Huddersfield RAF men who created secret POW newspaper in Stalag Luft

HISTORIAN John Reid is asking Examiner readers to help him track down RAF prisoners of war who produced a secret newspaper.

HISTORIAN John Reid is asking Examiner readers to help him track down RAF prisoners of war who produced a secret newspaper.

The archivist is looking for details of 10 Huddersfield men who were in the German prisoner camp Stalag Luft VI during the Second World War.

Along with 290 other Yorkshire POWs, they produced a newspaper in 1944 – a year before their prison was liberated.

Mr Reid, of Bacup, near Rochdale, said: “The 84 pages contained news of life in Stalag Luft VI plus many very fine drawings, caricatures, poems and cartoons.

“The newspaper was produced in secret and written by hand with home-made pen nibs because normal nibs had been confiscated to try and stop the production of false papers used in escapes.

“The original paper was bound in plywood covers and smuggled back to England where it was received with much acclaim. Winston Churchill read it and was extremely impressed.”

After the war, 300 copies of the paper were made for the Yorkshire prisoners.

Mr Reid would like to speak to any of the 10 Huddersfield men who helped compile the secret document. He said: “Fortunately their names and last known addresses were included at the back of the newspaper and I would like to trace the individual RAF men or any relatives or friends.

“I am particularly keen to obtain photographs, documents and letters that I could copy and place in an album. This will bring out the personal element of all the men listed and become a fitting tribute to all those who spent many years in captivity.”

The prison newspaper was the brainchild of Sgt Richard Pape, who was shot down over Holland in September 1941. Before the war he had worked as a journalist for the Yorkshire Post.

Mr Reid said: “He thought the newspaper would help raise morale among the Yorkshiremen held prisoner in the camp. It was called The Yorkshire Post, Kriegie Edition – Kriegie being the name given to POWs by the German guards.”

Anyone with information on the men can call Mr Reid on 01706 874 797 or email john.reid27@ntlworld.com.

THE 10 Huddersfield men who helped produce the paper were:

T.J. Brook, 77 St John’s Road, Birkby.

E. Booth, High Street, Clayton West.

P. Blackburn, 64 Acre Street, Lindley.

A.P. Holdsworth, 50 Gledholt Road, Marsh.

B. Harker, 57 Ashenhurst Avenue, Newsome.

A. Makin, Rowlands Avenue, Dalton.

G.D. Morton, 3 Woodhouse Hill Road, Fartown.

A. Parfitt, 1 Car Street, Marsh.

D. Sykes, 68 Close Hill Road, Newsome.

W. H. Whitwam, 20 Cobcroft Road, Fartown.

 

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