October 9, 1918
Letter From a Prisoner
Mr. David H. Borden, of Canard, for some time a prisoner in Germany, now interned in Holland, writes to the Red Cross:
The Hague, August 28, 1918.
The Ladies of the Berwick Red Cross.
Dear Friends. - Mrs. Harris told me some time ago that you were paying for my parcels in Germany, but, owing to restrictions on correspondence, I have been unable to thank you.
I arrived in Holland about three weeks ago, under the agreement of 1917, for the internment of officers, N.C.O's and invalids in neutral countries. Needless to say, the change is very much to our liking. In the lagers of Germany, British, Italians, French, Belgians, Russians and the rest, are all herded together in close, smelly barracks. Here we are billeted in empty houses and hotels, two or three in a room. The food, well, the German rations were not fit for pigs and we were compelled to live entirely on our parcels, except when we succeeded in stealing a few vegetables.
As for treatment, I want to forget that, until I get a chance at a German again. You may be certain that no ex-kriegsgafangener will forget or forgive Germany in a hurry. Our papers don't print half enough regarding them. No matter what agreements they make for better treatment of prisoners, they always find some way of dodging around a corner. Thousands of newly captured men are kept working close to the line, until they either die of starvation or are killed or maimed by shell fire. I know one sergeant, who was thirteen months under our own hellfire, and finally came back with one of his arms useless.
If it were not for the British Red Cross not one prisoner in ten would ever leave Germany alive. In Saltan Lager, Russians and Italians are dying at the rate o ten a day. The French and Belgian prisoners are fairly well looked after, but the British are away above all. In all the large lagers, relief committees receive parcels of food, clothing and medical comforts for the new prisoners. Each new prisoner gets a parcel every tenth day until his own parcels come through. Then as far as food and clothing is concerned, he is far better off than his captors.
We have been hoping to hear that the new agreement for direct exchange of all prisoners had been ratified, but so far we have been disappointed. There's no use saying we're not homesick, though its really more the desire to be doing something. It's no joke, sitting on the bench, when the game is a tight one.
I started in to tell you how deeply grateful all the boys are to the women of the Red Cross, and instead, I've been burdening you with more of our troubles. As a matter of fact, my vocabulary is too limited to say all I want to. So until I see you in person, I will just say, "Thank you" for all of us.
Very sincerely yours,
David H. Borden.
October 9, 1918
The Late A. M. Pearl.
Mrs. Amos M. Pearl has received the following letter from a comrade of her late husband:
2nd Western General Hospital,
"13 Alfred Street, Harpurhey."
"DEAR MRS. PEARL. I intended writing to you long ere this. I felt it my duty to try to cheer you in your great sorrow, but, owing to my wounds, have been unable to fulfil my intention. Your husband was in my section during our advance in Southern France. We were on outpost duty the night of the sad fatality. An enemy shell exploded in the sector of trench that our little section was holding, killing your husband and wounding four others.
"Your pride in him has been fully justified. His kind, cheerful, upright character was a splendid example to us all. He was a good comrade and a true soldier. That God will comfort you in your deep sorrow is the sincere prayer of your husbands comrade.
"SERGT. R. McCALL."