Posted 05 August 2003 - 10:46 AM
Reports abound on how POWs spent their time in captivity, be it existing ,resisting,escaping and furthering their education.There was always a demand for books and education,one of the first lessons of being a POW was the value of books.
Anthony Barber,Edward Heath's Chancellor of the Exchequer successfully studied law as a POW at Oflag XX1B in Germany and qualified as a barrister by distance learning. POWs such as Donald Pleasence , Robert Key and many more found that they had other appitudes.
From 1942 POWs could sit the examinations of over 100 professional bodies.Over 10,000 candidates did and 75% attained passes.Apparently one POW studied Swahili but the examination papers would not be accepted as the Germans could not find an interpreter to censor the papers. A post war review stated of the POWs further education,"their time has not been wasted" and "they have laboured well and truely"
POW existence appeared to raise a little controversy between the types that were happy to plan for their future post war and study to relieve the monotony and boredom of a POW camp and the types that were eager to escape and carry on the fight.
The Germans initially allowed Penguin Paperbacks carrying accounts of Great War escapes.These were only banned when the back page of one showed a British Tommy chasing a cartoon of Hitler with a fixed bayonet.
Nevertheless a large number went on to gain their City and Guilds in "Escaping".