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. No. 24 Free to Next of Kin „April, 1944 EcLcfcfc MANY readers will have seen the recen tan noun cement that 20,000,000 parcels have been desp batched they Post Office to prisoners o f war in Europe since the time o f Dun kirk .Of this gratifying to ta l, 16,750,000 were sent b y ,or through ,the British Red Cross— 14,000,000 of them food parcels. The rest contained c hie fly tobacco ,cigarettes and books sent privately through holders o f permits. Sent post free in Post Office mail bags a t the orate f 20,000 bags a week ,parcels are stored in warehouses on their a rriv a lin Lisbon until ships are available to take them onto Marseilles, the next stage o f their journey to our men. Among the many whom hew a veto thank -for the success of this comp lica ted yet vital service are the officials o f the Portuguese Post Office. They u n d er take the Lisbon storage andre forwarding work free of charge .Soap Supplies After this mon th, soap will no longer b e included in the standard Red Cross food parcels. Instead ,it will be going to maintain a common “poo l”in Gen eva, w h cn ce it will be supplied to each camp according to the camp’s requ irem en ts, and these vary con sid er ably ,of course, according to the local occupation— a man in the mines needs more washing than a carpenter. Laundry Experience Whether Sta lag L u f t V I will be asking for more lessor soap I can not yet foretell b u tan inmate writes to say that there is now a communal la u n dry installed in the cam p.“P ro v id gin the stuff w a sn too’t dirty when it wen t,it comes back reasonably clean ,”he says. But there are no drying facilities, and “outdoor drying is impossible as it is either w tore freezing herein winter. “So you ram the clothing into a Red Cross food parcel box and shove the soggy mass on top of the stove for a few days, stirrin git up from time to time. When a t the end o f the process you p u ton the article it looks a mess, but any h o w—it’s been to lathe u n dry !”German Censors’ Stamps A certain amount o f confusion is caused through next o f kin mistaking the German censor number on letters and cards for the number of the section o f the cam pin which a prison eris Members of Feldpost 27570 in Rumania. interned. I .have seen many such cases recently ,particularly over what is taken to abe camp o f the name of “218 Sta lag X V I I B .’’The “218” h a sin this case always turned out to bethe German enc so r’s number. This creates particular difficulty when the letters are not censored in the cam pin which the prison eris a c tu internally ed.It should be realised that the number shown after the printed words“ L age r-B e ze ich nun g ”is the prison e r’s address, and not any other number which maybe stamped elsewhere 011 the card .Officers from Italy Interesting details have arrived recently from O flag V I I I F ,the new camp for officers. I here appears to be about a thousand o f them there, a ll_ with the exception o f a hun d redo r so —transferred from Italy .“It is not yet fully organ ised ,library ,sports g r,ae etc .,being non-e x iste t,”n writes one o f them .“At present w e are a cc o m m o dated in one large fo u r-sto rev building with central heating and electric light.” 1 here is plenty o f room for exercise a t O flag V I I I F including a gymnasium and swimming poo l, while other needs are served b any orchestra and a dram a tic and a law society —both “very strong .”The German food is by common con sen tan improve men ton the Italian menu ,and Red Cross parcels appear to be arriving now regularly. S a tis factory ,too ,is the report th a t“I have been issued with battle-d re ss, boots, socks, set o fund erw ear,p u llo v er, soap and shaving soap, from a man writing a t the end of Jan u a ry.