- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Edward Charnock
- Location of story:
- Fallingbostel to Lunabeck
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 October 2005
On 1st February 1944, a letter was written to Mrs Charnock by her husband’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander R I Alexander (101 Squadron RAF) to the effect that her husbands aircraft had been lost on an Operational Sortie over enemy territory on the night of 30th/31st January, 1944. However, he was in fact Captured and spent the rest of the war in Germany as a Prisoner of War; Frankfurt from 2nd to 8th February, Heydekrug from 14th February to July 15, Thorne from 17th July to 10th August, Fallingbostel from 13th August to April 6th 1945 and then a forced march from 6th April to 2nd May where he was released by 2nd British Army at Salem at 16.30 on 2nd May, 1945.
The following members of the crew that did not make it on the night of 3oth January, 1944 were:
Sgt.Doug Froggatt, Sgt/George Heath,Sgt.Louis Houlton and Sgt.Ron Wilson.
A War-time Log was issued to PoWs by the War Prisoners’ Aid of the YMCA, apparently a special issue for British Prisoners similar to that issued to Canadians and Americans. The purpose of this log was for recording experiences, memories, and drawings etc. during those eventful years.
The following are a few extracts from Edward Charnock’s log some will make you sad and some will make you smile.
Edward’s daughter was born whilst he was in Germany and the Red Cross were able to get a message through to him. Following this great news a message was sent to him from some other prisoners as follows:
To: Edward Charnock, late Bomb-aimer of His Majesty’s Royal Air Force.
Now residing in East Prussia for the purpose of Physical Regeneration after proving his manhood
in a manner befitting his position as a married man.
From: Table No.4
Sir, your Honour, or what have you.
We, the members of Table No.4, 12 less 3 Just men and True, do hereby find it incumbent upon us to take this opportunity of presenting to you our humble congratulations on the birth of a daughter, and we devoutly hope, wish, plead, with the powers that be, that she may become as her mother, and bear no resemblance in any shape, form, figure or fantasy, wither mentally or morally, to your noble self.
Our Heart, yes, all nine, go out in sympathy to this tiny mite, this small particle of human flesh, this child your loins, the apple of your eye, who will have to endure your presence, labour under the untried whiplash of your parental tongue through babyhood, childhood, adolescence and the few early years of womanhood prior to that blessed release from your evil person, namely marriage.
A moment sir, before you sup your brew and masticate your victuals, think hard on your shortcomings and your evil ways, and remember you have now entered the realm of fatherhood and that you are now a god, a deity, a paragon in the eyes of a small girl. Remember also, that in her eyes the very sun itself shines from the orifice located at the base of your vertebrae.
Once again, our congratulations to yourself, your wife and your daughter.
We remain, sir, your comrades of that festive board.
TABLE NUMBER 4
A few extracts from letters to POWs from their families:
“Darling, I am so glad you were shot down before flying became dangerous”
“Darling, in your May letter you asked for slippers. What colour would you like?”
“The words after lousy when describing your new camp were obliterated”
“Darling, I hope you are staying true to me”
“I hope you are behaving yourself at the dances and not drinking too much”
A receiver of a Red Cross sweater wrote thanking the donor and received the reply “I’m sorry you got it as I intended it for someone on active service”
“I have been in bed with bronchitis. That is the name of a complaint, not a friend”
“Can you buy beer over there or do they only sell wine”
“I asked the Red Cross but can’t send you a radio”
From wife”How’s your mother and father? I haven’t been able to see them lately”
“I’ve got a grandmother in Germany. Have you met her?”
“The first lot of repatriated POWs arrived today, terribly maimed. I hope you are in the next lot”.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS:
2 Don’t panic, we’re over the sea
3 Lets do another circuit of the target
4 It’s only a hurricane
5 I thought you’d checked the petrol
6 Let’s go down and have a look
7 Sorry, I gave you Ground Speed instead
8 To hell with dinghy drill
9 I thought I had the colours of the day
10 Essen! It’s a piece of cake
11 I don’t need my Mae West tonight
12 I thought the wheels were down
Nearest to a kriegie’s heart if he could wave a wand
Would from this life depart back to his native land.
In silent night his thoughts do stray To those he loves back home,
Praying for that one great day Of freedom, and to roam.
Aussies, Canucks, Britons all unite in one great band,
Waiting for that one great call back to the Motherland.
Extracts from a Kriegie’s Log
This POW’s log was compiled by Edward Charnock RAF whilst a POW in Germany from February 1944.
Friday, 6th April - Left Fallingbostel about 1700. Rainy. Given 1 Red Cross Parcel between 8,1 loaf and 3lbs of margarine each. Arrived Blockmar (18 k) about 9 o’clock.Slept in Bath.
Saturday, 7th - Day of rest. Issued with meal, peas and potatoes
Sunday, 8th - Marched to Rodehorf. Issued with potatoes
Monday, 9th - Marched to Hotzingen. Issued with half tin of corned beef. Had first decent wash.
Tuesday, 10th - Day of rest. Issued with third tin of corned pork and cooked potatoes.
Wednesday, 11th - On to Steinbeck. Dead horse on roadside cut up by fellow kriegies to eat.Issued with potatoes. Had bath in river.
Thursday, 12th - On to Rolfsen. Issued with potatoes
Friday, 13th - Day of rest. Usual potato issue, with rye and raw meat (1 cow and 2 calves between 1500 men)
Saturday, 14th - On to Sudergellersen. Potato issue
Sunday, 15th - On to Boltessen via Lunaburg. Longest march, about 30 k. Issued with Potatoes (half cooked and the others raw) and meal
Monday, 16th - On to Hittbergen
Tuesday, 17th - Crossed the Elbe about 0300hrs. Stayed on banks of river at Horst. Issue of meal, raw meat and potatoes. Saw barge on river, shot up and set on fire by spitfires. On to Nostorf.
Wednesday, 18th - Day of rest. Issued with potatoes, flour, roes pickled in brine, and mint tea. Storm in night.
Thursday, 19th - On to Gallin. At Gresse, issued with an American food parcel. Shortly after a column of POWs shot up by rocket firing Typhoons. 31 POWs killed and 60 injured, 6 postens killed. Issued with a Canadian food parcel at Gallin.
Friday, 20th - Day of rest. Had my first eggs since I left England.
Saturday, 21st - First rain since we left Fallingbostel. On to Leckin. Reached Leckin soaked.
Sunday, 22nd - Still raining. Day or rest.
Monday, 23rd - On to Hof Kneese. Still raining.
Tuesday, 24th - Day of rest. Blue skies again. Meat and potato issue. Bought bread, eggs and biscuit for coffee and soup.
Wednesday, 25th - Party now being split into batches of 150 and being distributed round district. A further half American food parcel issued. Eating well, in fact too well, and getting much fitter and fatter. Guards changed for Luftwaffe guards.
Thursday, 26th - Still no signs of our party moving. Germans supplying us with flour and rogan meal and they are going to make it into bread for us. Having trouble with my stomach. Found a louse on my shirt. Got rid of my shirt and changed and bated in pond. Washed my dirty clothes.
Friday, 27th - On to Marienthal. Only 4k. This looks like our final destination. It seems a hell of a dump. Had a couple of showers in the morning but weather seems to be clearing. Wrong again! Storm in the evening.
Saturday, 28th - Rain again. Feeling damned rotten. Stomach in a hell of a state. Terrific wind and diarrhoea attacks. Too many potatoes. Sick in the night.
Sunday, 29th - Issued with plenty of flour. No eating at all today. Made biscuits. Still having heavy showers.
Monday, 30th - Feeling much better. Got a couple of eggs issued with half a Canadian parcel. Orders to move at 5 o’clock (1 hours notice.) Rumour says that we are being handed over to the British troops. Marched 20 k to Salem. Arrived after dark. Just flopped down in the dark on the straw in the barn. Spent very uncomfortable night. Issued with half American food parcel on march.
Tuesday, 1st May - Glorious May day. Snowing like hell. Showers all day. Gen says we are definitely being handed over.
Wednesday, 2nd - Much better weather. Seem to be waiting here for our troops. Bought service revolver off soldier for 2 cigarettes. German troops in a hell of a panic. British tanks passed through at 1630 hrs. Free again! Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Got a bottle of cognac and a jar of apples off German soldier. Troops passing through all the time. As much food as wanted. Got a couple of jars of preserved fruit and bottles of beer and wine.
Thursday, 3rd - Germans streaming into village waving white flags. Older German arrives crying with happiness. Tanks leave at 8 o’clock. PoWs in complete charge. Orders to be ready to leave at 1 o’clock. May be home in a week. 2 o’clock on the way home. Commandeered all German transport. We rode on petrol tank to Lunabeck. Arrived at Lunabeck about 8.30 after very interesting ride. Thousands of German soldiers walking back. Searched some for souvenirs. In barracks at Lunabeck. Had hot shower and deloused then a hot meal with white bread. Issued with shirt, soap, towel, cigarettes, matches and letter to write home. May fly home tomorrow. Bed now with decent bed and new blankets.
Friday, 4th - Breakfast about 0900. Porridge, bacon and white bread. A beautiful day. Just waiting patiently to get a little nearer home. Got hold of 3 new white shirts and a couple of fur coat linings. Medical inspection and usual forms after dinner. Read last Sunday’s newspapers. After tea went into town to cinema show. Saw ‘Hail the Conquering Hero’. Got back just in time to hear that we are leaving for England at midday tomorrow. Hurrah. Shan’t get much sleep tonight. Just heard war is over.
Saturday, 5th - Breakfast and packed. Off on transport at 1230. Travelled about 300 miles to Emmsdetten. Arrived after midnight. Good supper and bed. Slept in tents
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