Private John E. Dunlop
Unit : "B" Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion, 1st Airborne Division.
Served : North Africa, Italy, North-West Europe (captured).
Army No. : 14210819
POW No. : 117386
Camps : Stalag XIB
John Dunlop was born on the 24th July 1920. He volunteered for the Army in March 1942, and after a spell with the Royal Highland Fusiliers he was posted to the 7th King's Own Scottish Borderers, stationed on Shetland, before he volunteered for the Parachute Regiment. Dunlop joined B Company of the 3rd Parachute Battalion, and during 1943 he fought with them in North Africa, participated in the airborne invasion of Sicily and the seaborne landings in Italy. In September 1944, the Battalion took part in the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, and after days of heavy fighting around Arnhem, Dunlop was taken prisoner, having lost his left forefinger as well as receiving shrapnel wounds to both legs. Like so many who were wounded at Arnhem, Dunlop was first taken to a former Dutch Army barracks at Apeldoorn, temporarily converted into a field hospital.
'Taken by truck to Appeldoorn, then by cattle truck to Falenbostle - Stalag 11B. All different nationalities were imprisoned there. Little or no food provided. Hundreds packed into huts like sardines. Stole potatoes from the fields. Taken by train - cattle transporter, to Salzgitter work camp. Put to work as welder in Goering's factory. Then sent to lay railways wherever needed. Skipped away and hid in fields till recaptured. Taken to Stalag 21 outside Hanover where we all took turns to be disciplined - locked up without clothes or heat in a wooden "sentry box" at the edge of the camp. Forced French civilian workers stuck bread through the slats of the box. You were normally there a couple of days then you were taken back to Salzgitter.'
In his letters home, John Dunlop wrote the following:
2nd October 1944
My "Darling" wife. Just a line to let you know that I'm getting along O.K. I have been wounded but I will be fit and well soon. Please inform Mother. I'm sorry if I caused you any worry "Darling", but never mind we shall be together soon. It was good while it lasted. Don't worry "Darling".
Your loving husband
10th October 1944
My "Darling" wife. Just a line to let you know that I'm getting along O.K. I hope you all at home are too. My wounds are coming on fine. I'm missing you an awful lot "Darling" but I hope it won't be long before we're together for good. Tell youre mother that I could be doing with some of those big dinners of hers now, she wouldn't need to ask me if I wanted some more, I would do the asking. Food & fags is the big draw back so when you see me again you won't know me, I'll have a smaller waist line than Betty Grable, but never mind "Darling" as long as I can get to you I won't mind. You know that woman that sent you my shoes? Well write & ask her if her son is ok, if so let him know about me. I'm sure looking forward to seeing you again "Darling" & this time I aint leaving. I hope you're not worried too much "Darling" for I'm ok & in good health, dont forget to let the "Old Lady" know "Sweetheart" & tell her not to worry. Well "Darling" I'll close now & all my love is yours for always "Sweetheart" I always will be. Remember no worrying "Sugar" for it wont be long now.
Your ever loving husband
'One April night woken in the middle of the night and told to move out - anywhere. Bedded down in sugar beet field, ate frozen beets . Next morning skirted round camp to discover all guards had fled. Yanks took some POW's to holding camp in Guernsey to await turn for repatriation (approx. 1 week) back to Sleeford - deloused - new uniform, home leave for two weeks then back to St. Nicholas' Hospital , Byfleet for treatment to legs and finger, In hospital for six weeks, then demobbed from Woking. Provided with testimonial; brown pinstripe suit; brown brogues; soft hat.'
Thanks to Georgine Doherty for contributing her father's story.
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