William James Sydney Pratt

Family/Last name:
Forename(s) and initial(s):
William James Sydney
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My grandfather was William James Sydney Pratt, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, POW # 26248

I have his wartime journal and in it is a description of an escape attempt from November 19 ,1943.  It is odd however, as it appears to have been written from the perspective of the German authorities.  A Hauptman Kurtzen Hoar is identified in the journal.

“The Subway

The second attempt of prisoners of war to hide a tunnel from German authorities fails.

In the Lamsdorf area yesterday the second attempt of British prisoners of war to conceal an underground escape passage from the German authorities was discovered just after dawn.  A narrow break-through in the north-west sector of the German defence enclosure was immediately barred up, and a large amount of bed boards, maps, and papers were either destroyed or captured.  The tunnel head was attacked with heavy concrete breakers, supported by picks, shovels and lighter weapons. The initial attack against concealed positions brought immediate successes to our forces. A pioneer detachment of the 102nd Stalag Watch, under the leadership of Hauptman Kurtzen Hoar, especially distinguished themselves. One or two prisoners are believed to have escaped, but their immediate recapture is imminent.  The attempt later of prisoners to recapture the lost bed boards was only partially successful.”

After the war he came back from Europe and worked for the Canadian National Railway.  His health unfortunately was never the same after his experiences in the camp. He died of heart failure  in 1970 at the age of 51.

The images are from Pratt’s journal but were drawn by a South African POW HH Pienaar

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