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15 October 2014
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Prisoner of War during WW2

by June Carter

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Contributed by 
June Carter
People in story: 
Henry Edward Ware,
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
27 December 2005

Henry Edward Ware WW2 1940-1945 POW Camp Rach, Poznan, Poland.

My father Henry Edware Ware served in WW2 and was with the 51st Troop of the Scottish Highland Division. The commander of the troop was General Fortune.
My father told me this story a few years back about his capture and being a POW during WW2 from May 1940 to sometime in 1945.
He was captured near Valerie, France in May 1940, so I assume it was during the Battle of Dunkirk, and he said they were surrounded and no chance of escape. He and many other prisoners were marched through France, Belgium and Holland, then placed on a boat and taken to Germany and then preceded down the Oder River to a POW camp in Poland. I know this probably took many months before they actually ended up in Poland but he said most of it was done on foot, other then the boat ride.
The prisoners were moved to various camps in Poland over the years and one was called Rauch Camp in Poznan, Poland.
As the war progressed my father was moved many times but close to the end of the war sometime in 1944 and 1945 the Russians were advancing, so the Germans had to move the prisoners and were taken to Czechoslovalkia and Austria.
As the Americans were then advancing he was finally freed by the Americans and retured to England sometime in 1945
Many of his conversations would end up on the time he spent serving his country during WW2 and his time in the prison of war camps. He would often portray stories of extreme suffering and depravation, that he and the hundreds of servicemen would endure, but with all that, there was always a lighter side to his reminiscing, he always said that he became a very good thief, as he was always nicking food.

One story that will always stay with me is the time that he was eventually liberated from the prison of war camp he was being held in. Upon arriving in England at Greenford train station with no other details than his parents name, he was approached by two men, one of them asked what he was doing there and he told them he had just got back from the war and was looking for his parents house. One of the guys took hold of his kit bag and said that he knew where they lived, and that they would take him there.
Upon arrival he knocked on the door, a familiar face popped out of the top window, it was his dad and whilst telling this story, tears were streaming down his face as he said that he would never forget the relief of finally, after over 5 years in a prison of war camp,, he was at last home.

My father passed away early in the year 2000 and I found two pictures that was sent during his time in the POW camp, one was sent to his mother in Greenford, and the other to my mother in Hammersmith. Both of these pictures had his name on the back with a number 7188 and Stalag XXID and one picture has 20 people in the picture and the other has 8, plus the name of the camp
is also in the photo. I also have a picture of the troop before they were shipped to France in 1939.

My mother did not know for many months after my father's capture in France of his condition and where he was being held, but eventually she managed to get some letters from him and used to read them to me and my older sister. I know it was hard on my mother with two children and having to work and move around because of the bombings but she always said that my father had it much worse then us.

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