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Glyndwr James
Collection description

Glyndwr James was captured during the German invasion of Crete in 1941, and sent to Prisoner of War camp Stalag 383, in Hohenfels, Bavaria. The Welch Regiment’s 1st Battalion was also stationed on Crete, and one of them, Corporal David Glyndwr James, is the subject of this portrait. Corporal James’ family believe that following his capture, he and a number of other men were just about to executed by firing squad when a German general, Karl Student, drove by in his staff car. He ordered the officer in charge of the firing squad to delay the execution, and asked the prisoners, in perfect English, whether any of them could make tea. Corporal James said he could, and so he and his fellow prisoners were transported to Stalag 383 where he met and sat for Terry Frost. It is thought that this work is the first ever completed by Frost, who later went on to have an influential career as an artist.

General Student’s act of mercy is in sharp contrast to some of the other actions he took on Crete. He is known to have been responsible for the massacre of civilians at Kondomari and Alikianos, and the burning of the village of Kandanos. He was tried for war crimes in 1947, found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on medical grounds in 1948 and died on 1st July 1978.

Collection detail

The well-known artist Sir Terry Frost (1915 – 2003), was a Corporal in the Royal Armoured Corps in World War Two.

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