“We were all waiting to go to France when they were all pulling out [Battle of Dunkirk]. So we got sent to Africa instead. I was in the desert till 1942. To cut a long story short the Germans’ broke through, I got injured and when I woke up I was surrounded by a couple of Germans who looked down on me and said: ‘For you Tommy the war is over.’ I can still see them now if I close my eyes, two big fellas, looking down on me. They were very good to me and sent me to hospital, once I was out, I was a Prisoner of War and they sent me to Italy. The Germans’ behaved strictly according to the Geneva Convention as far as I was concerned.
“I was in the camp in Italy and that was a soul destroying experience, because you didn’t know when the war was going to end... what do you do all day? You lived on a quarter pint of soup a small piece of bread and a small piece of cheese. That was your rations for a day. I stuck it for so long and decided that I was going to escape somehow….”
John was a Prisoner of War twice during the Second World War, and managed to escape twice.