Letters from ex Prisoners of War

Geoff Cordingley

The following appeared in the Hertfordshire Mercury, on 8th February, 1919.  It was clearly not a pleasant experience being a prisoner of war in The Great War.

Through the courtesy of Mr. Douro Hoare the energetic hon. secretary of the Hertfordshire Regiments’ Prisoners of War Help Committee, we are enabled to publish a number of letters from the repatriated men connected with the county regiments, written since their return to the Old Country, Without exception these are all of an appreciative character, and further emphasize the fact now generally known that the work of the Committee has always been gratefully acknowledged and appreciated by the men.

Appended are extracts from some of the letters:-

DEAR SIR,-I wish you and your Committee to accept my greatest thanks for the parcels you sent me when I was a prisoner of war in Germany. I can honestly say that it was the parcels that I received in 1917 which saved my life. I had been very badly treated at the time when working behind the lines in France, and was consequently in a very weak state : your parcels pulled me through. I am glad to say most of the parcels were

received in good condition. Those sent from Lady Rolls’ packing station (paid for by the Herts Committee) were the best parcels sent out to Germany that I saw. I cannot express the gratitude that I feel, nor thank you

sufficiently for the kindnesses which you have done for me.

PTE E. G. BECK. 6th Beds Regt,.

12 Garfield Street,


Dear Sir,- I should like to take this opportunity, the first that I have had of thanking you and all concerned with the society for your kindness to me while in Germany. Had it not been for that many of us would never again have seen old ‘Blighty’, and those who did would not have been as strong as we are now. Please accept my heartiest thanks,

PTE E. E. BLACKWELL, 1st Herts Regt.,

65 Brooke Road


DEAR SIR.- Now that I am safe at home I have great pleasure in writing to thank you for your great kindness to me whilst a prisoner of war in Germany. I suppose that I am only telling you what hosts of others have already told you when I say that it is entirely due to the kindness of you people that we have lived through to the finish of the war. We shall never be able to thank you enough, but, believe me, we are truly grateful.


Bridgefoot Farm,

Little Hadham.

SIR.-I have now arrived home safe and sound from Germany, and would like to thank you and all others who have so kindly helped in sending us out parcels while we were prisoners for which I assure you I was very



Sleaps Hide,

St. Albans.

DEAR SIR,- I think you can understand better than I can explain the pleasure I feel in being able to write to you from home. In fact. I cannot, after being away so long, realize that it is true. I should be very pleased to come and see you at any time you are at liberty. You will have been very busy of late I expect, if you will let me know when it would be most suitable for you and then I could thank you all for what you have done for me. I trust this letter finds you all well in health as I am, for I am quite well now that 1 am home once more. Hoping to have the pleasure of talking to you.

F. Catlin, 8th Beds. Regt.

DEAR SIR- Just a card to thank you for your kindness to me in sending parcels to me while I was a prisoner in Germany. I am glad to say I am home once more. Had it not, been for the parcels I don’t think many of us would have seen England any more. Thanking you once again for your kindness, and wishing you the best of health.


Dolphin Yard,


DEAR SIR — I have arrived in Holland, and hope to be in England soon. I must take this opportunity of thanking you for all past kindness, and to assure you of my deep sense of gratitude.

PTE. F. KITE. 1st Herts Regt.

Interned at Gronigon, Holland.

DEAR SIR,- now that I am home again I wish to take this opportunity of thanking you very much for your work on our behalf, in connection with the Herts Regiments’ Prisoners of War Help Committee. Unfortunately we were not at the camp given as our address, but were working immediately behind the German lines, so that I did not receive all the parcels that were sent. Altogether five turned up, four of food and one of clothing, all in excellent condition, which I appreciated very much indeed. My wife joins with. me in thanking you for the trouble you have taken.

SERGT. L. W. TUCKER, 1st Herts Regt.,

10 Princes Street,


DEAR SIR,-I take the liberty of writing to thank you for your kindness to me when a prisoner of war in Germany, in sending me parcels of food and clothing. Had it not been for the help from you and the Red Cross Society I myself and hundreds of others would not have survived our long imprisonment in German camps. Thanking you for your great kindness.

PTE. JOHN WHITBY, 7th Beds Regt.,


near Hitchin,

DEAR SIR,-I have the pleasure of writing you a letter in England thanking you and the others of the Committee for your kindness to me during my 16 months’ captivity. You will be pleased to hear that I was one of the first to be repatriated from the camp of Friedrichsfeld, on November 22, 1918, and have been in hospital ever since. Although I did not receive quite all the parce1s you sent, I am very thankful for what I did get when we think of the German rations. I should be very pleased to hear from you in return.

PTE. S. C. ATKINS, lst Herts Regt,.

King George’s Hospital,


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