Free to Next of Kin June ,1945 THE RED OFFICIAL JOURNAL CROSS ST.AND JOHN OF THE PRISONERS OF WAR WAR ORGANISATION, ST. lAMES'S DEPARTMENT OF THE PALACE. LONDON. S.W.I E c l c t f f b"Id tuX& T 0 FLAG Sand Stalags, Milag and M arlag and Ilags are 110 more. With the unconditional surrender of Germany those prison camps which had not already been overrun by our Armies advancing from the west and the east were liberated by the victorious Allies. A t the moment of writing some 137,000 ex-prisoners have reached this country, a certain number are instill transit, somewhere in Germany or Belgium, and according to the latest figures another 30,000 who were released by our Russian Allies are awaiting transport to our lines. Free at Last Many of these will have got through before this issue of the journal has been printed, but obviously the task of transporting thousands of men from the interior of Germany through the dispersal camps to this country is a slow process. But the outstanding fact is that the long days of captivity are ended and that the great moment of release for which we have all waited so long has come at last. To the men who have comeback and to those who will be returning in the near future I would like to offer a hearty welcome and cor- dial'congratulations. Flown Home The majority of our prisoners were home within a week of VE-day. Most of them were brought to this country by air, and it is clear that there has been the absolute minimum of delay. The American Forces have earned our grateful thanks for all they have done, and we would wish to be associated with the message sent by Sir James Grigg to General Eisenhower which is printed 011 page 2. Many prisoners have been brought back in Flying Fortresses, but the "R.A.F. has been far from idle. Up to May 15th, 28,961 men had been flown to England by No. 46 Group of R.A .F .Transport Command, while an additional 20,761 were moved from forward airfields in Germany to rear bases for transference to England. Red Cross in Forward Areas Ex-prisoners of war have been delighted and amazed to find Red Cross Repatriates cheering as they leave the Lancaster that brought them home to a British airfield. St.and John representatives waiting to welcome them in army reception and transit camps right in the forward areas. Twenty men and women drawn from the Red Cross organisations of Great Britain, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa were sent out to Germany to be attached to these camps. Various teams have been made up, and one of the most forward units is living under canvas. Major Lee-Warner, their leader, says that one of the great joys of the returning prisoners is to meet and talk with someone, especially a woman, from their own country. City of Waking Dreamers What will it feel like to be free again? That question must have been asked thousands of times in the camps during the last five years. Now they know the answer. To most it was like waking up— gradually— from a bad dream. There were a few days roundabout V E-D ay when Brussels became a city of waking dreamers. They streamed in by the thousand in lorries and trains and planes, and were directed to the Army registration offices where they gave their names and other particulars. Formalities over, they filed past the Red Cross counter where treasure bags were distributed and* various useful articles— pyjamas, towels, rope- soled slippers, dentifrice, and so forth—were displayed for those who needed them. The jewels in BAli ab a’s cave were not more precious. It all seemed unbelievable to the bewildered men.