Lance-Corporal Peter Prebble

 

Unit : 2nd Middlesex Yeomanry (Signals), 2nd Armoured Division

Army No. : 2585148

POW No. : 252864

Camps : P.G. 78, Stalags IVB and IVF

 

Lance-Corporal Peter Prebble was captured in 1941. Later transferred to Stalag IVB, he was the Man of Confidence at a lead mine in Freiberg, Saxony. On the 28th December 1944, he was moved to Stalag IVF as Chief Man of Confidence. On his return to Britain after the War, he filled in a questionnaire concerning his time in enemy hands. At the end of this document was a section entitled "Have you any other matters of any kind you wish to bring to notice?" He wrote:

 

(1) About 600 British & American P/W were moved on the march (without German rations), on 13th April believed destined for Czech Slovakia. German interpreter stated that this was an excuse for German officers, all of whom went after, to get out of the way of the American troops.

(2) Ref: Red X parcels, see attached.

 

In Feb 45, we received seven redirected railway wagons of Red X food parcels. On March 3 a Red X representative visited the Stalag and gave orders to the German Commandant (Col HAEMDLER) that the parcels were to be held and not distributed, and that four empty wagons were to be sent to Hartmannsdorf (Stalag 4F), and loaded up with these parcels, which were in our magazine.

 

In the receiving camps the wagons did not materialise, and as we needed them badly I had many interviews with the German Commandant to obtain these parcels for the 8,000 P/W in the Stalag.

 

He refused permission - on the grounds that he must obtain permission from Geneva first. This meant that the P/W in the Stalag were in urgent need of food - and to my personal knowledge 600 marched off to Czech Slovakia without food. The Geneva representative told me that they were more urgently needed by British P/W on the march from the East E???????.

 

Up to the time I left, ?????? had handed them over to the ALLIED military Governor, having prevent German civilians from getting them, they had not been received, and none of the men who needed them had benefited, in spite of all the efforts and practical argument to obtain them.

 

The first Red X representative appeared unable to take any initiative in the matter (named KLEILIER), and the second one (name unknown) who had no identity other than a Red X button & car, was unable to speak any English & made his arrangements with the Germans before seeing me.

 

I was permitted to issue redirected clothing but not food. I cannot say for certain what the reason was that the German Commandant did not use his initiative in this emergency, as he had always been correct in his dealings.

 

It is suggested however that he was under the domination of Capt. Müller (Nazi Party member, adjutant), or that it was an opportunity to satisfy a long jealousy of Red X parcels - or undermine the morale of P/W in the Stalag.

 

True statement [signed] 20/4/45

 

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