Steve Piggy Palmers trip to Poland raising funds for Combat Stress.
With only 11 days until blast off, and Lol's story (as we understand it so far) more or less told, we thought we would let you know how we got to this stage.
Our journey started about 4 years ago, when we became aware of some basic paperwork that Denise Palmer-Jenkinson had in her possesion. We had been interested in trying to find out a bit more about Lol's War time efforts, as like many others, he didn't say that much, and we didn't pry. Google etc hadn't given anything away so we were at a standstill.
Amongst other things, this paperwork contained the letter that Lol wrote to the 'Man of Confidence' in the POW camp he was in, explaining the circumstances around his accident while working on a farm.
Now, this letter on it's own, although interesting, didn't really give too much away. Until Martin recognised what appeared to be a scribbled abbreviation was actually a Military abbreviation of the rank 'Company Sergean Major'. A quick google search of what turned out to be 'CSM Fulton' brought up a legend. He was the Liason between the POW's and German staff at Stalag XXb.
Now, this on it's own was a great lead, but there could have been others with the same name, needed something more to confirm that this was definately the Camp Lol was a guest at.
We did this (with help and advice from various internet based experts and forums) by getting in touch with the National Archives office in Kew. We were able to confirm Lol's Army number thanks to the enlistment documents which Denise had given us, as well as his Cap Badge, and with this info, Kew were able to provide us with a copy of his Ex-POW release questionnaire, which was filled out soon after his release. To see a copy of this 70 year old document, filled out by Lol's own hand was fantastic. What was better was that it confirmed that Stalag XXb was indeed the camp he was at, which led to more research which I will come to on another post.
This document also gave us a bit of info about his escape attempt, the date he got kicked by the horse, the fact he had transferred to the AMPC (confirmed by his Wedding certificate) and also the date and location of his initial capture.
While we were waiting for the paperwork from Kew, Steve got in touch with a bloke at the Pioneers association/archives who, by using Lol's name, DOB, Army number etc, was able to find out that he was part of 45 Coy, 12 Gp, and also gave us a concise copy of that units War diary which told us roughly where he had been serving whilst part of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). We later got a more in depth copy thanks to an internet contact. We were able to work out a couple if scenarios thanks to the Diary and capture dates.
We also found a few books, 2 of which I will detail later, but one, Dunkirk, The Men They Left Behind, by Sean Longden, although not specific to Lol, provided a harrowing insight into what happened to the captured POW's in the inititial weeks and months after capture. It gave the probable route he took to Poland, detailed the conditions they were kept in and the shocking treatment they recieved at the hands, not just of the German military, but civilians as well.
Anyway, a long post I know, so thanks for sticking with it. We will tell you a bit more about our research in the next few days.
Stories like this are the reason we are doing what we are doing. If you can donate just a bit, it could stop another tragedy like this occurring.