Captured carpenter home from Germany

Unlike many prisoners of war, Pte Ernest Thomas Parsons, 42392, 2/6th North Staffordshire Regiment, experienced a less brutal captivity in the hands of the Germans than many comrades.

He had been captured at Bullecourt in France on March 21st, 1918, with a shrapnel wound in his left arm. He finally arrived back home at 16 Russell Street, Luton, in January 1919 to tell his story to the Tuesday Telegraph (January 21st, 1919).

When, as was usually done, he was asked his trade by his captors, he replied that he was a carpenter and was registered as such. He had to wait, however, until a suitable job turned up for him, and this never happened. So it came about that, beyond the ordinary camp fatigues, he did no work in Germany.

He recalled that when taken prisoner, although wounded, he had to walk to the dressing station, where the doctors did the best possible for him. It was very little they could do, for the doctors were very short of medical equipment, even the bandages being of paper. He was afterwards sent to Alten Grabow camp, where most of his time as a prisoner was spent.

Asked as to his treatment, Pte Parsons said: “With regard to life in Germany, the less said about it the better. We were all on starvation diet until the parcels came through.”

Released under the provisions of the armistice terms, Pte Parsons started for home on December 30th. He reached Holland at 11pm the following day.

Needless to say he was pleased to get home, and spoke with gratitude of the parcels which had kept men alive in Germany.

Ernest Parsons was born in Luton on May 21st, 1897, a son of Thomas and Clara Elizabeth Parsons. He died here in 1972 at the age of 74.