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HomeAntigua and BarbudaAntiguaJol Byerley's Dec 05 Letter from Antigua

Jol Byerley’s Dec 05 Letter from Antigua

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About a
week ago I had a dream….

Now, this
means that this following article has really nothing to do with either the sea
or boats or come to that nothing to do with Antigua.
For which I apologize. However, it was absolutely a factual account of a bit of
an adventure of mine when I was a young lad in the foot hills of Ben Wyvis not far from the town of Dingwall in

My old
Dad was in charge of a Military P.O.W. camp which housed in this case a
considerable number of German submariners and air force officers. To help make
it clear he had previously been doing the same thing in many parts of the
UK. That is
building the camps, setting them up and spending at least six months in each
one when they were occupied. But the German High Command was sure that costly
and war winning secrets were being told to my father by the German officers. So
for at least two years these camps were occasionally being bombed by the

What the
British didn’t know was all to the good. That was apparently the German
point of view. Anyway, I was at this stage staying with my father, the Major at
a new, recently completed camp which was well hidden in the gorse covered hills
in the wilds of Scotland. Certainly to me the inmates were a
decent enough lot, fairly fed up with Mr. Hitler and other high ranking Nazis.
Dad had gone to the lengths of getting two Beckstein
pianos from somewhere and installing them in the Officers Mess. So everyone
seemed to have a pleasant enough time. The elderly British Guards and the
German prisoners had exactly the same food to eat and some of the POW’s
were even allowed to work on the local mountain farms.

that is, the night that my father’s camp was bombed by the Luftwafft! As you can imagine the results included
flattening many huts and knocking down the surrounding barbwire
fence……so many of the POW’s took off for the safety of the
surrounding hills. Now, it so happened that I had a very fat, white pony called
Snowball and in the early light of dawn, my old Dad sent me off on Snowball to
look for the prisoners who had understandably done a bunk to avoid the bombs. Well,
by about mid day, I had found about 190 of them in a group of old stone
cottages which had not been used for many a year. Some what strangely the band
of POW’s smiled when I arrived and all wanted to know if I knew the way

I didn’t
even think it was strange! So with Snowball and my young self in the lead we
all made our way back through the heather and gorse and the odd bog to the
crumpled gates of the camp. Now, this is the bit that I will always remember,
my father had instructed his adjutant to have a guard of honor drawn up outside
the crumpled gates. The middle aged British soldiers with their empty antique
rifles at “the present” and under the stony eyes of the R.S.M.
brought the parade to attention. My father and his officers then saluted this
extraordinary column as we wearily made our way back into the warmth and
relative safety. Now, whatever you may think, it did actually happen and my
dream happened on the exact same date 61 years later!

Oh I
forgot to tell you the Germans were singing quite loudly Onward Christian
Soldiers when we struggled in. Just imagine what it meant to a young kid like

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