The Prisoner of War No 21 Vol 2 January 1944

2 to find tloat most of the writers seem to be agreeably surprised with their new surroundings, in spite of their initial bitter disappointment. Oflag X IIB ,for instance, a small camp where 300 officers are housed in a large building alike high school, appears on the whole to have risen pretty well to the occasion. The neighbouring Oflags I X A /Hand A Z are helping to supply books, papers and games, and the quar­ters, although still rather congested, are light and airy. "In our room of 16 men ,"writes an officer, "there are win­dows each end and we get the sun practically all day .”Parcels In Pursuit Lunch a t 12.30, dinner a t 6.45, and liot drinks a t 8 are the official meal­times a t Oflag X IIB .Red Cross food supplies to make those times worth look­ing forward to should be arriving fairly- punctually, too— if we can judge from the account of a man a t Oflag V A .He and his companions from Italy hadn ’ t been a t the camp more than a few days before a consignment of food parcels caught them up, and a day or two later a second delivery followed. "Mag ni­ ficen t,"was his word for [tit. Pulled Them Through The luckier men who have managed to escape from Italy are bringing home •with them some interesting stories of the effect Red Cross supplies have had on them in the past. One writes of his experiences as a prisoner in 1942 in Benghazi and Tripoli without the help of Red Cross parcels. "Even tu ally ,those of us who arrived in Italy were in a pitiful condition ,"he says, "but after only a few food parcels a t Cam po P.G .75 we pulled round amazingly, and the Christmas parcel was almost too good to be true. Oflag IX AH— by one of its members The Prisoner of War "Subsequently the warm clothes, boots, games, etc., all helped to make a most unpleasant experience less severe.” Food Facts" I am sure -no one could do too much for the Red Cross if they realised how much it does for people in our position ,"wrote a P.O.W .to his mother the other day. Well, how much? I t needs a lengthv answer that could conveniently be started, perhaps, b y a little piece of arithmetic b y Lord Cromwell, recently repatriated from Germany. In the camp he was in he calculates that each man has fourteen main meals a week, often them made up from food parcels thus :—Three meals of meat roll. .Two meals of stew. Three meals offish 'and /or bacon. Two meals of porridge. O f the four meals supplied b they Germans, one is of fresh meat, one of soup, one of cold German sausage, and the last of aground dried pea concoction irreverently described as "chic ken meal.” New Year’s New Menu In future the War Organisation hope to reinforce this diet still further. The Ministry of Food have agreed to release a wider variety of hot meats and abetter quality in cold meats for our prisoners, and from the end of this month onwards food parcels will include the following: —Meat and vegetable and pork and veget­able rations, steak and kidney puddings, haricot oxtail, Irish stew, sausages, bacon, meat hash, minced beef and vegetables. On the cold menu there will b e :—Pork luncheon meat, chopped ham (both 100 .percent, meat pack) and minced beef loaf (92! percent.). More of their Journals The brief account of camp journals published in the November issue has brought me word of two others that we did not mention a t the time— "The Magazine ”and "The Q u ill,” both illustrated monthlies produced a t Oflag V IIB .According tom y correspondent, it is their editors’ intention to publish them a t home after the war, presumably inbound volumes. The Least He Could Do Praise of the repatriated men— of their courage, their kindliness, their tremen­dous spirit— still rises like aflame behind them wherever they Ago. lad yin C'heam, for instance, was visited b y a fighter pilot who had lost a leg in Crete, .and the impression he left 011 her is typical, I think, of many hundreds of others. Here it is: *'He made very light of his loss, only speaking of those w.orse off than him­self. He was spending a good bit of his leave visiting relatives of prisoners left behind, travelling round to various dis­tricts 011 his crutches. I can’t say how January, 1744 Prisoners of war at Stalag IVC. much his pluck and good spirits im­pressed me. When I attempted to thank him he merely said, 'It’s the least I can d o .’”Spectacle Service Among the men repatriated from S talag V IIIB is an .CR.A.M ,corporal whose job 111 camp had to do with vari­ous medical supplies. He gives some re­assuring newr s about spectacles. "Com­pleted pairs were coming through from England very quickly— four to five months after the date of order. With slight unavoidable adjustment they were very satisfactory and much appreciated b they men.” Meetings— At Both TEnds o meet and to share their news, their hopes and anxieties, is naturally a great comfort to next of kin. Prisoners them­selves, also, .find it equally comforting. In many camps in Germany there are groups, big and small, who meet regu­larly to discuss the one topic of univer­sal interest— home. "The boys here all come from different parts of E n gland," a man in Stalag X X B tells his mother," a donn Sunday evenings we always have a chat abou tour folk and wonder what you dare g.”ino “Look A Met !”"If you need any further testimony to the work the Red Cross is doing— look a met and you have the answer," writes a repatriated prisoner who was a college servant a t Sidney Sussex, Cam­bridge, before he joined up as a sailor. Captured off the Norwegian coast in 1940, he was seven weeks in hospital before being moved to a prison camp in Poland for four winter months— "the worst months of m y experience," he says, for no Red Cross parcels had arrived, and his weight dropped from 12} to 9 stone. Yet now ,"most of my friends have been struck b y m y physical fitness. I do look and feel fit, but make no mistake abou tit: it is not in any measure due to the Germ ans!"
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