1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

William Poole

Contributed by: Mike Whitehead, on 2008-11-09

William Cedric Poole
First Name William
Surname Poole
Year of Birth 1899
Year of Death 1985
Regiment Devonshire Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Leominster, Herefordshire

William's Story

William Cedric Poole, my wife's father, was working for Lucas, enlisted in 1917 and was involved in the 2nd Battle of the Somme in May 1918. He caught a bullet wound in the left leg and shrapnel in the right knee and taken as a prisoner of war. He was sent first to a hospital camp in Germany, which he said was quite primitive, and then to a convalescent POW camp in Crossen on Oder on the Polish border. Crossen on Oder is now in Poland and has been renamed Krosno Ordzanskie. The following is a transcript of a tape he made for our daughter for a school project.

there are a lot of prisoners here and several badly wounded people

"I expect you are wondering what has happened to me that you have not heard from me for some time but I am a prisoner of war in Germany. I was wounded in 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, it's rather, a little bit primitive but still I'm out of the war, I'm in Germany. 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 for myself etc. We get our own orderlies, they are medical orderlies and they come round to attend to our wounds and see to our needs etc."

"Since my last letter I have moved to a convalescent camp in Crossen on the Oder in Poland I am able to get about and walk about and my legs seem 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 all together 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. All together things are not too bad and we've got a canteen and 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."

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