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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Italian Jobs

by radionewcastle

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People in story: 
Rhoda Jamieson (nee Baron)
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Contributed on: 
01 November 2004

I remember when the Italian prisoners of war were held at Wylam, Northumberland. I was nine or ten at the time and the war was still on.

The Italians held in the camp would leave the camp under escort to go to farms and market gardens to undertake work. They used to work with the land army lasses.

They used to go down to the Tyne to collect willow for making baskets. I used to with a group of friends and help to gather the willows and carry them back to the camp. The willow would be stripped and boiled and dried in the sun.

I used to help them to make the baskets. Then they used to sell their baskets to buy cigarettes.

The men were very quiet and kept themselves to themselves but were very nice and polite. One of the men made a ring from a threepenny bit which I gave to my father.

I still have to ths day and it reminds me of the prisoners in Wylam.

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