Down Memory Lane

WW2 feature POWs camp band in German POW camp
WW2 feature POWs camp band in German POW camp

The year 1945 saw the defeat of Nazi Germany and later the fall of Imperial Japan, and with it the end of captivity, many years in some cases, and an end to the harsh and sometimes brutal conditions the men lived in.

In Bonnyrigg there was good news, Corporal Watson Crozier of the Cameron Highlanders was welcomed home to his sister’s house in Eldindean. He had been liberated by the Red Army as they pushed through Eastern Europe towards Germany. His sister had received a telegram from Watson the previous week, a regular soldier, he had been with the colours since 1934 when he enlisted as a boy of 17, it was the first time he had been home since then. The telegram read “Arrived safe. See you soon.” These brief words signalled the end of his time behind the wire that had started in 1942 when he had been captured at Tobruk.

After his initial stay with the Germans he was transferred to an Italian POW camp in Italy. Cpl Crozier said he had no admiration whatsoever for the Italians and had been treated very badly by them and nearly starved.

Fortunately his stay in Italy was short and he was transferred to Germany first to Stalag 8B, then to a work camp E711 in Upper Silesia where he was held along with 3000 mostly British prisoners, whilst there he was made to work in a factory manufacturing coal by-products.

Read more of John Duncan’s feature in this week’s Advertiser. On sale now.