The prisoner of war, Vol 2; No. 18; October 1943



The prisoner of war, Vol 2; No. 18; October 1943


Includes: editorial matters; art in camp; official reports from the camps; group photographs from the camps; the letters they write home; [two pages missing]; how they help the funds (fundraising at home); what Germans put in their parcels; news from the far east; relief to far east POWs; letters from Japan; knitting pattern for thick socks (page torn); more chocolate for POWs; any questions? Includes photographs throughout.



Temporal Coverage




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


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THE Prisoner of War

[Red Cross and St John Logo’s]

VOL. 2. No.18 Free to Next of Kin October, 1943

The Editor Writes –

THE turn of events in Italy must, I fear, have caused anxiety in many homes. Following hard upon the good news of the Armistice which provided for the liberation of their men in Italian hands, they learnt of the German advance which bought with an uncertainty as to their position. At the moment of writing I have no information beyond what was given by Mr. Churchill and Sir James Grigg to Parliament. This may be summed up as follows :-

Italians Will Help Them
Before the fall of Mussolini about 2,400 prisoners of wat were transferred from Italian to German camps, and though their letters express indignation at their transfer they do not complain of their treatment.
It is possible that the Germans are transferring prisoners to Germany from areas in which they are now in control. The Italians, however, gave orders for the release of all Allied prisoners in their hands, and Mr. Churchill has no doubt that “they will be succoured by the Italian people among whom they are dispersing.”
A comparatively small number of prisoners have been released from Southern Italy (where we are in control) and others have escaped from Northern Italy into Switzerland.

Why I am Optimistic
With this information we must for the time being be contented, but Mr. Churchill has given his assurance that “in all these matters we are acting with the greatest vigilance and earnestness and everything in human power will be done.” My own feeling is optimistic. If the advance of our armies proceeds as we hope and believe it will, I have such confidence in the resourcefulness of our men and the readiness of Italian civilians to help them that I believe they will filter through to our lines in considerable numbers. That is my personal hope and belief.

Anzac Way
A P.O.W. at Stalag 383 writes home about the wide range of sports for the 4,000 men at this camp. “We have a swimming pool, football, rugby, hockey and cricket pitch.” He also mentions that their huts are laid out in streets “with appropriate names such as ‘Springbok Avenue’ and ‘Anzac Way.’”

UNLOADING Red Cross parcels at B.A.B. 21.

Stalag Gardeners
The Editor of [italics] The Countryman [/italics] has shown us an interesting letter from Stalag XVIII-A describing a “mixed plantation” in the camp as it was in mid-June. There were lettuce, cucumber plants, “a yard of beet,” radishes, kohlrabi, tomatoes and a spinach bed “divided from the salads by a row of dwarf peas.” The letter concludes : “Although somewhat cramped for room the herbaceous border will, we hope, make quite a good show in late summer with wallflowers, scabious, stocks and violas. The holding is under the anxious care of five townsmen and one countryman and we have no ‘experimental stations’ to call up for advice, but our only unsolved problem is space.”

Ingenious Make-up
From a sergeant at Stalag-Luft I comes a letter describing a recent revue produced in this camp. One of its highlights was “a marvellous pianist, an American one who has played in concerts in London.” The costumes for the show came from Hamburg, and make up “from a box of crayons and vase-line mixed together.”

His Two Reasons
“I don’t mind how long the war lasts so long as England comes out on top. My two reasons for this are John and Mary and all other children.” Thus typically writes a P.O.W. at Stalag VIIB to his wife in Devonshire. His letter ends

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2 The Prisoner of War October, 1943

with this charming compliment to his wife: “I’ve made a bag to put your letter in and it hangs on my bed.”

Arthur and Archie
Two brothers, Arthur and Archie, were taken prisoner together in June, 1942, and have been together ever since. Recently, they were moved from P.G.75 to P.G.70. Arthur has spent much of his time studying German, Italian and shorthand, while his brother has been making a name for himself in the camp concerts.
“Please give something out of the bank to the Red Cross for me.” writes Archie to his mother, who sends us cheque for £2 12s.

Prison Bar
There’s a certain P.O.W. in Stalag XVIII-A who writes home very cheerfully. And no wonder – for besides giving dancing lessons and taking part in the innumerable musical activities of the camp, he has made himself a barman behind his own bar. “We have 18 barrels of beer per week for 66 of us,” he says. A popular fellow no doubt !

A repatriated prisoner has written to tell us what he thinks of our services. Soon after his capture, it seems , while he and his comrades were kept waiting in Benghazi, there were gloomy forebodings about the fate that lay in store for them ; but “the glorious realisation of what you actually did, after we got to Italy, was enough to take our breath away.” He has a tribute to pay, too, to our Organisation in the Middle East, which met him on his journey home. “Their reception of us at Smyrna and Alexandra and Cairo was great, and will always be remembered with profound gratitude.”

Field Days
Farm work can be pleasant under almost any conditions, as a lot of our men have found out in the course of their captivity. One of them who has been helping to get in the harvest in Italy admits to feeling “more contented than I have ever been since becoming a P.O.W.” His is a small camp, which divides its 50 members among different farms. “On our farm,” he adds, as a touch of local colour, “some girl rice-pickers have arrived and it is a treat to hear them singing in the fields where they work.” Though quite accustomed to his own work now, he naturally “felt a little stiff at first, as we do eight hours a day for six days a week.”

A Driver of Oxen
In Germany, too, farming has made many converts among P.O.W.s. “Work is better, food is better,“ says a man who has been “farmed out” from Stalag XVIII-A. “It’s nice and peaceful out here. The only noise is the cocks crowing, the cows mooing, the pigs squealing. Instead of horses we use oxen for draft purposes. I bet you’d laugh if you could see me driving a pair of oxen.”

Tending the Russians
A member of the Friends Ambulance Unit, now a prisoner in Stalag V-B, is in sole charge of the nursing of severe Russian cases at the camp hospital and finds the responsibility rather a strain – especially, he says, as it means “nursing people of whose speech one can understand nothing, none of the comforting little phrases being any use at all. In

[inserted]“HOW CAN I THANK YOU ?”
The Red Cross receive many thanksgiving letters, but few more moving than this one from a repatriated South African corporal in Cairo:-
“How can I thank you? It is a problem that I cannot solve, but instead let me say :
“When I was hungry – you fed me.
“When my pals were sick – you sent medical supplies.
“When we wondered about our folks at home – you brought letters.
“When we wanted something to do inside a dreary cage – you supplied books, games, musical instrument and educational facilities.
“When conditions were bad – you sent representatives round to see they were improved.
“You kept our spirits high, and you kept us alive, and then you brought me back to my own people.
“How can I thank you? Even now you go on piling on a debt that I cannot possibly repay. I cannot thank you. Perhaps God will one day. I pray He will.” [/inserted]

fact, one has to act helpful all the time.” He deserves our sympathy and admiration in such exacting work, although he finds that at least “it makes the time fly past, and I learn a few more words of Russian every day.”

Living and Learning
A captain in Campo P.G.21 compares his camp with “a small crowded University, with its numerous societies and clubs. There are no cars, no yachts and no rods, yet we have motor and yacht clubs and angling society! We talk and think about, and even impersonate, practically everything in the world outside.” He remarks that one of the chief advantages of a big camp lies in just this rich variety of life. “A great deal goes on. People are writing to tell you the truth here about their jobs and so forth, much more than they normally would. I am sure it is a good school of general knowledge, and certainly broadens one’s mentality.”

“The Red Angel”
Sitting in the crowded recreation room of his German prison camp and dreaming quietly of the English countryside, Lt. Col. Guy Adams wrote his first novel and sent it home to be published. So well has “The Red Angel” been received by critics and public alike that it completely sold out and has now been reprinted. “I feel I should like to celebrate this,” says Mrs. Adams in a letter to me, with which she generously sends £5 to the Fund “in gratitude for all the Red Cross is doing for my husband and other prisoners.”

“Would Make Pops Jealous”
Leslie Blud, of Birmingham, 26, describes himself as “a real old farm yokel” and says the garden at his farm would make Pops jealous. They grow “everything except hops,” including carrots as large as turnips and cabbages as large as oak trees –“believe it if you like.”

Relief in Books
A trooper in Stalag IIID gives his view of the prisoner’s mental life in a recent letter. “The compensation for this monotony is that one tends to lose count of time and thus the weeks and months go more quickly by.” He speaks, too, of the great relief he finds in books, and of his eagerness to read “How Green Was My Valley.” This novel was so much in demand that he had to wait his turn.

Toc H at Stalag Luft 6
A sergeant pilot at Stalag Luft 6 sends the “bigs news” that his new camp has a Toc H group which collects surplus cigarette to distribute to “needy new arrivals or lads who get no parcels.” He ends with the news that at a recent fancy dress parade his friend, Taffy, won the beauty contest as Miss Luft 6, 1943. The prize was “1,000 fags.”

Kindly be Patient
The printer’s lot is not any [sic] easy one nowadays. There are more and more readers to whom this journal is being sent, and our printers say that it may sometimes be impossible to get the issue posted to everyone by the first of each month. So please don’t think you have been forgotten if your copy doesn’t always reach you punctually in future. The delay will, at worst, be a matter of not more than a few days.

All the information concerning Italian camps contained on this and other pages refers, of course, to the period before the Armistice.

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October, 1943 The Prisoner of War 3


[italics] Here a member of Stalag 383 describes the Arts and Crafts Exhibition held at the camp this summer, while a member of Campo P.G.59 describes a three-day Art show [/italics]

At Stalag 383.
IN the near future Londoners may see an exhibition of prisoner-of-war arts and crafts at one of the city’s leading stores. That is, if the recent overtures made by the International Red Cross to the German authorities are successful. It is believed they will be.
The ”Arts and Crafts” group at Stalag 383 are very keen on this idea, which prompted their second exhibition of talent produced in camp. This display was better than that held in April, both in quality and quantity. In the three days of the exhibition over 4,000 of the camp inhabitants passed through the gallery, many more than once.
It was also honoured by a visit from M. Erik Berg, of the World Alliance of Y.M.C.A.s. He was greatly impressed, and as well as congratulating each exhibitor took many photographs for his organisation and the Red Cross.

Looking Ahead
Again the exhibition was divides into three classes : Arts, Crafts, and Tapestry. In the Arts section were large displays in both portraiture and posters. Some of the portraits were in oils, but owing to the scarcity of this material most people were content to work with pencil or charcoal.
The poster display was made up of various subjects and was very outstanding. Many men here are turning to advertising with an eye to employment in this field after the war. Landscape water-colour artists were restricted by lack of subjects, but there were quite a few exhibits.
Cartoon and caricature suffered a loss in entries, but it was pleasing to note the best “black and white” men of the first exhibition remained. Woodcuts

A view of Stalag 383. Its members hope that their exhibition may be on view in London shortly.

were almost entirely lacking, there being only one exhibitor with two fine pieces of work.
In the crafts, model-makers showed trains, planes, boats and inlaid household ornament. Two ingenious exhibits were a church in miniature and a working model of a mill-loom.

Needle and Thread
The third section was proof that needle and thread are not entirely the prerogative of woman. Many regimental crests of the British Army, pyjama cases and other types of men’s travel necessities were on view, together with colourful tapestries of the English and German countryside.

At Campo P.G.59.
THROUH not the first of the Italian P.O.W. camps to hold an art exhibition, we may perhaps be one of the first to have the event reported in the [italics] Prisoner of War [/italics] and thus made public in Britain. That, in so far as it reflects a little of our way of life here in Italy, will be a great source of gratification to us.
At first, of course, there were all sorts of difficulties in the way of organising the show: securing proper drawing materials, for instance; in face of the ban on their supply from home, and the censorship regulations; finding suitable accommodation; making any definite arrangements with the camp personnel, two thirds of whom had only just arrived.
Such obstacles, which might have turned back a less resolute man than our Camp Leader (the sole executive organiser) trebled the work of production. But they were all eventually overcome and on May 15th, 1943, the exhibition became a triumphant [italics] fait accompli. [/italics]

Three-day Show
It ran for three days. No fewer than 159 pictures were hung, consisting of oil paintings, water colours, crayon and pencil drawings, pen-and-ink sketches, and

Poster for Anzac Day designed by a sergeant at Stalag 383.

ranging in subject from landscapes to caricatures. The pleasant landscapes of Britain and London street scenes complete with the London “Bobby,” were in particular a refreshing reminder to us of the fact that “There will always be an England.”

Various Prizes
Various and substantial prizes were awarded for the three best entries in each of the ten subject groups. The winners were chosen by general vote, and the Colonel Commandant himself made a most generous contribution of 500 lira in support of the prize list. Indeed, the keen interest shown by all the Italian Officers and camp authorities in our venture was a great encouragement. Thanks to their help, to the skill and enthusiasm of our artists and to the untiring energy of our Camp Leader, we are grateful to be able to record that our first Art Exhibition has proved an immense and most stimulating success.

THE following ten books were chosen as the September selection for prisoners in camps in Germany and Italy:
PENGUINS: – [italics] Death of My Aunt [/italics], C. H. B. Kitchen; [italics] The Gun [/italics], C. S. Forester; [italics] Ju Ju and Justice in Nigeria [/italics], Frank Hives and Gascoigne Lumley; [italics] The Silk Stocking Murders [/italics], Anthony Berkeley; [italics] Friends and Relations [/italics], Elizabeth Bowen; [italics] Country Life [/italics], H. E. Bates; [italics] Modern Irish Short Stories [/italics], edited by Alan Steele and Joan Hancock; [italics] A Man’s Man [/italics], Ian Hay.
SPECIAL: [italics] Design [/italics], Anthony Bertram.
PELICAN: [italics] The Personality of Animals [/italics], H. Munro Fox.

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4 The Prisoner of War October, 1943


[inserted][italics] IN every case where the conditions call for remedy, the Protecting Power makes representations to the German or Italian authorities. Where there is any 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. [/italics][/inserted]

Hospital at Cosel. – On the day of the visit there were 75 British patients, four British Medical Officers, including a British surgeon, and 61 British Medical Orderlies. The hospital is considered excellent, but there is a definite shortage of drugs. Food rations are the same as those received in German Hospitals.
The camp compound has been extended and a great deal of the ground has been turned into a garden, kept by prisoners of war, who have made vegetable and flower gardens and paths leading to the hospital barracks. (Visited June.)
Bau und Arbeitsbatallion 20, Heydebreck. – 1,189 prisoners include 127 naval men. Food is described as satisfactory, though for a time the potatoes were not good. A considerable number of minor working accidents have been reported, but medical attention is satisfactory. Prisoners are sent to Blechhammer for dental treatment by British dentists and to Neustadt for eye treatment.
Clothing is satisfactory and working overalls have been distributed among the men. Recreational facilities are good.

Recreational facilities are good at B.A.B.20. Here is their band.

The receipt of mail has been bad of late.
(Visited June.)
Bau und Arbeitsbatallion 21, Heydebreck. – Of the 1,170 men in this camp, 316 are naval prisoners of war. The new organisation of the camp, since the amalgamation of 21-48, is described as fairly satisfactory. As at B.A.B.20, there are many minor working accidents.
There were no complaints about washing, bathing and toilet facilities, nor about the food. A new dental station is to be opened shortly where the dental and medical officers will work together. Working clothes are in bad condition and very few working overalls have been issued. A new chapel has been built. (Visited June.)

Work Camp 329, outside Berlin. – Camp 329 was newly opened in May and contains prisoners of war from Camps 517 and 520. The strength is given as 552. They are working on railway construction. The camp is situated in the middle of a large pine forest, and is as yet not quite completed.
The prisoners are accommodated in four large wooden huts furnished with two-tier bunks, straw mattresses and two blankets each. The rooms are light and airy; other huts are used for kitchens, washhouse, store rooms and an infirmary. At present there are no facilities for private cooking.
Clothing is fairly satisfactory, but no work clothes have been issued. There are repair shops in the camp. So far there is no canteen. Cold showers are always available.
Medical attention is given by a British doctor and dental attention us given at a neighbouring detachment. There is a large sports ground where the prisoners are able to play football and other games; they have formed orchestras, etc., and have a library. Compensation is given for Sunday work. Religious services are held each Sunday. There are air-raid shelters in the camp, to which the prisoners are obliged to go during an alert. (Visited May.)
Hospital No. 119 at Neukolln. – The hospital is installed in a school building and has air-raid shelters in the cellars. Accommodation is satisfactory.
Sanitary installations are inadequate and the supply of hot water is insufficient. Although the building is regularly disinfected, bugs appear on all the floors. Medical and dental attention is satisfactory, thought it takes a considerable time to procure dentures.
The British patients are visited fortnightly by a chaplain. Food is prepared by German civilians and special diets are available with the help of Red Cross parcels. (Visited June.)

CAMPO P.G.12 P.M. 3200,
This camp for British Generals continues to be satisfactory. A few minor complaints were brought forward and settled on the spot. No British chaplain has yet visited the camp. (Visited June.)

There are over 1,000 officers here, and this camp is slightly overcrowded. Extra beds have been placed in the dormitories, and space is generally restricted. Electric light has been improved. Kitchen boilers were being repaired, and water pressure made sufficient to prevent further burst. Cold showers can be had at any time, and warm showers twice weekly.
Medical service is described as quite satisfactory. Dental treatment is given by two surgeons, but materials are lacking. An oculist is called in when necessary. The impression gained by the visiting delegates was that the camp has improved since the previous visit. (Visited June.)

CAMPO P.G.49 P.M.3200,
540 officers and other ranks are detained in a large new orphanage, a four-storied stone-built house, standing on a plain, surrounded by fields and vineyards. The building is modern with up-to-date installations. The officers’ quarters are on the first and second floors. The interior arrangements are described as comfortable. Other ranks sleep in long dormitories and have their own mess room and common room. The building is spacious with marble staircases, tiled floors.
Mail delays have been experienced owing to transfers from other camps.
Kitchens are up to date and well equipped. The wood ration seems hardly sufficient. There are canteens for both officers and other ranks. Clothing conditions are, on the whole, satisfactory.
Sanitary installations appear to be satisfactory, with ample water supply.
Three British M.O.s assist an

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October 1943 The Prisoner of War 5

Italian surgeon with medical attention; materials are needed for dental treatment. There is ample space for indoor games; a large playground is to be levelled for use as a football field, and there is a library of 3,000 books (Visited May.)

CAMPO P.G.59 P.M.3300,
The number of prisoners of war at Camp 59 has been considerably reduced, as many men have been transferred to work camps, and of a total of 1,328 prisoners or war 313 are English and 913 American. There have been no changes in accommodation. Water supply is ample, and hot baths are available every 10 days. The canteen is quite well stocked. Clothing is fairly good. There has been some difficulty in obtaining an ambulance for the transfer of sick prisoners of war to hospital, though the situation is better than it was.
Recreational facilities appear to be quite well organised. Religious services are held regularly. (Visited June.)

CAMP P.G.54 P.M.3300,
At the date of the visit there were about 3,500 prisoners of war at this camp. Two agricultural labour detachments have been organised. Two of the sections of the camp were occupied, the third one being still unfinished.
The majority of the prisoners of war

Three P.O.W.s at Campo P.G.73.

are still accommodated in tents. Workers in the camp receive supplementary rations. There is a canteen in each section. Clothing conditions have improved considerably since the previous visit. The water supply is still inadequate, and consequently sanitary installations, although improved are almost useless.
The infirmary is still installed in tents, but serious cases are sent to military hospitals at Rome and Perugia. There is no improvement in the dental attention. The preparation of a sports ground outside the camp was under consideration, and there is now a Church of England chaplain in the camp. (Visited May.)

CAMPO P.G.73 P.M.3200, CARPI
Of the total of 4,457 prisoners of war at this camp, 250 men are in the two work camps and 286 were in hospital. The patients were distributed in Hospital 201 and 203 and at Carpi and Piacenza. Adjoining this camp is a new camp of equal size, which was empty at the time of visit.
The interior arrangements of the camp have not altered. Vegetables and fruit are plentiful, and the canteen is well organised. Consignments of clothing had recently been received.
In the hospital two British medical officers and 20 orderlies assist the Italian doctor with medical attention, which is described as satisfactory. Conditions at the hospital are said to have improved. There is now a Church of England chaplain in the camp. (Visited June.)

Bergamo Hospital is no longer overcrowded. The medical personnel are well accommodated. Food is satisfactory, and commodities are brought in regularly from the canteen, which is outside the camp. Hospital clothing is issued, and everyone is well equipped.
Two new wash basins have been added for the use of medical personnel. There are three British medical officers besides the Italian staff, but there is no British dentist. About half the patients are suffering from wounds. There is an Anglican chaplain and an Italian priest attached to the camp. (Visited June.)

CAMPO P.G.202 P.M.3200, LUCCA
As a result of recent repatriation, only

A group at Campo P.G.54, a report of which appears on this page.

one-third of this hospital is now occupied. The new wing of the building has been completed. Sanitary installations are described as satisfactory, and there is sufficient hot water for the use of the patients. There are 11 medical officers and a dentist, besides the Italian staff.
A civilian dentist visits the hospital twice a week. X-ray and electrical treatment has recently been made available. The canteen is well stocked with fruit and vegetables, and special diets can be supplied. There is no room in which to hold Church of England services, though there is a Roman Catholic chapel. (Visited June.)

The number of patients at this hospital has been greatly reduced. Accommodation is satisfactory. Mail and parcels service appears to be satisfactory. Hospital clothing is issued to all patients. The dental cabinet has not yet been installed, but it promised.
There is no space available for sport, but regular walks have been arranged.
[italics] Note. [/italics] – Information has been received that patients from P.G.206 have been transferred to 203. (Visited June.)

Stalag IVB, which is at Muhlberg, appears to be mainly a transit camp, and many prisoners of war who have been sent there from Italy are now reported as having arrived at Stalag VIIIB.
Any parcels already sent to Stalag IVB should be forwarded by the camp authorities.
Next of kin and acting next of kin of these P.O.W.s should remember that it is important that the prisoner of war number should be given on all letters and parcels sent to men now in Germany.

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6 The Prisoner of War October, 1943

Groups from the Camps









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October, 1943 The Prisoner of War 7

Hockey on the Island – at Stalag XXIA.

The Letters They Write Home

From Italy to Germany
Stalag IVB. 28.7.43.
I HAVE left Italy and am now at Stalag IVB in Germany. The reason for this move? Well, your guess is a good as mine and probably as corrects.
What a difference in our two existences. In Italy, the land of easy come, easy go, and Latin indifference, we found life very much as we made it. They just pinned you up and left you to your own devices.
Now we are in Germany, the land of efficiency and love of discipline. Within 48 hours of entering the country we were “de-bugged,” registered, medically examined, X-rayed and inoculated: some organisation!
The food is better, there is more space, conditions are cleaner and, believe it or not, a swimming pool. Now the great thing is for you not to worry. If I know you won’t, then I’ll be all right.
I am not worrying; maybe I won’t be home as soon as you expected, but I wouldn’t have missed this for worlds.
Travelling here I have seen the most wonderful scenery in my life, its beauty touched something inside me and life seemed worth all its bumps. I am happier here than I have ever been as a prisoner.
Don’t think we don’t get any news here; we probably get even more than you do, and we can form our own conclusions.

Comrades in Adversity
Oflag VIIB. 20.7.43.
I HAVE no doubt you wonder how I pass the time. There are many little things that have to be done and which pass the day, such as washing dishes, making hot drinks, drawing parcels or tin store, going to the library, shorthand after lunch every day, and in the evening three times a week as well; visiting friends in other blocks and, of course, reading and playing games and sunbathing in the summer.
Then we spend a lot of time discussing everything and anything, from ships to sealing wax. I have accumulated a mass of general knowledge on all sorts or subjects. Other people’s jobs are often discussed. Everyone seems to know more about that particular job that the man actually concerned.
You may think I am just wasting my time from what I do. There are some who work much harder than I, but I can assure you I do more than a great many. I think I am keeping as fit as I can, both mentally and physically.
Try not to worry about me. This life is never any worse than you are able to imagine it, and I expect often a great deal better. There is a great deal in the comradeship of people suffering the same adversity. If you keep as cheerful and smiling as I do, which I am sure you do, we shall all be doing fine.

Post-war Plans
Stalag XXB. 1.8.43.
I AM still on the farm and am quite an experienced farm hand. I have papered another three rooms out recently.
Is Dad at work in his own line, and what do you intend doing after the war? Where shall we live? I don’t think I could like right inside the city again, although I should like to be near a town. Please let me know.

P.O.W. Surveyor
Stalag XXB (380). 1.8.43
SUMMER at last seems to have come to stay and we are now experiencing a warm spell.
I have been acting in a partly professional capacity as surveyor for a land drainage job. I’ve been supplied with “Dumpy” level and staff, and it was given me valuable experience in surveying and levelling. There is yet several months’ work to be done.
Later this afternoon I am due over the lake to convey our weekly washing to the laundry. We all take our rota in such fatigues as these, irrespective of rank.

Nearer Home
Stalag IVB. 28.7.43.
I AM nearer home than I have been for years. I still have not been told I am a P.O.W. of the Germans now, but still they did capture me, so here we are, at least some of us, in Germany.
We brought a few Red Cross parcels with us but are hoping to soon have a supply here as there are no parcels here at the present moment. I must tell you I enjoyed the trip here from Italy.

Life Agrees With Me
Campo P.G.118/VIII. 19.7.43.
WE have actually started fruit picking this week and we have been very busy collecting pears and apples. It’s really great fun, too, as we have to use the local counterpart for a ladder; they are just long poles with sticks through them for rungs. However, after a few spills are slips we managed to conquer them and are becoming quite expert.
We go to the farm at seven in the morning and finish at the same time at night and, with exception of a two-hour break mid-day, we are kept well on the go.

Parcels staff at Stalag XVIIIA.

I must say that this life certainly does agree with me and I feel almost disgustingly healthy.
The people we work for are very good, too; they’ve got a lovely great St. Bernard dog which has become great friends with us, and altogether life “down on the farm” seem all that it is cracked up to be.
But of course,

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8 The Prisoner of War October, 1943

Members of Stalag VIIA/277.

there is always the one big hope in our minds; there’s no place like home and may that hope soon be realised.

Milking the Cow
Stalag XXA (127). 18-7-43.
I AM getting on fine with the farm work. The farmer said “Have a try at milking a cow.” Well, down I got to it, and now I am quite an expert at it. I said to the farmer. “I only want a frock and my hair curled and then I would be a proper dairymaid.”

P.O.W. Farm Workers
Stalag XXA (173). 25-7-43.
I HAVE left the Fort again and am back on another farm, camper number (173); it is in the same area, not far away. We get good food here and plenty of greens. The Red Cross is still keeping us well supplied.
We have had plenty of rain here of late, but now comes the sun; we are on the cornfield all day, and although it is tedious work I enjoy it; my shirt is off all day and I am quite brown. My hair is going white here with the sun. I think I have put on weight since being here and feel better.
The girls on the farm tie the corn and we stack it in small heaps; they are very big fields here. We will be stacking barley next week.
The Russian prisoners are here on farms around as well – they drive the oxen. We have been bean-picking, carrot-picking and beetroot-pulling during the past few weeks.

A New Camp
Stalag Luft VI. Undated.
WE arrived safely at our new camp on Wednesday, June 16th, after a 30-hour journey. It was wonderful to gaze at changing scenery after having seen none for so long. We saw thousands of blue lupins growing wild right across East Prussia.
The new camp is bigger and not so shut in. We are the first here and are in long barracks.

They are the most comfortable quarters we have had yet. There are no facilities for cooking, so everything is lashed up in the cookhouse, and we all feed down the centre of our rooms at the same time. Nothing is organised yet, of course.
I am working already rigging up a post office. The sports field, theatre, etc, will have to be done before October as we get a very long winter up here.

We Get Potatoes
Stalag IVB. 5.8.43.
AS you will see from my new address I am now in Germany, and we are treated very well. The food is more substantial than in Italy. I have not yet received any Red Cross parcels or cigarettes, but our move will have delayed them more than ever.
I am allowed to write six times a month, including letter and postcards. Well, there is one thing about this country – It is very much like England. The countryside is beautiful and the people are very much like us only their language differs. Prison life is not sweet any time, but we are treated as men here and get potatoes – a food I have not since I was taken prisoner in June, 1942. We get plenty of fresh vegetables so I have no worries.

Working party trio at Stalag IVC/380.

A New Craze
Stalag 383. 4.7.43.
WE had a swimming pool made for us some time ago, but just now the water is a bit too dirty, so everybody has got a new craze on; they’re making little toy sailing boats and sailing them on the water. Sometimes an old boot with an old shirt tied to it will come out of the blue, causing a great laugh.

They Look After the Graves
Stalag VIIIB. 4.7.43.
I BELONG to a party of 10 N.C.O.s who look after the graves of the boys who have died here, planting and tending to the flowers, and I must say the cemetery looks really lovely now.

Life What You Make It
Stalag XXID 13. 4.7.43.
I KNOW everybody expects big things to happen in the near future, but it does not do to swallow all you read or hear in wartime.
As for myself, I’m well and out to work six days a week. It’s nearly all pick and shovel work, so I shall be a good “navvy” one day; but it’s not too hard a work and the most we do is six hours a day, very often less.
To-day is our day of rest and everybody in the room is either reading, writing home, or arguing over something or other. Some of the lads are walking around the camp grounds, and outside some of the rooms the lads are having a singsong accompanied by various instruments.
Soon it will be tea-time when we get into what’s left of our Red Cross parcels. So you see life is what we make it in a prisoners’ camp; most of us are fairly cheerful and “chins still up.” So don’t think we are in cells with chain and iron balls locked on our ankles, and most of our guards are just as human as we are and want to back in their homes. Like us, they have had enough of it.

A Win for Australia
Marlag und Milag. 25.7.43.
CRICKET going along famously and the pitch is

POSTAL orders 10s will be awarded each month to the senders of the first three letters printed. We should be very much obliged if readers would send is COPIES of their prisoners’ letters, instead of the original ones, and on a separate sheet of paper.
Photographs, preferably of prisoners at work of recreation. will also be welcomed. Payments of 10s. will be made for every photograph reproduced across two columns, and 6s. for every photograph across one column. The name of the subject, the position of any known P.O.W. in photograph, and also the name and address of sender must be written in block letters on the back. All letters and photographs will be returned as soon as possible.
The cost of these prizes and fees is defrayed by a generous friend of the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation.

“Our concert party” At Stalag XXIA.

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October, 1943 The Prisoner of War 9

good. The first Test was played about a week ago and resulted in a win for Australia. They batted first and knocked up 114. England started well but collapsed and finished up forty runs behind.
We have so far played four county matches, lost two and won two.
Athletics are going strong; we have four clubs; Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard; and if you feel inclined you can join a club and after much training they have a meeting. Last night we had the relays and long and high jumps. Yale, with Oxford and Cambridge were runners up.

From a Civilian Internee
Biberach. 3.7.43.
IT may be of interest to know how one spends the day. 7 a.m. fetch porridge for the ladies; 7.30, clean stove and room; 9-9.30, breakfast, sweep corridor 100ft. long, empty ashes, then dole out rations as they come along (marg., potatoes, sugar, salt, curds, etc.); this takes until 11 a.m.
I am then free till noon, when I dole out soup for twenty men – this is our only ration meal. In the afternoon, issue bread ration and do light fatigues, such as carrying Red Cross parcels, water for ladies’ washing and tea. At 5 p.m. go over to Flo for a Red Cross high rea (a real meal).
There are periodical jobs such as emptying mattresses and refilling and having a spring clean of barracks. The ladies have a roll call in the morning and the men a roll at night. We are locked in barracks from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m.
The over-sixties do not do any heavy fatigues. such as digging. Flo goes for a long walk about every ten days, parties of about 200, a guard in front and at rear.

Plenty of Chaff
Stalag VIIIB E235. 11.7.43.
IT is Sunday afternoon, most of the chaps are sleeping, a few are darning socks, etc.
There are 51 of us in this camp, none of them are local ; in fact, they are nearly all from the South. We are still on the same job; we have been on it over five months now – the longest bar one that I have been on one job. Last year I was over nine months in a sawmill, working in the woodyard.
I have had a good variety of jobs in the last three years, from digging drains to pulling sugar-beet, loading coal at a paper mill, and, of course, in winter, the inevitable snow-clearing. The jobs we work on are not very hard, but, of course we have to do a bit. We always work in gangs, and there is always plenty of chaff. We get two breaks in the day, around 9 to 10 o’clock for breakfast or [italics] fruhstuck [/italics], 12 to 1 for dinner or [italics] mit-tag [/italics], and then anywhere from 4 to 5 comes the welcome words [italics] feier-abend [italics], pronounced by us as “fire-arm.”

Replay race at Stalag Luft 3.

Amateur Tinkers
Campo P.G.53. 2.8.43.
EXPECT the weather is glorious now; it is tropically hot here and I am very sun-tanned and fit. Our platoon team (Lancashire) lost by 24 runs to Yorkshire this week – we only scored 61 runs. I have made a good job of a tea-urn out of tins, etc. Looks quite “posh” polished up. We are all more or less amateur tinkers now. Some chaps have even made attaché cases.

Takes His Boss to Town
Stalag XXB 631. 1.8.43.
I HAVE been very busy cutting corn day and night. I have four horses and the binder, and I am the only

A cheerful group at Stalag 383.

Englishman allowed to work or go with any machinery.
We are having lovely weather here and am “as brown as a berry.” My boss (a woman of 28) is very good to us and we get along fine together. I often take her to town in the coach with two horses.

Oxford Dinner
Campo P.G.21. 22.6.43.
LAST Sunday we had an Oxford dinner – some fifty odd members of the university attended, and it was an extremely successful evening.
Our hosts have now produced a cinema – first performance in the open air tonight. I am still very busy with the dance band and orchestra. Recently we played the whole of Beethoven’s Second Symphony.

Rabbit-Keeping – A New Craze
Stalag VIIIB E3. 20.7.43.
I WORK ten hours a day for five days of the week, and finish at 1 o’clock on Saturdays. My work consist of moving iron, sand, etc., and, in plain words, what I am told to do.
Saturday afternoons and Sundays we do our washing and give our billet a good tidy up.
We have a craze here – rabbit-keeping. I have been given two, and I might tell you it passes many hours away looking after them.
Our biggest job is getting wood for our fire.

Reads Between the Lines
Campo P.G.78 29.7.43.
IT is getting pretty hot down here now and I am getting as brown as a native. I played a game of cricket yesterday ; I did not make any runs, but caught three of the other side out.
In the Red Cross special invalids’ parcels they sent me were some vitamin B yeast tablets; they taste just like beer – they are good!
Did I tell you I get the paper every day? I can read Italian quite well now, especially between the lines.

[page break]

10 The Prisoner of War October, 1943


Lieut. H. H. Ledger; Passed German III, 1st class; passed Spanish I and II, 1st class; passed Spanish III, 2nd class.
Lieut. C.J.R. Yeo; Passed Spanish I and II, 1st class; passed Spanish III 2nd class.
L/Cpl. J.E. Warren; Passed Diploma Examination (very high standard).
Pte. A.W. Jeyes; Passed Senior General, Class III, Sgt. A. Francis-Clare, passed Senior General, Class I.
June, 1943.
Associate Stage. Successful Candidates.
BOOK-KEEPING; Sapper G.W. Griffith.
Elementary Stage.
L/Cpl. F. Schofield.
March, 1943.
Associate Stage. Successful Candidates.
Sgt. J.O. Badcock with distinction; Cpl. G. Butterworth; C.Q.M.S. R.A. Keys
Pte. H.D.G. Cunnold; Sgt. J.O. Badcock; Cpl, G, Butterworth; C.Q.M.S. R.A. Keys; L/Bdr. T. Smith
Sgt. J.O. Badcock; Cpl. G. Butterworth; C.Q.M.S. R.A. Keys.
Pte. H.D.G. Cunnold.
Associate Examination.
J.E.H. Barnfield, Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed, English Composition, Part II passed.
W.G.A. Hill; Banking, Part II, passed.
Lt. A.H. Blackbourn; *Accountancy, Part II, passed;
Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed.
Lt. R.G. Brown; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed; Eng. Composition, Part II, passed.
Lt. D.M.C. Burrough; *Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed (Distinction).
Lt. R.L. Charlesworth; Economics, Part I, passed. Lt. J.W.Y. Cullen; Economics, Part I, passed.
Capt. B.A. Dowling; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed.
Lt. I.F. Dunkley; Book-keeping, Part I, passed; Economics, Part I, passed.
Lt. P. Elliott; Economics, Part I, passed; Banking, Part I, passed; English Composition, Part II, passed.
Lt. G.I. Fisher; Accountancy, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed; Banking, Part II, passed.
Capt. P.S. Ingham; [symbol] Booking-keeping, Part I, passed; Economics, Part I, passed.
Lt. F.H.H. Jackson; *Accountancy, Part II, passed.
Capt. G.H. Killey; Book-keeping, Part I, passed;
English Composition, Part I, passed; Banking, Part I, passed.
Lt. N.T. Lawson; Economics, Part II, passed.
Lt. P.M.C. Onions; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed; English Composition, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed.
Lt. C.G. Osmond; [symbol] Book-keeping, Part I, passed; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed; Banking, Part II, passed.
Lt. S.D. Rae; [symbol] Accountancy, Part II, passed; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed (Distinction); Banking, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed.
Lt. T.W. Retter; Accountancy, Part II, passed; Banking, Part II, passed (Distinction).
Lt. B.L.S. Rich; Book-keeping, Part I, passed. Economics, Part II, passed; Banking, Part II, passed.
Lt. J.A. Rodger; Book-keeping, Part I, passed; Economics, Part II, passed; Banking, Part II, passed.
Lt. J.W. Shearer; Foreign Exchange, Part II, passed; English Composition, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed.
Pte. H. Thorpe; English Composition, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed; Banking Part II, passed.
Lt. P.L. Verity; *Accountancy, Part II, passed; Foreign Exchange. Part II, passed; English Composition, Part II, passed; Economics, Part II, passed.

*Completes Part II.
[symbol] Completes Part I.

Lt. F.S. Wenborn; Book-keeping, Part I, passed,
Banking, Part I, passed.
Gnr. J.F. Archer; pass with credit.
J.D. Bibby; pass with credit.
E.G. Christian; pass with credit.
Pte. H. Findlay; pass.
A. Hogg; pass with credit.
S.M. McGifford; pass with credit.
J.J. Mooney; pass with credit.
Sgt. G.W.P. Reid; pass with credit.
L/Cpl. C.W. Rooke; pass.
J. Sharp; pass.
Sgt. D.F. Springett; pass with credit.
C.G. Vowles; pass.
Pte. C.E. Allison; pass, 1st class.
Capt. A.T. Bardwell; passed 1st class.
J.D. Bibby; pass, 1st class.
C.A.R.M. Bolton; pass, 2nd class.
R. Bone; Pass, 2nd class.
Major J.I. Breeds; passed 1st class.
Major W. Christopherson; passed 1st class.
Major H. Coghill; passed 1st class.
Major W.W.N. Davies; passed 1st class.
Capt. S.A. Day; passed 1st class.
Brig. H.C. Eden; passed 1st class.
Capt. K. Keens; pass, 1st class.
J.G.I. McKeman; pass, 2nd class.
A. H. MacKinnon; pass 2nd class.
Major N. MacKinnon; passed 1st class.
Pte. S.W. Mills; passed 1st class.
Capt. R.K. Montgomery; passed 1st class.
Major A.R.E. Parsons; passed 1st class.
Major C.A. Peel; passed 1st class.
Major R.W. Porcas; passed 1st class.
Major J.R.L. Roberts; passed 1st class.
Pte. L.H. Rowland; passed 1st class.
C. Salt; pass, 2nd class.
S/Sgt. J.G. Sheekey; pass 1st class.
W.J. Strawbridge; pass, 2nd class.
W.J. Thompson; pass, 2nd class.
Major J.F. Wallace; passed 1st class.
Pte. J. Ward; passed 1st class.
P. Anderson; pass.
D.F. Brunger; pass.
J. Byford; pass, with credit.
J. Galvin; pass.
Pte. N.T. Hinks; pass with credit.
Pte. E.H. Hobby; pass.
I.K. Lawson; pass with credit.
W.H. Pond; pass with credit.
G.W. Poole; pass.
J. Byford; pass, 2nd class.
Pte. S.K.P. Brick; pass, 2nd class.
W/O H.W.J. Cawood; pass 1st class.
S.C. Davis; pass, 2nd class.
N.T. Hinks; pass 2nd class.
I.K. Lawson; pass, 1st class.
J.C. Limerick; pass, 2nd class.
D.C. Lock; pass, 2nd class.
W.H. Pond; pass, 2nd class.
Spr. G.W. Poole; pass, 2nd class.
E.T. Russell; pass, 1st class.
J.A. Wise; pass, 1st class.
Pte. V.M. Egan; pass with credit.
Pte. L.F. Horton; pass with credit.
Sgt. A.G. Jones; pass with credit.
W. Standage; pass.
R.S. Taylor; pass.
H. Terry; pass with credit.
G.C.S. Turner; pass with credit.
Pte. V.M. Egan; pass, 1st class.
W. Golledge; pass, 2nd class.
Pte. L.F. Horton; pass 2nd class.
Sgt. A.G. Jones; pass, 2nd class.
L/Cpl. H.E.L. Rose; pass, 1st class.
S/Sgt. J.G. Sheekey; pass, 1st class.
H. Terry; pass, 2nd class.
Sgt. G.C.S. Turner; pass 2nd class.
H.L. Astbury; pass.
J.A.R. Coulthard; pass with credit.
E.H. Hobby; pass.
A.T.R. Kemp; pass.
Sgt. I. Ramsay; pass with credit.
G. Clare; pass.
Continued at foot of next column


THE Postmaster-General has announced that in view of the armistice with Italy no more next of kin or permit parcels should be sent to prisoners of war in Italy.
Parcels not yet dispatched from the Parking Centres at Finsbury Circus and Glasgow will be returned to the senders.
We are not able to make any statement as to the possibility of the return of parcels already on their way to Italy.
Coupons already issued for a prisoner in Italy should be carefully kept until further notice. If, however, the next of kin have returned them to the Red Cross, a new issue will be made later on should it be found to be necessary.
If information is received that the prisoner from whom the coupons were issued has been moved to Germany, they may be used for a parcel to be sent to that country, even though the coupon book is stamped “Italy.”
If any of the coupons have already been used for the purchase of clothing, the garments should be kept until further information about the prisoner is available.
No fresh issues of labels and coupons will be made at present for prisoners believed to be in Italy.

– and letters
Until further notice letters and postcards can continue to be posted to prisoners and internees in Italy addressed to the last know camp address for transmission by surface mail, but no guarantee can be given that it will be possible to effect delivery. Correspondence cannot be forwarded by air mail.

The following additions should be made:
Italy: P.G.19. P.M.3200; P.G.207, PM. 3200 (hospital). Casacelenda, Province di Campobasso (new civilian internment camp for women).
The following should be deleted: P.G.35. P.M.3400; P.G. 51, P.M. 3450; P.G.206, P.M.3400 (camp closed); Corropoli (civilian internment camp).
The location of P.G. 47 is MODENA, and not PIACENZE as previously stated. The location of P.G.136 is BOLOGNA.
The following should be added: France: Embrum – Hautes Alps (civilian internment camp).

W. Linder: pass.
H. Widdows: pass.
N. Cossins: pass, 2nd class.
Pte. L.F. Horton; pass, 2nd class.
Sgt I. Ramsay; pass, 2nd class.
H. Widdows; pass, 2nd class.
Sgt. D.J. McCarthy; pass, 1st class.
R.J.E. Hawkins; pass, 2nd class.
Sgt. I. Ramsey; pass, 1st class.
S.M. McDonald; pass, 1st class.

[page break]

October, 1943 The Prisoner of War 11


AXIS prisoners of war in Great Britain receive rations strictly according to the 1929 Geneva Convention, which means that they are fed on the same scale as the British troops who guard them. There is, therefore, little need to point out that German and Italian prisoners have not the same vital need of Red Cross food parcels as our men in Germany and Italy.
Nevertheless, the Red Cross is still the chief link with home for prisoners in our hands, and both the German and Italian Red Cross Societies send various supplies to this country for their own nationals, although on a far smaller scale than those provided by the War Organisation for our prisoners in enemy hands.

Direct to Lisbon
The consignments usually come direct to Lisbon and thence to this country, but on a few occasions a very small amount has come on the return trips of the British Red Cross “shuttle” service of ships between Lisbon and Marseilles.
When the parcels reach Great Britain, whether from Germany or Italy, they go either direct to the camps or in some cases to the International Red Cross Committee’s delegation in London, who have special storage accommodation for these parcels so that supplies can be sent to any camp which may have a sudden influx of new prisoners.
A detailed system of checking and acknowledgements is carried out by the International Red Cross in London and in Geneva, rather similar to the system in force for British Red Cross shipments to our own men in Germany and Italy. In each case Geneva acts as the clearing house and forms a “neutral” bridge by which both supplies and information can pass between prisoners of war and the national Red Cross Society which cares for them

German Parcels
The relatives of German prisoners of war in Great Britain are able, through the German Red Cross, to send them, at the cost of one mark each, small parcels known as “Typenpakete” (standard parcels). The “Typenpaketen” weigh from 1 1/2 to 2Ib. each, and only a very small number (about 1,700 per month) are sent to German prisoners here, as compared with the big consignments of next of kin and “permit” parcels from this country to our men in Germany. They are of three kinds, containing cigarettes or tobacco, or soap and other cleaning materials, or sweets and biscuits. These packages, which are individually addressed, are sent off by the German Red Cross from their head

[inserted] WE have received enquiries from time to time from next of kin about how the Axis powers help their prisoners of war through their own Red Cross organisation as compared with the service that the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation are able to do for British P.O.W.s. The following article gives some amount of the contents of the parcels which reach P.O.W. camps in this country from Germany and Italy. It was written before the Armistice with Italy was signed and refers to the conditions obtaining at the time it was written. [/inserted]

quarters at the former Ufa film “city” at Babelsberg, near Potsdam, and they go by air to Lisbon and then by post direct to the camps. Censorship is carried out in the camps themselves.
In addition to these individual parcels collective consignments are sent by the German Red Cross in the form of parcels, each about 10 Ib. in weight, well packed in waterproof brown paper fastened with gummed paper.
The food sent in the collective consignments includes rye bread wrapped in Cellophane, tins of apricots and other fruit, powered and condensed milk, typical German sausages of various kinds, some with fish filling, tinned meat and soup. Jam made of some kind of berries comes in solid slabs of the consistency of a table jelly.
In addition to foodstuffs there are collective parcels of soap; this is very hard and heavy, with a pungent and peculiar scent; there is also some kind of face cream in glass jars with the same distinctive scent as the soap.

Uniforms Sent from Germany
“Other Rank” prisoners of war in this country are issued with British battledress ornamented with the large coloured patches that are noticeable on Italian prisoners working on the land. The prisoners may, however, if they choose, wear their own uniforms, and most German prisoners of war prefer to do this. Large bales of uniforms sent over through the German Red Cross come to the International Red Cross stores for sorting and issue. Boots are not sent, but the quality of the uniforms is high, and a good proportion of either wool or a good imitation is used in the cloth.

Serious Book Preferred
German prisoners are supplied with books largely through the World Alliance of the Y.M.C.A., but many volumes, particularly textbooks of various kinds, are sent from Germany. Almost all the books are serious study books on science, mathematics, law and languages, etc., and little provision is made for recreational reading.
Recreational gear such as musical instruments and sports equipment occasionally comes from Germany. For the most part, however, the Germans rely on gifts from the Y.M.C.A.

Parcels from Italy
Until quite recently very little was sent to Italian prisoners in this country by the Italian Red Cross, although the next of kin of a small proportion of the men sent occasional parcels.
Within the last few weeks, however, a few food parcels have arrived from the Italian Red Cross after being re-directed from South Africa by the International Red Cross at Geneva. These parcels appear to be standardised but individually addressed. Each is of about the same weight as a British Red Cross food parcel and contains two tins of preserved meat (about 8 oz. each,) two packets of potato flour semolina (about 4 oz. each), a slab of solid jam (about 1 Ib.), and a tin of condensed milk, two tablets of poor quality soap, and a hundred Macedonian cigarettes. There is also a packet of stomach powders.

What Italian Next of Kin Send
Next of kin parcels from Italy vary greatly in size, and they are obviously packed by the senders. All are stitched up in some kind of fabric. The contents are often rather pathetic – home-made cakes and biscuits, so stale after their journey that they are as hard as stone; little twists of sewing cotton, half-used tablets of soap, and a curious-looking sweet something like a popcorn.
Packets of ten cigarettes of Macedonian tobacco labelled “2.20 lire” are often sent.
In the ordinary way these Italian next of kin parcels go direct to the camps, but when the package is damaged or the
(Continued overleaf)

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12 The Prisoner of War October, 1943


VERNA DENNIS and Lorna Rudd are twelve years old and eleven years old respectively. Verna has a brother and Lorna an uncle, both P.O.W.s in Italy – and what, thought the girls, could they do about it? We know their answer to that question now, and we are very glad and grateful to know it, for they held a sale in Bishop Auckland, where they live, and have raised fifteen guineas. On behalf of your brother and uncle and all their comrades – thank you, Verna and Lorna, very much indeed.

A Jumble Sale
Other enterprising young people have been: Valerie Wright. Of Rickmansworth, who arranged a jumble sale and raised £4 1s.; Patricia Aitken and Elizabeth Lovett (aged 12 and 11), who gave concerts to their friends and raised £1 10s.; Jane Mitchell (aged 12), of Blackheath. Birmingham, who has also collected £1 10s from the proceeds of a concert; Thelma Bowen (aged 13) and her friends at East Southsea, who in the same way raised £1 6s 6d.; Bryan Bird-eye (aged 12), of Kelvedon, who has earned 14s. for the Fund by painting fireplace decorations; the pupils of St. Margaret’s Kindergarten Sunday School, also of East Southsea, who contributed 4s.; and three little girls of Sutton-at-Home, Dartford – Olive Gunner, and Jean and Ivy Capon – who gave a party and raised 3s. The children of Perth whose fathers are P.O.W.s met at a happy tea-time gathering and presented £5 to the Fund.
Mr. F. G. Cornish, who raised £25 for the Fund with his poem “Calais,” has written another poem entitled “A Prayer.” Copies can be obtained from Mr Cornish at 30, Dacre Road, Upton Manor, E.13. for 5 1/2d. post free – all proceeds to the Fund.
By house-to-house collecting in her own immediate neighbourhood, Mrs. Collins, of Longford. Coventry has raised £58 16s 8d. during the last sixteen months. By selling garden produce Mrs. Startin, of Brimpton, Reading, has realised (for the second time) 3 guineas. By saving halfpennies or threepenny bits Miss White and Mrs. Laidler, of Morpeth, have collected £1 10s.; Mrs. Selby and her family, of Stratford, and Mrs. Bull, of Fratton, 10s. each.

Model Airplanes
By making model airplanes and selling them, Mr Deering, of Staplehurst, Kent, £8 17s. 6d.; and Mrs. Sweet. £5. By running whist-drives, dances, etc., Mrs. Thomas, of Fleetwood. Lancs (“in thanksgiving for a postcard from my husband, now a prisoner in Japanese hands”), £15 10s.; the Women’s Co-operative Guild of Topsham, Exeter, £10 8s. By selling a parcel contributed by the staff of South Brent Co-operative Society, Devon. £6 10s.

Other Helpers
We are grateful, too, to report that Mrs. Walker, of Mirfield, Yorkshire, has given £5; Miss Winifred Ford of Bramhall, Cheshire. 1 guinea; Mr. Islwyn James, of Morriston, Swansea, half a guinea ; Mrs Hogg, of Loanhead, Midlothian, Mrs. Barbour, of Tingley, Wakefield, Mrs. Nichols, of West Bilney, King’s Lynn. Mr. George Allsworth, of Harrow, and Miss Joan Hughes, of Taly-bont. Bangor (“to help towards a parcel for Daddy”), all 10s.; and Mrs. Thorneycroft, of Birmingham, 5s.
The Haslemere and Shottermill N.F.S. have nobly sent us £8 for the second time in two months.
“Could you let me have a collecting box and posters? “asks Mr. Yardy, of Streatham, on behalf of his Rover Scouts. “Two of the troop are prisoners in Italy and we want to help.”
The magnificent sum of £90 has been the result of a Sale of Work and Concert held in aid of the Red Cross by the little village of North Weald. £73 of this is due to the work of a few woman who made dolls and other toys in their spare moments.

address is not clear they are looked after by the staff of the International Red Cross delegation until the addressee has been located.

Special Books for Farmers
Most Italian prisoners in this country are peasants in uniform, whose normal life centres entirely on the land. This fact is, of course, well recognised by the Italian Red Cross, and it is shown very interestingly by the type of books sent from Italy to the camps.
A few Italian translations of popular American novels are included, and certain school textbooks, but the outstanding item is a set of seventy-three illustrated booklets, well printed in colour and produced by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. They deal with every conceivable type of job likely to be performed by an Italian farmer or gardener, and a complete set is sent to every camp.
Several volumes, seen at random, dealt with maize-growing, lavender culture, mushrooms, silage, bees, tomatoes, chicken-sexing, and animal parasites. The books are written in simple language, aided by many diagrams.

Gifts to Both Sides
Parcels from Germany and Italy make up the main part of incoming supplies for enemy prisoners over here, but a certain amount also arrives from other sources.
South American Red Cross Societies send consignments, for instance, for Italian prisoners, while the Hungarian Red Cross Society sent here not only a large case of tapioca for German and Italian prisoners, but an identical case to Geneva for British prisoners in Germany and Italy.

Work of the International Red Cross
All the organisation work involved in this distribution is carried out by the International Red Cross in Geneva and through their delegations in the belligerent countries.
In Great Britain the delegation also takes an important part in welfare work for these enemy soldiers who are finished with the war. The delegates, together with representatives of the War Office, the Y.M.C.S., and the Society of Friends, form a special welfare committee that meets regularly.
Recently it purchased a printing press that has been installed in an Italian prison camp convalescent hospital so that permanently disabled prisoners can produce much-needed educational books for their fellow prisoners. The committee has also provided seeds and instigated a camp gardening competition.

Reciprocal Humanity
The work of the International Red Cross Committee’s delegation in Great Britain has its counterpart in the unending watch over the interests of our men kept by the International Red Cross delegates in Germany and Italy.
This bright streak of humanity in the midst of the gloom of war has sometimes another and even more impressive power for good. There have been occasions when some concessions, made at the suggestion of the Red Cross delegate by the Government of one country to ease the lot of the prisoners in its hands, has had a direct effect on the welfare of prisoners held by the opposing nation.

For Wounded and Sick
For example, wounded and sick prisoners in this country were allowed to receive occupational therapy materials from the International Red Cross, and this was followed by permission from the German authorities for similar materials to be sent to camp hospitals by the British Red Cross. Similarly, when the delegate in his camp report was able to describe the good conditions of the civilian internee camps in the Isle of Man, the Germans reciprocated by moving British women from the notoriously bad camp at Besancon to more comfortable accommodation at Vittel.

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October, 1943 The Prisoner of War 13


Official Reports on Camps in Japan

VISITS were paid to prisoner of war camps in Japan in April, 1943. The following features are common to all the camps.
Buildings are usually of wood or a combination of wood and plaster. The food is described as quite satisfactory, considering the present conditions in Japan (where strict rationing appears to be in force), but nevertheless, insufficient in quantity. It consists mainly of rice, barley, vegetables and bread, with meat and fish from time to time. Butter fats, eggs and jam cannot be obtained. There is an issue of six cigarettes a day. Canteens have been organised, but are short of stocks; such goods as are available are sold at cost price.
There is certain shortage of clothing and underwear; it appears that the amount issued has been insufficient.
Bathing and hygienic arrangements are very satisfactory. The prisoners of war use large baths of the Japanese type.
Medical care is well organised. There are infirmaries for light cases, and graver cases can be sent to hospital. There are weekly medical inspections. Dental treatment is given by civilians.
All other rank prisoners who are fit work for an average of nine hours a day. There are three rest days in each month. The work does not conflict with the provisions of the 1929 Convention. The working pay varies according to each prisoner’s capacity, between 10 and 35 sen per day. Officers are paid at the same rate as Japanese officers of equivalent rank. But only a limited amount of the pay may be retained by prisoners of war; the rest is credited to their bank accounts.
The length of the working day (which was the subject of complaints) leaves little opportunity for the use of the sports grounds which have been provided. The prisoners have some books and gramophones, and the Y.M.C.A. is obtaining more books for them.
No severe disciplinary punishments have been imposed, and no judicial prosecutions have been instituted. Two roll-calls are held daily.
Some Red Cross relief has been received in all the camps.
Brief reports on visits to individual camps convey the following information:

Osaka Docks (Principal Camp) – Strength was 850 Americans, British and other races. The British are from Hong Kong. The site is not very pleasant and does not get enough sun.
Sakurajima. – The strength is 197, all British from Hong Kong, including 27 civilians formerly employed in the naval dockyard. The site of the camp is a suburb of Osaka, is sunny and healthy, but the men are overcrowded.
Amagasaki. – The strength is 192, all British from Hong Kong. They are overcrowded. The site is a pleasant and healthy one, in a suburb of Osaka, near the sea.
Harima. – The strength is 399; there are only five British prisoners; the remainder are Dutch. It is situated on a promontory overlooking the inland sea in a healthy and pleasant position.
Kawasaki Park. – Three camps in Japan bear the name of Kawasaki. Two of these are in the Tokyo group. They are American camps, and reports on them have not been received in this country. Kawasaki Park is in the Osaka Group and is mainly a Dutch camp, with some Australians and five British out of a total strength of 382. The prisoners are accommodated in roomy new wooden huts on a hill in a park near Kobe.
Kobe (business quarter). – Contains 371 British and 46 Americans from Hong Kong and the Philippines. Situated near a sports ground, the brick buildings are said to be comfortable.

Omine. – It appears that the large figure given as the strength of this camp in a previous report may have been erroneous.
The strength at the April visit was only 189, of whom eight were officers. They are all British from Java. They are all British from Java. They are comfortably housed in two-storeyed wooden buildings on a sunny and healthy hillside. The rooms are electrically heated. Here the food is considered to be sufficient; fresh fruit is included in the rations. The canteens are better stocked than in other camps.
The camp included a Dutch doctor, a priest and three medical orderlies. A prayer is said daily and a sermon is preached once a week.

Changi Camp, Singapore

Ube. – 153 British from Java are comfortably housed in one-storeyed huts. The officers, of whom there are 16, conduct short services. Food is said to be just sufficient.
Higashimisome. – 165 British from Java are in spacious wooden huts in pleasant district on the coast of the inland sea. A chaplain conducts daily prayers and preaches a weekly sermon. There have been two cinema shows.
Ohama. – 151 British from Java. The site is on the shores of the inland sea, and is sunny and healthy. The food is just sufficient and includes fresh fruit. There are four medical orderlies in the camp.
Motoyama. – 160 British from Java. Conditions are similar to Ohama. Electric heating is installed.
Mukojima. – Contains 179 British from Java. There is a Dutch doctor and a priest, who conducts a daily service and preaches on Sundays.

IN view of the new ruling made by the Japanese whereby letters in ordinary handwriting are no longer acceptable, attention is once again drawn to the facilities that we are able to offer for the typing of letters, without charge, by professional typists. Those wishing to avail themselves of the scheme are asked to follow these instructions:

1. Write your letter on an ordinary sheet of notepaper.
2. Write, on a separate sheet of paper, FULL particulars of the name and address of the prisoner and of your own name and address.
3. Place both in an envelope, together with a plain sheet of notepaper and an envelope. (This plain paper and envelope will be used for the typing of the letter to the prisoner.) Put nothing else in the envelope.
4. Put the letters “T.S.” in the top left-hand corner of the outside envelope, which must also bear a 2 1/2d. Stamp. Seal it and address it to:


Next of kin may, if they prefer, hand their letters to their local Red Cross Office. No acknowledgments will be sent.
No responsibility can be accepted either by the Red Cross and St. John or by the staff of volunteers in any matter relating to this service. Every step has been taken to ensure careful handling and the correct despatch of letters, and all letters will be treated in the strictest confidence.
When typed, letters will not be returned to the writers, but will be despatched to the Far East.

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14 The Prisoner of War October, 1943


NEGOTIATIONS for exchanges of a limited number of civilians are at present proceeding between the Japanese Government on the one hand, and on the other the Governments of the British Empire and the United States of America.
It is hope that in the near future an exchange of Japanese from the American Continent with a number of civilians returning to that Continent will take place at Marmagoa, in Portuguese India.
If negotiations between the Government of the United Kingdom and the other Dominions on the one hand and Japan on the other can be brought to a successful conclusion, a further exchange may take place at the same port later.
With the approval of the Governments concerned, national Allied Red Cross Societies, as on the occasion of the previous exchange in the autumn of last year, are availing themselves of the opportunity to send relief supplies for all prisoners of war and interned civilians in Japanese hands to whom access is possible by these means.

Supplies on Exchange Ships
The Japanese exchange ships will convey supplies for British and Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians in the Far East, and the Allied exchange ships will convey any supplies for Japanese prisoners of war and interned civilians in Allied hands, thus giving effect to the Red Cross principle of reciprocity.
While the space available for relief supplies on the Japanese exchange ships cannot be definitely stated until their arrival at the exchange port, the War Organisation, in consultation with the Australian, South African, and Indian Red Cross Societies, has arranged for the transport to Marmagoa of supplies of essential medicines and vital foods.

A Regular Service
Exchange ships, of course will never be able to provide adequately even for the minimum needs of the prisoners, though where the need is so great, as in the case of prisoners in the Far East, no means of help is without great value. The ideal at which the War Organisation has been constantly aiming is a regular service such as has been established for prisoners in Europe. While efforts to secure a regular service continue, every alternative means of supply that can be put into practice has been developed.

Local Purchases by Delegates
The International Red Cross Committee, through its authorised delegates in Japan, Shanghai and Hong Kong, has given all assistance in its power by local purchase to meet the essential needs of prisoners of war and civilian internees in these places.
Though the Japanese have refused to recognise the delegates of the International Red Cross Committee elsewhere, a local representative in Singapore has been able to do a good deal by way of local purchase in that neighbourhood, and the International Red Cross Committee is seeking, not without some success, to bring relief by the same means in other areas.
The War Organisation has been asked to co-ordinate this form of relief and in association with the Empire Red Cross Societies, has accepted the liability for considerable sums of money which have been expended locally in this way through the International Red Cross Committee. Liabilities met and already contracted for to the end of 1943 amount to approximately £175,000. If difficulties not yet fully surmounted can be overcome, expenditure on such local purchases will be increased.

Co-operation with Other Red Cross Societies
In all these efforts to establish channels for the shipment of supplies on a continuing basis to prisoners of war in the Far East, the War Organisation keep close touch with the American Red Cross, which correspondingly takes advantage of American and Canadian-Japanese exchanges to send medicines and other relief supplies to American prisoners of war and civilian internees in the Far East.
The co-operation of the Canadian Red Cross, as one of the great Empire Red Cross Societies, with the War Organisation has, of course, been constant throughout.
In forming a correct appreciation of the nature of the whole problem it is important always to bear in mind amongst other thing, two significant facts-
(i) that the majority of our prisoners are in places south-west of the Hong Kong-Manila line;
(ii) that the distance from Japan to this area is 3,000 miles;
While finally all plans for the relief of prisoners are dependent on recognition by the Japanese Government of its responsibility for the delivery of supplies.

THE following information has been supplied by the Post Office:-
“As the normal postal services to and from Japan and Japanese-occupied territories are, of course, suspended, it was necessary to arrange for a neutral postal administration to reforward correspondence to and from prisoners of war in the Far East.
“The Russian Post Office undertook to do this, and since July last year such correspondence has been despatched from this country in mails are addressed to U.S.S.R.; these mails are at present routed via Persia.
“An assurance has been given by the Soviet Postal Authorities that correspondence received for prisoners of war in Japan and Japanese-occupied territories is reforwarded to Japan without delay. It must , however, be realised that owing to the great distances and transport difficulties involved letters invariably take some months to reach Japan.
“Most of the correspondence so far received in this country from prisoners of war in the Far East has come through Russia to Switzerland and Portugal, and in order to reduce the time of transmission as much as possible the G.P.O. has arranged for it to be bought here by air from Lisbon.”

MANY relatives have been perturbed recently regarding reported large scale transference of prisoners from Malaya and Borneo to Japan. They are earnestly asked to disregard such reports unless officially announced.
Next of kin can rest assured that immediately any such transfers occur and the names of the prisoners moved are advised by the Japanese, they will be personally informed of all details.

A MEETING of next of kin resident in London, of prisoners of war and civilian internees in the Far East will be held at the Central Hall, Westminster, S.W.1. on October 9th at 3 p.m. The Countess of Limerick, deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the Joint War Organisation will be in the chair. All tickets have now been issued and no further applications can be made.

THE Postmaster-General learns that the Japanese authorities require that letters and postcards to prisoners of war and civilian internees in Japan and Japanese-occupied territories shall in future be limited to 25 words and shall be either typewritten or written clearly in block-lettering.
Letters and postcards from now on which do not comply may not be delivered by the Japanese authorities, who claim that the restrictions are necessary to simplify the work of their censorship so that the correspondence can be speeded up.
The Postmaster-General stresses the necessity for correctly and fully addressing all correspondence for prisoners of war and civilian internees in the Far East in accordance with the directions given in the Post Office leaflet P.2327 B., which still holds good in all respects except in regard to the new Japanese requirements referred to above.
Copies of this leaflet can be obtained free of charge at all the principal post offices.

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October , 1943 The Prisoner of War 15


Names Sent Home
Tokyo Prisoners’ Camp 10.3.43.
I HOPE that you have had news of my being safe before you receive this as we have been told that our names have been sent home. Do not worry over me.

Given Warm Clothes
Shinagawa Camp, Tokyo. 12.3.43.
AM doing well. Winter quite cold, but was given warm clothes. Get daily papers in English. Received Red Cross parcel Christmas Day.

Working for Pay
Camp H/Chosen, Korea. 27.1.43.
IT is a bit cold here after being in the tropics for eight years; still, I suppose I shall get used to it. We are doing a bit of work here and get paid for it, which allows us to buy cigarettes and apples. The Japanese allowed us to hold Christmas and a concert, which was all right.

Never Made to be a Farmer
Shanghai Prisoners Camp. 1.1.43.
AT present we are very busy turning up the ground to make a vegetable garden, but please do not think I shall want to do that kind of work when I get home, because I really have found out that I was never made to be a farmer.

Good Laughs
Jinsen Camp, Chosen. 27.1.43.
WE are being well treated. The weather is very cold, especially after Singapore. We have been issued with warm clothing. We go out to work every day except Sundays, and are paid a small wage. We are issued with cigarettes every month, for which we are very thankful. When we are in at night our conversation is usually about home. We have some good laughs about what we shall do when we get back.

A Severe Winter
Hakodale. 1.3.43.
I’M pleased to say that I’m quite well, having come through a severe winter without being sick. My thoughts are always with you and I pray we will be reunited soon.

In Excellent Sprits
Changi Camp. 21.6.42.
. . . TIME passes quickly. I’m busy learning Chinese and how to play the piano-accordian and sing in Van Hien’s concert choir. . . . We are in excellent spirits, but am not seeking employment as Dhobi, house servant, or button sewer after this.

Reproduced by courtesy of “Vogue”

Thick Socks
For his next parcel. They are made in 3-ply.

[knitting instructions]

Please note the following corrections on the map included in last month’s issue.
Campo P.G.103: P.M. number given as 3100 should be P.M. 3200.
Campo P.G.115: P.M. number given as 3200 should be P.M. 3300.
Campo P.G. 120; P.M number given as 3300 should be P.M. 3200.

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16 The Prisoner of War October, 1943

THE Ministry of Food has sanctioned the increase of 1/2 Ib. in the amount of chocolate which may be purchased from the Red Cross Next of Kin Packing Centres at Finsbury Circus and Glasgow for inclusion in next-of-kin parcels sent to prisoners of war and civilian internees.
The maximum amount which may now be bought from the Red Cross is, therefore, 2 Ib.
It should be noted that this does not affect the arrangement whereby the Red Cross will add 1/2 Ib. of chocolate as a gift to every parcel if weight allows; nor to the amount which the next of kin may, themselves, include.
The price of the chocolate remains the same as before, i.e., 9d. per 1/2 Ib.
Next of kin are reminded that allowance should be made for the full weight of chocolate and soap to be added at the packing centres.

[missing words] to [missing words] to the [missing words] , 14, Fins- [missing words] with a note of ex- [missing words] later they wish to send another parcel a fresh issue will be made to them on receipt of an application in writing.
The reason for this request is that it is difficult to account to the Board of Trade for all the coupons issued each quarter if some of them are retained by next of kin for a longer time.

It has been announced by the Censorship that no Christmas Cards, New Year Cards or calendars may be sent this year to prisoners of war and civilian internees in German and Italian hands.
The reason is that their despatch last year caused great congestion in the camp censorships, with the result that the delivery of ordinary letters to prisoners was very much delayed. This caused disappointment and anxiety, and it was suggested by a number of camp captains that cards and calendars should not be sent this year.

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.

Any Questions?

Mosquito Nets for Far East P.O.W.s
[italics] Do the Japanese provide mosquito nets for our men in the Malayan climate? If not, cannot the Red Cross get the Swiss authorities to do something about it? Having lived out there many years, I tremble to think what will happen to our men if they do not sleep under mosquito nets of in mosquito-proof houses. [/italics]
We are informed that in Formosa the Japanese are providing mosquito nets where necessary; this information being furnished by a delegate of the International Red Cross who has inspected the camp. These delegates have been refused permission to visit the camps in Malaya, but the Japanese authorities have stated that nets are provided where necessary for the welfare of prisoners.

Card Prohibited
[italics] May I send a pack of cards in my clothing parcel? [/italics]
No. Please see the list of prohibited articles issue every quarter with the next-of-kin parcel label.

Football Boots
[italics] May I send football boots in my parcel? [/italics]
Yes. These may be sent in next-of-kin parcels.

No Puzzles for P.O.W.s
[italics] May I send a book of cross-word puzzles to Germany? [/italics]
Cross-word puzzles may not be sent to prisoners of war.

Sleeping Bag Allowed
[italics] May I send a sleeping bag in my parcel to my husband, a P.O.W. in Germany? [/italics]
An ordinary blanket sleeping bag – not the padded variety – may be sent in next-of-kin parcels. This is clearly stated in the instruction leaflet.

For Artist P.O.W.
[italics] My son is an artist; may I send him water-colour paints, brushes and a block of painting paper? [/italics]
Water-colour paints in pans, not in tubes, and brushes may be sent in next-of-kin parcels. Sketching blocks or drawing books may be sent through permit holders. If any difficulty is experienced in having these despatched, you should write to the Indoor Recreations Section of the Prisoners of War Dept. giving full details.

Nut Chocolate
[italics] May I send nut chocolate (very hard)? [/italics]
No form of chocolate other than that made in solid slabs without filling of any kind may be sent in next-of-kin parcels. This is made clear in all the instruction leaflets. Nut chocolate particularly is most unsuitable as the nuts develop maggots very quickly.

He Wants Cooking Recipes
[italics] My husband wants some cooking recipes. May I send them in a letter? May I order a cookery book from the stationers? [/italics]
There should be no objection to the despatch of a cookery book by a permit holder, but the permit holder should be able to give information on this point. We do not think there would be any objection to the copying of a recipe in a letter, but the only way in which to find out would be to try it and see if the letter gets through.

Maps Prohibited
[italics] My husband would like a map of Europe. May I send him the one issued by the “Daily Telegraph” through the stationers? [/italics]
No prisoner of war would be allowed to receive a map of Europe.

Far Eastern Mail
[italics] A postcard received from my husband merely says he is alive, unwounded and well, although there is space for more. Do the Japanese limit the number of words they may write? Also why are the letters undated? [/italics]
Postcards that have been received are, in many cases, printed with various sentence to be utilised by the prisoners. In some camps such printed postcards are not available, and typed copies are made for the use of P.O.W.s. Such cards are in the nature of capture cards. We can assume that, in future, the prisoners will be allowed to write fuller details. Already we have received considerable correspondence from a number of camps in which the prisoners have written up to 150 or 200 words. We do not know why some of the cards are undated; in most cases dates are shown.

THIS journal is sent free of charge to those registered with the Prisoners 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.

Printed in Great Britain for the Publishers, THE RED CROSS AND ST. JOHN WAR ORGANISATION, 14 Grosvenor Crescent, London, S.W.1, by THE CORNWALL PRESS LTD., Paris Garden, Stamford Street, London, S.E.1.



Great Britain. Red Cross and St John war organisation, “The prisoner of war, Vol 2; No. 18; October 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024,

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