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You’d have a daily broadcast

Heroes Remember

You’d have a daily broadcast

In the earlier years of Stalag Luft six, when the camp was being run by the military. The relationship between guards and, and prisoners were formal, but some of the people managed to get closer to the guards and inevitably over a period of time, at that time they were getting cigarettes in the food parcels, you know. And they're getting, people would send cigarettes to their families, from their families to the prisoners. So you could build up these and use them for barter purposes. And of course, you could bribe a German guard to bring things in. And this is how I think they had gathered these radio sets. They existed certainly, before I was ever a POW and in fact what we would have in Luft six and in Falling when we were there, you have a daily broadcast. And the way this worked is on these underground radios that they had, they would get a report from the BBC, you know they get the BBC report. They'd also get the Voice of America and things like this. And we used to have then, cetain of the prisoners would go around from barrack block to barrack block and read the news. And in fact, in Luft, in the BBC at that time, you would have well known broadcasters like Al ( inaudible ) and people like that would have a very formal and well-known way of giving the news. And we would have these guys who would be coming around from barrack block to barrack block, who would assume this sort of attitude and voice. And it would almost be like hearing the BBC. And they would come around from room to room and you would have these you would get the daily news about half a, about half a days late. And in some cases, you would get more news than the Germans were getting, because they used to have what they called the OKW reports which was the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, used to issue a daily bulletin which would always give a distorted view as to wha twas happening on the battle front. So we would have that, cause they would issue that and it would be up on the notice boards. And the Germans would produce that. So you would get the OKW report each day, you would also get the BBC and perhaps the Voice of America each day. So we had more news than the, the Germans guards would have. And in fact, they would want to know how, you know, people would have up on the wall, maps which they constructed themselves or got out of a book, with the fronts drawn in on them And they would want to know, how on earth you knew this, you know How you could be up to date on where the war was taking place in Stalingrad and places like this. And you know, you’d say, "Oh well, that's where we're assuming it would be." But we were not short of news.

Mr. Yeomans describes how POWs kept up to date on the status of the war.

John Yeomans

Mr. Yeomans was born in Manchester, England. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was an apprentice electrical engineer. Too young to enlist, he was still involved as a firewatcher during the German air raids on his city, during which time he witnessed heavy destruction and numerous deaths. In 1941, Mr. Yeomans volunteered for the RAF, and went to South Africa, where he took Navigator training. His combat activity saw him take part in the bombing campaign against Berlin. Mr. Yeomans was the lone survivor when his Lancaster bomber was shot down and after spending a year in several different POW camps, he escaped and finally returned to England. After the war, he spent time in the RAF before moving to Canada as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Yeomans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Germany, The Berlin Series
Air Force
156 Pathfinder Squadron
Wing Commander

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