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.I Vol. 2. N o .21 Free to Next o f Kin -January ,1944 THEE I H T O I t W H I TES-T H E best New Year wish I can offer to all our readers is that before many month shave passed they will 110 longer be our readers. W e have lost many readers in recent months because their men have been rep atria ted from Germ any or have escaped from prison camp sin Italy and made their way to safety and freedom .In this Year o f Promise I look forward hope fully to the time when O flags, Sta lag s,and all the other -lags will be things o f the past. Sir Richard Howard -V y se ,in his message on this page ,describes how the Prisoners o f War Department and International Red Cross have been striving to buildup reserves in every camp w,and e know that some camps already hold supplies enough to last for month s.T h isis a wise provision because there is no doubt about the growing transport difficulties in manGer Europe. The Far East What w e know about condition sin the Far East is, unhappily ,less com-' fo rtin A.g War Office state men t,s u mm a rised on another page, shows that only a b o u ton e-ten tho f the total number of prisoners and internees are within reach o f outside aid .On the remainder the Japanese have drawn down the curtain .Little news has trick led out, and few supplies have been allow din.e All the Allied Governments and all the Red Cross Societies are leaving no stone unturned to persuade the Japanese to adopt a more amenable attitude .Not So Bad Letters are now at‘ last beginning to come through in more adequate numbers from men transferred to Germany from Italian prison camps, and I am relieved ANEW YEAR MESSAGE From the CHAIRMAN o f the Prisoners o f War Department A !the beginning o f aNew Year I want to express our thanks L to all those who have sup ported sous staunchly and have shown such u n d erstan dingo f the difficulties which are inseparable from a work such as ours. First and foremost I would mention the International Red Cross Comm ittee, without whose aid w e ¦should be power les sand especially their d istrib u ting organ isation under Monsieur Z o llin ger, whom w e were so glad to welcome here during the summer. Their performance in stor in gall our supplies and in obtaining transport b y which to forward them fills us all with admiration .We mare u chin deb ,too,ted to various Government D ep artm en ts, n tao blythe Ministries of Food and Shipping. The result o faN this help, toadded the d ev o ted work o four packers, and ,if I may say so, our own policy o f providing an ample raai'"in of safety ,is that there is a t G e nev a to-day a reserve o fat least ten wee ks’ supply o f food ,and in the great majority ,if n o tall, o f the camp sin Germany ,considerable stock s,in some cases sufficient for several months. The thanks w e have received from prisoners and their rela tiv andes, the amazing financial sup porto fall sections o f the public have cone u raged us greatly in our work .Need less to say ,the two repatriations, especially the last, have give nus all new zest. I hope that the en co u raging reports from many o f the returned prisoners will have brought a measure o f comfort to anxious relatives whose men are instill captivity .The transfer o f such large numbers from Italy to Germany was, of course, a great d isap p ointment, but new addresses and prisoner o f war numbers are co min gin fast, which means that the flow o f next o f kin parcels can be resumed. On thew h ole, there has been a g rea tim pro vem en tin the transmission of these parcels, though a number of those desp atch ed in January are, unfortunately ,missing. A t about that time a ship was lost soon after leaving a British port. I wish I could adequately express our sy m p a thy with those who have prisoners in the- F a r East. The stores carried on the Diplomatic Exchange Ship may ,we hope, reach the prisoners for whom they are intended. British, D om in ion and American Governments and Red Cross Societies, work in gin concert are using every possible means in order to obtain a regular flow which, coup led with the right to neutral inspection of all cam ps,is the only real solution .Tho ugh the Japanese attitude so far has shown very little material change there is no reason to despair, especially was e know from our experiences with the Ger mans and Italians that the changing military situation can make people much more reasonable. Let us therefore continue to hope and top ractise such patience a s w cane muster, buoyed up b they pride and courage which -we know our prisoners are showing.