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Five Letter Forms sent to Mrs J. (Joshua) Hayes from prisoner of war camp in Poland by her son, Eric"

Stalag XXA, Thorn, Poland

16 June 1940

see 7.239 for Eric Hayes' memoir, "About me in a Nutshell", which describes his experiences as a prisoner of war in Poland.


Each prisoner was allowed two letter forms per month and four post cards to send home to relatives/friends. Reproduced below is a series of five letter forms sent from Stalag-Thorn XXA home to Buckley.





Dear Everybody

Just a few more lines to let you know that all is still well with me and hoping that everyone your end is keeping alright. It seems ages since I heard from you, but I hope it won't be long now before something gets through. I was sent from the school on a "flying column" five of whom got through on Mon. morning, only to be taken on Mon. night. We had to walk miles - about 25 kilos. a day for a week, sleeping in fields, factories, anywhere and only food we pinched on the way. One day put in a field, given soup, bread and cheese and taken by truck on 10 hr journey. Stayed at that place a week - got no food regular. The train journey (three days - no food). Arrived here and thankful. In fort, stew for dinner. Bread and honey or margarine and coffee for tea and coffee for breakfast. All money and kit taken off us, underclothes changed for shirt, pants and "socks" (squares of flannel). Allowed to keep personal property. Cold baths available in swimming pool. Put in charge of sanitary squad yesterday. To be paid for work in canteen. Money when canteen starts. Please keep in touch with Mary and give her news and my love and send parcels, food that will keep - may take long time - smokes etc. Tons of love and best wishes to you all





Dear Everybody

Although I've written before, I understand that this may be my first letter to get through so excuse me if I'm repeating news. I have been a prisoner since May 20th. We were taken to a fort and all particulars etc. taken and stayed there until about 5 weeks ago when I was put on a party to come here working. There are 50 of us. Billetted in a school. We are treated quite well under the circumstances - good food. We are paid in prison money and have a canteen so manage to have a good snack now and again. We can't get smokes very often though - I have to rely on "dog ends". We get some news through, a weekly paper printed especially for us. Our work here is digging a big dike out in the fields. I work with the local man in charge of the job preparing the way -o.k. If you can write back please do so as often as possible. Give my love to Mary and all relations and friends with tons for all at home. And all the best to Mary for Sept 21st and Mum for Oct.14th and Molly for 23rd - in case I can't send again in time.

Lots of love Cheerio






Dear Mum and All,

Once again I've no letters to answer - we have had none through for a month now. Of course we expect them daily, but are still waiting. I hope all is going well with you, however, and that you're getting mine through alright. We've been working a fortnight now and getting used to it again. Of course the first few days were awful - blisters etc. but that's passed off. The weather's still unsettled - ten minutes ago it was snowing. Now the sky is blue and sun shining! Last Sun, I dropped a card to Dick - hope he gets it. We also had a game of football last Sun. - I'm awfully shortwinded! Also last Sun, we had two food parcels and 50 Players or Capstains each and today we've had another parcel each and 50 fags again. That makes 7 parcels in 3 weeks - making up for lost time! I hope they continue to come through like this now they've started. Our Sunday service still goes on - we've just chosen the hymns - 341, 298, 379, 381 and 346 tonight. And now, cheers again. Tons of love to all friends and relations and don't forget the snaps for me.

Love from Eric




Dear Mum

Thanks once again for your letters of Aug 18 and Mar 18/4/41 and for your good wishes for my birthday, which were in plenty of time. Will you also thank Aunty Louie for her Xmas card and Mr Jenkins for his nice letter received same time. It's Sunday once more (queer, I've always written on Sundays, haven't I?), and this afternoon our camp played another camp from this town at football - we won 6-3 - of course. I didn't do much towards it, but we won. Then we've had service as usual - I took it tonight, and read a predict for Easter by a German Army Bishop. After that, I've had a bath with Lifebouy (the first) and a change and am feeling quite a nice lad. Our bread has been cut down here, and sausage the same, otherwise life goes as per schedule. Glad to know all's well with you and the pals, and hope I shall be back soon - of only to keep that BIG brother o'mine in order! (Shan't know him!)

Love Eric




Dear Mum

Thanks very much for your letter of 28/4, received on Whit Monday. I was glad to hear of the improvement in our letters coming through..... I'm sorry to hear that Aunty Sally gets no better, but hope there'll be an improvement soon. Last weekend we had Sat afternoon and Monday off work. We played football (or rather the others did) among ourselves on Sun and against the other camp on Mon. I went out but spent the time lying in the sun. I sent another card to Arthur. Last week we had a bit of variety in our work- felling trees and draining the "village pond" preparing the way for the new little park we are to make here. Tonight it is my turn again to conduct our service here. I wish I could go to a REAL service occasionally. Ours are not the same somehow. Now, love to everybody at "home sweet home".








Author: Hayes, John Eric, 1918


Year = 1940

Month = June

Day = 16

Building = Military

Document = Letter

Event = Historic

Gender = Male

People = Single

Work = Military

Extra = Military

Extra = WW2

Extra = 1940s

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