 16 km to Krautenwalde 05.02.45
Now known as: Travná (Czech Republic)
50°23′26″N 16°56′05″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travn%C3%A1_(Javorn%C3%ADk)

Diary says 14 km to Rogersdorf 06.02.45
This one has proved very difficult to identify. I cannot find any place that is or was named Rogersdorf. The most likely candidate could be Rogóżka, which certainly is about 14 km from Travná and 34 km from Wolany. This village was inhabited by ethnic Germans until 1945 but these were deported after the war and now there is only one inhabited house left. If you draw a 15 km circle centred on Travná and a 35 km circle centred on Wolany, this is almost exactly where they intersect.
Co-ordinates: 50 ° 17’17 “N 16 ° 48’38” E
I can find no evidence that the village was ever called Rogersdorf.

Diary says 34 km to Wallisfurth 08.02.45
Now known as Wolany (Poland)
Driving distance: 40 km
Co-ordinates: 50 ° 26 ‘N, 16 ° 31’ E
Confirmation of present name:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolany,_Lower_Silesian_Voivodeship

Diary says: 14 km to Ober Rathen 09.02.45
Now known as: Ratno Górne (Poland)
Driving distance: 13 km
Co-ordinates: 50°30′00″N 16°32′15″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratno_G%C3%B3rne

Diary says: 12 km to Braunau 10.02.45
Now known as: Broumov (Czech Republic)
Driving distance: 21 km
Co-ordinates: 50°35′18″N 16°19′48″E
Confirmation of present name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broumov

From: Michael Tattersall

To: Tom Atkins

Here is a link to the route that I think your father took:

There is only one town that I could not find (Grinsdorf) and one that I guessed (Giersdorf).

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