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The Wartime Memories Project - The Second War

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James Garner

British Army Lancashire Fusiliers

from:Salford, Lancs.

My father, Jim Garner (Lancashire Fusiliers, Army No.3450469, POW No.1206) and his cousin, Gunner John Goring, (Royal Artillery, Army No.2043413, POW No.1053) were held prisoner at Stalag 344 during WW2. They were in Working Party E3 Blechammer. In Dec 1944 there was an allied air-raid on the oil refinery where they were working; Dad and John made it to an air-raid shelter, which was subsequently bombed. Dad was very badly injured, but sadly John was killed. As soon as it became known that a shelter had been hit, several men left their own shelter and before the aircraft had left the area, worked unceasingly until the last of the injured and last body had been extricated from the debris. One of these men was Albert (Happy) Eckersall, PKX/86772, L/Sto. Royal Navy. POW. No.5310. Not long after Dad recovered, he and others from the camp were made to march across Poland. My father never saw Happy again after that fateful day, until my brother came across a reference to the camp at HMS Dolphin some 46 yrs later. They met up again at Gosport submarine museum, where their story made the local paper. Dad and Happy remained friends until Dad sadly passed away in 1995.

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