The Prisoner of War No 37 Vol 4 May 1945

The Prisoner of War May, 1945 First Taste o f Freedom BRITISH AND AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR LIBERATED BY THE RUSSIAN ARMY PASS THROUGH ISTANBUL IN CHEERFUL MOOD ON THEIR WAY HOME FROM ODESSA THUMB SUP expresses the high spirits o f the liberated prisoners o f war. A pilot officer 011 board keeps warm in Russian fur cap and greatcoat. Reprinted by Welcome at Brussels “?of 1 be 1 im es From The Times Special Correspondent THERE can have been few episodes more to u chin gin the wartime experi­ence o f the Belg ian cap ital than the daily arrival last week o f prisoners o f war, mostly British ,released b they allied armies in Germ any ,and the mann erin which they have been welcomed ,refreshed, and given anew start 011 their way to England .They came b y hun d red s—on several days more than 1,000 were registered —and the stream still flows in.To deal with them ,all concerned ,from Military Head quarters“ A ”Branch (whose busi­ness, primarily ,it is) to the Belg ian voluntary welfare workers and Belg ian boy sco u ts, have worked all day and half the night. Prominent as a lw a y sin ser­vice o f this kind has been the British Red Cross St.and John War Organ isatio n which, concentrate don assisting the liberated prisoners as soon as the first batch reached Brussels last Tues day .These came from the advanced collecting, cen tres in transport aircraft which, after landing them a t the Brussels a irp o rt, filled u p with supplies and took off again for the front. Ming led Joy ,and Sadness The men arrived a t the Red Cross offices in the Rue lade L o i just a s they had left their prison camps, and the spectacle was one o f mingled joy and sadness for those who saw them— jo yin their new freedom and return to friends, but sadness a t the drawn ,weakly ,sub­dued look o f so many .They told o f marches for. weeks on end, between camp sin Germ any, since the beginning o f the year, with barely enough food to keep life in them .While on the move they were deprived o f the Red Cross parcels without which, in the established Stalags, they would have died. Besides those brought b air,y a multitude arrived b y other kinds o f tran sp o rt, including bicycles, o ron foot. Three men cam aeon German fire engine which ,they said, they had driven all the way from H a nov e r.Every man was given a linen bag con­taining toilet article s,p yja m a sand un derw ear, writing and smoking m ateria ls, hand kerchiefs, and a card with the message “best wishes for a happy return home ,”from the Red Cross organ isa tio n s o f theE m p ire .Many tired eyes lighted up a t the sight o f the hand­ kerchiefs. Most men wanted first to put into words their gratitude to the Red Cross for all th a tits care had meant to them in their captivity ,and many were in tears as they did so. Several hostels had been quickly got ready and meals with every sort o f delicacy that them en's state o f health permitted or demanded were provided b y N aafi. The men who came byroad all spoke o f the wholehearted help that they had received from the troops, British and American ,all the way down the line, including the ash ringo f their rations. They leave Brussels in better heart, cheered and comforted b they efforts of many different people with a common bond of practicals v m p a thy .BRUSSELS ,April 23
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