POW's four years of brutal treatment

Another story of brutal treatment meted out by the Germans to those of our men who were taken prisoner, as told by Drummer Frederick Charles Taylor (8481, South Staffordshire Regiment), whose home was at 42 Cardigan Street, Luton.

Drummer Frederick Charles Taylor POWOne of the old Regular Army, he was in Africa when war broke out and was sent home in September 1914. After 36 hours home leave he was drafted to the Western Front and took part in the retirement from Ghent in Belgium. He fell into enemy hands at Ypres in November 1914.

He told the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph January 9th, 1919): “In the trench where we were the water was up to our knees, and it was falling in. The Germans made a big attack and took us prisoners. They kept us in the trench for 24 hours before removing us.

“One man was bandaging his wounds when a German came and stood on my shoulders and sent a bullet into his head, and then stabbed him with the bayonet. Two other men were killed in the same way.

“When they took us out of the trenches we had two days march, and not a bit of food. We were put into a condemned cell for four days, and each day we had a cup of coffee, a tea-cup of soup and a slice of black bread.

“While on the march we were kicked, stoned and hit with rifles, and anything else they could lay their hands on. I have still some of the scars on my back now.

“I have been working in a coal-pit, and they made us work like slaves. If we did not do enough for them, after we had finished work, they made us stand to attention for three or four hours, with no food and a guard behind us. If we moved, they hit us with their rifles. The accommodation was not fit for a pig-sty.”