Far East, Companion Journal to The Prisoner of War, Vol. I, No. II, November 1945

8 Far East November 1945 lied C r o s sat Every Port Three u guides ”assist ex-prisoners of war from a train at Ataka, near Suez. The guides are British South African and native other ranks who escort ex-P.o.W.s to the cloth­ing depot carry their kitbags and help with other useful services. (Below )Repatriates from the “Corfu ”lineup at Ataka Depot, Suez to be rekitted. 5 v ^'¦y v •./..'122 ^*v f 'wT j )TC a‘••v**'¦¦--/ -•'->2 >A,.-V .BOTH ex-prisoners of war and civilian internees have, on u arrival in this coun­try spoken warmly of the magnificent reception they received at ports en route for home. The Middle East Commission of the War Organisation made splendid arrange­ments for the reception o Ihe ships calling at Suez, providing just that extra amount of com­fort which repatriates most appreciated. Ships berth at Adabiya Docks a few miles south of Suez. thereFrom re­patriates are taken by train and bus to Ataka Ordnance Depot about two miles away and wait in a comfortable lounge with three N.A.A.F.I. buffets before passing through the clothing depot where each of them (officers other ranks, sailors airmen and civilian men. women and children) emerge with a complete kit in anew' kit-bag— with an orderly to carry it. Toys were Popular Then they pass the Ked Cross kiosk where they are given Ked Cross gift bags and also toys to take home to their chil­dren. The toys are most popular this particular gift being made possible by the efforts of R.E.M.E. hospitals and base depots who made hundreds of toys in response to the Red Cross appeal. At Adabiya those not actually being rekitted may make use oi the Relatives’ Enquiry Bureau. This deals for the most part w'ith enquiries to enable re­patriates to visit relatives at Suez and seems to abe great success. Several families have been brought together in every ship arrangements being made where necessary for them to stay the The Red Cross Welfare Officer on board tile Monowai reported later that the magazine was eagerly devoured from cover to cover by many men anxious to catch upon the lost years. .WR.A.P .I. by Air The first batch of repatriates homecoming bv air via Lvdda in the Middle East arrived on September 18th. This was the first contact with the Red Cross for the majority of the men and they were surprised and delighted at the recep­tion and the comforts given to them. At least two Red Cross workers are always on the airfield and a w mobile canteen is also ready. Since the beginning of Octo- er l sometimes five and six planes have been arriving daily. X T Y «fT V A ^'f V night in Suez. Also at Adabiya was an­other .AN.A .F.L with lounges free buffet and avery popular gift shop, cinema post office showers etc. or facilities for a bathe. Red Cross personnel are available in alD these places and the repatriates seem to appreciate this personal con­tact. Most Red Cross comforts had been dis­tributed at Colombo but some special comforts were required at Suez such as pipes tobacco cigarettes lime juice and English papers. Gramophones w r ere sup­plied where required and sew’ing machines for women internees. The British Red Cross news sheet, News from Britain is also handed to re­patriates. This remarkable publication traces from 1942 onwards the events that have led up to final victory and gives repatriates a picture o what life is like in the country to which they are return­ing. This had been handled with amaz­ing speed and inefficiency the Middle East. The draft was received from London 011 September 10th and arrange­ments were at once made to obtain paper release for 2000 copies and for printing by the Egyptian Mail and Gazette. Proofs were received on September 17th and bulk copies ready for issue on Sep­tember 22nd. In the Far East In Manila British Red Cross welfare workers who were flown out irom Eng­land in August and Septem­ber. are busy in the hospital centre civilian centre and in camp canteen and recreation huts. Others visit ships with supplies and help at the dock canteen. Some are accompanying repatriates on homecoming ships while others are on their way far­ther east to Hong Kong and Internee camps in the Shanghai area are being cleared by British Red Cross Teams. Yokohama. HomeComing Via America Meanwhile the British Red Cross St.and John Mission in Washington has made similar plans for the welcome of liberated British prisoners and internees who are returning across the Pacific and pass through San Francisco Los Angeles and Seattle. These repatriates are under the care and direction of the British Army Staff, and British War Relief Committees are undertaking their reception. British War Relief is also welcoming and assisting freed civilian internees. Canadian Red Cross is packing clothing outfits for the women and children and providing personnel and medical stores in the trains which will take the repatri­ates across the Continent to the East Coast port of embarkation for the U.K. Comforts are being placed on board all the transatlantic ships bringing them home. Before proceeding on their journey, the repatriates are being given a period of rest. Provision has been made by the British Red Cross for a day nursery where parents may leave their children while shopping.
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