AFTER THE ESCAPE
Following the recapture of the prisoners, there is conflicting reports as to the way the prisoners were treated. Officially they were not to be punished:
"…….the prisoners were not punished because there were fears, if they were punished, then the enemy might retaliate and punish British prisoners."
"…….there were no cases of British brutality towards the prisoners."
"…….there were no atrocities...but they were helped along, shall we say, with the butt of a rifle, and if their elbows dropped when they had their hands on their heads, they would be knocked back up with a rifle butt."
"…….I think there may have been a bit of rough housing and as far as I can remember they complained to the Swiss about their treatment, but when the delegation from the Swiss Red Cross came down they had no complaint."
"…….the first thing we had to do in the guard room was undress completely. We then had to sit down on the floor with legs stretched out absolutely straight with the back perhaps three centimetres from the wall. When the muscle pains were so bad that we leaned back against the wall, almost automatically we had a beating." (Helmhart Perl)
"…….they lined us up against the wall with our hands above our heads for a long time. The soldier guarding us was waving his rifle and shouting and swearing. Suddenly the gun went off and the bullet went into the wall just an inch or two above my head" (Karl Ludwig - one of the first prisoners recaptured)
"…….our hopes had been so high, and here we were back behind barbed-wire. Then I turned around and saw the piano and thought to myself, I must play something now and get things going again. So I sat down and played a piece I'd known by heart since the age of 10 years old. It was The Parade Of The Little Goblins, and it revived the spirits of fellow escapers so much that I played it over and over again in the next three days. Then the performances came to an abrupt end when the British Officers decided that the recaptured prisoners should not be allowed the luxury of music and ordered the removal of the piano" (Brockmeyer)
Click below to hear ACTUAL tune re-played by Brockmeyer in 1977 when he re-visited Bridgend and Island Farm to take part in a BBC documentary called "Come Out, Come Out (Whereever you are)".
The song in German is called "Heinzelmännchens Wachtparade"
(sometimes Wachtparade is written w/o the 't'). Heinzelmännchens translates
to 'little people'; Wachtparade (sometimes spelt 'Wachparade') may be translated
as 'parade of the guards'. As children, it is a song which is sung quite often
but not with the original words. The song was written by Kurt Noack
The authorities transferred
all 1,600 officers (not just those involved in the escape) to Camp 181 in Carburton,
Worksop Nottinghamshire, England on 31st March 1945, only 3 weeks after the
The media had a field-day and put the blame on the laxity of the British guards. One newspaper even claimed that the guards had even had advance warning of a pending escape via a note being thrown through the barbed wire fencing.
Click to Enlarge
The troops who guarded the
camp resented the comment bitterly. At the time of the escape there were fewer
than 150 British personnel at the camp, 90 of these making up the guard company.
Ten sentries guarded a mile of wire which works out as 176 yards to each sentry.
The House Of Commons Committee made a number of enquiries and came up with the following proposals:
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