Who was George Child-Villiers? According to Wikipedia:
On his father’s death at Middleton Park in December 1923, he succeeded as the 9th Earl of Jersey and inherited nearly 20,000 acres of land in England. Lord Jersey was a clerk with Glyn, Mills & Co. in 1932 and served as chairman of Wallace Brothers Sassoon Bank. He fought in World War II, gaining the rank of Major in the Royal Artillery of the Territorial Army. The 9th Earl gave Osterley Park in Hounslow to the nation in the late 1940s. Lord Jersey was married three times and twice divorced. He married his first wife, Patricia Richards (1914–2017) of NSW, Australia on 12 January 1932. A week after his divorce was finalized, Lord Jersey married American actress Virginia Cherrill on 30 July 1937 at the Chelsea Register Office. She was the ex-wife of actor Cary Grant. They divorced in 1946. His third and last wife was Bianca Luciana Adriana Mottironi (d. 2005), whom he married on 16 October 1947. She was the eldest daughter of furniture maker Enrico Mottironi of Via Goffredo Casalis in Turin, Italy.
18826 Memoirs of a P.O.W. during the years 1940–45, Edward Vernon Mathias.
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Before the war Vernon Mathias (Mr Mathias, Bon Marche) worked at John Lewis, Oxford Street in London. At the beginning of WW2 he joined the Queen Victoria Rifles Regiment. By May 1940 he was on his way to France. He saw action in and around Calais, was wounded and was captured. There followed a 5 year term of imprisonment at several camps eventually ending up in a POW camp in Poland. His detailed and honest account describes daily life in a POW, the hardships and hopes for a better future back in Cardigan.
“We moved off stumbling over the railway lines, a stinking, dirty and dishevelled mob…” “the Red Cross food parcel was the one thing that we looked forward to…”
“Physically I lost weight in a rapid an alarming manner and the side effects were weakness, an outbreak of skin sores, loss of some teeth and worst of all, one’s weakness encouraged the infestation of body lice which practically made life unbearable”
In the camp he meets up with another Cardigan boy – Jack Griffiths!
Autumn stretches out to winter: “The river Vestula froze to a great depth…” “The frosty nights were marvellous and I would look at the stars and imagine Nan (later his wife) also looking at the same stars…”
He is then moved to Heydebreck. 1941 …1942… and 1943 beckons and life was hard – digging trenches while air raids were common especially throughout the summer of 1942. Then arrived a new medical officer – a Capt. James, originally from New Quay… (He died in 1981). There follows a failed attempt to escape from the camp… but leading only to (eventually three periods) of solitary confinement “ the room was roughly 6ft by 10ft…”
“1943 gradually came to a close and Christmas was here again…” “whilst we POWs grumbled over our lot, it was as nothing compared to what the Jews suffered…”
22 January 1945 the march to freedom began, fleeing the Russian advance. After weeks of marching he eventually reached Burgermeistr, Bavaria.
“We flew home via Holland…when I arrived in Carmarthen railway station there was a taxi waiting for me. It took me the last 30 miles to Cardigan arriving in the evening where quite a few people were waiting to welcome me. My sister and my parents were waiting at the front door.”
“My journey was over” and it was time to look to the future.
A fascinating account of what life was like as a prisoner of war.