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The Prisoner of War No 11 Vol 1 March 1943

_ _ THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE PRISONERS OF WAR DEPARTMENT OF THE RED CROSS ST.AND JOHN WAR ORGANISATION. ST. JAMES'S PALACE. LONDON. S.W.l Vol. i No.h Free to Next-of-Kin March ,19437 E d i tor ~ldruX&T M Y readers will have noticed that no mention has been hitherto made in these columns of the shackling of prisoners and they will,Iam sure, have understood that I pre­served silence on the subject solely in the interests of the prisoners them­selves. It has now become possible to lift the veil a little and on page 5 references will be found to this sub­ject in the Official Reports from the Camps. “Fun and Games” I have before me some letters and cards on the subject from Stalag V IIIB and O flag VII B,and they are remarkable for the inspirit which the men were taking this unpleasant ex­perience. “We have been having great fun and games here,” wrote a prisoner in Stalag VII IB on a post­card. “For the last fourteen days we have been tied up, and it has its humorous side. I should not like to be on exhibition .’’On a later card he said :“We are still tied up but cheerful, especially with the news.” Here are a few more elo­quent extracts from VII IB nearly all the writers insist that the shackling is being done in a humane manner. ‘‘Had quite a good Christmas. Those with hands chained were freed for the day and all com­pounds thrown open for three day s.” "...They provided us with that form of amuse­ment here, too. I am writ­ing this in between times, as we have had our hands released for an hour or so for lunchtime. Naturally we have all taken it in the right spirit and con­clude th a tit must come to an end some tim e.” “Rather a Nuisance ”And here are some extracts from O flag V I I B:—" I am writing this letter in hand­cuffs. This is nothing like so bad as it sounds and we have as usual man­aged to enjoy ourselves.' W e have, I must say, been very humanely treated, bu tit is all rather a nuisance and rather uncomfortable.” “This handcuff farce is still going bn, but doesn’t seem to worry the chaps much.” “The main thing is not to worry in the least if you don’t hear from me for a bit, as if we’re in the next batch letter-w riting maybe a little tricky. The whole thing is being carried out as reasonably and comfortably as possible, and really makes very little difference. Altogether hardly wr orth discussing. I am quite sickeningly hale hand e arty.” A Parcel a Week Next of kin may have been receiv­ing letters from Camps saying that the prisoners’ Red Cross food parcels had been cut down to one a fortnight in­stead of one a week. This precaution­ary measure was taken in the middle of November, a t the time of the Ger­man occupation o f Unoccupied France, when there was some uncer­tainty as to whether the service be­tween Lisbon and Geneva could be maintained. In December two fooc parcels were issued to each prisoner, in addition to the Christmas parcel, making three for the month. On January 12th it was possible to notify Geneva to advise all the camps that they could resume issuing one parcel a week as in normal times. A Word of Thanks M y thanks are due to readers who, in accordance with our request last month, have gone to the trouble of making copies of their prisoners’ letters instead of sending theme originals. M y correspondence staff have been much relieved. May I remind you to include the date of letters as well as the number of the camp? And please do not fail to mention the Red Cross reference number in all cor­respondence with the Red Cross. Serious Study in Cam ?“The quality of the re­sults now coming through indicates that a good deal of serious study is being carried 011 in these s,”camp writes the External Registrar of LITTLE NELL’S CAST— a brilliant comedy performed at Stalag IVA.
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