Wally Layne’s POW Wartime Log

Wally and his fellow prisoners were issued blank “Wartime Logs” along with coloured pencils and ink by the Y.M.C.A. in Geneva.  These were distributed through the Red Cross system.

With watercolours extracted from food can labels and paint brushes made from their own hair, the captives used these books to write poetry, draw, and dream of the houses they would live in after the war.

Sometimes painful and sometimes humorous the rich material contained in the worn pages of Wally’s “Wartime Log” are a great insight into his experiences as a P.O.W.

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The inscription is part of a poem written by Gaius Valerius Catullus a Roman poet.  With the prisoners thinking of home the most literal translation from the Greek is “Oh what is more blessed than when the mind, cares dispelled, puts down its burden and we return, tired from our traveling, to our home, to rest on the bed we have longed for?”

Note: Leading Aircraftsman R.J. Utteridge was shot down in a Fairey Battle on 13th June 1940.


LH Page: A map drawn by Wally showing the camps he was imprisoned in.

RH Page: Illustrated by Wally is the crew of his aircraft Lancaster JA708 which was shot down 23rd September 1943.  Foster, Page and McKinna perished in the attack.


Page 3: Penned in Wally’s hand.

The Spirit of Britain

We shall go on to the end – we will fight in France.  We shall fight on the seas and in the oceans – we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air – we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be.  We shall fight on the beaches and on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and streets, and in the hills.  We shall never surrender, and if, which I don’t for a moment believe, this island, or even a part of it, is subjugated and starving, then our Empire across the seas armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle, until in God’s good time the new world, in all it’s strength and might, sets forth to the rescue and liberation of the old. Britain will fight the menace of tyranny for years, and, if necessary alone. 

Winston Churchill 1940


Page 5: Gordon J. Waddington-Allbright of Wiltshire House, Hungerford, Berkshire writes “A man who grumbles because he doesn’t catch something every day, is a fool not an angler”

Note: Waddington-Allbright was shot down May 30th, 1942 in the 1,000 bomber raid against Cologne.  He was a crew member of a Wellington from the Central Gunnery School.


Page 7: This sketch was drawn by John Beesley and depicts the plight of the prisoners whose bed boards had been utilized to shore up tunnels.  Beesley was the bomb aimer of Wally’s aircraft when they were shot down.


Page 9: Jim D. Skinner, 10 Earl St., New Brunsby, Scunthorpe. Lincs.  26/8/44


Page 12: I believe Wally must have got into his “brew” when he wrote:-

Starkle starkle little twink, who the hell you are you think?

I’m not under the alcofluence of incahol tho some thinkle peep I am. 

I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me

That the drunker I sit here the longer I get.

Page 13: The sketch by Johnny Howes of Peacehaven Sussex asks the question “Do you think they’ll think we’ve changed?  As can be seen, the prisoners are dressed in a variety of clothing, one is smoking a German Meerschaum pipe and both seem to be in a considerable state of disarray.


Pages 14/15:

American: 8 oz. Cocoa or 2 ‘D’ Bars. 6 Oz. Jam. 1 Oz. Salt & Pepper. 12 Biscuits ‘K2’. 1 Lb. Prunes. 12 Oz. Bully Beef. 12 oz. Meat & veg. or Spam. 6 Oz. Meat Pate. 8 Oz. Cheese. 1 Lb. Powdered Milk. 8 Oz. Sugar. 1 Lb Oleomargarine. 4 Oz. Soluble Coffee. 8 Oz. Salmon or 2 Sardines. 2 Soap. 80 Cigarettes. 7(?) Vit. C Tablets.

Canadian: 5 Oz. Chocolate. 1 Lb. Jam. 1 Oz. Salt & Pepper. 12 Biscuits. 6 Oz. Prunes. 12 Oz. Bully Beef. 10 Oz. Ham. 7 Oz. Raisins. 4 Oz. Cheese. 1 Lb. Powdered Milk. 8 Oz. Sugar. 1 Lb, Butter. 6 Oz. Coffee or 4 Oz. Tea. 8 Oz. Salmon. 1 Sardine. 1 Soap. 

English: 4 Oz. Chocolate. 8 Oz. Jam. 1 tin Egg Powder (2 Oz. Approx.). 8 Oz. Service Biscuits. 8 Oz, Prunes or Apricots. 12 Oz. Meat Roll. 16 Oz. Meat & Veg. 4 Oz. Oatmeal. 1 Soap. 3 Oz. Cheese. 1 Tin Condensed Milk. 4 Oz. Sugar. 8 Oz. Margarine. 4 Oz. Cocoa. 2 Oz. Tea. 8 Oz. Salmon or 8 Oz. Bacon. 1 Pancake Powder or 1 Creamed Rice or 1 Apple Pudding.

Argentine Bulk: 3 Oz. Bully Beef. 5 Oz. Meat & Veg. 3 Oz. Ragout. 2 Oz. Corned Mutton. 4 Oz Pork & Beans. 5 Oz. Butter. 2 Oz. Lard. 2 Oz. Honey. 5 Oz. Jam. 2 Oz. Milk Jam (?). 4 Oz. Condensed Milk. 8 Oz. Sugar. 7 Oz. Cheese. 8 Oz. Biscuits. 1 oz. Pea & Lentil Flour. 3 Oz. Chocolate. 2 Oz. Cocoa. 1 Oz. Tea. 1 Soap. 3 Oz. Dried Fruit


Page 17: George W. Hand of Morcott near Uppingham, Rutland had drawn the badge of the Lincolnshire Regiment.


Page 19: A cartoon by L.F. Bean


Page 23: Sincerely yours, Laurie W. Collins, Sackville House, 4 Littlefields Lane, Grimbsy, Lincolnshire.  7/8/44


Page 24: Wally’s roommates at Stalag Luft III Tarmsdedt (Milag Marlag)

Page 25: The members of his combine.


Page 27: These two prisoners were school mates of Wally attending Brigg Grammer School.  R Coulbeck was a member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.  Peter Gurnell was the rear-gunner of 207 Squadron Manchester L7303 shot down March 27th, 1941.


Page 28: The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 75 Squadron’s Maori motto loosely translated as “Friend, I shall fight against you for ever, for ever!”

Page 29:  A cartoon by Peter Griffith a member of 1st. Battalion “The Rangers” Kings Royal Rifle Corps.


Page 31: Penned in Wally’s hand is the following poem:-

IF YOU CAN SAVE YOUR BREW WHEN ALL AROUND YOU

HAVE FINISHED THEIRS AND BORROWED MORE

IF YOU CAN RUN A RACKET WHEN THEY DOUBT YOU

BUT MAKE ALLOWANCE FOR THEIR RACKET TOO

IF YOU CAN WAIT AND NOT GET TIRED OF WAITING

WHEN SOMEONE MAKES A BOOB WHILE ON PARADE

OR STAND OUT IN THE COLD IN YOUR PYJAMAS

WHILE HAUPTMANN MULLER’S WEEKLY SEARCH IS MADE

IF YOU CAN HIDE WHEN DUTY STOOGE IS ON YOU

IF YOU CAN WASH YOUR SHIRT SAY TWICE A YEAR

IF YOU CAN KEEP YOUR MIND ON HARMLESS PASTIMES

AND NOT ON DANCING, WOMEN, WINE AND BEER

IF YOU CAN LISTEN TO ANOTHER AIRMAN

TELLING YOU HIS CROWN IS ON THE WAY

AND NEVER BREATHE A WORD WHILE HE IS MOANING

WHILE YOU HAVE GOT AT LEAST THREE YEARS BACK PAY

IF YOU CAN SAY “WIE GEHTS” OR ELSE “KARTOFFEL”

OR ASK A GERMAN IF HE HAS A LIGHT

YOURS IS THE CAMP AND ALL THATS IN IT

HERE’S TO YOUR HAPPY FUTURE CLEAR AND BRIGHT

With apologies to Kipling.  Fallingbostel Oct 11/44


Page 33: E.J. Gillman (Gilly) 20 Eastcourt Ave., Easley. Reading and J. Kenny, 27 Featherstall Rd. N. Oldham, Lancashire.

Note: James Gillman and Joseph Kenny were with 97 Squadron at the same time as Wally and were shot down a month prior.  Gillman’s and Kenny’s evasion report can be read here.  http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/fsegreyer/EscapersAndEvaders/OtherEandE/GillmanReport.htm


Page 35: Signed by “Rog” he has made a note at the bottom which reads “Tarmstdet, March 31st, 1945. After Montgomery’s Rhine crossing”


Page 37: A caricature of Wally drawn by an unknown hand.


Page 39:   Sgt.  Ian Alexander McDonald, 24 Brookland Drive, London, NW.11  26/9/44. 

To get the searchlight effect McDonald placed a piece of paper the shape of a cone over his work area and blew ink down a straw to get the night time appearance.


Page 43: A self-portrait of Wally meditating over his favorite pastime.


Pages 46/47: Penned in Wally’s hand is this poem titled “The Prisoners Lament.”

BLOODY TIMES IS BLOODY HARD, BLOODY WIRE AND BLOODY GUARD, BLOODY DOGS IN BLOODY YARD.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY TEA IS BLOODY VILE, BLOODY COFFEE MAKES YOU SMILE, BLOODY COCOA MADE IN STYLE.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY ICE-RINKS BLOODY MUD, BLOODY SKATES NO BLOODY GOOD, SAT WHERE I ONCE BLOODY STOOD.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY SALMONS BLOODY QUEER, LOOKS AT YOU WITH BLOODY LEAR, IS IT GOOD? NO BLOODY FEAR.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY BRIDGE ALL BLOODY DAY, LEARNING HOW TO BLOODY PLAY, BLOODY BLACKWELL’S BLOODY WAY.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

NOW AND THEN THO’ BLOODY STALE, CENSOR HANDS OUT BLOODY MAIL, BETTER DRAW THE BLOODY VEIL.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY GIRL FRIEND DROPS ME FLAT, LIKE A DOG ON BLOODY MAT, GETS A YANK LIKE BLOODY THAT.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

BLOODY SAWDUST IN THE BREAD, MUST HAVE COME FROM BLOODY BED, BETTER ALL BE BLOODY DEAD.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

DON’T IT GET YOUR BLOODY GOAT? WAS IT SHAW WHO BLOODY WROTE? WHERE THE HELLS THAT BLOODY BOAT.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY

NOW I’VE REACHED THE BLOODY END, NEARLY ROUND THE BLOODY BEND, THAT’S THE GENERAL BLOODY TREND.

BLOODY BLOODY BLOODY


Page 49: A sketch by Wally of his dream house.  Thorn. Camp 357 July 27th, 1944.


Page 51: Another sketch by Wally’s crewmate John Beesley.


Page 55: Photographs sent to Wally by his wife Joan. Top Wally’s father George Henry Layne and Wally’s sister Isabell Forth. Bottom from left. Wally’s brother-in-law Walter Forth, Wally and Isabell Forth.


LH Page: Joan Layne.

RH Page: Wally Layne (unknown colleague)


LH Page: Unknown couple

RH Page: Joan’s sister Dorothy Andrewartha and Derek John Andrewartha.


LH Page: Joan Layne and baby David.

RH Page: Joan Layne


LH Page: Baby David

RH Page: Joan Layne and baby David


Both Pages: A Lancaster painted by Ian Alexander McDonald


LH Page: The prisoners from left to right, Aubrey Niner,  George Hunt,  A.W.(Sandy) Simpson, and Tom (Titch) Lockyer.  Lockyer is in the bottom photograph.  The photos were taken at Oflag 21B at Schubin in Poland when they were temporarily taken there from Stalag Luft 3 in late 1942.  Wally was with Tom Lockyer in Stalag Luft III.



Page 56: A sketch of the Postern Base, S.E. corner Heydekrug, Stalag Luft VI Oct 31/44


Page 58: “The Mail Hog” by F.L. Ringham, 123 Borden Rd. Tunbridge, Kent.

Page 59: On the right a drawing by Les Calvert. Jan. 45 Fallingbostel


Page 62: Prisoner of War camp money. Wally has listed the rules pertaining to its use.

Page 63: Text reads “This chit is valid as a means of currency for pow’s, and must be used by them for exchange only within the camp or on a working party in expressly authorized canteens. This exchange of this chit for actual money can only take place by the express permission of the accounts officer.  Contravention, forging or any falsification will be punished. The Chief of the Supreme Command of the defense forces”


Page 66:  W. Petch 23 Hamilton Rd. Scunthorpe drew this sketch.  I believe he is likening the gentleman’s hat being blown into the road and the asking of the “Posten” permission to retrieve it to a prisoner asking permission to collect something that has gone over the wire.


Page 69: Wally’s sketch of a frustrating days fishing.


Page 71:

EACH LIFE HAS IT’S CROSSES, AND AN AIRMAN GET’S HIS SHARE, FROM A TRIP ACROSS THE OCEAN, TO THE ENVIED “CROIX DE GUERRE”

THERE ARE CROSSES BY THE CENSOR, FAR TOO MANY SO IT SEEMS, THERE ARE CROSSES IN HIS LETTERS, FROM THE GIRLFRIEND OF HIS DREAMS,

THERE’S A CROSS THAT’S WORN BY HEROS, WHO HAVE FACED A HAIL OF LEAD,  THERE’S A CROSS WHEN HE IS WOUNDED,  AND ONE WHEN HE IS DEAD.

BUT THERE’S A LITTLE CROSS OF MERCY, THAT QUITE A FEW MAY OWN, TO A PRISONER IT IS SECOND, TO THAT OF GOD’S ALONE,

IT’S A CROSS THAT’S WORN BY WOMEN, WHEN WE SEE IT WE BELIEVE, WE RECOGNISE AN ANGEL, BY THE RED CROSS ON HER SLEEVE.


Page 72: Another dream house.


Page 75: Tom (Tich) Lockyer has sketched a Spitfire being bounced by 3 Messerschmidt’s, presumably depicting his own shoot-down. Tom Lockyer was shot down 22/02/41 flying Spitfire R6598 (1PRU) over Ostend, he was a  victim Obfw Hermann Staege 2./LG 2.


Page 76: Drawing by Bob Beeston.


Page 78: A poem “S.S. Kriegie” Anon. 

She’s tremendous, she’s gigantic, looking trim in every line

She’s magnificent colossal, she’s yours yet also mine

She’s gloriously majestic most refreshing to the eye

She’s exciting in her nearness, for we know she’s standing by

There’ll be several Red Cross nurse lining up beside the quay

With a choice of drinks to choose from, NAAFI beer or NAAFI tea

It’s goodbye to Red Cross Parcels, no more vitaminized jam

No more Bully Beef or salmon, no more appetizing spam

No more personals for listing cigarettes or censored mail

When the ship called S.S. Kriegie speeds along the homeward trail

No more Roll Calls, no more searches, no more posterns seeking brew

No more blowers outside billets, no more air raids all day through

No more belt-ups, no more ‘arbeit’ when your stomachs not so good

No more continental sauerkraut, no more scrounging bits of wood

No more visits down to sick bay, no more rackets, no more stew

No more reading propaganda like “The German point of view”

No more bedboards, no more combines, no more overcrowded space

No more cattle trucks to greet us as we move from place to place

No more barbed wire, no more searchlights, no more pine trees all around

No more compounds, no more circuits, when at last we’re homeward bound.


Page 80: The South African National Anthem.

Page 81: F.L. Ringham, 123 Borden Rd. Tunbridge, Kent.  G.R.D.B. Hobsbawn, Santiago, Chile.  Ronald Walker, 106 Sunderland Ave. Tickhill, Doncaster.


Pages 82 / 83:

The Saga of the oldest Kriegie.

Oh were you out in the grim north east

Way up on the Baltic shore

Where the winter nights are six months long

And the days are even more

Where the bitter blast, a snow toothed fiend

Howls down from the Russian steppes

Where socks get frozen to the feet

And the hands are covered in chappes

Where the great white silence covers all

And the only sound they say

Is the song of the Droski singing his love

In the mountains far away. 

That’s where the oldest Kriegie lives

A man both seer and hoary

Living on nutty and polar bear soup

The head of this story. 

Twas many years ago

Way back in 1940

That the oldest Kriegie in his plane

Embarked upon a sortie. 

Twas the sorta sortie a brave man shuns

And the coward runs away from

The kind our hero hoped to Christ

He’d live to draw his pay from. 

In the bright moonlight of a summer night

Our hero crossed the sea

He bombed the target and turned for home

But was jumped by a lone M.E. 

And then there came a wary time

A time most wondrous tiring

They took him to a Kriegie camp

All ringed about with wiring. 

They counted oh they counted him

By day as well as night

Sideway diagonally backwards

But they couldn’t get it right. 

At last they hit upon a wheeze

That seemed both cute and neat

They fell the Kriegies in again

And counted all their feet. 

And when the feet were counted

They divided them by two

But still the answer wasn’t right

So they thought of something new. 

They went and got excited

And shouted with much zest

But it didn’t do them any good

For the Kriegie’s weren’t impressed. 

Then they lined up all the Kriegie’s

At a time when most folks sleep

And made them file between two posts

So the Kriegie’s baaed like sheep. 

And when the count was finished

And they added up the score

They found they’d far more Kriegie’s

Than they’d ever had before. 

For in a well run Kriegie camp

You may get lots of fun

But no fun quite as popular

As mucking up the Hun.


Page 85: A sketch of Wally by E.H.L. Shore. Mar. 1945


Page 86: A poem called “Suspense.”

The prison camp so grim and bare

Within the hated wire

In barracks prisoners drawn and grey

Crouch huddled round the fire

What will the German verdict be?

What will their minds conspire? 

Outside the rain in torrents fall

Heavens ripped open wide

Hell! The suspense is terrible

If only we could hide

At last, long blasts, the silence breaks

Thank God! Roll calls inside.

Others names on these pages are,  J.E. Nelson, 15 Parkfield Rd. Bolton. (One of the crew members when Wally was shot down.)   C. Hanrahan, 5 Norbreck Close, Cinder Hill, Notts.  J. Beesley, 176 Woodland Ave. Handsworth, Birmingham. (One of the crew members when Wally was shot down.)  Benson, “OK” Goondriwindi, Queensland.   J.N. Denton, 4 The Terrace, Chyandous, Penzance, Cornwall.  Chas Allen (Tim) 70 Warren road, Washwood Heath, Birmingham.  J. Seedhouse, c/o Morton, Skillington, nr. Grantham.  R.J. Jackson, 20 Maytree Crescent, Watford, Herts.


Page 89: The words written by Louis B. Gunter are from a poem by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus.  When translated from the Latin the words were most poignant for the prisoners of war. “Oh what is more blessed than when the mind, cares dispelled, puts down its burden and we return, tired from our traveling, to our home, to rest on the bed we have longed for?”


IT IS A MELANCHOLY STATE

You are in the power of the enemy.  You owe your life to his humanity.  Your daily bread to his compassion.  You must obey his orders.  Await his pleasures.  Posses your sole in his patience. The days are very long.  The hours crawl like paralyzed centipedes.

Moreover, the whole atmosphere of prisons, even the most easy and best regulated prison is odious.  Companions quarrel over trifles and get the least possible pleasure from each others society.  You feel a constant humiliation of being fenced in by railings and barbed wire, watched by armed men and webbed in by a triangle of regulations and restrictions.   And so be it. 

 Winston Churchill     POW    British East Africa  1899


Food for thought.

Twice I found this little book on my desk in Stalag 357 and I have come to the perhaps erroneous conclusion that you want me to “do” something in it, Wally.  I hope one day to meet you again but, in case I don’t –d’you remember-

A journey from Heydekrug to Sagan?

A Pitopoly argument when we came back?

Hiding the “brew” from the Abwehr?

My practice on the guitar?

The day after the tunnel was discovered?

The night of the Theater fire?

The Abwehr steamroller?

The runaway coach in a German station?

The second teams center-half?

The pumps and spud peeling at Heydekrug?

The evacuation of Heydekrug?

We could have gone on for hours, but the above will be enough-All the best Wal.

Robert Hancock, Woodhouse Farm, Leconfield, E. Yorks.


Page 98: To be sung in slow, solemn time with full bar room accompaniment. All the best of luck Wally.  Philip Hyden.

O FEELTHY FLY 

A fly flew into the grocery store,

He flew right in – by the front door,

He fluttered round the bacon,

And he fluttered round the ham,

And finally lit on the strawberry jam. 

Oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, repulsive parasite.

 

The fly looked here, the fly looked there,

Under the table and under the chair.

And into the office which was nearly dark,

And there he spied the lady clerk. 

Oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, repulsive parasite.

 

The fly lit on the lady’s shoe,

Then up her stockings, both brand new.

And when it had reached above the knee,

He sat down to see what he could see. 

Oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, repulsive parasite.

 

The lady clerk when she felt that fly,

Settled upon her starboard thy,

She spread her knees and held her breath,

And squashed that feelthy fly to death. 

Oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, oh feelthy fly, repulsive parasite. 


 

As members of the 80th U.S. Infantry Division were advancing on Wallendorfthey were greeted with white sheets hanging from the upper windows of the houses in apparent surrender.  The Americans then came under heavy sniper fire and the order was given to fire upon Wallendorf.  The village was burned extensively and the civilians who had fled returned to see their homes in ruin.

Völkischer Beobachter was the “People’s Observer,” the official newspaper of the Nazi Party.  “Die Mordbrenner Von Wallendorf” roughly translates as “The arsonists of Wallendorf” and “Das licht der demokratie leuchtet ” translates as “The light of democracy shines”


In an endeavor to form a British Unit to fight against the Russians the Germans caused a pamphlet to be circulated in some of the P.O.W. camps.

“AS A RESULT OF REPEATED APPLICATIONS BY BRITISH SUBJECTS FROM ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD WISHING TO TAKE PART IN THE COMMON STRUGGLE AGAINST BOLSHEVISM, AUTHORIZATION HAS RECENTLY BEEN FOR THE CREATION OF A BRITISH VOLUNTEER UNIT.  THE BRITISH FREE CORPS PUBLISHES HEREWITH THE FOLLOWING SHORT STATEMENT ON THE AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT.

  1. THE  BRITISH FREE CORPS IS A THOROUGHLY BRITISH VOLUNTEER UNIT CONCEIVED AND CREATED BY BRITISH SUBJECTS FROM ALL OVER THE EMPIRE, WHO HAVE TAKEN UP ARMS AND PLEDGED THEIR LIVES IN THE COMMON EUROPEAN STRUGGLE AGAINST SOVIET RUSSIA.
  2. THE BRITISH FREE CORPS CONDEMNS THE WAR WITH GERMANY AND THE SACRIFICE OF BRITISH BLOOD IN THE INTERESTS OF JEWRY AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE AND REGARDS THIS CONFLICT AS A FUNDAMENTAL BETRAYAL OF THE BRITISH PEOPLE AND BRITISH IMPERIAL INTERESTS.
  3. THE BRITISH FREE CORPS DESIRES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PEACE IN EUROPE, THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLOSE FRIENDLY RELATIONS BETWEEN ENGLAND AND GERMANY, AND THE  ENCOURAGEMENT OF MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE TWO GREAT GERMANIC PEOPLES.
  4. THE BRITISH FREE CORPS WILL NEITHER MAKE WAR AGAINST BRITAIN OR THE BRITISH CROWN NOR SUPPORT ANY ACTION OR POLICY DETRIMENTAL TO THE BRITISH PEOPLE.

PUBLISHED BY THE BRITISH ARMY FREE CORPS”

The prisoners welcomed the pamphlets for hygienic purposes.


Page 104: A patriotic German drinking song.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsOAkZgDXvQ&bpctr=1342110381&skipcontrinter=1


Page 106: A dream cottage.

Page 107: Mail extracts .

  • A POW wrote home to his mother saying.  “Please send me a pair of slippers, size 9.”  Six months later he received a letter saying, “What colour would you like?”
  • Letter from mother to her son “Chocolate is now almost unobtainable so I am sending you a postal order so you can buy it in Germany.”
  • Letter from a wife to husband (POW three years) “I have had a baby darling but don’t worry the American Officer is paying all expenses and is going to send you some cigarettes.”
  • After you were reported missing I was ill for a long time and was unable to leave my bed but when the news that you were a POW arrived I jumped out and polished the floor and felt better at once.
  • A sister to her brother, “Can you buy beer or do you only get wine?”

Page 108: More mail extracts.

  • Father to son.  “I’m glad you got shot down before flying became dangerous.”
  • Fiancée to POW. I could not stand the disgrace of you being a prisoner of war, so I broke off our engagement.”
  • From lady who enclosed her name and address in hand knitted pullover and was sent a letter of thanks. “I was annoyed when I read where it had gone to, I meant it for someone on active service, not a scrounging POW.
  • “The first batch of repatriated arrived yesterday, horribly mutilated, hope to see you on the next.”