An extraordinary piece of Irish Rugby memorabilia .A team photo of the ‘Blarney Boys-Irish International Rugby XV’ taken by Jim Grier from Granard Co Longford,who was an RAF pilot incarcerated in Stalag VIIIB Prisoner of War Camp in Lamsdorf,East Germany from 1942 to 1945.This amazing photograph was taken by the resident German Camp Photographer and presented to Jim.
36cm x 50cm
Jim captained the Irish Team which was assembled during the summer of 1943 when the prisoners organised their own international rugby tournament comprising of the various nationalities incarcerated there.The Irish Team were mainly Army men.Their coach was the remarkable ‘Pop’ Press -50 years old and a Great War Veteran and Royal Marine (seen in the photo back row on left ).All teams were assigned full playing kit by their hosts with their country’s emblem emblazoned on each.
Stalag 344 was a large German P.O.W Camp ,100 miles south of Breslau and held between 12 & 15000 British troops, most of them taken prisoner at Dunkirk in 1940,Canadian & RAF Aircrew.
The competition was limited to 12 a side as the pitches were small.Not surprisingly ,a New Zealand team emerged victorious who competed against the Home Nations.