News Sheet No 31 June 1944

MCurnockRM1815605-171114-014.pdf

Title

News Sheet No 31 June 1944

Description

News-sheet of the Canadian Prisoners of War Relatives Association. This edition covers the danger of rumours, editorial policy on letters, NCOs organise at Stalag IVB, Mrs Ian Campbell's work for POWs, Canadian Red Cross Prisoner of War shipments, Supplies for Hong Kong, War Prisoners' aid YMCA, The Red Cross fleet, Camp Stanley Organisation, Questions and Answers, Book reviews, Branch reports, Letters from POWs, Theatricals at Stalag Luft III and adverts.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1944-06

Contributor

Anne-Marie Watson

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

28 printed sheets

Language

Type

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR

RELATIVES ASSOCIATION

NEWS SHEET

[Drawing]

President

MRS. J. O. ASSELIN, M.B.E.

Vice-President

E. A. MACNUTT, C.B.E.

Hon. Secretary

MRS. E. I. BAROTT

Hon. Treasurer

MAJOR F. S. MOLSON

Honorary President

MRS. VINCENT MASSEY

Honorary Vice-Presidents

Wing Officer W. WALKER, O.B.E.

HON CHARLES G. POWER

R. A. LAIDLAW

Editor

HAZEL WANKLYN

News Sheet No. 31 150A Sun Life Building, Montreal, P. Q. June 1944

THE DANGER OF RUMOURS

The Invasion is now no longer a possibility of the future; it is an actual and awe-inspiring accomplishment of unprecedented magnitude. At this moment Canadian Servicemen, side by side with their Allies, are landing on the beaches of France and penetrating the European mainland in their march of liberation. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen from Canada are after long years of hard training now facing the enemy in the bitter and the final combat.

It is too soon yet for any clear picture of what is happening, but over the air waves comes a continuous stream of dramatic stories told by eye witness commentators of their individual experiences. Modern science has made this “blow by blow” type of reporting possible. To the anxious people at home, this pseudo-participation is a doubtful blessing.

Families of prisoners of war are particularly vulnerable to sensationalism as they are in a constant state of anxiety and apprehension as to how changing events will affect their prisoners.

It must be remembered that the Red Cross, both National and International, the Protecting Power and several of our own Government Departments are vigilantly guarding the welfare of prisoners of war and it is from them that official news will come.

Preparations have been made by the organizations set up for that purpose, to protect the interests of prisoners of war no matter what contingency arises, the I.R.C. has amassed large supplies of food parcels in cast transportation becomes difficult.

Mr. Churchill in a world wide broadcast has warned us of the danger of rumours. Our part during the coming anxious months is very clear, it is to face these rumours calmly – and to reject them.

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2 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

EDITORIAL NOTES

All Correspondence to the Association should be addressed to the Secretary, Mrs. E.J. Barott, C.P.O.W.R.A., 150-A Sun Life Building. Requests for educational books and copies of prisoners letters should be written on a separate sheet of paper. Relatives are invited to submit their problems and difficulties which will receive prompt and sympathetic attention.

LETTERS

We have been asked whether letters printed in the News Sheet have been chosen for their cheerfulness, while those expressing homesickness complaints and unhappiness are not made public. The answer is a very definite NO. Letters published in this paper are printed as we receive them; apart from slight deletions of purely personal matters, no additions or changes are made and each letter conveys the thoughts, ideas and feeling of the writer, having nothing to do with the views of this paper. The only letters discarded are those considered out of date or not containing news of general interest.

Printing, as we do, over fifty letters a month from Officers and other ranks of all the Services means that thousands of letter have gone through our hands – letters from boys and men who come from every part of the Dominion, from farms and cities, towns and villages and whose family backgrounds are so varied that every type of Canadian is represented.

The extraordinary spirit and dauntlessness with which these letters abound is cause for great admiration and also for encouragement. Admiration for the ability to make the best of a situation, the hardships and humiliation of which are almost impossible to realize by those who have not experienced them and for the humour and light-heartedness which refuses to be extinguished. Admiration also for the gallantry that is shown by all those letters in the desire to stress the bright and minimize the dark side of captivity.

The encouragement one gets from these first hand records of prison life is not only from the individual letter, but from the fact that the thousands of letters from thousands of prisoners could not sustain the cheerful tone they do if written merely with the view of dispelling anxiety. That the overwhelming majority of letters show a mental and physical alertness is the most encouraging and comforting proof of the high state of morale of our prisoners of war during this temporary and onerous phase of their war service and is indicative of the useful part they will take in the postwar reconstruction era.

The importance of letters written to prisoners cannot be exaggerated and this is where we at home can give them a tremendous amount of help and reassurance; bright, cheerful letters inspire confidence and hope; despondent letters react quickly and seriously on a prisoner’s outlook. Prisoners of war need this stimulus from their families and friends just as much as they need food and clothing.

No organization can provide it; it is the lifeline and human bond between our men in enemy prison camps and the individuals at home who are closest to them irrespective of time and space.

N.C.O.’S ORGANIZE AT STALAG IVB

Word has been received at C.P.O.W.R.A. Headquarters that the Canadian N.C.O.’s at Stalag IVB have formed an organization similar to that existing at Stalag Luft VI. The 200 Canadians have elected a committee of which the President is W/O I.J.W. Meyers, the vice-President Sgt. R.F. Booth and the Secretary Sgt. R.J. Knight.

W/O I. Meyers writes:

“As the majority of prisoners in this camp are new prisoners in Germany and our numbers are steadily increasing we find that we are in urgent need of toilet articles, etc., and knowing that your organization can, and will, help us, we would appreciate any assistance that you may be able to render. Such things as gramophone records, sports articles and musical instruments would be very acceptable. These can be addressed to the Senior Canadian N.C.O. Could you also supply definite information with regard to the promotion scale for Canadian P.O.W.’s.

All the prisoners here are in reasonably good health and send their best wishes to your organization and to the folks at home.”

Requests in the above letter have been filled.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 3

MRS IAN CAMPBELL’S WORK

for

PRISONERS OF WAR

There are few, if any, prisoner of war camps in Germany which have not benefitted by the splendid efforts of Mrs. Ian Campbell, who from Lisbon has sent many thousands of parcels containing special foods, tonics and all manner of extra comforts including pillows, books, educational and occupational supplies, church candles, shoes, etc., to make the prisoner of war’s life more bearable.

Every request that can be met is filled from Mrs. Campbell’s Depot for Prisoners of War, in spite of restrictions regarding the export of food and inability to obtain some of the articles requested which present increasing difficulties in carrying out this work. Mrs. Campbell writes from Lisbon in a letter dates March 22nd, 1944:

“Our work still continues although on a reduced scale, but thanks to most generous donations we are able to fulfill all the requests for special food parcels, tonics, pillows and clothes, etc. We send no more individual food parcels to identified prisoners but we do continue to despatch a certain amount of food in bulk in our 500 kilo monthly quota. There is a great demand for porridge always, so we concentrate mainly now on this form of food and boxes are sent to Senior British Officers and Camp Leaders in different camps on our list.”

CANADIAN RED CROSS PRISONER OF WAR SHIPMENTS

Total gross weight of prisoners-of-war food parcels shipped by the Canadian Red Cross during 1943 amounted to 26,075 tons and required 970 full loaded railway cars to carry them to seaboard. Mr. Harry Milburne, chairman of the national transportation committee of the society, announced at the annual meeting of the central council on April 20.

Shipment to Lisbon and Marseilles for British Empire prisoners in German camps totalled 4,172,800 food parcels during 1943 compared with 1,360,112 in the preceeding year. 1,326 cases containing cigarettes, tobacco, books, vitamins and games to the value of $110,695 were also shipped.

Mr. Mulburne added that food parcels, drugs, milk and fruit juices were sent to Japan, and 42,000 parcels were forwarded to a Russian port whence it is hoped they will eventually be transported to Japan.

To the end of December, 1943, the Red Cross had packed and shipped a total of 7,800,000 prisoners -of-war food parcels, or 42,900 tons of food. Norman C. Urquhart, chairman of the Prisoners-of-war parcels committee, announced. (Mr. Urquhart is now Chairman Executive Committee replacing Mr. Justice Gordon). Since January 1940, losses suffered by enemy action amounted to 1 1/2 % of the total value of goods shipped.

SUPPLIES FOR HONG KONG

An International Red Cross cable from Geneva has been received in Washington stating that supplies carried in the last trip of the Gripsholm have been received and distributed amongst military and civilian prisoners to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Yangchow, Weishien and Peiping camps have also received their supplies form the Gripsholm.

WAR PRISONERS’ AID Y.M.C.A.

The War Prisoners’ Aid of the World’s Committee of the Y.M.C.A., New York, has received a cable from the Senior Canadian N.C.O. at Stalag Luft VI, sent from Berne, Switzerland, on April 5th, 1944, acknowledging the receipt of log books, as well as 25 pairs of skates, 6 pucks, 10 rolls of tape and 50 hockey sticks shipped from Sweden.

Also from Geneva, a shipment consisting of a gramophone with 20 records and needles, 400 pairs of clip-on skates, 100 pairs of crew hockey skates, 500 hockey sticks, 76 athletic metal cups, 50 goal sticks, 60 shin-pads, 12 pairs of chest protectors, 12 pairs goal-pads, 26 pucks, 36 rolls of tape, 48 hand skate sharpeners.

A consignment of musical instruments arrived from Canada and a typewriter from Stockholm. The cable expressed great appreciation of the work of the International Y.M.C.A. “who create channels, keep them open and transmit material for P.O.W.”

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6 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

THE RED CROSS FLEET

The S.S. Caritas II, the latest addition to the Red Cross transatlantic fleet, left Philadelphia for Marseille in March on her maiden voyage under the neutral flag of Switzerland. Like the Caritas I, which entered the Red Cross service about a year ago, she has been acquired by the International Committee of the Red Cross to speed the delivery of food packages, medical supplies, and clothing to American and other United Nations prisoners of war in European camps. Formerly the freighter Spokane of 4,965 deadweight tons, Caritas II was built in Denmark. She is the first vessel provided by the United States to the Red Cross for use exclusively in prisoner of war service, and was furnished through the constantly helpful collaboration of the United Stated War Shipping Administration.

Prior to the acquisition of Caritas II, the latest addition to the Red Cross fleet had been the new motorship Mangalore, which left Philadelphia for Marseille on her maiden voyage toward the end of January with the largest cargo of prisoner of war relief supplies ever to leave the United States. The cargo, which was shipped by the American and Canadian Red Cross societies, comprised every essential need of a prisoner of war from needles to medicines, clothing, and food packages, and amounted in all to nearly 5,500 tons of supplies, having a value of approximately $5,000,000. It also included about 2,000 bags of prisoner of war letter and parcel mail.

The Mangalore was recently built in Sweden and flies the Swedish flag. Her crew is also Swedish, and she is under charter to the Swiss Shipping Foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva. The Mangalore is not only the largest vessel in the Red Cross service – she is also the fastest. She completed her first run from Philadelphia to Marseille in 17 days.

In all, seven ships are now making regular trips between the United Stated and Europe, carrying exclusively Red Cross cargo and mail for prisoners of war and civilian internees. Four of the seven ships are under charter to the British Red Cross. The British and American Red Cross societies guarantee the financial operation of these ships, all seven of which are used jointly to carry goods from the American and Canadian Red Cross societies. This fleet is apart from the Swedish-owned Gripsholm, which has made two voyages to the East and one to Europe in effecting exchanges of nationals. On each voyage relief supplies for prisoners of war and civilian internees were transported.

Special Protection

The Red Cross vessel, traveling alone and without convoy, is especially protected. She is fully lighted at night in all waters; she flies a neutral flag and carries a neutral crew. She bears the insignia of the Red Cross on her sides and decks. She has on board a convoyeur who is the direct representative of the International Committee and must be a Swiss. Her arrivals and departures are announced in advance to all interested belligerents, and she does not sail until safe-conduct guarantees have been obtained from all of them. She follows a prescribed route, and her position is announced by radio every day at stated times. All belligerent warships permit her to pass unchallenged. The International Red Cross cuts across the battle lines and is trusted by all sides. It also serves all sides because the Red Cross fleet which carries supplies for United Nations prisoners on the eastbound voyage brings supplies for Axis prisoners in the United States and Canada on the return voyage.

Besides the seven ships in the transatlantic service for the transportation of American and Canadian Red Cross supplies, a fleet of Portuguese and other neutral vessels, chartered by the British Red Cross, maintains a “shuttle service” between Lisbon, Portugal, and Marseille, France. British Red Cross supplies, which go from the United Kingdom to Lisbon, are transhipped from the latter port to Marseille.

Reprinted through the courtesy of the American Red Cross.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 7

CAMP STANLEY ORGANIZATION

Related by a former internee

Sidelights on life in Camp Stanley, Hongkong, are given by George E. Costello, repatriated on the Gripsholm after two years internment in Stanley, in a report submitted to the Department of External Affairs, Ottawa.

Camp Stanley was established in January, 1942, for the internment of 4000 civilians – British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, American and Dutch nationals. At the time Mr. Costello left 2500 remained. Including several dozen recently born babies. The others had been transferred to Shanghai, repatriated to America, or had died.

COVERS TWO SQUARE MILES

“The camp is situated on a peninsula, on the southeast coast of Hongkong and is six or seven miles by road over rugged hills from the city of Hongkong. Stanley is surrounded on three sides by the China Sea and the camp covers an area of about two square miles. There are a number of winding, rustic paths for walks, and sea bathing is permitted between 9 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. every day from April to November. There are also several good sized open fields used for sports and recreation.

“In addition there is a lawn bowling green formerly belonging to the Warders’ Club of the Hong Kong Prison. Baseball games and lawn bowl contests are daily events throughout the year and provide a great deal of pleasure for players and spectators alike. Up to the spring season of 1943 there were regular weekly matches of rugger and soccer football, but these had to be abandoned because of serious injuries to players whose weakened condition caused many of them to suffer broken limbs after each game.

“The camp was formerly the site of Hong Kong Prison and internees are now housed in the prison buildings and in four three-storey apartment buildings which were constructed for the European members of the prison staff. There are also several brick and concrete barrack buildings formerly occupied by Chinese and Indian prison guards; two college buildings and seven bungalows, previously occupied by the faculty of St. Stephens College, which is also situated at Stanley; and a number of garages, servants’ quarters, etc.

OVERCROWDING STILL PREVAILS

“Despite the considerable reduction in the original number of internees, there is still a great deal of overcrowding and almost a complete lack of privacy. Many of the larger rooms in the college buildings house as many as 30 persons, men, women, children, married and single, all thrown indiscriminately together. Washing and toilet facilities are inadequate in most of the buildings. The internees, however, in one way or another manage to get along somehow.

“The camp is operated entirely by internees, headed by a commandant, elected every six months, along with a general committee. The camp commandant and this committee are responsible to the Japanese for the well-being and discipline of the community. There is a medical board and well staffed hospital with internee doctors and nurses, but badly lacking in instruments and equipment, drugs and medicines. Up until recently mosquito control, by disinfection of stagnant water outside the camp, was permitted by the Japanese authorities. This privilege was withdrawn without reason with a consequent increase in malaria.

“The camp also has an improvised dental clinic.

“Food is rationed and provided daily; nine ounces of rice, four and one half ounces of flour, one half ounce of sugar and peanut oil, with additional Chinese vegetables and salt, and, at intervals, some meat and fish. The calory [sic] content is less than 1900 for each person. Children receive a small amount of milk.

“A force of former Hong Kong police maintain order and report persons violating regulations. Offenders are brought before a court presided over by the former Lord Chief Justice of Hong Kong and the former General Superintendent of Police. The only punishment the court is permitted to pass is withdrawal of all privileges such as participation in sports, swimming, attending concerts, purchasing goods from the canteen, cigarettes, tobacco, etc., but they are effective.

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8 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

FOOD UNOBTAINABLE

“There is a canteen available, but at the time of our departure, no food could be obtained. At intervals the canteen obtained small supplies of Chinese cane sugar, syrup, tinned vegetables and jam, and occasionally fresh oranges, bananas and pineapples.

“Concerts are arranged and given every weekend. There are several well balanced bands and a dozen or more pianos. Two organs belonging to the college are much in demand, particularly for regular religious services of all denominations. There is one central library of 1500 volumes and several smaller ones throughout the camp. Regular lectures are given by those best qualified and faculty members of the Hong Kong University. Classes are provided in languages, shorthand, book-keeping, engineering, etc., all of which are well patronized. Various grades are maintained for children from the kindergarten up. “At the beginning of 1943 the Red Cross representative at Hong Kong announced that arrangements had been completed whereby each adult internee was to receive military yen $25 each month, children aged between five and 16 yen $12.50. The first payment under these arrangements were made to internees in February 1943, when yen $15 and $7.50 were distributed. Later the amounts were increased to yen $25 and $12.50 and these were being paid regularly each month up to my departure.

“The morale of the camp up to the time I left was excellent. Every internee was constantly looking to the day when he would be repatriated and expecting this to happen any day. All are down in weight, some slightly and others heavily, and everyone is suffering from effects of malnutrition, some very seriously ill. The camp is precariously short of medicines and drugs and terribly lacking in solid food substances.”

Reprinted from the American Edition Shanghai Evening Post, May 5, 1944.

OFLAG IVC

[Photograph of a group of men] 1st Row: Lt. Wood, Capt. Vandelac, Col. Merritt, V.C., F/Lt. Donaldson, Lt. Barott, Lt. O’Hara.

2nd Row: Lt. Milne, Lt. Roy, Lt. Marchand, Lt. Scott. Kindly lent by Mrs. E.I. Barott of Montreal.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 9

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Question: My April food permits for tea and coffee to be included in my next of kin parcel entitled me to more than the usual 1 lb. of coffee and 1/4 lb. of tea. Am I allowed to send the extra amount to my prisoner?

Answer: No. The tea and coffee ration in this country was increased at the time you speak of, but there has been no increase in the amount permitted in personal parcels. Since April, the food permits have been altered to allow the purchase of 1 lb. coffee and 1/4 lb. tea only.

Question: What does the word Belaria mean in P.O.W.’s address after Stalag Luft IV?

Answer: The word Belaria has not yet been clearly defined, but since it only appears in the address of prisoners at Stalag Luft IV via Stalag Luft III, it apparently designated a part or compound of the new Stalag Luft IV camp.

Question: How long does it take after a prisoner of war camp in Europe has been visited by the Protecting Power for a report to reach the war office in London?

Answer: In November last, sir [sic] John Grigg stated that reports were received on an average of two months after the visit. In case of an important report, a telegraphic summary is sent immediately from Berne, Switzerland, and received in England in slightly over three weeks from the date of the visit.

Question: What does the 25 word restriction on letters to the Far East include?

Answer: The restriction of 25 words in letters to the Far East is a Japanese regulation and has been interpreted in many ways. No official statement has yet been received clearly defining what part of the message must be included. We advise counting all words, including the date, salutation and signature, excluding only the address of the prisoner and that of the sender. This interpretation is considered the safest in view of the fact that the Japanese authorities have stated that messages containing more than 25 words will not be delivered.

Question: What happens to a personal parcel that is under weight or from which prohibited articles are removed?

Answer: When a next of kin parcel is under weight, or contains some article that is contrary to regulations and has to be removed by the censors, the Canadian Red Cross supplements the parcel by adding articles that bring it up to the permitted weight of 11 pounds. During 1943, 12,837 next of kin parcels were cleared through the Canadian postal censorship of which 835 were supplemented by Red Cross supplies. An additional 624 could not be passed and were returned to the sender with explanatory letters. When an article is removed from a next of kin parcel is also is returned and the reason for its removal explained.

Question: How many Canadian Prisoners of War are there?

Answer: Canadian prisoners of war totalled 4,907 at February 29, 1944. This figure includes 688 officer, and 4,219 men. They are scattered throughout 26 German camps, 11 Italian camps (many of these have been freed, and figures are not up-to-date yet) one Hungarian camp and an unknown number of camps in the Pacific. In the Pacific area there are camps in Japan, Singapore, Formosa, Borneo, Java, Shikoku Island, Hong Kong and others in unknown areas. No further details are available because of failure of notification by Japan.

In addition to the prisoners of war in enemy hands, there are a certain number of Canadian servicemen interned in neutral countries.

Distributed by their particular service, there are in Europe 1,991 prisoners of war from the Army, 1,194 from the Airforce, 129 Merchant Seamen and seven from the Navy. In the Far East, army prisoners total 1,545, air force 23, merchant seamen 16, and navy two. Total Army prisoners are 3,356; Air Force 1,217; Merchant Seamen, 145; Navy nine.

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10 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

BOOK REVIEWS

The following books have been chosen as being suitable to send to Prisoners of War. They may be sent through firms holding postal permit licences, a list of which will be found in the Directory of the News Sheet.

“THE RED COCK CROWS”, by Frances Gaither. The Macmillan Co., of Canada. $3.00.

Hehe [sic] is a novel of the days of slavery in the Southern States. Adam Kiske [sic], schoolmaster from Maine, arrives in the South to open a school. His welcome to this new environment is, in its warmth and friendliness, typical of the hospitality for which the South is noted. Fiske soon becomes an accepted member of Ward Dalton’s household to whom he brings a letter of introduction, and being young and lonely, he inevitably falls in love with Dalton’s daughter. Gradually the sinister undercurrent of the slave problem overshadows what had appeared to be an idyllic life and as the racial hatred mounts the young schoolmaster is involved, against his will, in an hysterical uprising. Wrongly accused of stirring up the rebel slaves, Fiske comes near to being executed by the enraged slave owners.

“A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN”, by Betty Smith. Harper & Brothers. $3.00.

Possibly te [sic] best selling novel of the year. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is full of witty entertainment. A plot that holds the readers interest throughout, this story of Francis Nolan, her family and neighbours, living in the tenement district of Brooklyn some thirty years ago, is an interesting character study cleverly told. Children matured young in the tough environment that Francis was born into and at the age of nearly seventeen we leave this daughter of Brooklyn, a young woman who has had many experiences, both tragic and comic.

Judging by the popularity it has gained, one would expect this novel to be a great success with prisoners of war and it is highly recommended for that purpose.

“WALT WHITMAN”, by Henry Siedel Canby. Houghton Mifflin Company. $4.75.

In this most recent biography of one of America’s greatest poets, Henry Canby gives a frank and sympathetic interpretation of the work and character of Walt Whitman. Canby is a biographer of critical insight and understanding, and handles his difficult and complex subject with clear intelligence that gives us a new meaning and appreciation of Whitman’s genius.

The historical events of the time, the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, together with the picture of New York in the middle nineteenth century, provides a background that is both interesting and entertaining.

This is not everybodys [sic] book, but those who are interested in literary biographies will thoroughly enjoy it and to devotees of Whitman it will be a delight. In sending this book to a prisoner of war, we suggest including a copy of Whitman’s poems as the reader will constantly wish to refer to them “Leaves of Grass” is published in the Modern Library at $1.25.

“THE RAZOR’S EDGE”, by W. Somerset Maugham. Doubleday, Doran. $3.25.

Somerset Maugham’s latest novel is not by any means his best. It is the story of a young American, Larry Darnell, a flier in the last war, who on returning to his native city of Chicago finds that the life of easy luxury and social gaiety that his friends indulge in, is not for him. So Larry turns down an offer of a good job and a high salary to search for truth, faith, or as he calls it “the experience of the Absolute”. The transformation of Larry into a mystic and ascetic is not a very convincing story and the characters are disappointingly unreal. In writing about Americans, Maugham has entered a field where he is not perfectly at home and the ease with which he creates characters of his own nationality is deplorably absent.

While most of the story takes part in Paris, Larry’s travels in India are related by him in detail. And it is in the distant obscurity of native India that he finds the truth for which he longs. The book ends as Larry returns to his own people with the zeal of an evangelist. One wonders what effect he will have on Chicago … and what effect Chicago will have on him.

It would not be possible for Somerset Maugham to write and “un-readable” or boring book and “The Razor’s Edge” although not up to the authors usual standard is above the average of current novels and will help pass the hours.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 11

PROVINCIAL HEADQUARTERS

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Mrs. R. Thistle

1013 Government St.

Victoria, B.C.

MANITOBA

Mr. W.S. King

906 Paris Building

Winnipeg, Manitoba

ONTARIO

Mrs. Gordon Weir,

Bank of N. Scotia Bldg.,

79 Queen St. East,

Toronto, Ont.

QUEBEC

Mrs. H.E. Plant,

718 Sun Life Building,

Montreal, Que.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Mrs. George Filliter,

68 Portledge Ave,

Moncton, N.B.

NEWFOUNDLAND

Mrs. C.A. Holmes,

Caribou Hut,

St. John’s, Nfld.

NOVA SCOTIA

Mrs. W.A. Black,

30 Ivanhoe Street,

Halifax, N.S.

SASKATCHEWAN

Mr. C.A. Cunning,

303 McCallum Hill Bldg,

Regina, Sask.

ALBERTA

Mrs. H. Thom,

10222, 118th St.,

Edmonton, Alta.

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS

150A Sun Life Bldg.,

Montreal

ONTARIO PROVINCIAL BRANCH TORONTO

It was reported at the May meeting of the Ontario Branch that a group of Hospital Visitors has paid seven visits to the repatriated P.O.W. at Christie Street Hospital.

The Ontario Branch has donated $1,000.00 to the fund for Emergency kits. A new branch has been opened at Owen Sound.

It was announced that the badminton equipment and golf clubs could be sent in sports equipment parcels as in some camps golf courses are being built.

Flt/Lt. Ross Gillespie, a repatriate from Stalag Luft III spoke to the meeting. He suggested that more good books and good gramophone records be sent to P.O.W. as there is an ample supply of the lighter variety.

OTTAWA BRANCH

At the May meeting of the Ottawa Branch, a letter was read from the National President, Mrs. J.O. Asselin in connection with the Emergency Kits. The guest speaker, Flt/Lt. Foreman, Air Force Liaison Officer on the Committee for the Welfare and Protection of Prisoners of War gave an interesting account of his experience in enemy occupied territory and his escape and return to the United Kingdom. Fl/Lt. Foreman was enthusiastic about the Emergency Kits and stated that he knew they would be greatly appreciated in Transit Camps.

It was reported that the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Red Cross would assist with packing personal parcels.

VANCOUVER BRANCH

At the May meeting of the Vancouver Branch Major Oscar Erickson M.C. gave an address on “Rehabilitation”. Major Erickson reviewed the existing regulations for the re-establishment of returned men and women of the three services and offered numerous suggestions for improvements. A motion was carried endorsing Major Erickson’s recommendations.

MANITOBA BRANCH

The monthly meeting of the Manitoba Branch was held on May 4th, with 70 members present. Mrs. Osler of the Red Cross spoke with regard to unused labels for next of kin parcels and stressed the importance of every prisoner receiving his permitted parcels. It was pointed out the C.P.O.W.R.A., the Red Cross or one of the Auxiliaries would see that parcels were sent for next of kin who were unable to do so for financial or other reasons. The notice of meetings of the Manitoba Brach are announced by radio as follows:

“Some folks with lov’d ones far across the sea,
Imprisoned in Japan or Germany,
Have formed a club, whose members monthly meet
To interchange their memories, and greet,
The meagre news which censorship has pass’d
And mails delayed by war have brought at last,
They share their letters, all alas too brief,
But even so, such antidotes to grief.
They talk about the parcels which they send,
And how their boys receive them in the end:
How some are lost, perhaps, in ships at sea,
Since no word comes of their delivery.
These and a hundred matters are discuss’d,
Pertaining to their common in’trests, just
Because those absent ones of whom they’re fond
Unite them in a sympathetic bond.
If you would like to come, please note the date –
To-night, in Grace Church Parish Hall, at eigth” [sic]

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12 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

LETTERS RECEIVED

Letters from prisoners of war published in the News Sheet are of great interest to our readers. We appeal to prisoners relatives to share news of general interest that they receive from prison camps, by allowing us to print their letters or excerpt from letters. Photographs are also very much appreciated. The editor will handle very carefully all material received and return letters and photographs when requested.

GIROMAGNY BEI BELFORT
(Civilian Internment Camp)

February 12th 1944

I received the ping pong set from the Prisoners of War Relatives Association. I distributed the bats to members of the camp and the net I put on the communal table. Please thank them for their kindness. The playing cards I have kept for bridge. At the moment tiddley-winks is the favourite game in the camp. We hold terrific games in our room. I am ping pong champion of our camp now. I’m going to keep up practice when I get home. Hoping to see you soon.

OFFLAG VII B

March 31st 1944. Received May 11th.

Last letter to you March 10th. Since then received gym shoes, sweat shirt and soccer ball and your letter February 5th. Many thanks. The gym shoes arrived just in time to replace my old ones, which were wearing out. A Father Boulanger, from Megantic arrived here a short time ago from another camp. He was one of the Missionaries taken off the “Limzam” en route to Africa a long time ago. He has had a pretty interesting time since his capture, as you can imagine. Taking lots of exercise, feeling pretty good and managing to keep myself busy with odds and ends, so things could be a lot worse.

STALAG II D

March 10th 1944 Received May 11th

Well here I am writing from another camp, this time we’re up North in Germany. All the English speaking troops in this camp are Canadians, and it sure was good to meet a lot of the boys again. I correspond with a few of my friends in England and Canada, but have had to cut out writing to a lot of people for various reasons. Most of my letters go home and nearly everything in them you could tell to the Marines. We have had some quite good weather here, sometimes it gets a bit cloudy, with the clouds and other objects passing overhead. I received two letters from home the other day, dated April last, we move so often it takes quite a while for the mail to catch up with us.

We have started to toss the softball around, also play volley ball, we usually play bridge at night. Time is the thing that weighs heaviest on the mind, but everyone here in the best of spirits, and we all think that it wont [sic] be long now.

STALAG IV B

No date. Received April 13th 1944.

We have been unpacking and stacking Red Cross parcels today and are glad to be doing something to make the time pass. P- has written a concert, we dress the fellows up as girls with wigs made out of the Red Cross parcel string and the dresses are made out of old hospital night shirts with crepe paper accessories. They are giving out the mail now, but none for me. Oh well. I read some of your old mail and it was just as good as getting new mail, but I would like a letter and some pictures.

No date. Received April 18th 1944.

Winter has come at last with about four inches of snow. We had a great day snowballing the army. Played a game of football today, the ground was covered with ice. What a game, and what casualties. We had a very indignant cow in the camp the other day. It was employed in hauling a cart into the camp and while she was quietly standing two of the fellows relieved her of half a dixie of her best. We have a camp newspaper now and it is really very good. All kinds of stories, bits of news and cartoons. The way it has been done is really amazing. Christmas is nearly on us again, we are all sure we will make it in time for the next one. Here’s hoping. The food question and clothing are pretty good and we are preparing for a great feast on Christmas.

No date. Received April 26th 1944

No mail as yet, some fellows from around home passed through the camp. We got a lot of news. It sure is a small world. We are having a mild winter so far with muddy days and a few good nights. Its [sic] funny the number of falling stars we see nights. We usually have arguments over which constellation is which. In fact, star-gasing [sic] and astronomy have become two of the best camp recreations. We have a couple of camp orchestras and hut concerts are pretty regular. The Canadians have received some lovely instruments from the Canadian Y.M.C.A.

STALAG IX C

February 25th, 1944.

The German Authorities decreed upon removing all the Canadian Prisoners of War to a Camp of their own, and we shall be very sorry to see them go; they have all been such good sports and

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 13

good friends. If I accepted all the invitations to Canada I would be there for the rest of my life. The weather is cold and much snow on the ground. The Red Cross food parcels which we have received every week are a great boon and a God-send, specially butter, klim and meat – I must say that they are very palatable.

STALAG XVII B

February 1944.

This is the first letter I have written in over a month. We have moved again and now we are in a Stalag 17 B, which is in Austria. Of course you notice that all letters still go to Stalag Luft III. I guess all airmens [sic] mail goes there first. This camp is on a hill and you can see for miles out beyond the barbed wire. The climate here is very healthy. Last week I received 27 letters: the latest was dated July 20th. I’m taking up Spanish in school now and have been doing a lot of reading.

STALAG XXI D

March 5th, 1944.

I am very thankful for the cigarette parcels received at intervals. A Canadian smoke is very much appreciated here I can tell you. I hope you will not mind me making a suggestion concerning the sending of Maple product. I live here amongst British the greater part of whom have never hear about maple syrup, taffy or sugar Coult [sic] it be possible to let them have a taste of it, for instance in a little tin included in the ordinary P.O.W. parcel by the C.R.C.S.

STALAG 317

December 23rd, 1943.

Well, Christmas has come and gone for another year. We have had quite a good one here, with plenty to eat and smoke, thanks to the Red Cross. I hope you had a real old fashioned one at home. Wish I could have been with you. However, we are looking forward to the next one at home.

December 17th 1943.

It looks as though we are going to have a green Christmas, much to the surprise of the local inhabitants. Green or white we will have a good time. Our Red Cross Christmas parcels arrived this morning. They are a special issue for the day. They contain chocolate, biscuits, cake, pudding, milk, sugar, two meats, soap, etc. Also Wednesday we got a Canadian parcel, so prospects are really O.K. in the food line. When you are making up my next parcel a couple of pairs of socks would be handy, also some toothpaste and washing soap. The sweater and other clothes are doing a real service. I am looking forward to your letters. I have only had 8, dated last April and May. Please dont [sic] worry. Everything is O.K.

STALAG 344

December 19th, 1943.

I trust that you spend a festive season, we here are keenly looking forward to ours and our Xmas parcels. I’m in the best of health, barring a cold, most of us have these. We have the barracks all decorated, trimmings cut from all can labels, cigarette boxes, parcel stuffings and some greenery. Numerous concerts are on, at our theatre (which we built years ago) the pantomime of which I’m in the choir, sings carols at six in the morning Xmas and later its program in the theatre, and concerts put on by individual billets, so you see we are still smiling. I am in the choir photo attached, you will note some snow not much, but it was below zero then and is still cold. Myself I’m quite warm, plenty of socks and sweaters and my bedding good, my blanket is sure the thing! I spent a very quiet birthday your smokes didn’t arrive here yet, but all mail is quiet and will undoubtedly get here later.

Xmas 1943.

Well, its [sic] been a merry and exciting Christmas, bags of eats. We sang ourselves hoarse going from one hut to the other and now all I need to hear is that you had as good a time as of old. Here’s looking forward to hearing from you.

January 9th 1944.

My New Years resolution is to be home this year, and al the news is looking forward to just that. Say, this life agrees with me, I get fatter every day, but plenty of work puts it on the right places. Everybody happy.

February 7th 1944.

I suppose you must have thought of what we do when there are no flicks to go to, although we do have plays and varieties in the Stalag. Well, in our time off we get lots of time for reading and you would be surprised at the books you can read that have been made into pictures, which is almost like going to the picture over again if you have plenty of imagination and what hasnt [sic] a P.O.W. got in that line. I am keeping at my French lessons, slowly now as I have less opportunity, but I hope to speak it well if this war doesnt [sic] quit too soon. The spirit of the lads here is great and its [sic] good to see how strong and healthy most of them are. A bit of stiff work is good for a chap in thay [sic] way as it keeps you fit and your mind occupied.

February 25th 1944.

Very please to receive your last letter, received blankets O.K., also received a couple more parcels from different sources in which I can see your hand. Thanks awfully I am doing well and have plenty of everything at present, also I receive every-

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THEATRICALS AT STLAG LUFT III

Photographs kindly lent by Mrs. L. de Forest of Drumheller, Alberta and Mrs. E.A. Macnutt of Montreal.

[Photograph of a musical programme]

[[Photograph of four people on a stage in a theatrical production]

[Photograph of a group of people in theatrical costumes]

STALAG LUFT III

By

A Repatriated Prisoner of War

Stalag Luft III is considered the best Officers’ Camp in Germany, I suppose owing to the fact that the German Air Force look after us. They are considerably better types than the army. Apart from 2 roll calls a day they left us very much to ourselves and we made our own arrangements for recreation, lectures, etc. The treatment improved considerably and they were only too pleasant latterly.

The food situation when I left was the best it had been in camp. We had a 6 months reserve stock of parcels, and cigarette parcels were arriving regularly. Everyone was really fit, in fact I can assure you I was fitter over there than I am now after having so many late nights and occasional parties.

The theatre which you have heard about no doubt was a big attraction to our compound. Actually there were 4 compounds in the camp area, with roughly 1000 officers in each, but no official intercommunications was allowed. The huts were comfortable, 6 to a room. There was a stove in each room and the fuel allowance was reasonable. The cooking was mostly done on the main kitchen stove, each hut taking turn about on the cooking roster. The big meal was in the evening, and on the present system of one Red Cross parcel for each man per week, supplemented by the German rations the bulk of which was bread and potatoes, I don’t think anyone was ever hungry.

We got fairly up-to-date news as new prisoners were drifting in every week and we also had special methods of obtaining it. Boredom was the only bugbear, unless one was very interested in classes. There is ample opportunity for almost any type of game.

Receipt of mail was always very spasmodic. I have received letters within 3 weeks, while others have taken 9 weeks – it’s the main trouble. Prisoners’ letters out take even longer, as I checked this up when I got home.

The medical attention is O.K. as I can vouch for, but hardly anyone seems to get ill and the doctors at the camp, 2 German and 2 of our own must get very browned off.

I have stated accurate facts and assure you that such things as reprisals never take place nowadays. Escapes go on most of the year, all very amusing, but the punishment is only solitary confinement for 10 or 14 days which is a luxury to most people who want peace and quietness.

[Photograph of a group of people in costume on a stage, with players on various instruments on one side]

[Photograph of a group of people in costume on a stage]

[Photograph of a group of people in costume on a stage with a musical background]

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16 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

thing O.K. The weather here has been real cold with plenty of snow for the last couple of months, but thanks to you I am well prepared. I think the spring is not far off, and shall be glad when the summer comes.

I have broken my wrist and it wont [sic] heal, which is rather unfortunate, it is the scaphoid and it has been broken six months now. I may have to have an operation on it and a peg put in as the bone is degenerating, but I don’t [sic] know whether it will be as strong as it used to be so may refuse, anyway it doesn’t [sic] bother me much as I am in plaster at present.

STALAG LUFT IV

November 1st. 1943.

There is a chapel here and two English priests so I go to Mass and Communion every Sunday. We are starting organized classes and several other subjects, the teachers subjects, so we should learn something. We can play practically any sport we wish here, some of the camps even have ice rinks. The Red Cross supply us with sporting goods, food parcels and plenty of books, at present I am reading the Alaskan by Curwood. By the way I am becoming quite a good cook, you should have tasted the cake I baked yesterday, made from raisins, etc. out of our Red Cross parcel.

STALAG LUFT VI

My first letter to you from my new home. We arrived a couple of days ago and I am nicely settled now. It is all air force here and we got treated royally on arrival and ever since. I received a complete new outfit of air force clothes and lots of extras from the boys so please don’t [sic] send any clothes parcels, just toilet articles, chocolate, shoe polish and any civy shoes you can. There are a lot of Canadians here and we have started making two rinks, one for skating and the other for hockey. My last letter from you was written March 8th and I hope my mail soon comes through. I had two months freedom in Italy and was recaptured November 5th. I had hoped to spend Christmas with you, but cheer up, I shall next year. Please write often and send snaps, I get two of these letters and four cards a month so you shall get 4 of them, one a week.

January 17th 1944.

A new letter on a New Year. This is my first letter this year and I sure hope it reaches you O.K. Letters havent [sic] been so good this last month but I did quite well before that. Things are pretty fair with me. We had a blizzard yesterday but its [sic] back to normal today. We have a rink and hockey of a kind. It gives us something to do. Have

[Photograph of three rows of men in uniform outside a hut with a shield] Group taken at Stalag 344. Kindly lent by Mrs. G.E. Kline of Toronto.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 17

started studying book-keeping and Diesel, also agriculture on the side.

February 4th, 1944.

Just received your letter of Oct. 1, in which you say you’ve sent parcel, thanks a lot, should be here soon. The boys were out skating this morning, as the weather has turned colder and made a rink possible. Lots of work carrying water but its [sic] worth it. Did I tell you that I received a Xmas card from the people of Canada signed by Mackenzie King. Quite a souvenir. Well believe it or not the cake we baked for Christmas really turned out good, and if you knew what went into it you’d say impossible. Will bring the recipe back with me, will give you a laugh. Received a swell photograph album and log from the Y.M.C.A. So will be able to keep snaps okay now.

February 5th 1944.

I have just from seeing a band concert I would gladly pay a dollar to see anywhere. It was really grand, a fourteen piece band with a special part put in for the Canadians, chaps in tartan shirts, big hats etc., playing old time music. Things are just the same here. It is still very mild. I am still waiting anxiously for news from you. There is a lot of mail it, but none for me. We are having a boxing match on Monday, 9 bouts in all against Lager A. It was their band played tonight. I read a fine book this week. “The Unknown Country” by Hutchison. It is very modern and deals with Canada and her problems.

February 17th, 1944.

To-day I received the second letter from you for about five or six weeks, Oct 29. Other was Sept. 26. As I told you in last letter personal parcel sent in October reached here not far behind September personal parcel… Also six records sent in Sept. arrived in good condition. Records sent by the C.P.O.W.R.A. arrived recently, a swell selection so don’t bother to send any more records, as I’ll be lucky if I hear all of them. Cooking utensils, cocoa, gum and candles sent by the Prime Minister also rolled in, and were greatly appreciated. Photo album and parlor baseball arrive yesterday and I’ve had several games since then. I’m taking vitamins every day and they help such a lot. Thanks for everything.

STALAG LUFT III

December 20th, 1943.

Played a game of Rugby and got bruised up a bit, and did some work around the skating rink and such little things, these fill our lives. Will soon be second Xmas as P.O.W. here, and that is food for thought. Am reading a good book tonight while listening to some dance music – contrast.

January 17th, 1944.

It seems very odd to be putting 44 at the top of my letter. We are putting on a Christmas pantomime here. I was playing in the band up till yesterday when I went along to get a bottle of cough medicine and the doctor put me in hospital for no reason at all that I can see. I received my clarinet just before coming here and just had time to try it out. It is a wonderful little instrument. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. There are a couple of professional players here. They tried it out and say it is absolutely perfect. There is a surprising amount of talent in our camp. The man who wrote and directs this pantomime was a professional actor in England. The women’s parts are amazingly filled by kriegies who are so well made up that is it almost impossible, seeing them on the stage, to think that they are men.

January 17th, 1944.

We are having a remarkably mild winter here in Germany. We’ve flooded the rink several times and every time it refuses to freeze. The boys in charge are getting a bit fed up. Personally I hope it remains like this all winter. Not enough coal for cold weather. There is a very good pantomime going on in our camp. Due to the bombing it is much harder to rent costumes for our shows than formerly, but we have been able to improvise quite well. Kriegs can make almost anything out of tin cans, bits of cloth, etc.

January 18th 1944. Received April 28th.

I received your Christmas letter about the chocolate and cigarettes a few days ago and they tell me the chocolate has arrived. Everyone tells me to thank you very much. Also your letter about pay and promotion is being circulated about; this is of greatest interest to us as we are rather hazy about some aspects of these things. The mail continues to be almost nil as far as I am concerned. The camp Christmas pantomime is going full swing; very good if a little late.

January 20th, 1944. Rec. April 21st, 1944.

A letter at last from you, sent in August. Your very fine parcel of Sept. came safely a while back, and thank you very much. You do understand how much these things mean to us don’t you? We had our customary Christmas, so slightly more cheerful than usual because we felt that this may be the last of its kind. Camps like this are very optimistic – they have to be. Do write. Could you send some music for guitar solos?

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18 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

January 24, 1944. Received April 17th, 1944.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to write a newsy letter. Most of the chaps in my billet are studying away their time in preparation for the post war world, and the English chaps hope to enter the Civil Service. But us Canadians are sort of at loose ends. We can’t expect the Government to support us for ever and at this point might I make a suggestion? I would very much like you to sort of get your hands on something or other that I could do for a living, as it is we are as you might say loose ends (nothing in view) for our post war life. Well we are getting plenty of mud here, the really affectionate type that clings to your feet and is loathe to let you go. So much for mud. We are hearing many stories about the Repatriated P.O.W. and it only increases our anxiety to be home again. No parcels or mail for many moons, altho I suppose there is plenty on the way.

January 27th 1944. Receiver [sic] April 24th.

Well, here I am again hale and heart and hope you are the same. To-day I got 1000 cigarettes from you, although I have not yet received any other parcel and no more mail from you since your first letter which I got on January 18th. We made a move and are now living in more comfortable quarters. We live in rooms, 8 men to each, so our mess is intact. They each contain 4 double bunks, 1 heating stove 8 stools, 2 tables and 4 double lockers, which we use for a food cabinet, also a coal box. The rooms are quite large, and we are not at all crowded. Oh yes, I had the sixth tooth on the left bottom painlessly extracted this morning. I have just about recovered.

February 6th 1944.

Here foes another forlorn attempt at a letter. Had a couple from you the other day and also one dated June, but better late than never. Before going any further I have something to say. I should like to convey my appreciation and thanks, through you to the people of Canada for the many gifts
we have received. Recently we received eating utensils such as, plates, cups, forks, spoons, etc., which were, shall we say, just what the doctor ordered. The old tin can cup went out the window. Some of the large kettles, soup pots, frying pans and so on, because of the accommodations are not applicable, but we are not kicking. We have received many other things such as books, and chocolate which are not less appreciated. Am getting along fairly well. Still growing older every day. Glad to be doing something, if only that.

No Date.

Well here I am again happy and well. I have received four letters and were they welcome. O boy! Will you send me in your next letter some pictures of yourself and the family? I need as follows, pipe, tobacco, handkerchiefs, can opener, two knives, forks and spoons. Knife and jockey shorts. Anything else you can think of. I am walking without a cane now, but still and always will have a slight limp. My right leg is about one inch and a half shorter. We have plenty of books, cards, and games, so our time goes very fast. When I get home

[Photograph of a group of men unloading boxes from the back of a truck] Parcels arriving at Stalag IXC. International Red Cross Photograph.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 19

I will give the Red Cross a pile of money, because they are sure doing a wonderful job. Please don’t worry, I have enough food, but could always use more. I have met a lot of U.S.A. boys from Ohio here, they are with the U.S.A.A.F. I am in the R.A.F. camp.

February 17th 1944.

Received four September letters last week. Glad the fishing is improving. When I walk round with the chaps that’s my pet subject. Did I ever tell you how we go walking here? Well, the compound is about 100 yards square and we walk around and round and round. I wish I had a dollar for every circuit of the compound I’ve made as a prisoner. Have just come back from the “Ringer”, a play by Edgar Wallace, put on by some of the boys. Quite a thrill it was too.

Those Haliver Oil Capsules were a godsend. I have been taking two every day since Christmas and I haven’t [sic] had a cold since. Our Canadian soccer team swings into action to-morrow morning at 9.30 and I must be in shape. Could you put hair grease in my parcels?

February 17th 1944.

Don’t [sic] forget cigarettes and chocolate please, and sports parcel of running shoes. Much the same. Reading a lot. When writing please give all the news possible of Canada. Daily newspaper is something to be really appreciated. Odd Canadians give lectures on various subjects. One on investment in stock market interesting. The Aussie in this room is giving me gen on “Man Unknown”. Good book.

February 17th 1944. Rec. April 14th.

I have now received 14 letters, 2 personal parcels and a cigarette parcel from you. I am so pleased with everything they contained that I cannot find words to thank you in this letter, but wait until I see you. I am well equipped now and there is nothing else I really want, especially clothing. I shall wait until I get back before I apply for my caterpillar badge, as it cant [sic] be sent here and I don’t [sic] know if it can be sent to Canada. I am sorry to say I am the only one alive, so you know the way I feel about that. I cannot tell you any more now, but will tell you all when I see you. Dont [sic] forget to send a photograph.

February 18th 1944.

Well it is very cold here today. It is like February in Canada and not as warm as in Italy. I am sorry I could not make it, as I was loose for three months and lost everything in Italy; so send next of kin parcel and cigarettes again.

You sent wonderful parcels to me in Italy, so please send same again. Hope you know by now I am a prisoner again. I am still in good health. We get Red Cross parcels here.

February 22nd 1944.

Have received about 8 letters from you lately. I was quite amazed and delighted to receive the Album of Swing Records. Quite a number of chaps have borrowed them and some have even asked to buy Bunney Berigans record “I cant [sic] get started.” It is cold here but there is no snow. We have just been X-rayed for T.B. Still studying and bearing up.

February 25th 1944. Received May 4th.

To-day my first parcels arrived, forwarded from Italy. One was my July next-of-kin with cardigan in it. As you can guess, it arrived just as I began to need it badly. I’ve received every clothing you’ve send up to that one. A games parcel came too, there are two or three cigarette parcels in, but I havent [sic] got them yet. I told you in my last letter that I received ten letter cards from you all at once, written between August and October 10th 1943. I’ve been able to collect quite a bit of late news about most of my friends from new arrivals here, so I know where most of them are.

Our latest variety show ended last night, after a seven days run. We dont [sic] need Bing Crosby, Connie Boswell, Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, Ty Power or Glen Miller here. Neither do we need Cecil B. DeMille, Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. The hidden talent we find is amazing. Well, I am O.K. and for proof of that, I’m doing giant swings on the high bar again. Received your January 20th cable in eighteen days.

February 27th 1944.

All fine here. Big things have happened since I last wrote, firstly I had my first hot shower since October ’42, and it sure felt good, we have been building a shower house since last summer and it was christened yesterday. Speed is our motto. Secondly I have found my skating balance and can now whip round like an old hand, this comes from having a week of cold weather and so have been skating everyday, unfortunately the rink is small so it gets very crowded and soon gets cut up, net result I have been rising early and doing my skating before breakfast. The mail has been good this month so next month I will have lots of letters to answer. Please excuse the printing but I am practicing to standardise my printing for cartoon work, not that I expect to become a cartoonist but am working on a war log of camp scenes on the humourous [sic] side, and it should be nice to keep when all this is over. That’s all for now and am sure it cant [sic] last much longer so chin up.

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20 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

February 27th 1944.

Mail hit an all time low for me this month, but I’ll likely get a big bash of it all at once. Received a thousand menthol cigarettes from you a few days ago and they were really a treat, very few of them are seen around the camp, so they were sure welcome. Also fifty cigars which gave the room an odour of opulence in the evening. We had a really swell “Revue” in the theatre last week, it ran three days over the schedule of five days – hope I can get some pictures of our female impersonators to take home they do a marvellous job. One of them, an English chap, has a beautiful girls voice in addition to being just about the right size. I’m having a lot of fun trying to encourage my artistic talents just now, using up G-‘s water colours in the process. So far I havent [sic] turned out a real masterpiece but is passes the time. Spring is very late this year, no sun-bathing or summer sports yet but it shouldnt [sic] be long. Warm weather and other things should come (we hope) so I can see you this summer.

February 28th 1944.

Your last letter is Nov. 21st. We all had medical exams by the British Medical Officer last week, including X-rays, blood tests, etc., I am happy to write I am O.K. All is well here so dont [sic] worry. I am looking after the boiler room, to break the monotony and studying very diligently so this year is passing quickly and if all goes well we will be home by the end of it. My surplus cigarettes I give to the new chaps as I don’t smoke much. My clothes are O.K. except pyjamas wear out quickly and much more tooth powder is really needed. Your letters are full of news and I cant [sic] attempt to acknowledge it all. Tell me what you can what we are to expect on our return in the line of positions etc. Will Dad raise hell on behalf of us chaps who joined up early and have not received promotions compared to new chaps and officers. Time promotions. Maths book from Geneva on way, definitely determined to enter University on my return if circumstances permit specializing in logging engineering. September clothing parcel received, all contents O.K., many thanks.

March 1st 1944.

Since I wrote you last month a group of Poles and Czechs arrived from Stalag IV B and are now in a neighbouring compound.

I have received a cigarette parcel from you and various organizations. Another book parcel from Simpsons just arrived too, several pocket books, but I dont [sic]know who sent them. Your most recent letters dated Nov. 29th, Oct 23rd, Oct. 29th and Nov. 25th, also one August 17th. I’m glad to know you meet other Kriegies parents. All going well.

March 5th 1944.

All fine here, weather still cold at night but it thaws during the day, so skating I am afraid, is a thing of the past. However, I have kept myself busy drawing and painting cartoons, and I think I am beginning to show a slight improvement be-

[Photograph of a variety of small figurines displayed on a table] An Art exhibition at Marlag und Milag. International Red Cross photograph.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 21

cause now I spend most of my time doing drawings for other peoples [sic] books. My own book is now half filled and come the warm weather it should not take long to complete it. Last night I saw the paly “Arsenic and Old Lace”; I rather enjoyed it but would have enjoyed it more if I hadnt [sic] read it before. We built our own theatre and have put on some really good performances. Musicals seem to be the most popular, probably due to the fact that we have a really first rate orchestra. The Americans in the next camp really have got a band, which includes players from Goodman, Shaw, Whiteman and several other big name bands. They put on a show for us a couple of months ago, just like a radio broadcast, an eighteen piece band, skat singers and comedies. We have now got an Englishman rooming with us and we expect to get him educated in a couple of weeks, already he is using Canadian expressions, and by June we will have him playing baseball.

March 11th, 1944. Received May 17th, 1944.

I have at last received word from you, letter of Nov. 28th, written to Germany, also letter of July 9th to Italy. Three cig. parcels have arrived so the month has got off to a big innings. I certainly needed then, and keep up the good work. You don’t know just how much we appreciate the efforts you are all making. You must express my appreciation to all those people who are doing so much for me; I only wish I could write to them all myself. Thank you for clearing up that bit of unfortunate information I had. Some news gets so warped by the time it reaches us that mountains are soon made out of molehills. Some of the Montrealers you mentioned as being here are not in our compound, so that I am not in contact with them. We moved in north some three weeks before the end, and when the great day came we witnessed the changing of the guard. We could bring from Bologna only what we could carry, which comprised mostly food, hence the shortage of clothes. Two nice letters from Mrs. R. She can’t wait to see us in London to entertain us. Neither can we. She threatens me with a visit to London’s best chef. Could she but know the somewhat limited capacity of my now deflated stomach! Nevertheless, I am in better order now that I am not eating macarino and rice. So far “tout est bien”.

March 12th, 1924. [sic] Received April 25th, 1944.

Your lovely Christmas parcel came thru and helped us out no end. We make out quite well really all the time. The Red Cross does a magnificent job, but it is the occasional extra little luxury which does so much to keep our spirits up. The gardening book came, but Oh! it is saddening the soil here, it is so poor.

STALAG LUFT III

February 19th, 1944.

Just a few lines to let you know I’m still O.K. Last couple of weeks have had a touch of flu, and not quite over it yet. Saw G- across the wire the other day, havent [sic] got over to see him yet. Three of us are all in different Lagers. Have had my name on the visiting list to “K” Lager for four months, but havent [sic] got there yet.

Received two personal parcels so far, and several packages of cigarettes. This is almost the only thing that is plentiful at present. However, with donations to new P.O.W.’s and others not so fortunate they wont [sic] last long. Everyone was x-rayed the other day for T.B. The spud ration has been cut down. A camp paper is published daily now and contains excerpts from letters and other articles made up from incoming mails. Have had one letter and a crad [sic] this month.

STALAG LUFT VI

February 23rd, 1944. Received May 13th.

None recently from you. Everything Oke here. Dont [sic] forget the Menthols and if possible a cheap watch; some of the fellows have received them okay. Lot of conjecture here.

February 12th, 1944. Received May 13th.

Personally I’d sooner be in – (censored) at least I’d know when I was getting out. Enough said. Not much news here now. The rink we made lasted one day and then back to mud. Received a dixie and some other articles from C.P.O.W.R.A. sent out for Xmas, will come in handy.

MARLAG UND MILAG

January 16th, 1944. Received March 8th.

The 13th was lucky for me. I collected my September parcel in good condition. Studies go on. I should complete my syllabus in time for my May exams is there arent [sic] too many interruptions. I have received four splendid technical books from the Y.M.C.A. New York. They are good in sending books. Next to the Red Cross I think they help us most. I’ve regained some weight and am feeling fine.

February 14th, 1944. Received March 29th.

The Canadian Red Cross Christmas gift has been large this year. We have received a 2 lb Christmas pudding, set of kitchen and table utensils, coca, gum and lifesavers, also a box of gramophone records. We have had a few record recitals in the room. They are very good. You know that we have several complete bands her and an excellent library. I think I’ve mentioned our theatre and the occasional German films. Now, in contrast to last year, we have adequate sports supplies. Red Cross parcels continue to arrive. We get along well, thanks to the Red Cross.

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22 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

[Photograph of a group of men outside a hut] Group taken at Stalag 344. Kindly lent by Mrs. Arbic of Sudbury, Ontario, whose son W/O H.C. Arbic is 4th from left, 2nd row.

DIRECTORY

Subscribers are urged wherever possible to buy from those companies listed here; they are helping to defray the cost of this bulletin.

BOOKS

Albert Britnell Book Shop, 765 Yonge Street, Toronto.

[Advertisements for Burton’s Limited, Connolly’s Ltd., Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. and F.E. Osborne]

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 23

[Advertisements for Oxo, The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited and Charles Ogilvy Limited]

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24 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

[Advertisements for Eaton’s War Service Depot, Jas. A. Ogilvy’s Limited, Henry Morgan & Co., Limited and Simpson’s]

APPEAL FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS – The annual subscription to the monthly News Sheet is $1 for next-of-kin and $1.50 for other relatives and friends.

Cheques should be made payable (at par, Montreal) to The Canadian Prisoners of War Relatives Association, Room 150A Sun Life Building, Montreal.

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 25

[Advertisements for Clark’s, Gordon Beardmore & Co., Limited, Fry-Cadbury Ltd. And Harold P. Cowan Importers Ltd.]

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26 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

[Advertisements for The Overseas League (Canada) Tobacco Fund and The C.P.O.W.R.A. Cigarette Fund, Sweet Caps or Winchester Cigarettes]

Imperial Tobacco Sales Co. of Canada Ltd., Address – Sweet Caps, P.O. Box 6000, Montreal (Overseas Department)

Gordon V. Thompson Ltd., 193-197 Yonge St., Toronto

[Advertisements for W.C. MacDonald Inc. and Hudson’s Bay Company]

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June 1944 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION 27

[Advertisement for War Saving Stamps and Certificates, Molsons Brewery Limited]

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28 THE CANADIAN PRISONERS OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION June 1944

WRITE TO THE BOYS IN UNIFORM

Contributed by DAWES BLACK HORSE BREWERY

Collection

Citation

The Canadian Prisoners of War Relatives Association, “News Sheet No 31 June 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 22, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/22554.

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