The Prisoner of War No 14 Vol 2 June 1943

4 The Prisoner of War June ,1943 THE guards have just blown their whistles and shouted" Aufgehen ”(arise) to awaken us. With an effort of willpower I throw­back the blankets and expose my right leg gingerly B rrr !It’s cold !Another couple of ounces of willpower and I ’in out of bed. I lookout of the window. The surrounding fields and tree-lined hills are covered with a thin coat of snow. The milk lorry has just drawn up alongside the farmhouse out­side the camp. The driver is busily off-loading the day’s milk supply for the village and replacing it with empty churns. A few of the villagers have already drawn their sup­ply and are making their way home, some hauling their small churn 011 low, small trolleys and others carrying by hand. That Wind’s Cold !We don dressing gown and shoes, grab soap, razors and towels, and, descending the stairs, make our way across the open courtyard to the ablution room. (Brrr! that wind’s cold this morning!) There we find a crowd of officers in' various states of deshabille standing along the four white-enamelled troughs, washing and shaving at the running cold-water taps. This shaving in cold water is good for one— we hope!—and we dash into the first vacant tap a brisk towelling and a dash back again up the stairs, out of pyjamas and into battledress. Down the stairs across the yard again, now stick}- with mud, and into the dining-room for breakfast. This is soon over back to our rooms to make our beds, and then at 9.30 the workday’s begins. 1 am busy from 9.30 until 12 teaching music. Others attend lectures given by Our own fellows 011 varying subjects. We have an educational time-table hanging Members of the first-class band at Oflag IX A H TO-DAY’ S Programme At Oflag IXA/H By MAJOR the lobby which is reminiscent of a University curriculum, with subjects varying from Urdu, Engineering, Agri­culture and Shorthand. The morning is inteirupted at 10 for Appel (Parade), nine beats of a hammer anon old circular saw"blade hanging in the yard, and out we come to form up in 5s. We are counted, first by the guard and camp N.C.O.s and then by the German Camp Officer. There is invariably a slight hitch before the two N.C.O.s can reconcile their figures— we have come to the con­clusion that it must be more difficult to count in the German language than in our own. At last they are satisfied the Comments from the Camps Beveridge Plan “We were very interested to hear about the Beveridge Plan ,”writes a member of a camp in Italy, and adds :*'We had an account of it in our ‘Prisoner of War New News'.” Theatre Marlag und Milag have a hew theatre. A prisoner writes that it has a ‘‘magnificent sloping auditorium, fine lighting and attractively designed curtain, big orchestra pit, etc.” Brigade Dinner Brigade had a dinner to-night,” writes a prisoner in Campo P.G .21.‘‘ The food came from ‘Red Cross parcels. It was quite a success.” Pope’s Gift As a result of a gift from the Pope, Campo P.G .52 have anew Accordion Band. A P.O.W .says that the Italians, "from the Colonel down­wards. never miss one of the con­certs if they can help it.” Disney Drawings .“W e.have all the walls adorned with life-like paintings of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and heaps of others, including our old friend Pop-eye.” From Stalag XXB.j.5. Famous Bandsmen Many ex-members of Joe Loss’s and Jack H ylton's bands are prisoners at Campo P.G .82. German officer counts and confirms for himself. Parade is dismissed and we resume our morning's work. I, myself, am P.M .C. of our mess of nine, and imme­diately after Appel I togo the parcel store to draw food from our combined Red Cross parcels with which to augment the co min u n a 1 meals. Everything we draw there is opened, turned out from its container and ex­amined by a German officer before it is handed to us. Listening to Scales The menu for to-day is fried meal roll, potatoes and cabbage for lunch, soup, semolina and prunes for supper, and so all I need draw is two tins margarine, some dried milk, cocoa and cheese. Part of the cocca will be used with soaked bread- crusts and dried milk for a pudding I am making with which to augment to-morrow’s supper. The cheese will be made into a welsh rabbit for to-night. Then I return to the piano, where I spend the rest of the morning explaining the mysteries of tetrachords and listening scales and exercises being mangled and stuttered. The great things in the life we are leading here is to prevent the dull mono­tony. restrictions and limitations of con­tacts from getting one down. Therefore, we, each of us in our own paiticular way, layout a programme for the day and stick to it, and it is by no means an uncommon thing to hear one icllow say to another“ I haven’t seen you for sometime now when are you overcoming to my room (in actuality the next room to that of the one addressed) and have a chat? ”and to hear the reply,“ Sorrj^, old chap, but I'm fright­fully busy for the moment. I'll look in early next week.” CAMPO P.G .53 B they Pad reM Y life just now is very full. I am the only Padre here and my con- greganon is the biggest I'v e ever had. I try to organise things for the men, and I look after the boys in hospital, too. This is avery good camp, and I look forward to interesting developments. Besides many other things, I edit a Daily Local News. I have been out for one or two walks with Italian officers. It was very interesting and the countryside perfectly lovely. There have been incidents here that will ever live min y memory. Recently I asked the men to join with me in a prayer for the folks at home. Never will I forget the look 011 the faces of, those 2,000 men. You could have heard a pin drop.
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