Accession Number: 995.70.01
Artifact: Golf Ball
Name: Hand Made Leather
Description: Leather ball made with a rock wrapped in bicycle inner tubes then sewn inside a two piece leather exterior made from shoes. The ball is sewn similar to a baseball.
History: This golf ball came to the RCGA via a curious route. Following is the letter from the gentleman who donated it to us.
I enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 as an observer (navigator), went overseas to Bomber Command in early 1941 and was shot down that summer in a Whitley bomber near Hamburg. After sojourns in a number of prison camps in Germany and Poland, our last camp near Berlin was overrun by the Russians in April 1945. A group of us managed to get away and across the Elbe river to a U.S. Army Airborne Unit, and ultimately back to Canada via England in June 1945.
In 1943 our camp was moved from Schubin in Poland to the East Camp of Stalag Luft III (about half way between Berlin and Breslan), and this proved to be the banner year in a sense as we had a reasonably regular supply of Red Cross food parcels (without these parcels life was not very energetic or enjoyable). During this year someone also received via the Red Cross, a five iron golf club with a wooden shaft. POWs were quite an inventive lot so it wasn’t long before we had some people laying out a very short nine hole, all sand and dirt golf course around aand between barracks, outdoor toilets and the trip wire. Also, some, with the help of a few cigarettes, obtained a couple of old bicycle inner tubes; from there it did not take too long for a golf ball cover pattern to be drawn, and the immediate siezure of tongues from shoes for the cover. The string came from various sources and was waxed in part from the wax paper from parcels. The needles came from parcels as well.
This particular ball was made in the summer of 1943 in a cramped 16-bunk model room by, I believe, a Flight Lieutenant “Dad” Hybes, DFC who was an Irishman in the RAF, who had been shot down in 1940.
The centre is probably a small pebble with thinly sliced bicycle inner tubes tightly wound, and the tongue from someone’s Sunday best shoes.
Donated by: J.I. Davies Lieutenant General (retired)