Coping in a POW camp

Available through many sources, and one of the many books on my book shelves, is ‘The Diaries of Captain John Mansel, Prisoner of War and Camp Forger, in Germany, 1940-45’.  I’ve just picked up a short piece that he recorded on Wednesday 29th October 1941 during his stay at a typical POW camp:

Lunch is still, like the washing facilities, typical to my mind of Dicken’s description of Oliver Twist conditions.  Carrying one’s spoon, if in the possession of such an invaluable tool, down the High St, queuing up with one’s ticker, collecting and carrying away one’s little white bowl to sit on a wooden bench at the wooden table and put one’s face in it – which is exactly what happens to the unfortunates who haven’t got a spoon.  Lord, how I laughed watching old Booth, who never stops talking about his pig farm at home, sitting at a table by himself and giving a perfect demonstration of Mr Piglet getting down to it.


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