Albert's War

by Joe Holloway, RAF 86 & 271 Squadron, Ex pow Association.


Note: Dear Friends, I wrote this little ditty as an expose of the farcical T.V. show "Jenny's War". I was pleased to have the chance the following re-union to let hear it as with other two accompanying verse, now presented as a reminder of the funnier side of P.O.W. life when you return home for the last time. God Bless.


You remember young Albert Ramsbottom, what was et by a lion when a lad.

Then returned to his folk undigested, 'cause he made poor old Wallace feel bad.

Well, Albert grew up as the years passed, wi'out any further mishap,

To become pride and joy of his parents, 'specially if he wore his dad's cap.

But folk were upset one fine morning, when a letter marked O.H.M.S.

Came to say that their lad was conscripted, wi' a warrant for the old L.M.S.

So off they all trooped to the station, in time for the ten-o-clock train.

Where Mum got herself in a tizzy, case she never saw her Albert again.

But Dad he patted her shoulder, "Now mother, you musn't show fear.

He's got his stick wi' its orses ead andle. He can shove it in old Adolph's ear."

So, onto the train jumped our hero, to seek out his true destiny.

"Not the army, I don't want to shoot Germans, in case they might shoot back at me.

As for the Navy, of blue I'm quite fond, but sailing the sea, that's a laugh,

I were sick in a rowboat on't duck-pond." So it looked like its going be the RAF.

Now Albert had never tried flying, though there were an occasion at school.

When he'd got himself all sick and dizzy, 'cause he'd had to climb up on a stool.

So the brains of the War Office were confounded, as to what young Albert could be.

So they flew him far out in a Mossie, and dropped him, on Stalag IVB.

Now Alberts so scared, that he passed out, as he hurtled down from the sky.

But twice lucky, his parachute opened, and outside he'd a bin shot as a spy.

Now Muhlberg-on-Elbe is quite famous, for its holiday camp, far and wide.

Wi' a warehouse as big as a Tesco, an' Red Cross parcels all piled up inside.

There were issued of nice clean new uniforms, an' greatcoats for the chill in't breeze.

And the lads would sit watching the officers, as they strolled in the shade of the trees.

While down in the village were a brothel, though the jerries ud pretend twas a chapel.

Where the lucky ones could slip out in the ev'ning as long as they were back afore Appel.

There was one of the ladies named Jenny, like a film-star and kindest of heart.

And when she knew of the lads who were locked up, sneaked in on the old firewood cart.

Now this is the life thought Albert, tucking into some strawberries and cream.

Then a voice telling "ROUSE" in 'is ear 'ole, woke 'im up, it were only a dream.

Back home when the war was all over, all he remembered was, dust, lice, and mud,

Black bread, an' a few rotten 'taters, and his 'muckers', the only thing good.

How they shared, sometimes eight to a parcel, till the white lorries just couldn't get through.

And dead Ruskies were stood up in their barracks, so the live ones could still draw the stew.

So, if you want to know the real story, of life in Stammlager IVB.

Don't bother to switch on your telly, ask Albert, or come and ask me.


Appel Pie Order (Or Blondie on Parade)

by Joe Holloway, RAF 86 & 271 Squadron, Ex pow Association.


"Mein Schitzen!" Said the offitzier, as he surveyed the tattered ranks,

Of British, Kiwis, Springboks, Aussies, Canuks, and a few odd Yanks.

Some still in their flying boots, while some wore Flemish clogs.

Some in threadbare greatcoats, a 'present' from the Frogs.

"Ein Fumphs," his Prussian voice range out to the lines of fours and threes.

"Fumphs, Fumphs," his sentries echoed, with the rifles sprouting 'trees'.

All ignored the rifle butts, and the bitter autumn air.

Still grimly smoked their handmade butts, as they shuffled here and there.


Till at last, a semblance, or order reached the files.

And appel at last got under way, to strange, half-hidden smiles.

Then, halfway through the counting, a cluster ran amok.

A sentry, trapped in the milling throng, his bayonet 'grew' a sock.

The officer, his face now grim, was pacing to and fro.

Slapping his boot with baton slim, as he wished where they could go.

But now the counting's finished, order restored at length,

But! was it? his eyes flashed lightning, he was seven 'over' strength.


Three times again they tried it. Three times got different scores.

For, each time that they counted, some ranks had shrunk to fours.

"Mein Himmel!" said the offitzier, the last time that he tried.

And formed them up in single file, and marched them back inside.

This time I'll get the appel right. At least, that's what he thought.

But when he'd done the counting through, he was just three Kriegies short.

Though shivering from the biting cold, the lads had made him smart.

But far more to the point than that, their muckers had more hours start.


So, as the days passed into weeks, and the weeks grew into years.

Time and again it happened, with Blondie near in tears.

They'd sometimes swap with Dutchmen, when someone took some leave.

There was always found an extra trick, inside a British sleeve.

And all the time, right to the end, in his rafters hiding place,

Was the Ace of the pack, Fred Ward himself, a grin on his Kiwi face.

So, now we're here again on roll-call, as we at our tables sit,

Let's spare a little tiny thought, for Unter Offitcier 'Blondie' Schmitt.


Stalag IVB. Ex P.O.W. Association, 30th Re-union, April 25-26th 1997.

by Joe Holloway, RAF 86 & 271 Squadron, Ex pow Association.


Close upon the River Elbe's side

Where all of us suffered

Where some of us died.

There, out of the dirt, the stench, and the grime.

There grew up a spirit that has outlasted time

To the thirtieth re-union, and as it unwinds,

Though time has caught up with our bodies. Our minds

Still will re-union on this day of each year.

We'll just close our eyes, and all re-appear.

The Canucks, the Kiwis, the Aussies and Yanks,

The Jocks, and the Sassenachs, from the Elbe's banks.

Where-ever we are, the mucker's great story

Will resound, like the words of "Land, Hope, and Glory."