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Stalag 3A Luckenwalde in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Stalag 3A Luckenwalde during the Second World War -

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Stalag 3A Luckenwalde

    19th Aug 1942 226 Squadron Boston lost

    If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Stalag 3A Luckenwalde

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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    Sgt. William McLaughlin 2nd Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers

    My Grandfather was held in 3 POW camps. I have obtained this information and associated dates from the MOD records, so they are as accurate as they can be. His details are as follows:

    6976070 Sergeant William McLaughlin, Army Catering Corps.

    He was posted to 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers on 19th August 1943 and was reported missing, prisoner of war, Leros, Aegean on 16th November 1943. Records show that on 6th January 1944 he was in STALAG 11A Aletbgrabow. By 19th April 1944 he was in STALAG 357 Orbke and by 2nd June 1944 he was in STALAG 3A, Luckenwalde, Germany.

    He was repatriated to the UK on 26th May 1945.

    Paul McLaughlin

    Francis Gorgen Gorgen

    My grandfather was captured at Kasserine and sent to Stalag 3B and then Stalag 3A. His name is Francis Gorgen. He spent the war as a POW and was liberated by the Russians. He never spoke of any of the experiences he endured, but did curse the Red Cross for trading items meant for the POWs to the Germans. Any info about Stalag 3A or B would be appreciated.

    Kevin Turner

    Kenneth L Barry

    I am currently renovating a house in the north of England, and while digging the garden last week I found a dog tag for a US serviceman by the name of Kenneth L Barry. Research via the internet shows that he was captured in France and was sent to Stalag 3A and was also liberated by the Russians.

    I'm wondering if anyone out there has any memories of this guy or better still knows kept in touch with him after the War. I would love to get to the bottom of this mystery.

    Carl Taylor

    Mauritius Maes

    My grandfather Mauritius Maes was a prisoner of war at Stalag IIIA. I have some photos in my possession and am lookong for more information and/or photos. Thank you in advance.

    Fanny Kint

    Pte. Thomas Andrew " " Gray

    I am doing research on my grandfather Thomas Andrew Gray who was captured at Calais in May 1940. I have just received information from the Red Cross showing the various camps he was held at which included by date, Stalag xxa,111a,111d,xxa,xxb and finally 111a again.

    Darren Quinn

    Pte. Alfred Cyril Best Royal Artillery

    I am researching my partner's step-father Cyril Best who is now 93 and has a story to tell. He served in Greece before being taken prisoner in Creete in 1941. The rest of the war was spent in Stalag 3. He is asking if any of his friends are still alive including Ken Griffen, F.Bridger or K.Jacobs

    Malcolm Collins

    Alain Jacopin

    My grandfather, Alain Jacopin, French Infantry, was made POW in Nieuport in May 1940 and crossed Holland and was sent to directly to Luckenwalde. He was released in 1945. I went to Luckenwalde a couple of weeks ago and felt really bad when I saw that a part of a cemetery that receives lots of care, there is nothing to remind one of the Stalag 3A.

    I would like to know more about this period, people who knew my grandfather.

    Tanguy Jacopin

    Willie S. Sweatmon 47th Infantry Regt.

    Willie Sweatmon was my great uncle. He with the 9th Infantry Division, 47th Infantry Regt and was involved in the Tunisian Campaign and at some point was captured. He was a POW at Stalag IIIB and later moved to Stalag IIIA where he died. His body was not returned to the States until 08 Aug 1949. The cause of death is not known. He is buried in Georgia not far from his birth place.

    If by some chance anyone has any additional information on him I would greatly appreciate a notification.

    George E. Anthony

    Sgt.Mjr. Frederick Fellner MiD. Royal Regiment of Artillery (d.16th Dec 1944)

    My great uncle Fredrick Fellner, was in Stalag 3a and was killed on the 16th of December 1944 before the war ended. My mother was told by her mother's friend's sister that he was shot while trying to escape but I can't find anything to prove this. I'd love to know a little more. The photographs are of him with other soldiers in India and another of what we believe could be Stalag 3a.

    Avril Killeen

    George Ernest Matthews 2/1st Battalion

    My father was captured in Crete & was a prisoner of war at Stalag 3. He never spoke about it much but also never ever wanted to travel overseas once he arrived back in Australia. Dad has now passed away & I am only just learning the terrible suffering he endured, to the last minute of freedom, which was spent walking with the other prisoners on their long march of 200 miles a day, only to be rescued by the Red Army. My Dad, like all the other brave & humble men, are true heroes, whose stories & names must live on forever more so that their suffering was not in vain.

    Gaile Stewart

    Fus. John Gorman Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

    I have a POW Postcard sent on the 25th of January 1944 from the Camp by John Gorman 269612, a prisoner in Stalag 3a, to his mother at 630 Clonard Road, Dublin. I'm afraid I have no other info

    Mel Doyle

    Allen Mills

    The first POW camp I went to was 3A located at Luchenwalde. This was a POW camp for Air Force personnel, I was then moved to POW camp 3B, located at Furstenburg and was there until January 31, 1945, when the Russians started a drive so we were moved back west on February 1st, 1945. I remember this date because this was my wife's birthday. The move was the hard way, on foot. there were 5,000 of us American NCO's in the group. We were on the road for eight days in the cold snow and ice. At night we slept in barns, warehouses or wherever we were. For the march we were given a slice of this German black bread. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The group that I was with, eight days later, located near Berlin and Potsdam. It was a small camp, where there were Norwegian Officers, POWs. The group I was with we were housed in tents, and slept on the ground. We were issued one blanket. Food, one bowl of thin soup each day. If we had stayed another week, we would have starved to death.

    About four days before Easter Sunday, April, the Norwegians were gone, the next day the Germans were gone. Easter Sunday the Russians arrived, then left in a few mniutes. None of us left the camp for a few days, wasn't sure where the Germans were. Being close to Berlin we could see the fires and feel the concussion of the bombs. About five days later a 2nd Lt. arrived in camp and from there we were taken to trucks and we were driven to the Rhein Main Air Force Base, Germany. Here we stripped down, were dusted with DDT, had hot shower and some bland food. The next day we flew out to Le Havre, France and arrived at Camp Lucky Strike where they built us up a bit for the trip home.

    We left on June 2nd, 1945, and arrived at Camp Beale, Marysville, Ca, June 27th, 1945. June 28, 1945 given a partial payment, a 72 day furlough. After furlough, we had to report to Camp Roberts, CA. From here we were to take part in the invasion of Japan but The war was over with Japan in August 1945. I received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army on November 1st, 1945.

    Jerry Willis

    F/Sgt Donald Edward Thomsett 51 Squadron

    My Grandad, Donald Thomsett was POW in Stalag 3a for the last 4 or 5 months of the war. He was the rear gunner in a Halifax bomber flying out of RAF Snaith/Pollington. He'd been an RAF gunner for all the war on varying aircraft - Wellingtons and Halifax's mostly. He'd flown God knows how many missions from 1940 onwards!

    He remembers being shot down over Hanover on a night raid. That night he was rear gunner in the plane and told me that two German night fighters approached the plane from the rear, one high and one below. He managed to shoot at the higher aircraft and said he either shot it down, or it broke away because my grandad thought he was getting pretty good hits on it. By the time he got his guns to the floor he saw the face of the other German pilot illuminated by his instrument panel below him. Bit corny maybe, but he swore on it. After that, the German plane flew under the Halifax (which was doing an evasive manouvre). There was an explosion and the plane started heading for the ground. The comms had gone and so had the hydraulics, so grandad had to manually wind the turret round so he could bale out.

    He landed on the roof of a house and sprained his ankle while falling into the garden below. The local residents came out and beat him with pieces of wood, then the SS arrived and took him through the streets. They took off his flying boots and coat and made him walk through the snow bare foot. While walking he saw the bodies of other airmen hung from lamp posts, he said they looked as if they had been hung by the locals after landing.

    They took him to the Dulag and interrogated him and strung him up and ran a knife down his back - he still had the deep long scars right up to his death. He had frostbite on his feet so they made the room alternitively hot and cold to make it worse. They also put another English prisoner in the room with him. Grandad wasn't telling them anything in interrogation, but he spoke with the room mate. It turned out that the room mate was a German plant and he told them everything he had been told by my grandad, where he was from, his girlfriend's name.

    Eventually, via being cattle trucked in Berlin station while the Allies were bombing Berlin - something he said the Nazis thought was very funny. If the Allies bombed their own men trapped in cattle trucks in the station - he was taken first to Sargen, then to Camp 3a.

    He was there when the Russians advanced on the camp. He said the german guards were a bit like "dad's army" and he bore no ill will towards them, even though they had little food. He remembers the Russian prisoners being treated like animals in a seperate compound. Eventually he escaped from the camp by going over the wire with a Canadian and an American. They found an old beat up car, got it going, then drove it across Germany westwards. A German family helped them out and housed/fed them for a few days in a little village. One day the Russians came to the village and my grandad hid in the cellar of the house. He remembered seeing "people looking like really dirty Chinese people" coming into the cellar and eating raw sugar with their bare hands like they were starving. The Russian soldiers took the family's 11 year old girl into the woods and she was never seen again. They didn't discover my grandad or his two friends.

    Eventually they made it to just outside Berlin and literally walked into the city. He was treated well by the Americans and given food and fags and some money. He arrived back in the UK about three weeks later and couldn't even speak for weeks. The war stayed with him for the rest of his life. But it wasn't the end.

    Nearly 50 years later a local historian had found out who had shot down my grandad that night (he had been the only one of his crew in the Halifax to survive) and arranged for the two of them to write to each other. It turned out that the German pilot - Herman Greiner - was a WW2 ace. He remembered that night and was able to tell my grandad how his plane was shot down (some kind of upward pointing gun that the night fighter had just had installed), and my grandad didn't blame himself as much for the death of his 6 friends that night. Herman gave his Iron Cross with Oakleaf, medal to my grandad as a token of his sorrow and apology. They met in Germany and shook hands after 50 years. Grandad died of cancer a couple of years later, he hardly ever talked about it all, despite me writing this, and only opened up at all towards the end. That war destroyed him. But he was brave as anyone I've ever met.

    Ben Thomsett

    Sgt. Robert Allen Anderson 420 Squadron

    I have prepared the following brief summary of my Dad's World War II experiences based primarily on materials in my possession, including his Identity Card, Flying Log and Wartime Log:

    In October, 1943, my Dad, Robert Allan Anderson, qualified as an Air Gunner after completing training at #3 Bomb and Gunnery School at Macdonald, Manitoba under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In January, 1944, he was posted to the 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron, based in Tholthorpe, England, as a tail gunner in a Halifax bomber.

    My Dad was just 3 days shy of his 20th birthday on April 20, 1944, when 154 Halifax bombers took off to attack the rail facilities at Lens, France, Dad's Halifax, LW692, was shot down and crashed into the Scie River at Pourville, near Dieppe. It was the only aircraft that failed to return that night and my Dad and Paul Bourcier, the mid-upper gunner, were the only survivors.

    According to a researcher, Dad described the event as follows: "We flew down to south England and over the Channel. Reached enemy coast 10 minutes early and off track, we passed over very near Dieppe. They threw up a lot of flak and we got 3 hits, the plane shuddered, slowed down and lost height fast. Port engines went on fire, spread to whole wing, engineer admitted it was hopeless, skipper said bale out. I got to escape hatch after mid upper gunner and jumped after him, plane was diving very fast and had trouble to get out of slipstream. Saw the plane spiral down on fire and crash. I landed in the mouth of a small river near Dieppe, had to use my Mae West, not a scratch."

    The same researcher described Paul Bourcier's account as follows: After taking off and setting course for Southern England and then the Channel we got off course and reached the enemy coast ten minutes before time over Dieppe, which was about 20 miles off course, as Le Havre was the crossing point. We were picked up by radar and we were hit 3 times by flak, causing trouble to port engines, the necessary measures were taken, but fire started, and spreading rapidly on the port wing, I was then given order to bale out, which I did and by doing so landed safely. Out of front hatch."

    After capture, the researcher presented a quick timeline of events: lane goes down, Anderson and Bourcier are picked up. From there they take a train ride to the Dulag Luft, the Luftwaffe Interrogation Centre at Albereusel, north of Frankfurt. Most fliers spent between 2-3 weeks there. Treatment ranged from pretty decent, to threats to a strange scenario where the Luftwaffe stripped you of all your clothes and locked you in a room with the heat turned up high. They had an interrogator there from Kitchener, Ontario who spoke better English than some of the Canadians there. When the Fatherland called he had returned to Germany."

    Both Dad and Paul were then sent to Stalag Luft III, arriving just days after the 50 airmen were recaptured and murdered by the SS under the direct order of Adolph Hitler for their part in The Great Escape. As the Russians advance towards Germany in 1945, Hitler gave the order to evacuate POW camps and move POW's closer to Berlin. On Saturday, January 27, 1945, Dad and thousands of other POW's were told to gather their meager belongings and a forced exodus began. A day-by-day account was recorded in Dad's Wartime Log. After an eleven day trek, Dad ended up in Stalag IIIA in Luckenwalde. Eventually liberated by the Russians, his ordeal was still not as yet over.

    A notation in his Log states: May 6, 1945 Russians refuse to let Americans evacuate us, some trucks have gone back empty. Russians have posted guards who have shot at some of the fellows. On May 7, 1945, he nevertheless managed to escape his new captors by making his way to the American lines at Magdeburg. On May 10, 1945, he then caught a USAAF DC3 (Dakota) to Rheims, France, and the next day, a Lancaster to Tangmere, England.

    Today, there are memorials to Peter Warren the Navigator, Patrick Gough the Flight Engineer, and Raymond Leonard, the Pilot, in Runnymede Cemetery, Surrey, England. Clifford Wheelhouse, the Wireless Air Gunner, and Clark Wilson, the Bomb Aimer, were originally buried in a cemetery in St Riquier-es-Plains, and later in Grandcourt War Cemetery, France.

    Bill Anderson

    Cpl. Peter Frederick "Pete" Zimmer 47 Infantry, 9 Division

    My father's words months before his death from cancer in 1997. He was captured in Tunisia, Palm Sunday 1943, and reunited Palm Sunday, 1945. Jack Refer to the map, it's a small scale of Germany with most of the prison camps. Transferred by boat "German" to Naples, Italy. After 3 weeks in Italy transferred by box car to Moosberg, Germany. Registered with the Red Cross, then after 3 weeks again put on box cars to Stalag 3B Furstenberg where we were confined until the Russians pushed within some 7 to 10 miles from the camp.

    Marched from Stalag 3B towards Stalag 3A, however a small contingent was broken off and sent to a small work camp in Luckenwalde. We were there from approximately Jan 1945 to the beginning of April 1945.

    During this time we, Art Rosenberg and myself, decided we would break from the column and try to get to American troops. While waiting to move out the released Russian prisoners stole our stored extra food and we had none left. At this time we took in a loner, Aid Mersfelder from Monhegan Island, Maine, who knew our plans and volunteered his food. Broke from the column on the second day, Germans thinking we were stupid and could not understand orders and gave up on us. After 2 exciting and harrowing days of freedom we came across about 10 French POWs at the side of a small intersection of country roads. Their apparent leader was a younger former policeman from Paris who approached me telling us the Americans were on this road to the left, or east. He said we had to go through these tanks and Germans, who were standing around smoking and appeared confused themselves. The Frenchman stated we walk in the center of his men, bend over and shuffle your feet, not straight up like Americans. Scary part of the whole thing, I could have touched the tanks. After a half day we got to the Elbe where we found hundreds of French POWs who had been there several days afraid to move over the levee to the river. We took Art's tee shirt and waved it and moved over to the levee, where 3 Americans came in a small private boat, took on us 3 Americans, a few British who were there, and took over the French in several trips.Ironically the day of capture was Palm Sunday 1943, back to Americans Palm Sunday 1945.

    S/Sgt. Charles Androski 8th Air Force

    My father, Charles Androski, was shot down July 19, 1944 from a B17. He was a S/sgt in the 8th Air Force but I do not know what squadron he was in. He was a gunner on the B17 and was believed to be shotdown while bombing a ball bearing plant. I know that he was burned in the downing and spent some time in a hospital before being sent to Stalag 3. I have a letter dated August 22, 1944 that he wrote to his parents from Stalag 3 and his Caterpillar Club card showing that his life was spared on July 19, 1944. He was a POW there until the war ended. His nickname I believe was Charlie Brown.

    If anyone has any, information to share or knows if there were other survivors in the downing please get in touch with me.

    Susan Androski Tillotson

    Fus. Alex McMullan Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

    Back of Another group Stalag XX B

    Alex McMullen with a group at Stalag XXb

    Postcard home from Stalag XXb

    Alex McMullen with a group of POW's at Stalag XXb

    Card from Stalag XXb with names

    My uncle, Alex McMullan, was a member of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with the BEF at the beginning of WW2. He was wounded and captured north of Dunkirk in 1940 and spent the remaining years of the war in a prison camp, either Stalag 3A or Stalag XX B.

    Upon his release he returned to Northern Ireland but was killed in a shooting accident, at his home, in December 1946. He was 24 when he died. I have numerous photos and postcards at home and would like to share with others on this site. I doubt whether there will be anyone alive now who remembers him but any snippets would be welcome. I was only 2 years old when he died but have childhood memories of him and his bagpipes. He joined the Inniskillings with a friend of his, Freddie Wilkinson, as a piper when he was 17, Freddie was killed in the action where Alex was taken prisoner, or so I am led to believe.

    David Gilbert

    Pte. Robert Booth Seaforth Highlanders

    My father, Robert Booth was 1 of 4 brothers, he was born in Newark New Jersey USA. He first joined up on the 21st September 1922 and served in India for 6 years from 1924 - 1932. He was then back home till 1939 and he was with the BEF in France from Oct 1939 to June 1940 when he was taken prisoner. He was transported to Luckenwalde, Brandenburg POW Camp and was there for the remainder of the war. He was discharged 21st April 1946 after serving 23 years 214 days. He told me that he was captured at Dunkirk during the evacuation he was pulled onto a ship and in the process his kilt had come off unfortunately the ship was shelled and sunk. He was then captured and sent to Stalag 111a.

    David Booth

    Sgt Frederick George Greensides

    My granddad Frederick George Greensides served in the RAF. After searching his flight details I know he crashed on the 30th May 1942 and became a POW at Stalag 3. His POW number was 441. I think he may have moved between two camps. We have drawings and a book several the prisoners made but very few photos.

    Editor's Note:- The 30th May 1942 was the night of the first '1,000 bomber' raid from which there were 41 aircraft losses by the RAF.

    Antoni Bruski 62 1.Regiment

    I am proud to be the grand daughter of a hero. My grandfather Antoni Bruski was born on 13th January 1915. He was a soldier in the Polish Army and was captured on 18th September 1939 in Krasnobrod. He was sent to Luckenwalde Stalag 3a when he remained until 27th July 1940. His Stalag number was 4849.

    I am looking for any information about his friend Rene Visene, a French soldier he met probably in 1940 because at that time 30,000 Frenchmen were inprisoned there. Rene tried to give my grandfather a leather jacket, but my grandfather told him he would not take it because it was cold in the camp. He was given a crocodile skin brown wallet instead. Rene owned a restaurant in Paris before the war and my grandfather tried to look for him. He wrote to a major in Paris. If anyone has information about Rene I would be pleased to hear from them.

    Thank you to all allied soldiers for their sacrifice so our generation can live in a country free from war.

    Magdalena Suchan

    Cpl. Harold James Daum Company C 805th Tank Destroyer Btn.

    Jim Daum was captured at Kasserine Pass and taken to #66 Capuia, Italy on the 25th of Feb 1943 and was held there until the 8th of March. He arrived at Stalag 7a on the 12th of March and on the 22nd was moved to Stalag 3b where he was held until the 1st of February 1945. On the 10th he was moved to Stalag 3a. He was released by the Russians on the 23rd of April 1945 and died in Germany after the war on the 1st of November 1947.

    James Daum

    2nd Lt. Kenneth W. Doran

    My brother, 2nd Lt. Kenneth W. Doran was shot down in his P52 on 4th July 1944. He was finally taken to Stalag III where he was held until the war ended.

    He kept a diary of his time in the prison camp. He thought the men of the `great escape' as heroes. Kenneth died in 1979 at the age of 58 from ulcers he developed when a POW.

    Eileen Doran Lavelle

    Hubert Ethridge Cheatham

    My father was a POW from 19th February 1943 to 8th May 1945 in Luckenwalde. I understand that there were two camps at Luckenwalde, but his records do not indicate which one he was interned in.

    He participated in three battles in Tunisia between 25th January 1943 and 22nd February 1943, including the Battle of Kasserine Pass in which he was declared MIA on 20th February 1943. He was liberated by the Russians on 22nd April 1945 in Luckenwalde and made contact with American troops on 8th May 1945.

    Matthew E Cheatham

    Gdsmn. Peter Fallon Irish Guards

    My Grandfather Peter Fallon was held at Stalag 3

    Lisa Fallon

    Teddy Walker

    My father, Teddy Walker was a POW at Stalag 3. My grandparents, John and Margaret Walker, had a farm at Ferryhill, Little Chilton Farm. They too had a German POW living with them. I think he was called Horst. There is a photo of him somewhere. I now live in Australia and our family things are scattered.

    Jill Walker

    Robert W. Barkley Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps

    Bob Barkley of Blyth served in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, POW No. 10533, and was captured at Boulogne in 1940. Can anyone help with information on any of these camps: Stalag XXa, 20a, 3a, camp 17 and 135?

    Deborah Sheret

    L/Bombdr. John Kirk Morrison 8th Heavy AA Rrgiment, 21 Bty Royal Artillery

    JKM standing on left

    JKM sitting front left

    Lance Bombardier John Kirk Morrison served in the British Expeditionary Force in 21st Battery, 8th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (from Belfast). 21 Bty was detached from 8th Heavy AA to 4th AA Regt on 8th of Mar 1940. Although the other two batteries of the 8th Heavy AA Regt were successful in getting to Dunkirk, a number of members of 21 Bty were captured on 28th of May 1940 in the area of Armentieres.

    John was a prisoner (2894) at Stalag 21D and B and later at Stalag 3A. He escaped (at least once) and maintained a well-written diary, most of which is complete. He was freed on 28th May 1945 and spent three months with the US Army in a holding unit before returning to Northern Ireland. John passed away in 2012 at the age of 93 years.

    Dennis Simpson

    Pfc. Richard Millner Rairdon 314th Infantry Regiment

    My father, Richard Rairdon, Pfc with the US Army was captured by the Germans in Nov. 1944 and was in Stalag IIIA until he was liberated on 14th of April 1945. He told of nearly starving to death, having his feet frozen, and of the filthy state he existed in. He had lice and was not given any opportunities to wash up. During the Christmas season, on 23rd or 24th of December the Allies accidentally bombed the American officer's barracks, killing all but 2 of them. Dad was made to help evacuate the survivors, then to remove the dead who were in many pieces. It was a gruesome task. He was made to work in the fields digging potatoes by hand, among other labor he was forced to perform.

    Robin Rairdon Borchers

    S/Sgt. James Higginbotham B Squadron, 19 Flight 2nd Glider Pilot Regiment

    Jim in flight suit

    My grandfather James Higginbotham joined the Royal Artillery in May 1939 when he was 19 years old. He volunteered and was accepted for the Glider Pilot Regiment in September 1942. He flew his glider during Operation Mallard. His next operation was Market Garden and he flew in the 1st lift from RAF Manston. After landing successfully he and the rest of B Squadron 19 Flight, approximately 17 Glider Pilots, went with Colonel Frost and 2 Para to take the Arnhem Bridge. He was involved in the fierce fighting there and although he avoided being wounded his 2nd Pilot Sergeant Carter had to have his arm amputated. He was captured when they were forced to surrender. He was first taken to Oberusel where he was interrogated and then on to Luft 7, Bankau. He was on the Long March to Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde and when he was repatriated he only weighed about 7 stone. He was classified unfit for active service. He was a bricklayer at Workington Iron Works, Cumberland before the war and after it he qualified as a civil engineer and had a successful career with Morgan Refractories in Neston, Cheshire.

    Vivienne Littler

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