A wartime Christmas with the enemy

A wartime Christmas with the enemy

Eden Camp director Nick Hill with some of the concert party memorabilia donated by the family of former POW Kenneth Finlayson

Photographs of British POWs putting on shows in German camps

Photographs of British POWs putting on shows in German camps

A 1944 Christmas programme from Stalag 344

First published in News by

MEMORIES of how Christmas was celebrated in wartime by prisoners of war are being rekindled in an appropriate North Yorkshire setting.

Concert parties were organised to keep up the spirits of Allied soldiers incarcerated in prisoner-of-war camps during the dark years of the Second World War.

And some poignant reminders of those grim days have now been presented to the Eden Camp wartime theme museum near Malton – which was itself a PoW camp during the war.

They include albums of photographs of the concert parties at Stalag 21D in Poland and a trumpet used by one of the prisoners.

They were donated by the family of a Lancashire man, Kenneth Finlayson, who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was captured at Dunkirk in May 1940 when the 133 Field Ambulance was overrun by the 6th Panzer Division.

He spent the rest of the war in various camps, including Stalag 21D, and bought the collection home as souvenirs of his time as a PoW.

Eden Camp museum director Nick Hill: “We have recreated one of our huts here as a PoW barracks and these items, which include the original advertising flyers the prisoners managed to produce, will have a fitting home there.”

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