The prisoner of war, Vol 2, No. 15, July 1943



The prisoner of war, Vol 2, No. 15, July 1943


Includes: editorial matters; reading in camp; official reports from the camps (two pages missing); the letters they write home; fun and games, our generous helpers (fund raising at home); group photographs from the camps; news from the far east; parcel problems; pattern for cosy slippers; prisoner exam results; 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


VOL. 2. No. 15 Free to Next of Kin July, 1943

The Editor Writes –
WHEN our prisoners of war get home again they will be eager for information about things which have happened during their absence. Except for scraps of information received in letters, they will have had little news of events in the outside world.
I have often wondered whether any steps could be taken now to help to fill this gap in their lives when they return. And now comes an excellent suggestion from Mrs. V. M. Jones, of Truro, the wife of a prisoner and the mother of two babies.

Her News Scrapbook
She says that every evening she collects all the local papers she can find and cuts out the pictures of the everyday news of the war “so that on my husband return he can look through these and see how it all went”. She adds that it helps her when is missing him most, which I can well believe. Twice a week she writes to him and every day she adds to her scrapbook. I feel sure that her idea will strongly appeal to many wives and mothers of prisoners-of-war, but I would suggest that anybody starting such a scrapbook should not confine her collection to photographs or to news about the fighting fronts. They will be especially interested in what is happening at home.

Has England Changed ?
I have been reading some very interesting letters from a prisoner of war in Stalag IIID, Works Camp 520, for whom parcels are being sent by a lady who lives in Coventry. It turned out that he belonged to the Coventry squadron of his Yeomanry Regiment and knows Coventry very well. “ Poor brave Coventry,” he writes, “how glad I’d be to be there again. It seems a lifetime since I left three years ago, but at the same time a bare five minutes. Did you hear Paul Robeson when he sang at the Hippodrome one Sunday night?” And again: “Receiving mail is the chief excitement of this life. . . . Do not feel too sorry for us, We do not do at all badly. It takes quite a lot to bother us, provided we know that all’s well at home. . . . How much has England changed since ’39, I wonder? It is so easy to imagine things just as they were, that there will probably be a big surprise for all of us in the changes.”

Unimaged Blessings
Corporal W. E. Sprake has spontaneously addressed an eloquent postcard to the British Red Cross Society to express “something of the appreciation which we Gefangeners really feel about the truly wonderful work your Society is doing and done for us and our people at home.” He talks of their existence being converted into “even a pleasurable life”, thanks not only to the food supplies but to the many other articles generously supplied. “Little did we think”, he concludes, “in our early days at Corinth that such blessing as we now have could ever be.”

“I’ll Never Pass a Box By”
A similar tribute comes to hand in a letter to Mrs. Katherine Flack of Aberdare, from her husband in another Stalag: “They are grand people, these Red Cross, and I’ll never pass a box by when I get home – no, sir, God knows how we would have got on without them.” Such letters as these, and we get many, are highly prized by all of us in Red Cross and St. John who are taking part in the work for prisoners-of-war. I quote from one or two of them occasionally, more especially to show those who make our work possible, the public who supply the funds, how greatly their generosity is appreciated.

Easter Day in Stalag 383
From a letter of a sergeant in Stalag 383 (formerly Oflag IIIC) to his wife at Stalbridge (Dorset), I get an account of

Air Force prisoners – an informal group at Stalag Luft 3.

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2 The Prisoner of War July, 1943

Easter Sunday in the camp. It started with an open air Dawn Service at 5.0 in memory of the Anzacs who fell in the last war. 5.30 Communion. After breakfast, big parade and march past by contingents of Australians, New Zealanders. English, Scottish (with bagpipes), Irish, Welsh, Canadian, Manx and Cypriots. Veterans of the last war took the salute. A very impressive sight. Later, sports and races. Also “a good feed from our Red Cross boxes.” It was his birthday and he winds up: “I’m in my thirties now – or middle age.”

Laughing Doctor
Not every baby is destined to find friends in an enemy hospital. Here is a letter from a proud father now in P.G. 73. “John seems to be growing into a super infant,” he writes. “His picture taken with large size in hats has caused many a laugh. The Italian doctor was definitely tickled.” The writer adds that this doctor was a “most likeable chap, absolutely great at his job,” and had done fine work for the British wounded.

Old Etonians
Though the Old Etonian Association has a list of their members known to be prisoners of war, it is in many cases without the camp addresses of individual prisoners, so that no communication from the O.E.A. has been sent to them. I have been asked to request next of kin of O.E.s, if they have not already done so, to send prison camp addresses to the Hon. Sec., O.E. Association, Eton College.

Send Him Tartan
No Scot is content without his tartan, and though the kilt for service is a thing of the past, the tartan backing of regimental cap badges is held precious. P.o.W.s find, however, that these backings are wearing out, and I have been asked to suggest to next of kin of Scottish prisoners the inclusion in their parcel every six months of a square of the appropriate regimental tartan 3in. by 3in., to be used either as a cap badge or a backing for the badge, if the prisoner still has the proper badge. In the case of the Black Watch a Red Hackle should be sent in leau of the tartan square.

Met on the Rugger Field
When Stalag IIID, Works Camp 528, arranged to play a rugger match against Camp 428. Teddy, a gunner from Gateshead, writing home, said he hoped he would be playing against Douglas, an old school friend. In his next letter he reported that Douglas turned up all right and looked very well indeed. It was the first time they had met in Germany, though they were taken prisoner in Greece about the same time. They have a new gramophone with sentimental records by Vera Lynn, Bing Crosby, etc. Teddy’s brother and Douglas’s brother in Gateshead collect together for the Penny-a-Week Fund.

Rugger, Medicine and Music
“Your joy will leap up and join with mine now I’ve received my smashing parcel.” Thus typically writes a 19-year-old lad, a sick-berth attendant in the Navy, to Mrs. Bland, of Chandlers Ford (Hants), his mother. “I am gloriously fit and strong and play a good game of rugger, and am being massaged by Sam Kunstler – a former heavyweight champion of Hungary.” He adds the hope that he will do much medical study, and he is going to be taught the violin by “the finest musician in camp.”

Inseparable Brothers
Mrs. A. E. Hawkes, of Esher, writes to tell us about two sons. J. K., an architect, and J. C., a surveyor,

This programme was drawn for “Derby Day,” recently performed at Sulmona.

both lieutenants, who joined up eighteen months before war broke out, gained commissions at the same time, went out East together, subsequently served in Crete and were there taken prisoner. These two brothers have shared the same hut in three different camps in Germany, and last year both were successful in the Town Planning Institute examination. J. C. has become an expect cook and serves up the contents of ten men’s Red Cross parcels every week. J. K. says that the Christmas dinner he provided was a “cracker-jack.”

On the Banks of Arno
Relatives of inmates of Campo P.G.82 will be interested in these particulars given to a next of kin by a repatriated prisoner. The camp is in a very healthy district called Laterina, and is about 30 miles S.E. of Florence. The River Arno flows past the camp. The camp was new when the prisoners first arrived there, and for some time they lived in tents, but they are now in brick bungalows. Wooden bunks holding nine men (three tiers of three), straw-filled mattresses and blankets were provided by the Italians. He gives the welcome news that Red Cross parcels are arriving regularly and post is also coming in. A number of men in camp have regular evening prayers.

Making Time Fly
An R.A.F. sergeant from Clacton-on-Sea writes from Stalag VIIIB of the excellent study facilities at the camp. In the “Main School” there are classes in agricultural knowledge, advertising, veterinary work and hotel management and catering and many other subjects. The sergeant had just been asked to take over a class of 60 to 80 men in Elementary Automobile Engineering. “Preparing lectures and attending them keeps me busy and seems to make time fly,” he says, and he comments on the excellence of the library, which includes many technical books and works of reference.

“Waiting Day”
At a camp in Italy there is a new day in the prisoners’ calendar. A P.o.W. tells us that the day before the issue of Red Cross parcels to the inmates of Campo P.G.73 is known universally in that small world as “Waiting Day.” Recently they had a pleasant surprise in the shape of a Red Cross sports kit parcel.

From the Far East
Next of kin of prisoners in the Far East have the sympathy of all of us. Theirs has been an anxious time of waiting and news is still scarce and hard to come by. I am glad to think that the broadcast from Java printed in our May issue was able to relieve in some small measure this weight of anxiety. “ I was overjoyed to see the broadcast on ‘Life in a Japanese Prison Camp,’” writes Mrs. Anne Ross, of Giffnock, Glasgow. She has learned that her husband is in the Java camp, so that every word of the article was of vital interest to her. Mrs. J. H. Anderson, of Glasgow, thinks that her news from Prisoner of War Camp “A”, Hong Kong, will interest others. Two letters from her husband, written on June 8th and August 16th last year, reached her on June 5th, 1943. They do not contain very much information but they do tell her that he was fit and well and had not been injured. THE EDITOR.

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July, 1943 The Prisoner of War 3

Reading in Camp
Consult Your Prisoner’s Taste and Give Him the Best of His Type of Book

“BOOKS are food and drink to me,” so wrote a prisoner three years ago in a letter addressed to the Educational Books Section of the Red Cross.
His cry – voicing the longings of many other man – was heard, and the Indoor Recreations Section came into being.
There followed the steady building-up of camp libraries, the aim being to cover the whole range of literature and to cater for widely varying tastes: biographies, essays, travel books, novels, serious and humorous, volumes on art, architecture and music – all are being collected and sent out to those eagerly scanned shelves.

Banned Books
But the work is not easy. Difficulties in selection are great, for the embargos of censorship, both our own and that of the enemy authorities, have to be taken into consideration.
For instance, books by Jewish authors are banned by the enemy, so are Secret Services stories and Scouting tales, which are reputed to give prisoners ideas as to means of escape. Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells are not looked upon with favour by them, and they also bar J. B. Priestley.
The camp libraries, of course, vary greatly in size. Some may be compared, both in the number of volumes and in the diversity of subject, to public libraries at home. These are looked after by camp librarians of real skill.
Nearly every next of kin has received requests for particular books from prisoners. These latter, sent out direct by permit-holders have helped the original Red Cross effort and served to start many a man on a new subject or the work of a writer hitherto unknown to him.

Hugo – A Favourite

Dickens will never be without his enthusiasts.

Tastes differ, but some books will always be in demand. Dicken will never be without his enthusiasts, and Walter Scott, sometimes voted heavy at home, has his admirers in camp. Victor Hugo is a favourite.
“I, have been reading ‘Les Miserables,’” writes a prisoner of war in Germany. “It is a thrilling story.” Another P.O.W., a gunner, tells his brother how much he enjoyed Hugh Walpole’s “Rogue Herries.” A grand story and beautifully written.”

The Romantic Story
There will always be a strong appeal in the story with the romantic background, especially with an historical setting, and the wars of other days have their interest. “Gone with the Wind” is pre-eminent with its story of war and shadowed peace.
In camp, as outside it, there is, of course, the reader who prefers biography to the novel, real-life to fiction. “I have just read ‘The Arches of the Years,’ by H. Sutherland,” writes a prisoner in Stalag XXIA, praising the author’s description of his experiences as a doctor.
When first a man is taken prisoner, unless he has already acquired a taste for reading, he will generally be content with the lighter type of book. But as the months of captivity wear on he demands more serious literature.
Evidence of this comes from nearly every prisoner of war camp and from the International Red Cross Committee at Geneva, where there is a reserve of books to enable supplies to reach the newly established camps with the least possible delay.

As the months of captivity wear on he demands more serious literature

A prisoner is Campo P.G. 75 writes home describing his interest in history and biography. He has just finished two books which he had found excellent. These were André Maurois’s biography of Disraeli and “The King’s Grace,” by John Buchan. “ You should try them.” He advises his mother.
Such readers are breaking new ground, thinking more deeply. But it is the book that makes a man think and wonder and think again that the prisoner is beginning to crave; that is why the marvels of science interpreted by Sir James Jeans have caught the imagination and interest of prisoners.

English Life
The author who mirrors the English countryside and English life can take his reader out of his alien surroundings. The writer whose pen is vivid enough to conjure up strange lands or other times – best of all, perhaps, to provide among the characters he creates a new company of friends – will always be welcomed, and this should be borne in mind in making up any book parcel.
Consult your prisoner’s taste, of course, but give him the best of his type of book, for, remember, it will be read by many – read and re-read – which is the ultimate test of the great novel, the classic biography.

The library of Stalag XXA.

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4 The Prisoner of War July, 1943


[inserted] 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. [inserted]

Reserve Lazaret Gnaschwitz. – This Lazaret has only been in use temporarily, and patients were to be transferred during May to Reserve Lazaret Konigswartha and Reserve Lazaret Schmorkau. Three barracks are used as wards and the officers are in a stone building. The personnel is entirely French and Belgian, and there were no complaints. A stock of four weeks’ supply of Red Cross parcels was reported. (Visited April.)

Military Prison at Graudenz. – Since the middle of December, 1942, almost all prisoners of war who are undergoing penal sentences serve their sentence at this prison at Graudenz. It is composed of large stone buildings and was erected as a prison many years ago.
Most of the prisoners of war (at the time of visiting there were 155 British) are quartered on one floor of the building in cells : usually 6, 8 or even 20 are together. They have two-tier iron beds.
They receive the same rations as the German prisoners at Graudenz, and are allowed one Red Cross parcel per month per British prisoner of war, which is sent from the Stalag. These parcels are sent to the kitchens and used to supplement the rations.
Prisoners are allowed to write one letter every three weeks. Reading and smoking is forbidden, but on account of good behaviour some British prisoners of war are allowed to smoke twice a week. These cigarettes are also sent them from the Stalag. (Visited March.)

Reserve Lazaret Schildberg. – The Lazaret consists of four buildings in different parts of the town. The principal part is called the “Seminar,” then there are the “Krankenhaus,” “Richterhaus” and the Isolation Section.
The Seminar is a large four-storey building, situated in the middle of a small garden. It contains all the medical installations (operating theatres and dental surgery, etc.). The isolation section is composed of a two-storey building and also a wooden hut.
In all the sections, lighting, heating and ventilation are described as adequate. Installations of showers and baths in each section assures a hot bath each week for each patient. The number of latrines is said to be insufficient, particularly in the isolation ward, which has no water system.
Each bed has bed-linen (changed monthly), two blankets, and some have extra woollen bed covers. There is no overcrowding. Each section has its own kitchen and a few special diets are available.
Both doctors and medical orderlies wear overalls while working. The dental surgery is said to be well installed, but work is hampered by lack of material. Religious services are held each week and patients are allowed to walk in the small spaces surrounding the buildings. (Visited February.)

This R.A.F. camp is now divided into three sections : (1) Oflag or officers’ camp. (2) Malag (N.C.O.s and other ranks), (3) Vorlag, which appears to be a kind of clearing station, where the delousing and special bath huts are found, and where each prisoner of war may have one hot bath a week. There are nearly 3,000 P.O.W.s in this camp.
Sanitary conditions are being improved in all sections of camp. A new washhut is being built in the Oflag and two in the Malag. Additional boilers have been installed in the kitchens, but there is a great lack of all cooking and eating utensils.
Medical attention is under the control of a German doctor, assisted by two British medical officers. There is a shortage of clothing and footwear.
There are now Church of England, Roman Catholic and Nonconformist chaplains in the camp. Services are held every Sunday. (Visited March.)

B.A.B. 20
Bau und Arbeits Bataillon 20 (Heydebreck),. – B.A.B. 20 and 40 have been amalgamated since the beginning of March, and are now known as B.A.B.20.
There are 1,200 men, of whom 129 are Naval prisoners of war. The camp is described as good from every point of view. Some worn blankets have been exchanged for better ones, and working clothes have been provided for those prisoners of war who especially dirty jobs. New eating bowls have been received in the camp.
Two British medical officers and eight medical orderlies are in charge of the medical treatment. Air-raid shelters have been completed for the prisoners of war. (Visited March.)

B.A.B. 21
Bau und Arbeits Bataillon 21 (Heydebreck). – At the time of the visit B.A.B.s 21 and 48 were being amalgamated. There were 1,198 British prisoners or war, including about 300 Naval men. It seemed impossible to give a very clear report on the camp until the amalgamation had been completed. There was said to be a good stock of parcels, and clothing conditions were generally good. Two British medical officers will be in charge of the medical attention. (Visited March.)

Reserve Lazaret Cosel. – The Lazaret is situated in a beautiful, wooded district. It is composed of three stone buildings, reported to be in a good state of repair – wooden beds, bed-linen, and two German blankets are issued. Lighting, ventilation and heating are described as adequate, and there is no overcrowding. Sanitary installations are, on the contrary, said to be “quite inadequate,” though hot baths are available every day.
One small building is reserved for washplaces, and also contains the shower

Stalag VIIIB
Members of working camp E1. The camp is reported to have made the “best impression.”

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July, 1943 The Prisoner of War 5

apparatus and bathroom. Only one shower is in working order – latrines, in two wooden huts, are inadequate in number.
There were no complaints about the medical treatment. The British doctors, of whom there are three, control the supply of drugs; dental treatment is given by the dental surgeon of labour detachment 3, who visits the hospital weekly. The chaplain from B.A.B. 20 also visits the hospital from time to time. (Visited March.)

Members of Stalag VIIIB at work in a timber camp.

Stalag VIIIB (Lamsdorf). – 20,952 prisoners of war are in the whole camp area. 14,101 are in the 307 British Labour Detachments attached to the camp, and nearly 1,000 Jews are 10 Jewish camps.
In the main camp there are nearly 7,000 British prisoners of war including over 900 R.A.F. The number of prisoners of war who are still handcuffed has been considerably reduced. These men now take part in all the camp activities, and their rooms are no longer overcrowded.
The question of blankets is still acute. The “unfit” prisoners now have three each, others have one each for the summer and are to have two for the winter.
The number of water taps in the barracks has been reduced, with the result that the prisoners find difficulty in getting their clothing washed. It is hoped that two new wash barracks will be erected. The water supply was now said to be adequate and each man has a hot bath every 10 days.
Private cooking is not allowed in the barracks, and the contents of parcels are used in the kitchen for all the prisoners of war. There is still a great lack of eating utensils.
The infirmary and dental station are described as working well, though there is said to be a shortage of drugs and dental material and insufficient cooking facilities for diets.
The general clothing conditions were said to have improved, and about 50 per cent. of the men in work camps are now provided with two suits. The old ones are constantly washed, repaired and re-issued.
There are four chaplains in the camp and services are held regularly.
Walks are to be organised for those “grands blesses” who are able to take them.
Mail is described as coming in regularly. All R.A.F. mail is censored at Stalag Luft III. The visiting delegate reported that in spite of the inadequacies mentioned he received the impression that conditions in the camp had improved since the previous visit.

A tug-of-war at Stalag XXID.

Work Camps E484 and 486. – These two detachments are accommodated in the same camp. Their work is loading and unloading grain and coal. They work 8-9 hours a day and are free on Sundays. They live in a wooden barrack in the courtyard of an old fort. Accommodation is satisfactory. Each man has two uniforms, though they are described as old, and boots are said to be in a bad condition. Medical and dental treatment is given by civilians, but does not appear to be very satisfactory.

Work Camps E72, 411 and 209 are coal mines.
At 72 and 411 conditions are the same. Work is done in 9-hour shifts and one Sunday out of two is free. The men live in three large wooden huts on the mine premises, which are described as well built and in good condition. Accommodation appears to be quite satisfactory.
Hot baths are taken every day at the mine. Each man has only one uniform, but overalls and boots are provided by the firm. There is no recreation room and the men have very few games.
The camp has its own infirmary and a local German army medical officer visits the camp twice a week. There has been some difficulty over facilities for laundry, but it has been decided that the firm will have the laundry washed for the prisoners.
At Camp 209 the men live in two large barracks in a compound about ten minutes’ walk from the mine. The camp was described as good, with no serious complaints, and the prisoners’ morale is excellent.
Seventy British prisoners of war at Camp 114 work in a stone quarry. Accommodation is fairly satisfactory. In one large room the stove was said to be inadequate, many of the blankets are thin. The mid-day meal is taken at the factory. Medical and dental attention are given by a good civilian doctor and a good dentist.
The camp has not yet been visited by a chaplain.

Camps E256 and 446 are small camps where the men have various occupations. Some work as carpenters, some in a saw mill, and some in a jam factory. The prisoners are accommodated on the first floor of an outhouse of the carpenter’s shop (a stone building). Washing facilities are difficult, as there has been a shortage of water, due to lack of rain and snow over quite a long period. A weekly bath is taken at the firm.
Clothing conditions are described as bad, each man having only one uniform. Football is allowed and walks are sometimes organised. The prisoners are allowed to attend sick parades at the local military hospital, where an English speaking medical officer is in attendance.

Work Camp E490 is a small camp where the prisoners of war do railway work. The detachment is described as making a definitely good impression, the only complaint being small inconveniences caused by lack of guards – such as the prisoners of war being locked in their room at night and their outer clothing taken from them till morning.

Camp E62 was last visited in November, when it was not well reported. Since

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6 The Prisoner of War July, 1943

The dispensary at Stalag XXIA.

then the number of prisoners of war has been reduced from 51 to 23, and the two bad rooms on the first floor have been evacuated – otherwise there seems to be no improvement.
The water supply is still bad and the building is still infested with rats and mice. The prisoners have only had one Sunday free out of five. Representations have been made to have the prisoners removed from the camp.

Work Camps E538, 535, 543 and 75 are all coal mining camps. They total nearly 1,000 prisoners of war.
At 538 the prisoners usually work three Sundays out of four. Accommodation is satisfactory, through electric light bulbs are said to be weak. Stronger ones have been ordered. Facilities for private cooking are not very satisfactory, as only the kitchen stove is available , and only at certain hours. A field outside the compound will be put at the disposal of the men for football. A British medical officer is in charge of the infirmary. The camp has not yet been visited by a chaplain.
Rubber boots have not so far been provided for the men whose work in the mine takes them into water.
Camp 535 is described as a good camp. Accommodation is in an old school. A bath is taken every day at the mine.
Camp 543 is fairly satisfactory. Many of the showers at the pit are reported to be damaged and out of use, and there are no latrines.
Each man has one uniform – working trousers are provided. A small barrack is to be built as a laundry. Orders were given for a sports field to be found where the men can play football. A British medical officer and one medical orderly are in charge of the infirmary.
Camp 75 is situated in a village. The ventilation of the camp is to be improved. A large civilian canteen is to be put at the disposal of the prisoners of war on their free Sunday for use as a recreation room, and two small rooms are to be converted in one of the barracks. This camp is described as a fairly good detachment. Working conditions are much the same at all these camps.
At Camp 1 134 prisoners of war do general labouring work. Some of them work about one Sunday out of three. Others are free at week-ends. Accommodation is good, and the whole camp was described as making the “best impression.”

Camps E80 and 529 were visited, but were to be dissolved at the end of April.

Camps E456, 561 and 479 contain Jewish and Palestinian prisoners of war. There were no complaints about present conditions at 456, where the prisoners of war are working on river banks. Camp 561 is a coal mining camp and is said to be a good camp from the material point of view.
At Camp 479 the men work on the railway and it was again reported to be a fairly good camp. (All visited March.)

Note: R.A.F. officers from Oflag XXIB have been transferred to Stalag Luft III.
Work camps of Stalag XXIA are now under the administration of Stalag XXID, and the “Repatriable” prisoners of war from Stalag XXIA are at a camp known as Heilag XXI.

CAMP P.G.21 P.M.3300, CHIETI
1,328 prisoners of war are detained in this camp. This can be considered as grossly overcrowded. Since the previous visit, stoves have been installed and are reported to have functioned quite well.
There are now two British doctors in camp, otherwise there has been no change. Living accommodation is certainly not fit for British officers. The only furniture in the whole camp is a few tables. Almost all the officers have to use two-tier wooden beds, and there are no cupboards or lockers in which to keep personal belongings.
The water supply is still absolutely insufficient, water being turned on only for about 30 minutes daily, although there is ample water in the wells at this time of the year.
Messing in the camp is described at the time of this visit as “disgraceful,” cooking utensils being non-existent. Food is bought to the dining-room in big cooking kettles. Light in many of the barracks is so weak that it is impossible to read after dark.
Other ranks have no recreation room whatsoever. It was said that the Camp Commander was aware of these deficiencies and did all that he could to improve matters, but that he was unable to do very much. Medical treatment by the two British doctors and the Italian doctor is said to be satisfactory.
Clothing conditions can now be considered good. A great number of next of kin parcels have recently arrived. In view of the really bad conditions at this camp, the visiting delegate proposed that it should be closed unless improvements could be in a very short while. (Visited April.)

There are over 7,000 prisoners here, about 6,000 of them are English, and the camp is filled to capacity. All the prisoners of war use three-tier bunks. Ventilation is inadequate and lighting in the dormitories is too weak to enable the men to read.
As in most camps in Italy, there was a complaint that outgoing mail was held up, though incoming mail is fairly regular. The wood ration is smaller than at most camps. The water supply is insufficient, some of the taps are unusable, and the showers do not work.
The infirmary is rather small for the number of patients, a great many of whom are suffering from skin troubles. There is a fairly large sports ground, but no recreation room or place in which lectures could be organised and run successfully.
An English-speaking Italian Roman Catholic priest holds religious services in the camp. (Visited March.)

There are nearly 4,500 prisoners of war in this camp. Since the previous visit work parties have been formed and sent to Camps 107, 120 and 148. These men have been replaced in camp by other prisoners or war.
As in almost all camps in Italy, sheets have been withdrawn from other ranks prisoners of war and are only issued to sick prisoners of war or those who are to be repatriated.
Red Cross parcels are issued at the rate of one per week. The canteen has been reorganised in new premises and is run by the prisoners.
Clothing conditions have much improved. Sanitary installations are to be improved. A new drainage system is to be built for the latrines.
A new wing has been added to the camp infirmary and the medical attention has much improved. A dental surgery is installed in the new wing and is run by a British dentist. A Catholic chapel is being built. (Visited March).

The strength of this camp remains in the neighbourhood of 2,000 prisoners of war. The new hut for non-commissioned officers is not yet in occupation, although it is ready for use. The ground of the

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July, 1943 The Prisoner of War 7

Campo P.G.70
A cheerful group taken at Monturano. This camp has an excellent library and its members are said to be quite satisfied with their treatment.

camp is still muddy, although work is continually in hand to improve it. The mail service at this camp works well. Red Cross and private parcels arrive regularly. Water supply is now sufficient, and the prisoners are able to have showers.
Country walks are organised and on the whole this camp can be said to have improved considerably during the last year. (Visited March.)

All the huts in the camp are now occupied and there are nearly 7,000 prisoners of war. The central building is used as a chapel, school and recreation room. Accommodation is adequate, though the water supply is described as insufficient. The new tank has not been completed. The shower installation is still under canvas, but is to be transferred to a stone building. A drying place for clothing has not yet been provided, and the repairs in the kitchen are of a temporary nature. Eating utensils are scarce, but new ones are on order.
There is a good library in the camp and study courses are well organised. A neighbouring civil hospital was also visited, where there are some 20 patients from the camp. They are said to be quite satisfied with their treatment. (Visited March.)

CAMPO P.G.102 P.M.3300, AQUILA
Camp 102 is described as being in a magnificent and very healthy district, and consists of a collection of stone-built houses which form a small group. The sleeping quarters are in one wing, two-tier bunks are used, each man has straw-filled palliasse and shelf for his private belonging. The other wing is used as a recreation room.
The men work on building jobs 7 1/2 hours a day; Sundays are free. At the time of the visit there were 311 prisoners of war.
Accommodation is very good, but at present there is absolutely no water supply and all water has to be carried to the camp in buckets from about a mile away, consequently washing and bathing facilities are quite inadequate. The men are able to have one hot shower per month at a camp nearby. There are well-constructed modern toilets, quite unusable for lack of water.
An Italian doctor is in charge of the infirmary. Dental service is given by a civilian, and the prisoners or war are allowed to visit an oculist.
Clothing conditions are not very good, as the men have only their uniforms in which to work. The canteen is quite well stocked, the profits are used to buy wood for private cooking. A Church of England chaplain visits the camp regularly. (Visited April.)

CAMPO P.G.107 P.M.3200
Camp 107 is a work camp containing 1,000 men. Two new huts which have been under construction are now completed, so that the dinning-room will no longer be used as a dormitory; and a third hut has been fitted out for tailors, bootmakers and use as storeroom for parcels. Mails and parcels are received regularly.
Clothing conditions are now satisfactory. The washrooms are still roofless. Shower baths are now complete, but there is not enough wood to heat the water. Three British medical orderlies take care of the sick.
A chapel has been built for the Roman Catholics, and it is hoped that a Church of England chaplain will be allowed to visit the camp from time to time. (Visited March.)

CAMPO P.G.120 P.M.3300
A new work camp containing only New Zealand and South African personnel. (Visited March.)

CAMPO P.G.148 P.M.3200
Another new work camp, containing only New Zealand personnel. (Visited February.)

Prize distribution on Sports Day at Stalag Luft 3. This camp is now divided into three sections.

Owing to a misprint in the June issue the Military Hospital, Bergamo, P.G.201, P.M.3200, was printed as P.G.102.

Every Effort Being Made to Obtain News

MANY enquires have reached the Prisoners of War Department regarding men who were reported to be in Campo P.G.154, but we regret that it has so far been impossible to obtain any definite news.
Replying to questions on the subject in the House of Commons, Mr. Arthur Henderson, M.P., Financial Secretary to the War Office, said that it was an Italian camp for British prisoners of war situated in Benghazi, and that the occupants were removed by the Italian authorities before the arrival of the Eighth Army. With regard to the subsequent movement of some of these prisoners, from whom it was stated that nothing had been heard since last October, Mr. Henderson added : “I am afraid that an explanation may be found in the fact that a ship on which a number of these prisoners of war were being transported was sunk.”
Every possible effort is being made by His Majesty’s Government and the International Red Cross Committee to obtain news of these men, and as soon as any information is received the relatives may rest assured that they will be notified by the War Office.

FROM July 17th to 31st, Exhibition Centre, New Street, Birmingham, will accommodate a vivid replica of part of a German prison camp. Here the Birmingham Mail will present a Prisoner of War Exhibition, organised by the Exhibitions Section of Red Cross and St. John.
Admission will be 6d. to the general public, but next of kin within reasonable reach of Birmingham will receive a special complimentary invitation from Sir Bertram Ford, Chairman of the Birmingham Joint County Committee of Red Cross and St. John.
The exhibition is in no sense a touring show and has been specially designed for this occasion.

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8 The Prisoner of War July, 1943

The Letters They Write Home

Summer weather – a happy snap at Stalag XXA.

British Cemetery
Stalag XXA (3). 14.4.43.
ANOTHER letter I was mighty pleased to read was from the Red Cross in which relatives of P.o.W.s whished to thank my working party for keeping the graves in the British Cemetery so nice. There are five of us, all N.C.O.s, who take rather a pride in keeping another bit of England beautiful.

Happy Days
Campo P.G.63. 17.4.43.
WHAT a day yesterday! We were issued with Red Cross food parcels early in the morning and Arthur, my pal, and I picked a beauty. Then I came in from cooking porridge and three people in three minutes told me my name had been announced for a clothing parcel. I drew that at 1.30, and Arthur has a cup of tea ready for us.
The clothing is just right for the time of year. I now have two complete sets of everything, and for shirts I have two Italian issue and they are just right for summer. So this morning, up at reveille, with full set of clean clothes and up to magazine at eight to draw my parcel. A glorious sunny day, too!

Sailors’ Camp
Marlag und Milag Nord. 7.5.43.
WE are situated right in the middle of a very pretty farming district, pine woods completely encircle us (in the distance). Half the fields are cultivated, wheat, potatoes, cabbages, etc., the remainder is lovely grazing pasture.
Between our village and the next runs a stream, where paddle the local ducks; we can follow its course from our window by the willow tree.
We rise at 6.30 a.m., wash, parade at 6.45: parade finished, we get breakfast ready in our room about 7.20 a.m. I then proceed to inspect the garden or visit the kitchen.
From 8.30 to 10.30 my assistant and I work extremely assiduously in the parcel officer collecting and sorting the tins we require from our Red Cross parcels. We then knock off for tea and biscuits, 11 to 11.30, conference with the chef ; lunch at 12.10, followed by tea, bread and cheese. Parade again at 12.45.
Most afternoons I join our outside gardening party at 1.15 p.m., returning at 4 p.m., bath, and then at 4.30 we have a two-course tea (or dinner) ; 5.45, final parade. Evenings we always have football matches, shows, pictures and entertainment.

Sports Day at Stalag VIIIB/E. 27, showing trophies presented to winning teams.

An Airing
Campo P.G. 49. 1.5.43.
I WAS given an airing yesterday along with some 120 others; it was our third in the month and we walked about four miles. In one month I shall have been a prisoner a year; it is a strange life; we are well off for food, but badly off for space at moment, but we shall be getting a field, which will give us somewhere to exercise. Showers are available every day. We have a bar where some stuff called Vino (which I won’t describe) is sold and Vermouth for the well-to-do. We have a good library, lots of voluntary classes. There is a lot once can do.

That Premonition
Stalag VIIIB. 25.4.43.
NOW in the eleventh month of captivity – how time flies! One amusing point I haven’t mentioned yet. Within twenty-four hours of leaving the Piccadilly that Thursday morning I was in enemy hands! Some premonition forced me home that night.
Nowadays my pipe and I are inseparable companions. Before I forget, two Penguin collections of short stories have arrived. This afternoon watched England v Scotland international football match between teams from our party and neighbouring camp of 500. Supporters flaunted appropriate colours. Scottish contingent headed by two pipers. Quite good attendance from local population.
Celebrated my birthday by shovelling fifteen tons of coal. Maybe Fate’s idea of a joke, but hardly mine!

A happy trio at Campo P.G. 59.

Like Leave
Stalag III (528). 9.5.43.
I HAVE just been away at the camp down the road for the week-end with the band and a few artistes. It was just like being on leave, the lads supplied everything, and to-day we had a Rugby and handball match, while the week-end ended with a grand concert.

Home for Christmas?
Stalag IVC. 25.4.43.
THE Red Cross is the finest organisation the world has ever known. Our position is such that we can appreciate them to the full. One of my pals has just said that we shall be home for Christmas. I wonder? It’s nearly two years now – two years of ups and downs, but they are mostly ups now.

Blind Actors
Oflag IX A-Z 14.4.43.
LAST week-end was quite entertaining. The Blind School put on a variety show which was unbelievable good. These boys moved about the stage and acted as well as anybody else who has previously appeared on the stage; in fact, the standard was, if anything, higher. I wish you could have seen them; they are a grand crowd of chaps.
Since moving over to this new part of the camp I have not been able to read to them in the evenings and I have missed their company a lot. It ever I am feeling a trifle down the Braille room is the best place in the hospital ; the whole crowd are always bubbling with life and fun.

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July, 1943 The Prisoner of War 9

Lilac Time
Oflag IXA-H. 19.5.43.
I CAN see the sun setting over the pine forest across the fields. The lilac is in full flower and the scent drifts in. The swallows are swooping, the tulips are bursting into flower, and soft music drifts up from the dinning-room below.

High Morale
Stalag XXB (324). 9.5.43.
THE other week I had my third article entitled “Speed Kings All” in our P.o.W. newspaper, The Camp. It was well received. Last Monday we made a route march to the local town, 25 km. there and back, to obtain a more thorough ablution. At 10.30 a.m. on the 21st inst. I will have completed three years as P.o.W. No doubt it is a very long time to be in such confinement, but on the whole time has not dragged unduly and there has been maintained a surprisingly high standard or morale.

Pally with a Yank
Campo P.G.65. 24.4.43.
HOW do folks, excuse the slang but I am pally with a Yankee in camp and he is getting me a bit Americanised. I am A.1. The weather here is lovely and warm now, and I am wearing shorts already. We are getting Red Cross parcels regularly and clothing has arrived. Remember me to all in Blighty.

Oflag IXA/H – A P.o.W. describes the beautiful setting of this camp among the pine trees.

Dinner at the Greyhound
Campo P.G. 65. 3.5.43.
I HAVE arranged for all Croydon boys to meet me at 7 p.m. Sunday evening. I have a proposal to make to them. To have a dinner at the Greyhound Restaurant, Croydon, on our return. With our loved ones at home we should be able to muster a large number. There will be a number of widows and children that with our efforts will not be forgotten; a penny a week or so, half a dozen retired members with time to spare and an organisation for a good Christian act would come out of the evil of this war, and our confinement here will not have been wasted.

Busy Studying
Campo P.G.21, 6.4.43.
“I AM as happy as ever, doing a certain amount of serious history apart from my other lecturers, not to mention the band and orchestra. I am at the moment president of the debating society as well. There are now so many books in the camp that I can’t read them all fast enough.”

Padre’s Grand Day
Stalag III D-528. 26.4.43.
I HAD a grand day out to-day, a ten-mile walk and three camps visited. As Sunday is the only day the men don’t work we use every hour of it for games and entertainment, but we always fit in our services, and as the Red Cross parcels are issued on Saturday evening it is usually a pretty good sort of day. We have a grand lots of lads in this camp. Just had a batch of seeds for the garden.

Carnival Procession: after the races at Stalag XXID.

His Garden
Stalag IIID (520). 27.4.43.
I MUST tell you a little about our gardens: each room has a little plot of land and the Red Cross has supplied seeds for us. We have planted lettuce, radishes, onions, cucumbers and lots of others. They are just coming through so perhaps this summer we shall have a few tit-bits extra.

No Bother
Campo P.G.66. 6.4.43.
“THE weather is hot and we are taking full advantage of it. You may have the idea that prisoners are roughly treated. Well – forget it! The Italians never bother us, and the only ones we see are the guards. Our amusements consist of card playing, draughts and dominoes. Also we get up concerts amongst the boys. This week we ran a boxing contest.”

A prisoner at Stalag VIIIB with two jolly pups.

Quite Fit
Stalag VIIIB. 12.4.43.
SATURDAY night and Sunday morning we has an English medical officer (N.Z.) to examine us, and he said that we are fittest men he had seen anywhere for a long time. Our good living has helped us through this ordeal, and the Red Cross – thank heavens there is such a society.

Space to Move About
Stalag Luft. III. 18.4.43.
THERE are three camps here, old, new and sergeants’. I expect that you want me to tell you all about the camp. The most outstanding feature is the complete lack of any vegetation on our thirty-acre plot. Originally all this was thick pine forest, and now all that remains is bare sand and many cut down stumps. The barracks are well spaced and there’s plenty of room to move about ; the rugger field is on the small side. Our rooms are similar to those we had at VIB. Fortunately, we are eight instead of sixteen per room.

Second Camp Birhtday [sic]
Campo P.G. 35. 24.4.43.
I WILL now give you a brief narrative of my second birthday in a prison camp. 7.15 a.m.. I have a cold shower, then light my home-made stove and brew a cup of tea, shave, then cook my breakfast of fired bread, sausages and bacon (saved up for the occasion).
9.15. roll-call: 10 a.m., rehearse with

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10 The Prisoner of War July, 1943


string orchestra until 12; 12 to 1 o’clock, engaged on my accountant’s job; lunch; job till 3.30 p.m., then cup of tea and job again till 7.30 p.m. dinner; 8 to 9.30, with dance orchestra; then sit out listening to gramophone till midnight.

Easter Eggs
Campo P.G.53. 25.4.43.
EASTER SUNDAY morning and the weather is perfect – fresh and fragrant in the field with the sun beating all records, which has been high of late. Have got my Easter eggs, too, out of Good Friday’s parcel. Small tin of egg flakes – soaked overnight – make paste, pour into hot fat and cook. Just the same as scrambled egg or omelette.

Something to Suit All
Stalag 383. 16.4.43.
LIFE here is not so monotonous as in some camps, as there is something to suit all tastes. The only trouble is that there are so many different things to go to that it is often difficult to make a choice.

His Birthday Presents
Campo P.G. 66. 1.5.43.
I AM actually writing this on my 37th birthday, and it has been lovely as regards weather for the occasion; also I had a present this morning. Two of my pals gave me a packet of their cigarettes, wrapped up in paper and tied up with a piece of coloured cellophane. It was out of their own ration, and I thought it exceptionally decent and thoughtful of them.

Figs from the Canteen
Campo P.G. 49. 3.4.43.
ANOTHER move. It is a new building just finished and it is very nice. We have a nice room on the front of the building. First impressions are that it will be even better than our last place, which we thought excellent. To-day our canteen opened, and I bought some figs – delicious.

Working Party
Stalag XXB 216. 4.4.43.
THIS Sunday morning it is lovely, warm and sunny, but as we are now working from 7.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., with 1 1/2 hours for dinner, we do not get much time for reading in the week.
The football match I wrote to you about a fortnight ago against English chaps on a farm about three miles away resulted in a win for us by 5 to 1. We

POSTAL orders for 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 up COPIES of their prisoners’ letters, instead of the original ones, and on a separate sheet of paper.
Photographs, preferably of prisoners at work or recreation, will also be welcomed. Payments of 10s will be made for every photograph reproduced across two columns, and 5s for every photograph across one column. The name of the subject 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.

Address: Red Cross Editor, Prisoners of War Dept., St James 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]

are to play a return match as soon as it can be arranged. We did not go to their farm to play as I said, but met them half-way and played on the village green football ground. Except for the two guards knocking around, there was nothing else to suggest we were prisoners. We are getting the Red Cross food parcels and cigarettes regularly once a week again now, I am glad to say.

Campo P.G. 35. 14.4.43.
I AM an expert cook and most economical. My first two weeks as a prisoner I ate with home-made chop-sticks. I read a good deal and mend and wash my clothes. Altogether, I am most domesticated.

As Excited as Children
Stalag XXB (421). 10.4.43.
WE had a move last week – a long train journey. The first time on a train for nearly three years; everybody as excited as children. This is a better camp than the other, much smaller, only 140 men.
We work in a wood factory and, at the moment anyway, everything is most interesting. There are some wondering machines here; chunks of rough wood go in at one end and come out something useful at the other. We are treated exactly the same as the other factory workers there, the Germans and Poles, even to “clothing on and off.”

Italy is Very Nice
Campo P.G. 53. 20.4.43.
I SHALL be very pleased when I hear from you. It is the only this I look forward to other than coming home once again. I ask God’s care over us till we meet, and what a day that will be! Italy is very nice what I have seen of it, and what is more they do not treat us too badly for P.o.W.s.

News Forecast
Campo P.G. 66. 19.4.43.
WE have a weekly service on a Sunday afternoon by an English padre who is also a P.o.W. He was taken at Tobruk. I have not heard any definite news since I was captured, but I reckon it will be all over in Africa by Easter.

Americans Arrive
Oflag VIIB. 20.4.43.
YESTERDAY we had about twenty new arrivals – Americans. I believe they have only been captured for three weeks, so am expecting to hear some pretty goods stories within the next few days.
Any new boy arriving nowadays could never appreciate the true significance of being a P.o.W. He arrives, spends his first month or so going out for meals and is, in fact, living on the fat of the land (as far as possible in this life), gets issued with clothing, and people load him up with cigarettes and tobacco. He probably thinks he is being hard done by, but I wonder how he would feel if he had to live and sleep in the same clothes for six months and wait the same period to smoke his first cigarette, and if there were no books. “Times have changed.”

Camp Holiday
Stalag IIID 520. 26.4.43.
TO-DAY is Easter Sunday, the weather has been so good I spent Good Friday sunbathing in only a pair of short underpants. The camp holiday from Thursday until Tuesday, and we are having heaps of sport and entertainments. In my letter I ended with German, translated it reads, “I have always told you it won’t be long now.”

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July, 1943 The prisoners of War 11

A review of Sporting and Musical Events in the Camps

STALAG 383 had an Empire Games Week during May, in which ten different countries were represented, and their Anzac Day March Past on April 25th must have been very impressive. Veterans of the last war took the salute.
A P.O.W. writing on April 18th tells us about the English team’s success on the football field. At Rugger England beat Australia; in the Soccer match, England v. Scotland, again England was victorious.

Great Thriller
Theatrical enterprise is flourishing at Campo P.G.78. “We have a full-length play and musical comedy now on in two halls, ‘Rope’ and ‘Derby Day,’” writes a member of this camp, which possesses an accordion band, a mandolin band, a salon and a dance orchestra.

The Winning “Gent”
Whist and darts are occupying the leisure of P.O.W.s in Stalag VIIIB. A prisoner writes of a whist drive that went with a swing in which as “Winning Gent” he won sixty cigarettes as first prize. He was also an entrant for the darts tournament.

Basket Ball League
The captain of a basket ball team at Campo P.G.65 writes home to report progress. The camp has a “league” and his team is a “crack” one – only a few from the top.

Campo P.G.59 had the bright idea of a Rugger match between old and new prisoners. A P.O.W. writes that the old ones won after a great tussle. “I nearly died laughing at some of the antics of the boys. It was more like a wrestling bout than Rugger.”

The only time the Italians permitted a photograph to be taken of a concert at Sulmona was for “Derby Day,” A.P. Herbert’s operetta. Above is the cast whose hats were made from Red Cross boxes.

Some Talent
Composers and libretto writers are strong at Stalag XXID. “To-day I have been writing a musical comedy,” writes one prisoner. “ So you can guess I am very busy besides working.”

Art Exhibition No. 2
Stalag 383 are to hold a second Art Exhibition according to news received from a P.O.W. at the beginning of May. The same letter stated that gardens were “springing up all over the place,” and that the German authorities had provided seeds – “lettuce, radish and all sorts of flowers.”

Easter Doings
Stalag XXB (84) had great doings at Easter. On Easter Sunday they had a boxing match with another camp, and in the evening there was a performance of Edgar Wallace’s “The Ringer,” also music. On Easter Monday the camp team won a football match and had a fancy dress dance. Altogether a “full week-end,” to quote a P.O.W.

Amusing Yanks
“The baseball and Yanks are quite amusing,” writes a prisoner in Campo P.G.21, “one of our Other Ranks teams pretty regularly beats a Yank Officer team.” This baseball activity, he writes was bought about by “the influx of Americans.” Baseball and basket ball are the two sports that this camp manages to play fairly steadily.

Fancy Dress
Stalag IIID had four days’ holiday at Easter – Friday to Tuesday – and to quote a P.O.W., “made whoopee.” There was a fancy dress dance on Saturday evening. “One lad,” writes the prisoner, “arrived representing the Red Cross Society. His dress was comprised of labels from the various tins sent in our parcels.” This costume was a prize winner.

John Bull and Mrs. Grundy at Liebenau.

Italian Music
Cricket and baseball are the main sports in Campo P.G.57. P.O.W.s hear some good Italian music as the camp has excellent loud speakers.

Up to Date
Swing music is all the craze in Stalag XXB. “A chap in the camp received six records of band music – Harry Roy . . . and others,” writes a P.O.W. “My! Its great swing music makes you start tapping your toes and swaying. So you see we keep up with times.”

Stage Butler
News comes from Stalag XVIIIA of a successful production of “Lucky Break.” The P.O.W. who played the stage butler says the performance was a “wow.” This same prisoner is a performer on the ukulele, and had just won the real “George Formby” type of instrument in a raffle.

PENGUIN BOOKS have informed us that the following ten books were chosen as the June selection for prisoners in camps in Germany and Italy : -
The Unfinished Clue, Georgette Heyer; The Surgeon’s Log, J. Johnstone Abraham; Tarka, the Otter, Henry Williamson; Love In Our Time, Norman Collins; A Book of English Essays, W. E. Williams; The Dying Alderman, Henry Wade; Sea Escapes and Adventures, Taffrail; Rookery-Nook, Ben Travers; Steamboatmen, Cutcliffe Hyne; Here Lies, Dorothy Parker.

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12 The Prisoner of War July, 1943


THE youngsters have recently been particularly active in helping our Funds. In a letter to Major-General Sir Richard Howard-Vyse, K.C.M.G., D.S.O., Chairman of the Prisoners of War Dept., the Hon. Secretary of the Birmingham P.O.W.R.A., tells us that £1 10s of the cheque she encloses was collected by Master Harper, aged six in halfpennies.
The little son of Mrs. Fox, of Knowle, Bristol, has saved up 3s. in farthings. A nine-year-old “Cub” – B. H. Rees, of Cardiff, who tells us he edits a paper for circulation among his friends – sent 5s. The grand sum of £7 10s. was raised by Master Beckett, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, by the sale of some toys.

Their Peepshow
An eight-year-old, Rita Lee, of High Wycombe, with her brother, aged six, raised £2 by means of a peepshow. Little Barbara Trowbridge, of Belvedere, Kent, with two small friends, Barbara Morris and Koreen Carter, has sent us the proceeds of a toy jumble sale; a children’s gala at Chorley, Lancs, raised £1, and some boys and girls in Twickenham, under the leadership of young Geoffrey Gilbert, acted a play and handed a collecting box with 10s. in it, as proceeds, to a grown-up friend, who has written to tell us all about it. Joan Hughes of Talybont, sent 10s. Guernsey schoolchildren, now at school in Wirral, Cheshire, have collected £3.

R.A.F. Help
From an R.A.F. station comes a contribution of £3; from a worker at Biggleswade the sum of 31s., raised by the sale of an ornamental jug. Mrs. Copper, of Walshall Wood raised £7 from the sale of a toy engine made by her cripple boy ; her other son is a P.O.W. in Italy.
Mrs. B. Lamb, whose husband is also in an Italian camp, is an active organiser of whist drives and dances and has made two contributions – £9 5s. 6d, and £5 15s. Mrs. C. Grant. of Newcastle-on-Tyne, raised £3 by making and selling flowers. E. Bullock, of Gt. Walsingham, raised £11 by organising two dances.

Two Kathleens
Two Kathleens – Kathleen Rose and Kathleen MacLeod – of Bishop Auckland, sent the splendid sum of £20, raised by a jumble sale; they are school-girls of thirteen and twelve years old. The Brownie Pack of Cullercoats, Northumberland, were able to contribute £2 7s. 6d. – the result of a collection on Parents’ Open Night.
But older readers are not to be beaten! Next of kin in Aston, Birmingham, raised £12 by a dance; another £12 was sent by Mrs. Mustoe, who organised a whist drive at Northleach, Cheltenham.

Punch and Judy
A generous entertainer of Littlehampton, whose Punch and Judy shows have delighted many children, sent us £5 8s. 4d.
A lemon – a rarity which we have already much cause to thank – was sold by Mrs. A. Tomkins, of Beckenham, for £3 16s., and Miss Cowan, of Windlesham, Surrey, obtained £1 10s by the sale of two double-yolked eggs.

His Birthday
Mrs. Pauline Grant Green, of Cosham, Portsmouth, sent us £5 on the birthday of her prisoner son. She thought a contribution to the Red Cross parcels fund the best birthday present possible. The Journal, too, has had a birthday gift to celebrate the first year of its life – £2 2s. from Mrs. Violet IIiffe, whose son is a prisoner in Germany, and Mrs. G. Hughes, of Bridlington, Miss V. Sharp, of Widnes, Mrs. Jean Allison, of Glasgow, and Mrs Startin, of Brimpton, Reading, have all sent contributions in appreciation of our paper.

Help them to make the best of their lives in captivity. Here is a happy snap of an evening at Stalag VIIA.

P.O.W.’s Request
L/Cpl Mead, a P.O.W. in Italy, wrote to his sister thus: “Will you please ask Mum to take £1 from my saving and send it to the Red Cross? It’s thanks to them that things out here are so much easier and happier than they might be.”
Mrs. E. C. Williams, of Stroud, has done well with her collecting box; up to date she has collected £39 7s 3 1/2d.
The splendid sum of £80 12s. was raised by Mrs. Raymond Gough at a “Bring and Buy” sale at Weatheroak Stanmore Common.

Bun Halfpennies
Mrs. Cartledge, of Fishponds, Bristol, has been collecting “Bun” halfpennies and has raised £1, Mrs, Barbara P. Levick, of Sheffield, and Mrs. M. E. Heather, of Ham Street, near Ashford, are both increasing their subscriptions to the Penny-a-Week Fund to help the Journal. Mr. R. Davies, of Liverpool, tells us he has now collected £229.
It is encouraging to note that at a Shropshire Ordnance Depot weekly contributions to the Penny-a-Week Fund average £15 to £23. From the Buckinghamshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society comes £5 for the funds, and there is five guineas from Mrs, Croft, of Tarleton. A reader in Dilwyn, Hereford, sends £2 at the request of her prisoner son.

Dart Thrower
Mrs. Harrison, of Etafford Park, has a friend who is a dart champion and has raised £4 9s. 9d. by exhibition throwing at the Stafford Arms. Mrs. Nan Galloway, of London, W.9, who contributes 2s 6d, monthly to our funds, sent us some amusing verses by her sailor husband, a P.O.W. in Germany.
Owing to limitation of space, will the following accept this brief acknowledgment? –
Mrs. G. Richards, of Abercarn, Monmouth, 10s.; Mrs Ayriss, of Liverpool, 5s.; Mrs Birkett, of Halifax, 30s.; Mrs. Edmondson, of Newcastle, £4 15s.; F. J. Nicholls, King’s Lynn, 3s.

P.O.W. camps are rich in journalistic talent. Most of then have a journal, sometimes printed in camp presses, sometimes handwritten. One of the most ambitions is “Stalag HOT POT,” described on its cover as “Stalag XXID’s Own Magazine.” The printing and general make-up are excellent.
Contents consist of an Editorial general news, “Spotlight on Entertainment”, short articles, verse and a feature called “A Sportsman’s Notebook.”
Stalag IXC’s journal is called “Scoop,” and makes a special feature of football news. Campo P.G.53 has a daily newspaper, written entirely by hand, and consisting of six pages, which are pinned on the camp notice boards.

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July, 1943 The Prisoner of War 13

Groups from the Camps









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14 The Prisoner of War July, 1943


Here is a List of Camps
THE exact location of the camps in the Southern Area is not yet known. The camps are known simply by the name of the country in which they are situated. Camps concerned are:
Thai is the name for Siam, and Taiwan is the Japanese name for Formosa. It is important that the two should not be confused.
The official notification of capture sent to some next of kin states that the prisoners are in Malai or Malaia Camps. In addressing letters, next of kin should use the English spelling, namely, Malaya Camps.

MUKDEN. – Situated in Manchuria.
KEIJO, CHOSEN. – Keijo is the Japanese name for Seoul, the capital of Korea. Chosen being the Japanese spelling of the name of the country.
JINSEN, CHOSEN. – Jinsen is a few miles from Keijo, and is the port of that town. Both Jinsen and Mukden are divisional camps of Keijo.
HAKODATE. – Situated on the south coast of the island of Hokkaido, Northern Japan.
TOKIO. – There are five camps in this region, namely : Camp Park Central Yokohama. Yokohama – Kanagawa, Shinagawa, Kawasaki, Hiraoka. All belong to what is termed the Tokio groups of camps.
OSAKA.-There are nine camps in this group, but the address for all of them is Prisoner of War camp, Osaka. British prisoners are located in the following : Osaka, Sakurajima (situated in Osaka). Amagasaki (between Osaka and Kobe). Kobe (in the business section of Kobe).
ZENTSUJI. – Situated in the north-east of the island of Shikoku, Japan.
FUKUOKA. – Situated on the north-east coast of the island of Kyushu Japan. Fukuoka is merely the administrative headquarters of the group: it is not a camp, and there do not seem to be any prisoners there.
There are seven divisional camps, all of which house British prisoners. There camps are in the western part of the main island of Japan (Honshu), but letters should in all cases be addressed to the principal camp.
The names of the divisional camps are : Ube (shown as Ubeshinkawa on some maps). Omine, Ohama, Moto-yama. Higashimisome, Mukojima, Innoshima. The last two are islands in the Inland Sea.
SHANGHAI – This camp is situated a few miles outside Shanghai. The address for letters is: Shanghai Prisoners of War Camp, Field Post Office Box 106, Shanghai. Relatives who have been given additional details, e.g., “Barracks 3,” should insert these particulars before “Shanghai Prisoners of War Camp.”
HONG KONG. – The two camps which contain British, Canadian and Hong Kong Volunteer prisoners of war are Argyle Street (mostly officers and their orderlies) and Shamshuipo, a former military barracks containing mostly other ranks with a few officers. Both are on the mainland, on the outskirts of Kowloon.
Sick prisoners of war are sent to Bowen Road Military Hospital on the island. There are two British doctors and some medical orderlies here.

Relatives of men who are missing in the Far East but who have not yet been notified as prisoners of war should continue to address letters as described in the Post Office leaflet P.2327B.

HONG KONG. – Stanley Camp is situated on the south-east of the island of Hong Kong.
SINGAPORE. – Changi Camp is on the east coast of the island of Singapore, about 18 miles from Singapore itself.
MANILA. – Santo Tomas Camp is situated on the outskirts of Manila. The internees are housed in the main building of the Santo Tomas University.
BANGKOK. – The internees live in a wing of the University of Moral and Political Science ; this university is on the left bank of the river just outside Bangkok.

Stanley Civilian Internment Camp, Hong Kong
THE International Red Cross Delegate in Hong Kong visited Stanley Camp on May 13th, 1943. He reports the opening of the bathing beach with large attendances. He further reports that the composition of rations has recently improved. The authorities are giving sympathetic consideration to this problem and there is, therefore, no immediate cause for anxiety.

Next of kin are reminded that it is impossible for them to comply with the request of prisoners for parcels, etc., owing to the refusal of the Japanese to grant facilities of this sort.

ABOUT 1,500 cards sent by prisoners of war in Japanese hands reached this country during May. These have been received from prisoners in the following camps: Mukden (Manchuria), Jinsen (Korea), Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe (Japan) and Taiwan (Formosa).
Prisoners in Mukden and Jinsen have been allowed to give some information regarding conditions in the camps.
From the other camps the information is very brief, consisting of a typewritten card informing the next of kin that the prisoner’s health is excellent, good or poor, that he is either working or not working (as the case may be), and ending with a request to look after the welfare if certain near relatives.
These cards have in most cases taken about six months in transit, and it is anticipated that mail from the camps in Japanese-occupied territories, such as Malaya, Java, etc., will take a considerably longer time to reach this county. Here are a few typical letters for the camps.

Climate Like England
Jinsen Camp, Chosen. 21.11.42.
I AM sure you will be overjoyed by hearing from me after all these months. I am quite safe and well in the circumstances. The climate here is very cold, more like England, but I cannot get used to it. I hope you and the family are keeping safe and well.

Working for Pay
Osaka, Kobe. Undated.
I AM interned in the Osaka P.O.W. camp, Kobe-sub camp. My health is usual. I am working for pay.

Studying Shakespeare
Keijo, Chosen. 27.1.43.
RECEIVED no letters from home yet. Am very well her, though weather cold. Food, cigarettes are adequate. Almost normal weight. Spend my time studying medicine, Shakespeare, drawing portraits, rehearsing for concerts. We had one on Christmas Day. Unnecessary to send comforts. Textbooks would be welcome . . .

Safe and Well
Shinagawa, Tokyo. 22.12.42
I AM well and safe in Japan. My health is excellent.

Five Months P.O.W.
Camp No. 4146, Hong Kong. Undated.
DURING the past five months I have been a P.O.W. The Japanese authorities have treated me very well and I am in the best of health, and there is no cause to worry.

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July, 1945 The Prisoner of War 15

Here’s the Answer to Your

THE next of kin parcel presents a problem to some readers, but the Red Cross have issued very detailed instructions in their leaflets P1/A and P1/B. Read these and keep them by you. We are picking out for special emphasis some points that next of kin overlook as the questions they ask us reveal.
The following are some of the queries answered by the leaflet.

Can I send my husband, a P.o.W. in a German camp, a fountain pen?
No. Fountains pens are forbidden. Send pencils.

My husband is in an Italian camp, what kind of boots can I send him?
For Italy, only Army type are permitted.

Can I enclose a short note in my husband’s parcel?
No letter to a P.o.W. must be enclosed in a parcel. A postcard is provided for the P.o.W.’s acknowledgement. Fill in the top half of this as directed, and enclose it in your parcel. The P.o.W. will fill in the bottom half and so acknowledge it to the Red Cross.

What kind of dressing-gown is best to send?
No special material is laid down, but patterned fabrics are recommended.

My husband is splendid shoemaker. Can I send him materials for heeling and toe-ing?
You may send leather soles, also nails and metal studs but no rubber soles or heels.

Real [sic] the leaflets very carefully and look out in the Journal for alterations and additions that may be made from time to time.

WE are glad to announce that the recent delay in the despatch of next of kin parcels announced in the May issue of the “Prisoner of War Journal” has now been reduced to approximately 8 days, excluding the time spent in the post before the parcel reaches Finsbury Circus Next of Kin Packing Centre. The average number of parcels now despatched each day is 1,500.
In order to despatch the necessary number of parcels, the work has to be maintained at great pressure. Next of kin can help by taking care to avoid mistakes when sending their parcels and by keeping carefully to the instructions sent to them with the labels so that their parcels can go through without delay.

They Will be Welcomed by Every P.O.W.

THESE useful slippers can be made from either soft carpet or felt. Linoleum, carpet or leather can be used for the soles.

YOU need two pieces of felt or soft carpet 12 in. x 9 in., two pieces of flannel or other woollen material for lining 12 in. X 9 in., and 5 1/2 yds. cotton braid 3/4 in. wide for binding. Also enough thin linoleum, carpet or leather for two soles, and felt or thick woollen material for interlining. The ready-made wool-lined soles do very well: they are obtainable at most stores.
Make a paper pattern from the diagram (each square represents an inch). Cut out the two soles from linoleum plus material for interlining and lining. Then cut out material and lining for upper part of slipper.
Oversew together the sole’s lining and interlining to the sole. Then bind right round the braid. Cut off a bare 1/4 in. all round lining for upper and then over-sew to felt all round. Now bind right round with braid very securely. To sew upper to sole, stabstitch together through and through the edges of braid bindings together with strong thread, being careful to ease the fullness of upper to the sole around point of toe.

[two sketches]
Make a paper pattern from these diagrams. Each square represents an inch.

[page break]

16 The Prisoner of War July, 1943

PRISONERS OF WAR of all ranks who entered for examinations in German camps have scored a number of successes in recent examinations. The Institute of Book-keepers announce four passes in the “Associate” stage five in the Elementary and three in the Preparatory – these candidates being all privates and non-commissioned officers. There were only two failures, and one of these was for the advanced Fellows’ examination.
The Institute of Bankers announce nine passes from one camp, three of these with distinction. All candidates were sergeants. A P.o.W. in another camp, who sat for the same examination, passed in three out of the four subjects taken.
In the Preliminary Examination of the General Nursing Council, eleven out of twelve candidates passed. Six of theses successful candidates were privates, two were sergeants, two corporals and one a lance/corporal.
In an officers’ camp, four candidates passed the Intermediate Examination of the Incorporated Sales Manager Association and four the Final. The examiners wished particularly to congratulate one candidate on the high standards of his answers.
In the same camp an orderly lance/corporal passed the Final (Section I) of the Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants, and two officers passed the Preliminary Examination in Malay in the School of Oriental and African Studies list, while a private passed Pitman’s Institute examination in Elementary Spanish.
In the examinations of the General Council of Solicitors in Scotland, four P.o.W. candidates have passed Part I and two Part II.

Please note the following changes : -
Buckingham : The Lady Burnham (formerly the Hon. Mrs Lawson), Hall Barn. Beaconsfield, Bucks.
Caernarvon : Miss Eveline Vaughan Davies, “Tan Lan,” Segontium Road South Caernarvon.
Carmarthen : Mrs. Brigstocke, County Organiser, B.R.C.S., Duffryn, Carmarthen.
Essex : Mrs Hanbury, Essex Joint County Committee, P.O.W. Dept., Hylands, Chelmsford.

PLEASE be sure to mention your Red Cross reference number whenever you write to us.

Any Questions?

Civilian Leggings
May I include a pair of leggings in my next-of-kin parcel to my son, a P.O.W. in a German camp?
Yes, if they are part of his uniform, but not if they are of a civilian type.

Camp Address
Is Stalag XXIA (Gymo) in Poland? I am told it is, but have to address my letters to my prisoner son to Germany.
The address for Stalag XXIA, as for all other camps in Poland, is Germany.

Labour Battalions
Will you kindly tell me where KR-GEF BAU, ARB-BATL 48 Blechhamer 10/S Kanallager, UBER HEYDEBRECK 2 is; and is it necessary to put the full address as I find it difficult to get the whole on the letter card?
The labour battalions, for which the above is the postal address, are mobile, so the address does not necessarily show their exact location, which is in the Wehrkreis VIII The address should be copied exactly as it is given by the prisoner.

Gramophone Records
May gramophone records be sent to a P.O.W. in Italy?
Yes, records may be sent to prisoners in Italy and Germany, through Messrs H.M.V., 363, Oxford Street, London. Records cannot be forwarded through the Red Cross.

Unmounted Photographs
Is there any way in which photographs can be forwarded to an Italian camp?
Unmounted photographs of a personal nature may be enclosed in letters for prisoners of war in Germany and Italy.

Undelivered Parcels
What would happen to a P.O.W.s next-of-kin parcel if he were set free before its arrival. Would it be passed on to another prisoner?
This would probably depend upon the arrangements made in the camp, or by the prisoners themselves before their release. A number of prisoners repatriated from Italy have authorised others remaining behind to claim any parcels which arrived after their departure.

Number of Parcels
How many food parcels does the Red Cross send to Germany and Italy during a year?
Including contributions from the Dominions, India and the British Communities in Argentina and Brazil, about a million at the present time.

His Diary
Will my husband, a P.O.W. in Germany, be allowed to bring home his diary which he is keeping up to date?
We are not in a position to give any information on this point.

His Glasses
Can I send my husband’s glasses in my next-of-kin parcel?
We suggest that you should write to the Invalid Comforts Section of the Prisoners of War Department about sending your husband’s glasses to him.

Camp Teachers
How are the teachers chosen in the camp study classes? My son is a school-master, but does not mention he is teaching.
The appointment of the teachers in a camp probably depends upon the subjects which the prisoners wish to study and the number of qualified teachers available.

Camp Reports
Who inspects the camps and compiles the reports published in the Journal?
The reports published in the Journal are derived from the representatives of the Protecting Power (Switzerland), who visit the camps. Delegates of the International Red Cross Committee also inspect the camps periodically.

Stalag VIIIB
How far is Stalag VIIIB (Lamsdorf) from Berlin? What does “Kommando” work by our prisoners of war mean?

Lamsdorf is about 200 miles from Berlin, Kommando means working party or labour detachment.

Chocolate and Soap
When we send a next of kin parcel and put money in for extra chocolate and soap should the latter be listed on the forms as articles sent by us?
No. Write on a separate piece of paper the amount of chocolate and/ or soap that you want put in at the packing centre.

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



Great Britain. Red Cross and St John war organisation, “The prisoner of war, Vol 2, No. 15, July 1943,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 4, 2024,

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