It’s a poignant snapshot in time when Europe was being devastated by World War Two.

A Huddersfield soldier had been captured by the Germans and was being held prisoner in the Czech Republic.

He was called George Hirst and scrawled his name and address on a large stone in a wood which has been discovered by people in the Czech Republic who are eager to know more about George along with a soldier from Manchester who also inscribed his name and address there.

Ned Lecic is a member of the Rebel Pipers pipes and drums band in the Czech Republic which plays at many memorial events so is keen to honour the memory of veterans of the Second World War.

He said: “My associates from the band have discovered a rock near Broumov in Bohemia bearing an inscription that was evidently made by two British prisoners of war in 1943 when the area was occupied by the German Reich.

“One was G B Hirst from Huddersfield so, hopefully, somebody should know about this.”

The inscription on the rock reads G B Hirst, 242 Quarmby Road, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England. The terraced house is opposite the landmark Field Head pub in Quarmby.

Ned has done some research and discovered the soldier was George Bamford Hirst who survived the war and returned home.

According to records in the National Archives he was born on May 26, 1907, so would have been around 36 when he was a POW. He was a private in the army and was held at the prisoner of war camp Stalag VIIIB in Lamsdorf which is today in Polish Silesia.

It’s thought George had married Agnes McNicholas in 1932 and they had one daughter, Mary Hirst.

Ned believes that George died in 1967 when he would only been around 60 and Agnes died in 1983 at the age of 76.

The Manchester soldier was Frank Shatcliff who lived at 100 Cheetham Hill Road in the city.

According to the National Archives he was born on July 1, 1919 and served as a private with the Lancashire Fusiliers before he was captured and also taken to Stalag VIIIB in Lamsdorf.

In 1943 a group of prisoners from the camp were transferred to Stalag VIII-D in Cesky Tesin which would explain why George and Frank were in Czech territory although the rock is 170 miles from Cesky Tesin.

The band would love to know more about both men.

The Rebel Pipers ( were originally inspired by Chip Doehring, an American multi-instrumentalist who had come over to Europe with the US Army, married a Czech woman and settled in the country but didn’t want to play the pipes alone so advertised free bagpipe lessons.

Rebel Pipers players Ned Lecic (left) and Mirek Anger

It just grew from there and the band has been playing since 2004, especially at WWII memorial services and Highland games or Celtic festivals.

The band is well-known in the country and will perform in an Andre Rieu concert at Prague’s O2 Arena on June 3.

If anyone can help please email Andy Hirst at or call 07985 654822.

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting