A British POW who survived the Concentration Camp system.

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by James S, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I got this from a good friend in Scotland.
    Les was the friend who managed to get me a series of excellent photos of my late uncle's grave in Japan ( See famlies at war thread in the research section).

    This is an amazing story.
    Hi James,
    Glad you liked the picture I sent. The empty cat looks to be a fierce beast, would it make a good guardian for our fridge ?. Long after the war Maureens mother re-married a fellow called Alan Dempsey who was the night comp technician of the Newcastle Chronicle. Alan was caught by the Germans in the Western desert and handed over to the Italians. He escaped from them and was later caught again by the Germans who handed him over to the Italians again. He had a hard time with them but he managed to escape again when they were taking him to an Italian punishment camp in Italy. He lived rough in the Italian mountains for a short time stealing whatever food he could find until finally he met up with a band of Italian Partisans and stayed with them for eighteen months. Eventually the band was betrayed and Alan was taken prisoner by the Germans. He was tried as a saboteur and sentenced to death. They put him in a Death camp in the east of Germany but it was at the time of the heavy bombing of the German cities and he was;nt executed because along with others the Germans used him to recover the bodies in the collapsing buildings or rescuing any survivors where the buildings were about to fall down, that and recovering the dead bodies in the streets and buildings and burning them to prevent disease. Later he was transferred to Poland to a camp where they were going to carry out his sentence but when he got there the execution blocks were full so his execution was put back until they could more or less carry out his sentence. He was starved almost to death when news reached the camp that the Russians were almost on them so the Germans panicked and began marching the prisoners back to Germany. Alan was in a bad way and could,nt walk, so a South African guy called Percy put him in a wheelbarrow he had found and pushed Alan all the way into Germany in the wheelbarrow. Alan was repatriated back to UK but he was in such a poor condition that the Army put him straight into hospital for eighteen months before de-mobbing him. He had gone down from over 15 stone to less than 6 stone He never really recovered from his ordeal, but later Percy visited him and met Alans sister Rene who he married. Alan never told any of his story but the family learned it from Percy. Percy said that Alan had kept a diary and if this had been found he would have got the chop straight away, but it seems that his years in the newspaper service prompted him to write everything down, Percy assumed that Alan had dumped the diary, but when Alan died we found the diary that is written in tiny letters and quite difficult to read. We have it now and I should really get down to making a copy of it, its quite a harrowing read as you can imagine. He tells of living for days on a Swede (Turnip) and after the war he would never look at another root vegetable. I'll look it out and keep you informed. Regards. LES.

    This came as a result of a photo of a party flag which Les sent me earlier today - the photo taken when his son (Steve) was a few years younger.

    Les is a retired Merchant seaman - a engineer - an incredibly decent man , the sort of man who would only ever do you a good turn.

    The fierce cat is our tails moggie (Herbie) , the leg pull about the fridge - when Steve comes home Les feels his fridge is under threat as is his whiskey stash. :)
    (Steve like his father - a very good sort is at sea for most of the year).
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    James thanks for sharing that. I seem to remember hearing a story years ago about a POW pushed in a wheelbarrow. I can't remember any other details but the funny thing is.....My Dad was a Engineer in the Merchant Navy too!

  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    I have just logged on and read your wonderful post.
    Thankyou for sharing.

  4. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    I have email Les the link and asked that he excuse my sharing this - it is a quite remarkable story , a testament to human courage and endurance and a witness to the lack of humanity which that particular regieme engendered.

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