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My Father was a prisoner of war in 1943. He never really spoke about this time whether it was due to his army briefing or just that it was too painful. Since his death our family have discovered where he was a prisoner in Stalag 18A Austria. He had said he was captured by the Italians and treated poorly with lack of food, then moved up through Europe to Austria. He was put to work on a farm which probably saved his life as they need strong men and one thing he did say, was that they shared their meals and for the first time in ages he had eggs and chicken which was more than a lot of the other prisoners were getting at this time.

We found a letter sent to our grandmother dated 12.7.1943 My dear Mother it reads with kind regards to all a poignant part is quote “the standard dress at the camp is a pair of shorts and a pair of boots and that is it, you are then considered well dressed. It then goes on to say maybe it won’t be long now before it is over but then as we now know he would have been there another two years.

Our Father was also at Dunkirk he was a Lance Corporal in the East Surry regiment. Captured in North Africa.

My sister and I have visited Wolfsberg in Austria and there is a museum in Lavanthaus with only a plaque now where the camp was.

After the war my Father was originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands but could not return home straight away as they were not liberated due to the occupation by the Germans. In the meantime, he went to live with his sister in the UK where he met our mother, so it was a happy ending.

Now with Covid it makes you realise what your freedom does mean.

Author Jacqueline Moon