Tuesday, 6 November 2018

El Shatt: British Soldier Grandson Looking for George Makiedo Descendents

November 6, 2018 - Sometimes I really love the TCN inbox. An enquiry from the UK about a letter written on a piece of toilet paper in the El Shatt refugee camp by a Dalmatian called George Makiedo. Do you know who he was? 

One of the more unusual discoveries I made when I first started writing about Hvar way back in 2011 was that several people on the island were born in the Sinai Desert in Egypt. Yes, really. There was even a chap in (from memory) Velo Grablje whose first name was Sinai after the place of his birth. I have written a little about the El Shatt refugee camp over the years - you can learn more about it here - which became temporary home to thousands of Dalmatian refugees, including many from Hvar, from 1944 to 1946. As not many people have written about El Shatt, I get the occasional cool email, such as this one below. I know at least one person on Hvar with the surname Makiedo - can we help Les find the man who wrote to his British soldier grandfather? Any leads, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Good afternoon.  My name is Les Wood, I live in the UK and I am the grandson of Cpl James Wood who served with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders during WW2. 

I am contacting you as I have been researching my grandfathers time during WW2 and I have in my position, a letter written to him from someone he was friendly with at El Shatt camp.  The letter is quite humorous and looks like it is written on a long length of toilet paper or something similar.  It is dated 13 IV 45 and signed by someone who's name looks like George Makiedo.  

As you have written of El Shatt, I thought this might be of interest to you and or your readers and I also wondered if one of your readers might know who this person was.  The  author of the letter is probably no longer with us, but maybe his family would be interested to hear of the letter, or maybe there is a historian in Croatia who would be interested.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Les

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Hi Les, 

Please send!

Makiedo is a surname on the island of Hvar, so am sure we will find a connection. We did manage to connected descendants of a Brit soldier and Dalmatian a few years ago.

Looking forward to it.

cheers Paul

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Hi Paul

The note is over a mtr long.  I don’t think it is toilet paper, but something similar in size but thicker.

My Grandfather was James Wood 1st Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.

I do not have his service records at the min, but my father thinks that he might have been in the kitchens at El Shatt, hence the pictures of the food at the bottom of the letter.

3 pictures of him.  The third one shows him with two Yugoslavian soldiers.

I look forward to hearing from you and if you write an article for the press, please send a copy with any response that you might receive.

Regards

Les

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Some rare footage of the El Shatt refugee story below.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

El Shatt: A Dalmatian Refugee Camp in the Sinai Desert in Egypt in 1944

As part of our new Croatian Diaspora series which started on January 11, 2016, TCN is taking a closer look at aspects of Croatian life abroad. Part One of the extraordinary story of a Dalmatian refugee camp in the Sinai Desert in Egypt in the Second World War. Welcome to El Shatt. 

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