- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Kathleen Mary Brady, Arthur Frederick Lewis
- Location of story:
- North Africa, Italy and Germany
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 21 June 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Alison Tebbutt of the Derby Action Desk Team on behalf of Kathleen Brady and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
Dad was born in Leicester in 1919. He joined the Army in November 1939 just before his call up papers arrived. He joined the Leicestershire Tigers Regiment and his Army number was 4860485. He was posted overseas in February 1940 and went to North Africa, to fight with the 8th Army in the desert. He was on patrol in November 1941 when he came across a lone Italian soldier. Neither of them knew what to do. Other Italian soldiers began arriving and Dad was taken prisoner. He was taken to an Italian transit camp. Known as Campo PG 52 at Chiavari. It was from here that his mother received official notification of his capture. His P.O.W. number was 7007. He hated it there. Everyone traded for luxuries with cigarettes, but Dad's Red Cross parcels didn't have any in them. It was later confirmed that the organiser of the parcels in Leicester had been taking them out and keeping them. At the end of the war the general public found out and tried to hang him, but they were stopped and the man was sent to prison.
Because Dad didn't have anything to trade he used to get into fights and his punishment was a week in a dog kennel in the middle of the parade ground, with only bread and water as rations. He escaped in September 1943 with the help of partisans, but was captured a month later near the Swiss border. He was taken by train to Stalag V11A Hoosburg before being transferred to Stalag X1B Fallingbostal. Before arriving here, he had to spend Christmas in a cattle truck somewhere in Germany. The prisoners were given no food or water and it was bitterly cold. He arrived in a Stalag X1B on December 29th 1943. It was a huge camp, around 20,000 men. They had to have their hair all shaved off. Dad met some good men at this camp and we have some photographs of them. He remained here until the Americans liberated them in April 1945. He arrived home in Leicester in June 1945. In july 1945 he went on a trip to Blackpool to celebrate VE Day and he got very drunk and climbed a lampost. A group of girls were laughing at him, one of them being Beryl Jessie Mason, who later became his wife. My mum.
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