April ,1.943 X J 1C Prisoner of War H k m r CUe H Om s/ore is a tremendous help to relatives. B y A COUNTY REPRESENTATIVE 1 AM a county representative of the Prisoners of War Department. mIn y fairly small county I have eight assistant representatives, who, besides 'myself, are always available to give next of kin any help or information they may require. As soon as the Prisoners of War Department a t St. Jam es’s Palace sends theme name and address of a next of kin min y county, she is written to immediately and 'told the name ami address of her nearest representative. She is also asked to be sure to inform the Palace or myself should the prisoner send his camp address direct to her before she is informed from the Palace. In our first letter w e also guide next of kin over the difficulties, of that most important problem— the personal parcel which .maybe sent every quarter to a prisoner— and tell her about the store in our county town which can supply everything for the parcel. W e tell her^ too, that we will pack her parcel, infill the forms and despatch it if necessary. A price list is enclosed, which gives the number of coupons required for each garment, with a reminder to send the size required for garments, shoes, etc. If necessary, w e help next of kin financially with these parcels. T women from our county have 110 next, of kin, but they are not forgotten. W e send both a parcel every-quarter, and know they are greatly appreciated. Our store wis, e find, a tremendous help to relatives. thereFor they can have the help of m y assistants, who understand what is most suitable, what, for instance, anew prisoner will need inmost his first parcel and what should be sent for parcels that will arrive in the different seasons. I t is impossible for us in this small rural county to visit each next of kin personally, for some live in isolated spots, many miles from buses or shops. However, most next of kin who need help come to the nearest market tow nonce a week, when they pay us a call to talk over their problems. A s county representative, I do m y best to pay a visit twice a year to all next-of-kin centres. I t is a friendly, informal gathering. I explain away their problems, tell them of the Red Cross activities on behalf of prisoners and then invite questions. In pay town, of course, I know all the next of km personally. Wherever 1 go I find nothing but gratitude and appreciation for what the Red Cross is doing to help prisoners and their families. May 1 tell you about some of the next of kin I know and help? There is Mrs. Saker, with five sons in the Forces, one of whom is a prisoner of war. I Iow proud she is of those lads! She shows me their photographs and brings theme letters from her prisoner son, who is a librarian a t a big cam pin Germany. What pleasure she has in sending him a parcel every quarter. Then there is dear old Mrs. Mack. She is an old-age pensioner with very little money, but ever since her son was captured a t Dun- kirk *she has always managed to send him a parcel. I shall never forget her gratitude when I^ liggested that the Red Cross should send him a parcel one quarter. She brought along one of her only two towels to include. Although she can only subscribe a few. pennies herself, she raised nearly £9 for Prisoner of War Week in small sums from her relatives and neighbours. There are sad cases, too. One day the mother of a P.O.W .came to see me. Her daughter-in-law had gone off with another man. Could I please inform her son, a prisoner of war, and obtain custody of their child? I helped her with this problem. Another mother masked y help because her son, who was a prisoner, complained that his wife neither wrote nor sent him visit to all next-of-kin centres Mice a year, friendly, informal gathering. a parcel. W e looked into the matter and found the wife was a thriftless, extravagant woman. W e have been able to arrange that we have the label for .the prisoner’s parcel, and his family share the expenses. Many stories have their funny side. One woman gave me a good laugh when she demanded why her prisoner son in Germany had had no leave, f explained that this 'was not possible. “And why not? demanded the woman. “If we allowed manGer prisoners togo home, couldn’t we have our men here? ’’She left muttering about England*' s inhumanity. One last story. The other day I had a telephone call. “My sister is coin i 1 1 g to-day from Lon don ,Could you please inept her a t the store and let her have clothes for her prisoner husband. The woman arrived and asked me if I would pack and sendoff her parcel. Before agreeing to do this I asked why she did not have this done in her own county. “Because there’s 110 Red Cross in Lon don,’ ’washer astonishing reply. She knows better now. County Representatives Please note the following changes: —Montgomery :G.M. Bond, Esq., Joint County Committee, N ythfa, Welsh pool. Rut land: Mrs. Ruddle, Lang- ham, O akham .Surrey :Iris Lady Lawrence, Joint War Committee, 119, High Street, Guildford. She brings m thee tetters from her son, who is a P.O.IV. in Germany.