Norman "Nobby" Hayes was on the Voltaire
(See more about HMS Voltaire.)
I have found your site and it is great to read some of the stories on the above.
My father Norman "Nobby" Hayes was on the Voltaire. He survived the attack by the Thor, but was seriously hurt. After spending a number of hours in the sea, he was rescued, and then spent the war as a POW, I believe in the same camp as Roger Coward (Sailors in Cages). My father is mentioned briefly in the book in chapter 1, as the attack is taking place.
I am very keen to get a copy of this book, if you know of any, but I understand you have one, and can scan pages. If you find the reference to Nobby Hayes during the attack, I would very appreciate this being scanned and e-mailed.
If any other relatives of seaman and prisoners from the Voltaire have any stories or photos from the period, I would like to hear from them. My father unfortunately died in 1957 from a heart attack at the age of only 39 - put down to the stresses of the years as a prisoner. I was 2 years old, my brother was 5. My mother, Mary Hayes, did remarry, but has never really got over the loss of Norman.
Norman Hayes came from an illustrious family. His Mother Hilda Hayes, was the brother of Robert Blackburn, of aviation pioneering fame. She was present in 1911 on Filey beach when Robert flew his first monoplane. The aviation heritage did not however filter down to Norman, and he, an accountant by trade, joined the merchant navy at the outbreak of the war, finding himself eventually on the Voltaire, on that fateful day when the ship was sunk.
I live in Cambridge, UK- e-mail email@example.com
Thank you for your kind words, I am away from home and up in Sydney for Christmas, when I go back in the New Year, I will scan the pages about your Father and send them off to you.
If you put the Title of Roger's book in your search engine at the Amazon book site you may well turn up a copy for sale.
Best wishes for Xmas and 2005.
<<Voltaire prisoners- Norman Hayes back row 5th from right.jpg>> <<Xmas card- hand drawn, sent from Uber Heydebreck, Blechhammer POW camp.jpg>> <<Voltaire prisoners- Norman Hayes front row 3rd from Right.jpg>> <<Norman Hayes RN POW no 100554- either Marlag or Blechhammer.jpg>> <<Voltaire prisoners- James McFarlane from Dundee centre row, 3rd from left.jpg>>
Thanks for your reply. I have found a copy of "Sailors in Cages", which I have ordered.
Attached are some of my mother's photos. Amazingly, she has the same picture as Graeme Dodds - sent to my father by James McFarlane.
Also, my father is in the picture you have from Graeme Dodds - sitting with rabbits? 3rd from right.
The other pictures I have here are, as far as I know, all from the Voltaire crew- a number of the prisoners are in both these photos and those of Graham Dodds. Various hand drawn Christmas post cards are also
What I do not know for sure is which camp these pictures were taken in. My father Norman, was initially in the Merchant Navy allocated camp at Marlag und Milag Nord near Westertimke, Germany, but in October
There were another 5 POW camps in the same area, all grouped round a synthetic oil refinery plant known as I G Farben, where groups of prisoners were sent in on work parties.
There was another camp also known as Blechhammer in Poloand (Blachownia Slaska) near to Auschwitz, and am not 100% sure which Blechhammer camp these documents refer to. Although this was mainly a camp for up to 50,000 slave workers of all nationalities (Jews being only a small part), there were also about 2000 British POW's located there, who ultimately endured the evacuation of Blechhammer - "The Death March" which began on January 21st 1945. I know may father was forced to march from his camp as the Allies advanced, eventually being left for dead by the Germans in a school house, where a week later he was liberated by the Americans.
If any one knows where these picture were taken, I would be keen to know:
It is great to find out so much information.
Norman Hayes back row 5th from right
Xmas card- hand drawn, sent from Uber Heydebreck, Blechhammer POW camp
Voltaire prisoners- Norman Hayes front row 3rd from Right
Norman Hayes RN POW no 100554- either Marlag or Blechhammer
Voltaire prisoners- James McFarlane from Dundee centre row, 3rd from left
Prisoners relax- football injury maybe
Hand drawn Xmas card sent from Marlag und Milag Nord 1941
Hand drawn Xmas card sent from Blechhammer either 1942 or 43
Hand drawn Xmas card address side 1942 0r 43