The Prisoner of War No 25 Vol 2 May 1944

f f%T t p WIST P n ins 6 f o f m f 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. 2 Free to Next of Kin May ,1944 Tie cUt&E T d r u X S T MANY prisoners of war are being deprived of their letters week after week because well-meaning people 011 this side are writing too much and too often. Avery urgent appeal has reached us from a British Camp Leader in a large Stalag begging us to do what we canto stop the excessive flow of letters to his camp. “Please impress upon relatives and friends of P.o.W .s,”he writes, “that one letter a week per man is quite sufficient and would certainly ensure everyman get­ting his mail regularly.” One Letter a Week I believe that many men have written to their next-of-kin urging them to keep letters down to one a week, but perhaps it is difficult to make people realise the congestion and delay caused in the Censor’s office on the other side if there are two or three letters for Bill Smith instead of one therefor maybe thousands of Bill Smiths in the camp, and therefore thousands of extra letters to be censored and distributed without any extra staff to do the work. Naturally the men whose letters are delayed get “fed u ”top see their companions getting several letters when they get none. The remedy is for each next-of-kin to organ­ ise the mail to the best of his ability. “One a week from home” is the ration, and relatives should col­laborate to see that it is not They All Get Chocolate I have been looking at a most inter­esting chart of the contents of the food parcels that are sent to the camps. Each parcel contains about 17 items out of a list of 40 different commodi-.ties. Seven different standard parcels are packed at the Packing Centres, and since last month the contents of the parcels have been replanned under expert guidance. No. 7 parcel is a special one for Indians. Of the other six all contain chocolate, tea, sugar, condensed milk, cheese, hot meat, bis­cuits and butter or margarine, salmon or pilchards, jam or syrup, beef loaf or chopped ham, and most of them dried eggs and rolled oats or oatmeal. One parcel contains pancake batter, another oatmeal block, and I notice that the one parcel with sausages has exceeded. Prisoners of war offsetting from -Stalae Luft 3. no bacon. The average weekly out­put from all the Packing Centres in Britain is now 97,000. Cheerful Letters— and Others Somebody has noticed that the letters we publish on our letter pages are almost always cheerful and bright and suggests that it is time we printed some of the other kind. The answer is, of course, that we do. ft is only rarely that a gloomy letter is sent tome for publication, because I think that it is realised that hundreds and even thousands of people might be caused needless anxiety by apiece of information about conditions which perhaps affected only the writer and his immediate surroundings. You have only to read the “Official Reports from the Camps ”to recognise that we do not make any attempt to conceal real conditions. Many letters reach the Prisoners of War Department contain­ing complaints about one thing or another. These are always investi­gated, and in suitable cases referred to the Protecting Power or the International Red Cross Committee for action. Holiday Camp Life certainly sounds congenial at Stalag HID ,judging by an unofficial account I have seen of the camp. Stalag HID is run as a sort of holiday resort for men who have been working in mines or on other arduous tasks for the past three years. “They come here for a six weeks’ rest with good food and organised games, concerts and sports/’ writes my informant, “and it's really amazing
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