The prisoner of war, Vol 3, No. 32, December 1944



The prisoner of war, Vol 3, No. 32, December 1944


Includes: Christmas message from the Princess Royal; editorial matters; speed up at Marseilles (of parcels); [two pages missing] photographs of groups from camps; official reports from camps; the brighter side; the Donoughmore club; news of examination results (includes totals); knitting pattern for polo-necked sweater; next-of-kin parcels. Includes photographs throughout.



Temporal Coverage




Fourteen page printed document (two pages missing from original sixteen)


IBCC Digital Archive


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The Prisoner of War


VOL 3. No.32 Free to Next of Kin December, 1944

[inserted] A Message from the Princess Royal

Harewood House Leeds November 1944.

As the mother of a prisoner of war, my sympathy goes out in a special degree to the mothers and wives and all the relatives of those who have lost their freedom in this War.
Many of them have now endured the strain of long years of separation, and have shown throughout the finest qualities of faith, hope, and courage.
While they all watch and wait this Christmas, may they be upheld by a strong faith in the future, and by the hope of a joyful meeting with those they love – the prisoners whose cheerfulness and patience under the hard test of captivity have been a constant inspiration to their families at home.
I know that all relatives share with me a deep sense of gratitude to the War Organisation of the Red Cross Society and Order of St. John for its constant and devoted care of prisoners of war, and its efforts to alleviate their lot.

[underlined] Mary [/underlined] [/inserted]


ANOTHER Christmas Day is at hand. On that day the thoughts of everybody in this country will centre upon “absent friends” – on the fighting fronts, at sea, at air stations, in prison camps, or wherever else they may be. And we may be sure, too, that, even more poignantly, their thoughts will be of those at home. They will be present in spirit at every Christmas gathering, and whatever their own Christmas fare may be, one toast will be drunk everywhere: “To our dear ones at home and may we soon be with them.” And they will drink that toast with every confidence this time that their wish will be fulfilled.

Their Christmas Dinners
Last month I said that I was afraid that there was not much chance of Christmas parcels reaching the camps in time. I have greater hopes now. Early in November a ship left a British port with 3,000 tons of parcels, including 1,050 tons of Christmas parcels, on board and sailed direct to Marseilles. With them went 50 Canadian lorries. They will be used, together with the existing rail facilities, to carry the parcels to Geneva, and as the ship's company, the military authorities, the officials of the International Red Cross Committee and everybody else concerned will do everything possible to give them priority there is some chance – I will not put it any brighter – that at least some of the nearer camps will have a real Christmas dinner on Christmas Day. In any case all the camps should have received their parcels early in the New Year, and I have little doubt that, if need be, they will celebrate Christmas a second time with equal gusto.

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2 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

By Road and Rail
The parcels position generally looks more healthy. The Marseilles-Geneva route has re-opened, and though railway communications are not all they might be, rail and road combined are providing a substantial and increasing amount of tonnage. In fact, if the present conditions continue, there should soon be enough transport to pour a full weekly supply of parcels into Geneva. Nor is there yet any reason to believe that there has been any interruption of traffic between Geneva and the camps. Accordingly the four ships held up at Lisbon, to which I referred a month ago, are landing their cargoes at Marseilles or Toulon (where we have also been allotted berths and warehouse accommodation) and will shortly be leaving to pick up fresh supplies.

Supplies via Lubeck
And that is not all. The transport hold-up had long been foreseen and plans were made for establishing ample reserves at Geneva and for providing possible alternative routes. One such route was by the Swedish port of Gothenburg, and of the supplies sent out there two shipments of 1,000 tons each went forward early in November to the German port of Lubeck, where, as the I.R.C.C. delegate reported on his return, they were loaded into trucks and moved on without delay. Count Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross, has played a valuable part in the arrangements at Gothenburg and the negotiations with the German Red Cross. He and other Swedish officials have recently been in London to discuss questions affecting the servicing and welfare of prisoners of war.

Reserves in Camps
Many of our readers may have read the statement by the Secretary of State for War when questioned in Parliament about the building up of reserves in the camps. “There are stories,” he said, “which I believe to be true, that the Germans are ordering camps to consume everything on hand.” No further news has been received about these stories, which, so far as it goes, is a good sign. I do not think that at the moment and pending the receipt of further information it is necessary to assume that all camps are consuming all reserves, but the Minister was, of course, right in warning his questioners that caution must be exercised in regard to any proposal to build up reserves, unless it was certain that the Germans would allow it.

Next-of-kin Parcels Again
Readers will all have seen in the Press by now the welcome announcement from the Post Office that next-of-kin and permit parcels may once again be sent to prisoners of war and civilian internees in Germany. Full instructions of the arrangements for posting will be found on p.16 of this issue, and relatives are asked to study them very carefully, and make absolutely certain in which category they come. Tobacco, cigarettes, books, etc., may be sent as before, through firms holding censorship Permits.

Prisoners in Air Raids
All information about the location of prisoner of war camps is included in the briefing of air crews, but, unfortunately, in spite of all precautions taken, no camp can be safe from a random bomb, and a certain number of British prisoners of war have been killed in Allied air raids on Germany. In all cases where camps have been reported to be situated near military targets, in contravention of the Geneva Convention, the delegates of the Protecting Power have made immediate complaints. Strong representations have also been made by H.M. Government, but the Minister of State informed Parliament that in several cases the German authorities have not complied with these demands. In some instances, however, prisoners have been moved, and the Government will continue to press for action to be taken.

This is how the band at Stalag XVIIIA looked at Christmas last year.

Mail at Last
We have all been cheered by the two large batches of mail which have recently reached this country. The efforts of the Post Office have meant that most relatives of prisoners of war and civilian internees have now received letters from Germany. Every effort has been made to effect delivery as rapidly as possible, and the Post Office hopes that the relatives will be able to look forward to a more frequent arrival of letters in future.

P.o.W. Wins Competition
It is a wonderful testimony to the morale and mental fitness of p.o.w.s that a British prisoner of war has won first prize of £250 in a British Legion Essay Competition for men and women in the Forces. He is Lieutenant G. H. D. Greene, from Cheltenham, who is in Oflag VIIB, and he gave a spirited and idealistic account of “My Ideas and Hopes for Post-War Conditions” which was the subject chosen for the competition.
Among the 1,118 competitors were no fewer than 95 entries from prisoners of war, and the Legion has decided to allot another £75 in prizes to prisoners of war who were handicapped in competing and whose entries arrived after the closing date.

How Much They Mean
A gunner recently repatriated from Switzerland wrote almost immediately after his arrival to thank the Red Cross and to pay tribute to the military authorities for their repatriation arrangements. “Probably hundreds of other man,” he says, “have already told you how much the Red Cross food parcels meant to us in Italian prison camps, but I really cannot help saying how much we looked forward to them during periods when the outlook was very bleak indeed; I often thought then that if the people here at home knew just how much they meant to us there would never be any difficulty in raising funds for the Red Cross.”

Least Possible Delay
On arrival at an English airport the party of 100 repatriates were taken late in the evening to a reception camp. The gunner's letter continues: “Here the arrangements were amazingly well organised by the military authorities and we were able to give all the information they required, obtain renewals of uniform, clothing etc., draw an advance of pay, obtain travelling warrants and commence our journey to our respective homes shortly after midday of the following day. In fact, a smaller party who came to the camp about 8 o'clock in the morning were also got away with us at 2 o'clock the same afternoon. Relatives of repatriated prisoners of war may certainly rest assured that, if our experience is general, everything possible is done in this country to enable the men to get home with the least possible delay.”

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DECEMBER, 1944 The Prisoner of War 3

Speed-Up at Marseilles

Lord Revelstoke, Deputy Commissioner for Prisoners of War Supplies, who has just returned from Marseilles and Toulon, describes the parcel situation there.

DURING the last four days of October I visited Marseilles and Toulon.
No Red Cross supplies for prisoners of war have been allowed to enter these ports on their way to Switzerland for the past five months , owing in the first place to interference in shipping between Lisbon and Marseilles, and in the second place to the invasion of the South of France by the Allied armies.
During these critical months, the large reserves, established in Geneva in the spring of this year, for the purpose of supplying the camps in Germany when an invasion of the Continent would inevitably cut our land and sea routes into Switzerland, have been, of course, severely reduced; and it was owing to the grave uncertainty of our lines of communication being reopened that two months ago we advised all Camp Leaders to halve their weekly rations.

Future Supplies
Recently, however, we received a signal from Allied Force headquarters that ships carrying Red Cross supplies could proceed into the Mediterranean, and the object of my visit was to report to London the possibilities of unloading, storing and moving up to Geneva some 12,000 tons of prisoner of war supplies every month.
Thanks to the efforts of M, Eberhardt, the International Red Cross Delegate, General Sir Kenneth McLeod, British Red Cross Commissioner for S.E. Europe (who arrived from Italy), and Major Walter Creighton, Deputy Commissioner, who is now remaining permanently at Marseilles as our representative, I was able to report that the situation is encouraging and that the replenishment of the falling reserves in Geneva is now proceeding.

The Military Situation
It must be remembered that this is the first occasion when Red Cross goods for prisoners of war are being passed through an area which is under Allied military control and that facilities for doing this can only be granted by the military authorities provided that the requirements of the fighting Services have first been met and on no account can any such facilities be permitted at the expense of the battle against the Germans in the south. It is obvious, therefore, that no promise can be made and that any allocation of rail transport to the Red Cross must of necessity be subject to cancellation at any moment.

Special Transport Facilities
The position, however, as it stands to-day is that the military authorities – fully conscious of the urgency of our needs – have been able to give us storage accommodation for 4,000 tons at Marseilles and 5,000 tons at Toulon and are allowing us to discharge the cargoes of our ships at both ports. They have also allocated to us for the time being sufficient railway wagons to move to Switzerland what we are at present receiving.
Under the supervision and control of the International Red Cross Delegate, I saw before I left Marseilles one ship being discharged, railway wagons being loaded, and a train on its way to Geneva. Providing the military authorities are in a position to continue the existing arrangement, I do not think there will be much difficulty or delay in dealing similarly with the cargoes on board the four Red Cross ships which have already left Lisbon for the same destination.
We are hoping that the rail transport will also be supplemented by a road shuttle service of 50 American Red Cross lorries (the majority of which have arrived and are functioning in Marseilles) and 50 Canadian Red Cross lorries which were shipped direct from this country. The International Red Cross are arranging for Swiss drivers and mechanics to be sent immediately for this road service which, in spite of the difficult terrain and the heavy traffic already existing, may prove to be a substantial asset in this complicated transportation problem. It is by this method that it is still just possible, although it must be admitted that the odds are heavily against us, to get to Geneva 1,000 tons of Christmas parcels in time perhaps for some of them to reach our men.

No Effort Will be Spared
Of one thing I am completely confident – no effort will be spared, every possible priority will be given, and not one thing will be left undone by M. Eberhardt, by Major Creighton and by the Swiss drivers to force this Christmas cargo up to Switzerland as speedily as the ships can be unloaded and as fast as the lorries can travel.
It goes without saying that, despite this frantic race against time, our good friends in Geneva will likewise be as keen as we are to do all in their power to beat the clock by Christmas Day.

UNLOADING I.R.C. STEAMER AT MARSEILLES. Consignments for P.o.W.s being transferred to rail waggons bound for Geneva.

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4 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

Groups from the Camps








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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 5

The Letters They Write Home

Posing for a photograph in the snow at Stalag Luft I last Christmas.

A Thrill a Minute
Ilag VII. 30.8.44.
LAST Sunday, the 27th, we had our international football match, England v. U.S.A. I am very pleased to say that I was picked to play for England.
Boy, oh, boy, what a game! Thrill a minute from start to finish. At half-time, U.S.A. one, England nil, the U.S.A. forward line playing a great game. But in the second half we had them. Fifteen minutes to go we equalised. Then the fun started. With seven minutes to go to full time, we put the second goal in, and holding them out until the final whistle bringing to an end a grand game with a victory for England by two goals to one.
It looks as if I have taken all the space talking about the match, but I know you will be interested.
All being well within the next few days the first batch will be leaving camp for England. So here's wishing them the very best of luck and a safe journey home, chins well up.

Navy Holds an Exhibition
Marlag und Milag Nord (Marlag O). 14.8.44.
THERE have been few private parcels lately. In all I've had 24, including four clothes, so I've been pretty lucky. I'm now back at Marlag O. My operation has healed very quickly for this type and I feel no after-effects. It's a most impressive scar! Calls for a good line in stories.
Last Friday we had an art exhibition here, consisting of paintings, models and handicrafts. It really was an amazing show. There's a war artist in the camp named Worsley; his pictures took up the whole of a large classroom. There were portraits in oils of the S.B.O. and the camp's three V.C.s and

dozens of sketches and water-colours. He also did a still-life study in oils of a Canadian Red Cross parcel, and a fine portrait of Capt. Micklethwaite, of [italics] Sikh. [/italics]
The main show included numerous portraits in oils by amateurs, hundreds of sketches, and about 40 ship models, executed to the finest detail and finish. I spent most of the day in the theatre, where the show was held. It was a much larger and finer show than either of the two I saw in July. Perhaps the Service has more artistic ability and keenness than the Army or R.A.F.!

Football Knock-outs
B.A.B. 21. 6.8.44.
YESTERDAY I played my fifth game of football in five years. You can imagine what a fool I made of myself as I never was much good, but we won, and that's all that matters. We have knock-out tournaments here with two teams, first and second, of eight men from each room of 24. By the time we have weeded out the old 'uns and non-players, you can guess we see some funny games, especially as our field is ankle-deep in sand.
Besides the usual run of concerts we have had those of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas put on, and in my opinion, and lots of others, they did the composers credit. In order of production they were [italics] The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, [/italics] and [italics] Mikado, [/italics] and they are now getting ready for another. We all hope they will not have time to put it on – In fact, the betting is quite heavy.

Y.M.C.A. Celebration
Stalag 383. 5.6.44.
YOU would have been astonished had you seen the arts and crafts exhibition. The inlaying of trays, etc., with wood of Red Cross boxes was quite amazing and included a Mah Jong set with a magnificent box.
To-day we celebrated the Y.M.C.A.'s centenary by having a Drum Head Service on the sports field, at which we had three hymns and sang an anthem. The world vice-president of the Y.M.C.A. and a Swedish Y.M.C.A. representative who now works for prisoners of war were present, and both spoke after the chaplain had given his address.
After the service they were present at a soccer match which resulted in a draw – England and Scotland 2 all. The visitors also saw our latest arts and crafts exhibition and attended the musical festival in the evening at which the military band, accordion band and choir shared the programme.

Stalag VIIIA. 13.8.44.
WE are keeping our chins up and not having too bad a time. We have started running shows here, but I have not taken any part myself as I have too much to do in the administrative line. I don't know whether I've mentioned it before but I have been acting as interpreter here and previously at the other place.
It is really quite interesting, but gives me a good deal to do in the organising line. I've been getting a bit of sport in lately as we have got quite a bit of

TEN SHILLINGS will be awarded each month to the senders of the first three letters from prisoners of war to be printed. Copies instead of the originals are requested, and whenever possible these should be set out on a separate sheet of paper, showing the DATES on which they were written. The Editor welcomes for other pages of the journal any recent NEWS relating to prisoners of war.
Ten Shillings will also be awarded for photographs reproduced across two columns, and five shillings for those under two. Photographs should be distinct, and any information as to when they were taken is helpful.
Address: Editor, “The Prisoner of War,” St. James's Palace, London, S.W.1. The cost of these prizes and fees is defrayed by a generous friend of the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation. [/inserted]

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6 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

Ready to throw a snowball. This group from Stalag IVA includes the Man of Confidence.

sports gear lately, and our most recent arrival was a table tennis set which goes into use shortly.
Your choir news is very interesting, and I hope to be back in the thick of it before very long.

A Good Week
Stalag XIA. 23.7.44.
I HAD a good week of sport last week – two games of cricket and two of football. Also a good day for entertainment last Sunday – a football match between England and Yugoslavia and six contests of boxing in the afternoon. In the evening England played France at football, and to finish the day the dance band played light music for an hour.

Keeping His Fingers Crossed
Stalag IVB. 17.8.44.
As you will see by the address I have now left the transit camp and am staying at a more permanent one. Here they send out parties to small working camps around here, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Since I arrived here, I've met many old friends, both from the last camp (in Italy) and from the regiment. They were all either picked up very early or never managed to leave the camp.

International Games
Stalag IVB. 17.8.44.
SPORTS news from IVB. Newport County soccer team (camp's undefeated hut team) won the fourth cup knock-out by 4-1 against Manchester City. The Yanks defeated Canada, 16-3, at Yankee football. The Russians suffered their first defeat at volley ball by Polish airmen, and they beat the French 4-3 at football after previously losing 4-3. After the “Scotsman” summer cup we are now running reserve team (hut) knock-out – we lost to a R.A.F. team 4-0.

New Prisoner
Stalag Luft 3. 1.8.44.
NOW (at least) you know everything is O.K. with me. I'm sorry if it caused any worry, but that's the way it goes. Can only send total of four letters and three postcards every month, but can receive unlimited; so darling – get cracking please! I'm in good health, no injuries, and thankful to God and the Red Cross. May I quote a proverb? “I had no boots and murmured, until I saw an Arab with no feet.”
Pity the leave situation came unstuck, but I will make amends one day. Will have many tales to tell when I see you, so until then please take very great care of yourself.

No Spare Time
Stalag XVIIIA. 4.6.44.
I HAVE no spare time. I work 14 hours a day in the fields etc., and have to work Sundays. Anyway, we all keep smiling. How are you dear? I am as healthy as can be expected. I do some wood haulage, road making, too, and although my hands resemble a cow's hoof I am getting stronger every day.

Shows and Films
Oflag 79. 22.7.44.
IOLANTHE was produced in the camp last week, and [italics] The man Who Came to Dinner [/italics] was also done – both were extremely good.

I was delighted to receive a letter dated July 22nd yesterday. Pretty good going! I hope my letters are getting through better now. A film, called [italics] Girl Crazy, [/italics] with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, was shown in the camp this week. It was grand to see an English film again. I am not feeling “down”; I don't think it will be long now. . . .

Outdoor Life
Stalag IVB. 26.6.44.
THERE are a few gardens in the camp and they are doing quite well; in one spot there is a good patch of small bush roses and they are all out in bloom – red and pink, quite nice to look at. I spend all my time outside when it is fine. It will be strange when I return home to have to work inside, especially to wear a collar and tie. Still, I guess one will get used to such minor details as that.

A cheerful group of men at Stalag IVG which is near Leipzig.

A hard fight in progress at B.A.B.20, Heydebreck.

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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 7

Varied Occupations
Stalag 344. 2.7.44.
I HAD a grand surprise when I arrived back from work on my birthday. It was Leslie's day off and he had set to first thing in the morning and made me a lovely cake. He used two Yorkshire pudding mixtures – raisins, butter, sugar and dates – then covered it with chocolate. I'll tell you it was a grand surprise.

The weather is much too hot for “rugger,” but I have kicked a rugger ball around to-night for a couple of hours. I shall be at it again to-morrow; it all helps to keep one fit, which I manage to do quite easily.

To-morrow the whole camp are being X-rayed, starting in the early morning.

Holiday Spirit
Stalag 344. 8.8.44.
THERE is quite a holiday spirit prevailing in the camp: it is August Bank Holiday.
Yesterday was carnival day, and the cleverness of the entries made one think of home days. It is really wonderful what some of the fellows can make out of Red Cross tins and cartons. The procession, headed by the camp brass band, was half a mile long and included the Scottish pipes band.
An exact replica of a Chinese wedding procession carried the honours.
To-day is sports day, and they are up there at this moment doing battle. I have just given the hot sun best, and came back for a cold bath and to do my writing.

Internees skating on their “home-made” ice rink, converted from the walking ground at Ilag VII.

Not Child's Play
Reserve-Lazarett, Bad Soden. 17.8.44.
THERE have been one or two events recently. A young American officer played eighteen people at draughts simultaneously the other evening, winning seventeen games and drawing one. And I used to think draughts a child's game!
The big thing, of course, was our Arts and Crafts Exhibition, a most creditable effort, considering the small number of people here. There were various groups, and the Braille school was well represented with basket work, stringwork and woodwork. The boys, in fact, walked away with quite a few first and second prizes and several awards of merit.

Gala Day
Stalag XVIIIA.
I MUST tell you how our gala day went off. It actually started on Saturday evening with tug-of-war and wrestling, high and long jump, and it a very pleasant evening. On Sunday the fair was opened and all the side-shows and racing track were going strong with the rest of the racing sports in between. – To finish the day off they had a jumble sale, after which the band played until lights out. The proceeds from the fair and other things will go to the Red Cross, and it was a very nice sum.

Celebrating His Sister's Birthday
Stalag XXB. 21.7.44.
NINETEEN to-day! Many happy returns. I got some lovely flowers for you – red and white carnations and some roses. They smell lovely and have been round your photograph all day.
I have three little window boxes at the sick room and the plants are in bloom. The patients are all fairly well and receive quite good attention. I set them on all sorts of jobs. We are trying to make a rug, and they are cutting up the wool for me. It takes their mind off things.

Happy Camp
Oflag 79. 16.8.44.
THE camp is cheerful nowadays; a load of Red Cross parcels came in by the cartload. The expansion has at last given us a bit of room to breathe. The Scots are all happy now that a set of bagpipes has arrived, and the film crazy can go wild over Mickey Rooney.

The Man of Confidence at Stalag XIIIC sent this picture home.

The final scene from [italics] The Importance of Being Earnest [/italics] at Stalag 383.

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8 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

Official Reports from the Camps

Oflag IVC, Colditz
Discipline is very strict in this camp.

The total strength at the time of the visit was 1,852 prisoners of war, a further 300 being expected to arrive shortly.
Four new houses have been opened, which gives the officers more room and provides a free space in the middle of the camp. The cellars of the houses are used as air-raid shelters.
Bathing and washing facilities have been curtailed owing to a recent air raid; when the repairs are finished the present installations will be adequate. A kitchen has now been installed and a separate kitchen barrack is under construction for the preparation of private and Red Cross foodstuffs.
The camp revier, which at present has only 58 beds, is being enlarged. 15 beds are permanently occupied by repatriables. Three chapels have been installed. Ten prisoners of war are studying theology and are living according to theological college rules. Theatre, concert and cinema entertainments are excellent. There is no sports ground at present, but the free area in the middle of the compound is being prepared for use.
The prisoners have seven class rooms and six silence rooms at their disposal. The time-table provides for approximately 120 lectures a week.
(Visited August, 1944.)

The total strength of this camp is 265, of whom 195 are British, the remainder being Dominion and French personnel. Four British were in the camp hospital. The accommodation still appears to be very overcrowded. Two-tier bunks have been sawn in half to make individual beds, which, however, take up more space. Lighting is inadequate.
The prisoners are now able to prepare their own food. They receive regulation German rations and have a good supply of Red Cross parcels. Clothing is satisfactory. The canteen supplies are very meagre, beer being about the only purchase that can be made.
Sanitary installations are primitive. The prisoners can only take one shower every ten days. The general state of health is satisfactory. Those who are in the lazarett are undergoing treatment for slight injuries sustained on the sports ground.
The camp has enough books and a theatre. There are three chaplains who are allowed to minister to the officers. Mail has been much delayed during the last few weeks, and it is feared that this will continue and probably deteriorate in the future.
This would be a good camp if it weren't for the strict discipline which strains the atmosphere between the prisoners and their guards.
(Visited July, 1944.)

Since the last visit of the Protecting Power in May, 1944, two new barracks have been erected and the mess building has been completed. There are now five barracks, two of which provide sleeping accommodation for officers, two for other ranks and the other is used for offices and sick quarters. The capacity of the camp amounts to 784, including the resident staff, but at the time of visit there were only 410 prisoners, of whom 97 were British and 313 American. These figures change almost hourly, since this is only a transit camp for Air Force personnel, and the prisoners are continually coming or going. There is always a permanent staff of 30.
The sleeping rooms hold from 18 to 24 men, the beds of the triple-tier type. Each bed has a mattress stuffed with wood shavings, a pillow and two good blankets. Officers and other ranks have separate messes.
Toilet and washing facilities are adequate, though up to date there has been no hot water for showers in the barracks. This will, however, be remedied very shortly when the new boiler is completed. In the meantime hot showers are available once a week, and when entering the camp, in the German wash room nearby.
Cooking is done by the camp staff in a very well equipped kitchen, which has adjoining rooms kept separate for dish washing, potato peeling, tin opening and grocery storage. About 90 per cent. of the Red Cross food is used to improve the German rations and produce a more varied and substantial menu.
The sick bay is able to accommodate 11 men in single iron beds. The medical attention given by a German doctor is reported to be good. The medical inspection room has all the necessary medical equipment and supplies. General state of health is good.
There is no regular canteen, and the camp is short of recreational facilities and sports gear. The library is small and inadequate. A walk around the camp is being built, and the annexure of a larger field outside the camp for football, etc., is under consideration. There were no serious complaints, and the camp gave a very good impression.
(Visited July, 1944.)

[inserted] IN every case where conditions call for remedy, the Protecting Power makes representations to the German authorities. Where there is any reason to doubt whether the Protecting Power has acted it is at once requested to do so. When it is reported that food or clothing is required, the necessary action is taken through the International Red Cross Committee. [/inserted]

There has been no change in the interior arrangements of this camp since the last visit in April.
There were 624 prisoners in the base camp on the day of the visit and 52 in hospital. The total number of prisoners of war in the area dependant on Stalag VIIIC is 2,134. Many prisoners of war have recently been transferred from Southern Germany, which accounts for the increase in numbers.
The prisoners have now dug trenches, which form adequate protection from air-raids.
Every man has a hot shower weekly. The

Some of the prisoners at Oflag 79, where the total strength is 1,852.

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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 9

camp is, at present, well off for clothing of all kinds. Laundry is still washed in the camp; two small parties have undertaken to do the washing for the whole camp. One party call themselves “Tigerwash Laundry,” and the other the “Lily-white Laundry.” Recreational and religious facilities are well organised. The men are all very keen on sports and have formed five different sports clubs. Regular league football takes place. The delay in the censoring of mail has diminished.
The German authorities are considering enlarging the camp hospital, thus having it cut off from the rest of the barracks. This should improve the position. The drug supply is adequate, but there is a shortage of material for dentistry.
According to the Man of Confidence the morale in this camp is excellent and everybody finds plenty to do.
(Visited July, 1944.)

Detachment No. E.4002, Breslau. –
Strength 48 British prisoners of war. Since last visited in April the commandant has been changed, with a consequent improvement in the general conditions. There were, however, still one or two complaints, the chief being that the men have an half-hour's journey to and from work, which means they leave their billets at 5.15 a.m. and don't return until 5.30 p.m. Their actual working hours are 10 1/4 daily. On Saturday they finish work at 1 p.m. and have Sundays free. These are the same hours as those for German civilians.
They also complained that they have very little football lately owing to the shortage of guards. The German authorities are trying to provide more so that the prisoners of war can play every Sunday. During the week the men play volley ball at the back of a tram depot near their billets.
(Visited July, 1944.)

A wintry view at Dulagluft, where two new barracks have been built this year.

At Detachment E.4008, Brieg, the 76 British prisoners of war realise that the German authorities are trying to do everything they can to improve conditions, and are therefore quite happy. There had been few changes since the last visit in April. The compound has been enlarged, which gives them more room to move about and play some ball games. If a good football field cannot be found the prisoners will be taken out for walks on Sundays.
The chief complaint was bed-bugs. The camp was to be fumigated shortly, but the straw in the mattresses cannot be changed until after the harvest.
Hot showers are obtainable at the factory where they work.
No overalls are supplied to those men unloading coal waggons, but they are given an apron to protect their clothes. Lately some prisoners have had to work on Saturday afternoons and Sunday. The 19 prisoners forming Detachment E.4034 are accommodated in the same camp as those of Detachment E.4008. The men work ten hours a day in a machine factory. They have Saturday afternoons and Sundays free. They sleep in a smaller room adjoining the dormitory of the prisoners of war in E.4008. These men do not get showers at their factory, but the German authorities have promised to obtain the use of the showers that are available to Detachment E.4008.
Detachment No. E.4020, at Stroebel, contains 25 prisoners of war from different parts of the Empire. The men work in a stone quarry for 48 hours a week. Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free. The men have no overalls, but have to work in their oldest pair of trousers. The quarry is very hard on their boots, but they have adequate material for repairs at the present. Medical and dental treatment received from the German doctors is good. The men live in a stone barrack on the top of a hill – this is satisfactory. They do their own cooking.
Detachment E.4026, Maltsch, was formed about nine months ago and was visited for the first time in July. There are 63 English prisoners of war employed in a paper factory. They work ten hours a day. On Saturdays work finishes at 3 p.m. and Sundays from 7 to 12.30 p.m. Every third Sunday is free. These are the same hours the German civilians work.
The men live in a wooden barrack in a rather a small compound situated about 2 km. from Maltsch. There is adequate room for all the prisoners, and the barrack lends itself well to all amenities, but at present is badly organised. The German authorities have promised to try to improve conditions. The men sleep in triple-tier bunks and have straw mattresses. At one end of the room the floor has been raised to make a fairly large shelter underneath.
Cold showers are obtainable at any time in the barracks and one hot shower per week is provided by the factory. The cooking is done at the factory by Germans and is none too satisfactory. There is a four-weeks’ supply of Red Cross parcels in the camp.
Good medical and dental treatment is given by a German military doctor – the men have requested that a sanitary inspector be sent from the base camp. Clothing and boots are satisfactory – laundry is done at the factory. There is no canteen, but beer is given out occasionally.
The men hold a short evening service every Sunday. Football can be played on free Sundays on the public ground if not in use by the Germans. Indoor games are well catered for. Mail is none too good at present.
When the interior arrangements at this camp have been improved it should be quite satisfactory and the men happier.
(Visited July, 1944.)

Since the beginning of July this camp has been used as a transit camp for

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10 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

Official Reports from the Camps (continued)

British and Americans captured in North-West Europe. The total capacity is for approximately 150 officers and 3,000 other ranks; at the time of the visit there were 13 British officers and 44 American officers and 749 British and 1,025 American other ranks.
The officers are accommodated in a large, well-built brick barrack. N.C.O.s and other ranks have a compound of their own, with two large barracks and five tents. Half of one of these barracks is the sick quarters and the other half will house the camp staff when formed. There is not much room for exercise.
Officers sleep in triple-tier bunks, with straw sacks and two blankets; there is sufficient sitting accommodation and adequate lighting. Other ranks sleep on wood shavings held together by planks on the floor. Every man has one or two blankets.
All ranks have hot showers on admittance to the camp. Other washing facilities are sufficient, but there is a lack of toilet articles. The cooking was originally done by French prisoners of war or Italian military internees, but at the request of the camp leaders the Commandant has agreed to let the British and Americans do their own cooking. New supplies of clothing are urgently required, most of the men having only the uniforms in which they were captured. Boots are also in short supply. Laundry has to be washed in cold water and there is no issue of soap for men in transit. Each man is issued with a comb after delousing. There is no canteen.
Each prisoner has been able to write at least one letter home. There is little opportunity for exercise except within the camp.
An American doctor is in charge of the camp revier. There were only six patients at the time of the visit, who were suffering from wounds received in action. There are adequate medical supplies.
(Visited July, 1944.)

A view from Ofag IVC. Copy of a painting by a Major who is a P.o.W. there.

Two groups of prisoners at this Stalag, which is situated in a mountainous district.

The total of British Commonwealth prisoners of war in the main Stalag at the time of the visit was 10,677, of whom 50 per cent. were British, 40 per cent. Australian and 10 per cent. New Zealanders. Of this number 9,355 are employed in 314 labour detachments.
Living conditions in the main camp are, on the whole, good. The cooking is done by the prisoners themselves, and they have facilities for preparing food from Red Cross sources. The only complaint about the food was that although most of the potato ration had gone bad, it was not replaced. Clothing is satisfactory and there is an adequate supply of Red Cross parcels. Canteen supplies are very scarce. The drainage system throughout the camp has now been finished, and toilet facilities are sufficient. All rooms are disinfected at regular intervals.
The library is well stocked with approximately 15,000 English books. The prisoners have their own orchestra and theatrical company. There are two Church of England chaplains and one Roman Catholic pastor in the camp, but they are not allowed to visit works detachments, which is unsatisfactory.
The prisoners have also been stopped the use of the field on which they played cricket outside the compound. There is, however, a sports ground within the camp to which they have access.
(Visited June, 1944.)

There are 94 British Commonwealth prisoners of war at the Zweiglager, who are chiefly convalescing after release from the lazarett. There is plenty of room in the camp at present and the only serious complaint is the lack of heating. The full ration of coal is supplied, but is found inadequate considering the mountainous situation of the camp.
(Visited June, 1944.)

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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 11

Boxing match in progress outside a hut.

At the time of the visit there were 81 British patients out of a total of 323 in the hospital. The head of the hospital is a German Staff doctor, who is assisted by nine other doctors (of whom two are British) and 23 medical orderlies (of whom 11 are British).
The chief source of complaint was again the shortage of fuel, and the difficulty of organising special diets for gastric cases, which form a third of the total.
All doctors and medical staff are vaccinated. The medical equipment and supplies are adequate. There is, however, a shortage of materials for the manufacture of dentures – in the last year, the dentist, with the help of three mechanics, had made 600 sets of artificial teeth and repaired 300.
(Visited June 1944.)

At the time of the visit there was a total of 426 men in the hospital, of whom 50 were British medical staff, 28 British workers, and 170 British patients. The other patients were chiefly American, with only a few of other nationality.
Since the opening of a new hospital at Meiningen the overcrowding at Obermassfeld has been greatly alleviated and it can now be considered a satisfactory hospital.
Cooking facilities are still barely adequate, but a new British chief cook has recently been appointed and it is hoped that his report to the hospital authorities will produce the badly needed second cooking range.
A new operating theatre is also needed, the old one having from constant use become septic. The authorities have promised to help in this and provide a new room if possible. There is still no Roman Catholic padre available.
The water pump has been repaired since the last visit and there is no shortage of water. It is now, for an unknown reason, easier to obtain the necessary supplies for the hospital, including batteries to work certain apparatus!
(Visited July, 1944.)

Oflag 79
Some of the officers who are members of the Camp Law Society.

A new hospital accommodated in a former German Army hospital previously a casino or club-house.
Hospital administration is run by Obermassfeld, about 5 km. away. The patients at Meiningen are chiefly convalescents from Obermassfeld. The hospital has a capacity for 800 patients, but at present there are only 244 and 41 on the hospital staff, which includes two British medical officers and two British officers for P.T. and massage. There is also an artificial limb-maker.
One large two-storied building and four modern hospital barracks form the very satisfactory accommodation. The officers' mess is in a tent. The beds are either of the single iron type or wooden double-tier bunks. Each has a mattress, pillow, sheets and two blankets. There are ample chairs and cupboards. Electric light is being installed in all rooms, central heating in the large hall and stoves in all other places are very satisfactory. Washing and toilet facilities are adequate, at present each man having a hot shower on admittance to the hospital and every Friday afterwards.
There is a large and well-equipped kitchen, run by the British hospital staff. The Red Cross parcels are prepared in the kitchen. Clothing is short, but an application for stocks has been made to the I.R.C.C. and it is hoped that enough for immediate needs will be received shortly.
The staff's clothing is in good order. Laundry is done in a nearby town free of charge. Canteen supplies are limited, but cigarettes, tooth powder, razors, etc., are available.
The prisoners have a recreational ground within the compound. They have a small library and adequate sports gear. The band from Obermassfeld pays regular visits; the padre also visits the men whenever required. Mail is irregular and slow.
When completed this should be a very efficient and pleasant convalescent home for British and American prisoners. The German authorities have made an effort to make it a well-organised and well-equipped hospital.
(Visited July, 1944.)

Stalag XII D, has been transferred to Wald Breitenbach bei Neuwied (Map Ref. A6).
Stalag XII F, has been transferred to Freinsheim bei Bad Durkheim (Map Ref. B7).
Please add the following:-
(1) Res. Laz. Meiningen (Map Ref. C6).
(2) Ilag XVIII at Spittal Drau, Camp for Civilian Internees (Map Ref. E10).

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12 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

The Brighter Side

Glamorous Maori dancing “girls” pose in a picturesque setting at an oflag show.

A PRISONER of war who has just returned to Stalag 344 after a spell in another camp writes to say that “the place is absolutely alive with every form of recreation and entertainment conceivable.” He found, to his evident delight, a large central library, a “college,” sports clubs of all descriptions and a theatre, “The day I arrived, although tired, I saw an excellent production of [italics] Me and My Girl, [/italics] and yesterday an international football match – England v. Scotland.”

Portrait Painting
Also at Stalag 344 is a flourishing and successful Art Club. One artist described how the camp is in the throes of another Carnival after which the Art Club was fitting up a stall for the sale of raffle tickets. “whoever wins will have the misfortune to have his portrait painted by myself.” His normal charge for a portrait sketch is 20 cigarettes! They were also selling drawings by other members. As a sideline they have been painting a model of a New Zealand farm which has been made by the Farmers' Association; “they've been working on it for a month and the detail is astonishing.”

The Gloucester Club
Last month we told of the formation of two clubs in Stalag IVB, “The Forward Club” and “The Devon and Cornwall Club.” Now we learn that there is a third, “The Gloucester Club.” This is composed of prisoners who were at school together and who were members of dramatic and other societies in Gloucester. They meet at tea-time every Tuesday, and items of news out of their letters from home are exchanged.

Christmas Reading
In Oflag XIIB they now have a very well-equipped library, so there will be plenty of books to read over Christmas as a change from more strenuous activities such as seem to take place in Stalag XXB. A letter from there relates: “Had a game of football last week, and by gee, sure had a tough game; still feel the effects of it yet.”

A Full Day
A piano, a string bass, clarinets, trumpets, accordions and other instruments have been received at Stalag XVIIA from the Red Cross. A musical enthusiast writes to say “they are really wonderful!” Apart from music there seems to be much to occupy his time: “innumerable study courses are coming into the camp, and I find my days very occupied. Work in the mornings, sport in the afternoons and shorthand or [italics] Othello [/italics] at night.” They are well supplied with sports gear for football, rugger, cricket or even baseball. And the indoor games equipment includes table tennis, chess, cards, monopoly and dominoes.

How Much?
The men in Stalag XVIIIA have ordered a grand piano and they are going to pay for it themselves at the rate of 10 marks a month. One prisoner enquires “I wonder how much we shall pay.” They go sometimes to the local cinema, and although the films are in German, it makes a pleasant change. Big event recently was the arrival of figs, raisins, nuts and dried fruit, sent by the British residents in Turkey. So they will have some traditional Christmas fare.

Musical Debut
The musical show at Marlag und Milag Nord has been a great success, and one prisoner writes to say that it was his musical debut: “What a thrill it was for me on opening night, when that curtain went across! . . . As I write we have done three nights' performances. I played melody and did I go to town – so Jimmy D –, the Leader, tells me.” They were all dressed in white shirts and blue trousers and looked very smart. Their “Tonic Tunes Selection” included Schubert's Serenade, Die Fledermaus and a Foxtrot Medley.

Serial Play
Dorothy Sayers' radio play [italics] The Man Born to be King [/italics] is being done in serial form in Oflag 79. Nor is it the only dramatic activity, for [italics] The Taming of the Shrew [/italics] is being produced shortly. As in Oflag XIIB, a good book is appreciated in winter evenings, and a captain writes: “I do a certain amount of work and other reading of a lighter nature. I've just finished Aldous Huxley's [italics] Antic Hay [/italics] and am now reading Eric Linklater's [italics] Poet's Pub.” [/italics]

Pike Fishing
A warrant officer in the R.A.F. who was a prisoner in Stalag Luft VI reported that besides using the fire reservoir for swimming, they also used to do a little fishing. “A young jack (pike),” he wrote, “which has hitherto borne a charmed life, “roves around the fire pond, having only a dent in the back as a souvenir of a number of attacks with intent.” He was able, however, to add a P.S. that the pike's charm ran out. “We soaked it in salt water before frying and it was a lot better than the bream we tackled on the Broads in more peaceful days!”

[inserted] The paragraphs on these pages are based on letters from prisoners of war. Most of them refer to activities in the big base camps and it should not be assumed that they are typical of conditions in all camps or in outlying working detachments where facilities for sport and amusement are much fewer. [/inserted]

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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 13


Playing draughts in a quiet corner of the lounge.

A FIGURE in “hospital blue” on the doorstep of 5, Chesterfield Gardens, London, W.1, indicates the way into the warmth and spaciousness of the Donoughmore Club, which will celebrate its first birthday in January. The City and County of London Branch of the Red Cross and St. John found that convalescents needed something different from the ordinary Service club, and have provided special facilities for Servicemen and women, ex-Servicemen and the sick and wounded here. Friendly greetings are received from the hostess, who, with her staff, give help and advice unstintingly and do everything that can be thought of to make those who seek the shelter of the club comfortable and happy.
From the twenty-two military hospitals in and around London convalescents who have one-day passes can come and go as they wish, enjoy a concert party, or a sing-song, tea and a chat with friends. Service people can while away the time until their trains are due, or spend those all-too-short “off-duty” hours with members of their families. Sleeping accommodation is available for Red Cross Guides who travel with sick people on their journeys and for relatives who travel to London in order to visit men who are seriously ill in hospital.
Some two hundred and fifty repatriated prisoners of war who arrived at Liverpool in September last and travelled to a dispersal point outside London were entertained at the Club before leaving for destinations in other parts of the country. The men recorded a message of appreciation for the kindness they had received while in Sweden, which was broadcast to Sweden later the same evening. In November more repatriates paid a visit to the Club, this time 70 men, 25 Britons and 45 native South Africans, who were on their way to South Africa. They were all extremely appreciative of the work done by the Red Cross. One of them, who felt the cold climate particularly keenly, remarked that the only rays of sunshine in England were shed by the Red Cross!
With the approach of Christmas, preparations for festivities are in full swing and two parties have been arranged for December 15th and 16th for men and women from the military hospitals who will bring with them nurses and relatives who are in London. The house decorations are in the hands of the City and County of London Committee, who will also entertain and wait on the guests. Lady Limerick is giving a Christmas tree from her estate, which is to be cut down for the occasion. The goodwill and high spirits which are always to be found in the Club are bound to make the season memorable to those who spend it in this pleasant atmosphere of freedom and friendliness.
Wives of Canadian Servicemen on their way to Canada are given hospitality, as also are the wives of English Servicemen arriving in this country from Canada. On these occasions the children seize the opportunity for a good romp and frolic, and on one such day two American soldiers passing by called in to make a donation to what they thought was an orphanage. Of course, they were told about the Club and invited inside to play with the children.

Toys made by sick and wounded judged at a recent exhibition by Miss Enid Stamp Taylor.

There is a very comfortable lounge on the right of the entrance hall where relatives can quietly enjoy informal meetings. Next to the lounge is a well-equipped canteen, where excellent cooking is done on the spot by a homely Scotswoman and her helpers. Light-cream walls and bright lighting make this perhaps the most cheerful part of the whole building. Flags of different countries are hung on the walls. The tables, each seating four people, are covered with green and white check table cloths, and commodious green-canvass chairs complete the colour scheme. Meals are served at any time, as required, and visitors can see their toast, scones and tea-cakes come out of the oven piping hot.
The walls of the lecture room, also on the ground floor, are covered with interesting pictures and particulars of every kind that may be useful. An Army Education Officer attends regularly to answer questions and to help those who need information. Topical talks are given fortnightly on subjects such as historical London and the theatre, and are made doubly interesting by subsequent visits to the places discussed. Basic educational courses are planned for the future, and there are to be talks on music illustrated by gramophone records. Arrangements are also made for guests to be taken out for a few hours by friends of the Club. It is hoped that another exhibition of handicrafts will be held in the New Year and that diversional therapy will become one of the permanent activities.

(Continued overleaf)

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14 The Prisoner of War December, 1944


FROM outstanding examination results announced by examining bodies during the last month, the following are selections: –
Sqn. Ldr. G. D. Craig and Sqn. Ldr. G. D. Leyland, both in a Stalag Luft, have passed the Final Examination of the Law Society, the latter with distinction. He is the fifteenth prisoner of war to have gained distinction in the Solicitors’ Final Examination. Thirty-one in all have passed the Final.

Other prisoners of war to have taken Final Examinations are Flt. Lt. D. L. d'Anyers Willis (in the same Stalag Luft), Institute of Chartered Accountants, and Gunner C. W. Bodsworth and Sgt. C. C. Harvey, Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England and the Highland and Agricultural Society have held examinations in the camps for the National Diploma in Agriculture. One candidate passed in all nine papers, eight passed in all the papers they offered, and eight in some papers.

A civilian internee, who was then in Giromagny, took an examination in Turkish held by the School of Oriental and African Studies, and obtained a first class pass with 82 per cent.

Marlag und Milag Nord (Milag)
The Ministry of War Transport recently sanctioned the holding of an examination in this camp for Certificates of Competency as Master, Mate and Engineer in the Merchant Navy. The candidates were allowed to take certain papers, success in which will be credited to them on their return home.
In the examination for Master there were 21 candidates. Papers were taken in (a) Meteorology, (b) English, (c) Master's Business, and (d) Engineering Knowledge, with the following results:
In (a) 95 per cent. passed, and in (b), (c) and (d) 100 per cent. passed.
In the examination for First Mate, 25 candidates took papers in (a) Ship Construction and Stability, (b) Ship Maintenance, Routine and Cargo Work, and (c) Meteorology. In (a) 80 per cent. were successful, in (b) 92 per cent., and in (c) 96 per cent.
In the examination for Second Mate there were 60 candidates, and the papers taken were (a) Knowledge of Principles, (b) Cargo Work and Elementary Ship Construction, and (c) English. 75 per cent. passed in (a), 85 per cent. in (b), and 76 per cent. in (c).
The Ministry of War Transport, which has expressed great interest, state that they are “very satisfied with the way in which the examinations were conducted, and that the high standard of knowledge disclosed reflects great credit on the organisers of the studies and examinations in the camp.”


[inserted] Applications for Examinations ... 14,002

Candidates who have taken Examinations ... 6,202

Results published ... 5,176

Candidates who have passed outright ... 4,177

Candidates who have passed in some papers ... 337

Candidates who have failed outright ... 817

Camps in which Examinations have been taken ... 54 [/inserted]


(continued from previous page)

By ascending the broad staircase to the first floor a large sitting-room is reached which is cosily furnished and has a radio set, books and fireside games. Long windows give sunlight and fresh air, and a small balcony with deck chairs provides an ideal spot for a sunbath on a warm day. Adjoining this room is the theatre, where shows and concerts are frequently given. Another feature of the Club is the games room, which has darts, bagatelle and other table games. The Army Educational Corps supplies a variety of colourful pictures which are displayed there.
Very many wartime difficulties in equipping the Club and arranging its functions have been surmounted during the first year and it is a considerable achievement by those who have been responsible. Even so, there are always new events, fresh contingencies to be faced and continual arrivals and departures which call for the most careful planning. In the coming year the life of the Club will go on and will be ready, when the European conflict is over, to serve those who are still convalescent in hospital and the men who will at last return home from prisoner of war camps.

World's Largest Card-index
THE International Red Cross Committee at Geneva have now introduced a new classification system into the gigantic card-index controlled by their Central Prisoner of War Agency.
This index, which contains details of every known and sought-for prisoner of war and civilian internee in the world, is made up of over 20 million separate cards and is continually growing.
The new method, which takes the place of the more usual alphabetical system, is based on phonetic methods, and has the great advantage of gathering all the different spellings of the same name into one section. For instance, all the Mayers, Meiers, Meyers, Maiers, etc., are under the heading “Me,” and all the Philips, Filippos, Phillippes, etc., are grouped under F.
As the average number of cards in this index handled daily varies from 300,000 to 400,000, the importance of the innovation is readily grasped.

P.o.W. Exhibition Catalogues
RELATIVES who were not able to visit the Prisoners of War Exhibition in London this summer, and those who came and wish to keep a permanent record of their impressions of it, can do so by sending for a copy of the catalogue. The exhibition portrayed many aspects of the life of our prisoners in Germany, and the illustrated catalogue presents a vivid and informative picture. A number of copies are still available, price 6d, (or 7d. including postage), and those who wish to obtain one may apply to the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation, Publicity Department, 24, Carlton House Terrace, London S.W.1.

[inserted] NUMBER, PLEASE!
PLEASE be sure to mention your Red Cross reference number whenever you write to us. Otherwise delay and trouble are caused in finding previous correspondence. [/inserted]

[inserted] FREE TO NEXT OF KIN
THIS Journal is sent free of charge to those registered with the Prisoner of War Dept. as next of kin. In view of the paper shortage no copies are for sale, and it is hoped that next of kin will share their copy with relatives and others interested. [/inserted]

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December, 1944 The Prisoner of War 15

Polo-Necked Sweater

Reproduce by courtesy of Harrap Bros. (Sinlar Wools) Ltd.

[knitting pattern and instructions]

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16 The Prisoner of War December, 1944

Arrangements for Resuming the Service

NEXT of kin will have seen in the Press that the G.P.O. announced on November 23 that the despatch of next-of-kin and permit parcels was to be resumed.
As many next of kin would, in normal circumstances, have been entitled to send at least two more parcels in the current year, and as it would obviously be impossible for the Packing Centres at Finsbury Circus and Glasgow to deal with such a volume of parcels without incurring congestion and delay, it has been arranged that not more than one more next-of-kin parcel should be sent with a 1944 label to each prisoner.
Where, however, not more than two parcels have already been sent with 1944 labels during the course of the year, 40 coupons will be issued so that this last parcel may be equal to two in coupon value though the limit of weight remains unchanged. [italics] See instructions sent with labels. [/italics]
It is hoped that the next of kin will accept this plan, which is in the best interests of the prisoners, as it will to some extent avoid overloading the Packing Centres, and will enable one parcel for each prisoner to be despatched with the least possible delay.
Details of the arrangements are as follows and next of kin are asked to study them very carefully in order to see into which category they come. If they are in any doubt they should consult their local Red Cross Prisoner of War representative.

(a) Next of kin who do not at present hold a label and coupons.
A 1944/4 label and 40 coupons, with a letter of explanation, are being sent to all of these. [italics] No application necessary. [/italics]
(b) Next of kin who hold a label and 20 coupons.
These should apply to the Packing Centres or Finsbury Park or Glasgow if they wish for a further issue of 20 coupons (to be used for one parcel only, in conjunction with the original issue of 20).
(c) Next of kin who are holding a partially prepared parcel but who have returned the balance of coupons to the Packing Centre.
The balance of the original issue, together with a further 20 coupons (to make a total of 40 for the parcel) will be sent to these next of kin [italics] No application necessary. [/italics]
(d) Next of kin who have not yet sent their first parcel and who hold a label and 40 coupons.
These may be sent in their parcel as soon as they like, and are entitled to two further issues of 20 coupons in 1944. These will be sent to them together (making 40 in all) after the despatch of their parcel, if they attach a note to their coupon-account (which must be enclosed in the parcel), asking for them. Otherwise only 20 will be issued.

(a) Next of kin who do not at present hold a label and coupons.
An issue of 20 coupons with a 1944/4 label will be made to these next of kin. [italics] No application necessary. [/italics]
(b) Next of kin who hold a label and 20 coupons.
These may be sent in their parcel on or after the date shown on the label.
(c) Next of kin who hold a partially prepared parcel, but who have returned the balance of coupons to Finsbury Circus or Glasgow.
The balance of coupons will be returned to these next of kin [italics] (no application necessary), [/italics] who may then send in the parcel on or after the date shown on the label.

(a) Next of kin who have sent a first (40 coupons) parcel and do not at present hold a label and coupons.
A 1944/4 label with 20 coupons will be sent to these next of kin. [italics] No application necessary. [/italics] The parcel may be sent in as usual on, or at any time after, the date on the label.
(b) Next of kin who have sent a first (40 coupons) parcel and at present hold a label and coupons.
These may be sent in their parcel as usual on, or at any time after, the date on the label.
(c) Next of kin who have not yet sent in their first parcel and who hold a first label and 40 coupons.
These may send in their parcel as soon as they like. A 1944/4 label with 20 coupons will be issued automatically after its despatch.

(a) Next of kin who have sent a first (40 coupons) parcel and who do not at present hold a label and coupons.
An issue of 1945/1 label and 20 coupons for use in the first quarter of 1945 will be sent to these next of kin. [italics] No application necessary. [/italics]
(b) Next of kin who have not yet sent the first parcel and who hold the first label and 40 coupons.
These next of kin may send in their parcel as soon as they like. A 1945/1 label with 20 coupons will be issued automatically after the despatch of the parcel.

(1) Any cases not corresponding exactly with those detailed above will be dealt with as nearly as possible on the same lines.
(2) The full issue of 40 coupons must be accounted for on the coupon account form, which must be enclosed in the parcel. Any coupons which are left over unused must also be sent back inside the parcel, attached to the coupon account form.
(3) From now on, labels and coupons will be issued in the normal way after the despatch of each parcel.
(4) Parcels will be dealt with as quickly as possible at Finsbury Circus and Glasgow, in the order of their arrival. If the numbers are very great a certain amount of delay is bound to occur, and this cannot be estimated in advance. The parcels are kept in the Post Office bags in which they arrive, until the time comes for each bag to be opened and its contents despatched. It will be understood, therefore, that it is not possible to answer questions about the arrival of individual parcels at the Packing Centres, until the time for despatch of each one has come; and, in order to save work, it is requested that no enquiries of this nature should be sent in.
A note on the position at the Packing Centres will be given in the January issue of the [italics] Prisoner of War [/italics] so that next of kin who have not in the meantime received their next issue of label and coupons (indicating that their parcel has been despatched) may estimate whether there has been time for their parcel to be dealt with.
(5) In order to save work, next of kin are asked in future not to enclose a postcard to be returned to them from the Packing Centre, but to take the issue of the next label and coupons as indication that their last parcel has been received safely and despatched to the prisoner.
(6) Parcels sent with two lots of 20 coupons must be kept within the usual limits of weight (see instructions sent with labels), but they may contain double the usual quantity of chocolate and soap, provided that the extra money is sent inside the parcel, and that the necessary allowance is made for the additional weight.
This does not apply to ordinary first parcels, for which 40 coupons are issued.
(7) It should be understood that the labels and coupons now being issued need not necessarily be used before the end of 1944.
The word “Immediate” on a label does not mean that it [italics] must [/italics] be used immediately, but only that it [italics] may [/italics] be used at once if the next of kin so desires.

Printed in Great Britain for the Publishers, THE RED CROSS AND ST. JOHN WAR ORGANISATION, 14, Grosvenor Crescent, London, S.W., by THE CORWALL PRESS LTD., Paris Garden, Stamford Street, London, SE1.



Great Britain. Red Cross and St John war organisation, “The prisoner of war, Vol 3, No. 32, December 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 26, 2022,

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