WWII chess set links player to great-granddad

By Kara Gale

Kara Gale/Collegian - Patrick McIntyre, Hutchinson, displays a chess set that his late great-grandfather made while being held in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp in Europe.  McIntyre also has war medals and other artifacts that his great-grandfather, a soldier in the German army, brought back from the war. McIntyre recently brought the family artifacts to a meeting of the HCC Chess Club.
Kara Gale/Collegian - Patrick McIntyre, Hutchinson, displays a chess set that his late great-grandfather made while being held in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp in Europe. McIntyre also has war medals and other artifacts that his great-grandfather, a soldier in the German army, brought back from the war. McIntyre recently brought the family artifacts to a meeting of the HCC Chess Club.

Chess sets can be bought in any number of places, but none are quite like the one Patrick McIntyre, Hutchinson, has in his family.

The HCC student has a set of chess pieces that were handmade by his great-grandfather while in a prisoner of war camp in during WWII.

McIntyre’s great-grandfather was drafted into the German military in 1942.

He was deployed to the eastern front, in Russia, where he was wounded by artillery shrapnel in his chest and back.

After eight months of recovery time in a German hospital, he was redeployed to the western front, in defensive positions in Normandy.

On D-Day, he was captured by the Allies and spent time in two prisoner- of-war camps, one Russian and the other operated by a Scottish unit.

He told stories of making fun of the Scottish military guards because of the kilts they wore.

After a few days of having his rations cut off, he learned his lesson and didn’t make fun of them anymore.

It was in one of those camps that he used a wood lathe and a knife, in a prison workshop, to make the chess set.

Kara Gale/Collegian - A closer look at some of the chess pieces and their handmade box.
Kara Gale/Collegian - A closer look at some of the chess pieces and their handmade box.

He didn’t talk much about his time during the war, so McIntyre is not sure in which camp the chess pieces were made.

McIntyre’s grandmother came to the U.S. after marrying a man in the American military who was stationed in Germany. She now lives in central Kansas.

McIntyre brought the chess set, along with other relics of his great-grandfather’s, to an HCC Chess Club meeting on April 6.

The chess set piqued McIntyre’s interest in his family’s history and caused him to start asking his grandmother more questions about his great-grandfather’s time in the war.

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