(Josie's Father) - - - contd.

Letter sent by my father to his parents as a prisoner in World War 1

As a teenager, my daughter, Sarah, had to write a letter home to parents from a World War I prisoner of war camp, telling parents exactly what life was like in the camp.

As it happened, her grandfather (my father) was still alive and living with us, aged 86 years of age and he offered to make a tape recording for her, telling them exactly how it was for him at this time.  He had been called up to fight in this war when he was just 18 years of age and was shot and badly injured in the Battle of the Somme May 1918:

'What has happened to me, as you haven't heard from me for some time, but I am a prisoner of war in Germany. I was wounded at the *Battle of the Somme on the 27th of May 1918. I had a bullet wound in my left leg and a shrapnel wound in my right knee. I am in hospital at the present time and it's rather a little bit primitive, but still I'm out of the war, I'm in Germany and perhaps you could get the Red Cross to send me a food parcel.

I am going on all right and feeling fairly well and comfortable. The bullet wound went just above my ankle and the shrapnel wound was just above the knee, so that is the extent of my injuries at present. We are in Germany down by the Rhine.

We were in a very heavy battle and a very heavy barrage when I got my wounds but luckily one of the Germans saw me to the ambulance train. I was put on the train and taken straight away in the train to Germany and then we were put straight into hospital.  

It is a very big camp and there are a lot of prisoners here and several badly wounded people but I'm very lucky.  My wounds are not too severe and I am hoping to be able to get about in time. It will take a bit of time for the wounds to knit and luckily I'm able to take my food, sit up and do what is required, you know, for myself etc.  We get our own orderlies - medical orderlies -  come round to attend to our wounds and see to our needs etc.


Since my last letter I have moved now to a convalescent camp in Crossen on the Oder in Poland. I am able to get about and walk about and my leg seems to be going on all right, and I am able to walk and get round. We go down the town, they take us down the town round the shops and that so altogether things are not too bad. I am sending you a photo, which was taken by one of the Germans, a Mr Muller, who has got his studio here and I've gone down and helped him with the printing of the photos. Altogether things are not too bad and we've got a canteen and a library and we have concerts and play football. I don't play because of my leg, but some of them do. There is a quite an atmosphere of friendliness in the camp and everyone seems to be on pretty good terms with one another.'


*  In fact the name of the battle that my father was in was 'The Battle of the Aisne' but the whole region came under 'The Somme', which is a large area.  

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