JUST ANOTHER COUNTRY BOY and an unwilling guest of Hitler – The Life of Ken Latheron

, , , , , , ,

The Life of Ken Latheron. Compiled and edited by Julia Stephen.

“For some years my friends and relations have asked me to write my memories of the
Second World War and of my incarceration in various Stalags in Poland and Upper
Silesia. This time I hope to be able to do so but because of the loss of my own diary,
which I had kept over the period of my imprisonment, some of the picture may be a
little strange.
My first effort to write a book failed because the tapes, on which I had recorded my
story, failed after a delay of several years and the spoken words became faint and
My second attempt began well but unfortunately I lost a portion of my draft and then I
seemed to lose interest for a while.
This time, at the age of eighty, I feel it is a must to finish the book for there is hardly
time for another go. In any case I now have a word processor and after I have got some
idea of the capabilities of the machine it should not prove too difficult a task to get on
with the book and finish it.
This tome, I hope, will be for my family and relatives and will not be likely to become a
world beater. I, after all, went through the war and these experiences are mine not
those of anyone else. The joys, the pains and the sorrows are all mine and I feel that
those most likely to appreciate the book will be those who have known me and lived
with me in peace time and have watched me grow older and more forgetful as well as
feebler of foot.
I hope you will forgive me if at times I make mistakes of time and place. I can
remember things which happened a long time ago and I can forget the names of those I
was introduced to yesterday. Life is like that and I am often told off for I often quote
poems I had to learn at school when I was about eight years of age and then forget to
shut the door.
In my lifetime I have been to places which I never hoped to visit and today people go in
their thousands to these places, and more exotic places, as though it was the
commonest thing in the world to do so
Ginger Rutledge was one of the best and I often think of him and the way we got along
together. To the Germans we were cousins and we always managed days off to
celebrate our respective birthdays. We were both faithful to our partners, Ginger to his
wife and I to my girlfriend, and we both were family orientated and believed in
marriage. Ginger and his wife had three children and my wife and I had five children
and we love every one of them and their children.
In the Camps it was necessary to have mates or belong to a larger group, for the old
saying that many hands make light work was true, for to be on ones own was not good
at all. When I was first taken prisoner I was all alone and it took time for me to meet
and join up with different people. Sometimes we were good pals and sometimes it was
a great mistake but strangely when Ginger and I became mates it was ideal for we both
loved classical music and were both interested in art. Ginger was a first class artist and
we both settled in to paint scenery for the shows which other people produced.
The people that one met in the camps, people of various colours, religions, nationalities
and experiences were all important. The conversations one had with the other people
are stored in my memory and are now forming part of a story I am trying to write. If
you are interested in other folk then their stories become yours too. In our camp we
had Scots, Welsh, Irish, Maoris, Kiwis, Aussies, Maltese and Channel Islanders. All
were of interest to us and all passed on stories which were rich in incident, all part of
our memories.”
Ken Latheron


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *