My Writers Circle

Writing => The Writers Circle => Topic started by: Lin on January 22, 2006, 05:39:18 AM

Title: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lin on January 22, 2006, 05:39:18 AM
I'm considering for my next book writing a romance about two people who were separated because of WW2.  The man was in a prison camp and his girlfriend was left at home.   He wrote many letters to his family and the love of his life.  He really thought she would wait for him until he realised the war was going to last a lot longer than he imagined.

I have to tell you that my father left me a legacy of all his war letters and it was this that gave me the idea to write the story.   The actual story is not based on fact  but only on the letters, I will use them as a basis for romantic fiction.

I wondered if anyone out there has information about what it was like in a prison camp in 1941 - 44?
Our soldier fathers never talked about their time in prison, but I happen to know a little bit about it, and I will use that to aid the story.  I need to know more.

Any information about prisoners of war would be handled respectfully and would help me authenticate a novel.  If anyone has a story they wouldn't mind sharing with me, and which I could turn into fiction then I would be grateful for this information.  Anything at all will be helpful.

Did your father ever tell you about his time in a prison camp?   My Dad was in Ville Valle Lunga in Italy in the mountains in Sulmona Prison Camp, maybe your Dad was there too?   My Dad was with the Green Howards.  He did his training in Moreton in the Marsh.  From there I have all the letters from 1939 onwards,  much of which were censored.  Unfortunately he was unable to express his feelings in the letters and they all sound like he is on holiday in Italy in the sun!!  I don't think so!!  I do know that they shared one bowl of water per week to wash in amonst four men.

So any bits of information would be useful

Many thanks

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: tigger on January 23, 2006, 05:19:39 PM
Hey Lin,

My parents were Italian, and my father fought in the Second World War as well. He was taken prisoner in Germany, and this kept him away from his family for seven long years. I lost my father this past July... This was unexpected. I am still grieving his absence.

One thing I did want to ask though... Do you mean Valle Lunga in the South (Calabria, Italy)? If not, then where exactly is the place you are referring to...
Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: tigger on January 23, 2006, 05:22:12 PM
Oops. I forgot to mention, your plot sounds very interesting and very elastic. You could take that sort of story anywhere your heart desires, a Romance, a War Story, a Personal Tragedy... all of these in one. I really think this could be a winner!

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lieutenant Dan on January 23, 2006, 05:57:17 PM
Lin, a good resource would be the book AND movie "The Great Escape".  Highly recommended! 
Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lin on January 24, 2006, 07:20:41 AM
Thanks all you lovely people for your replies.   My Dad was in Sulmona Prison Camp  in the Abbruzzo Mountain range which according to a map Im looking at right now is East of Rome.   He jumped off a train I believe, and was hidden in the mountains by some Italians for 6 months before someone betrayed him to the Germans and he was in solitary confinement for some time for his crime!  I didnt know all this until the day of his funeral when the Green Howards gave me and my mother his war records.  He died in 1996 he was only 74.  One day I will take a trip there and get some more information for the book, what a strange moment that will be for me as I know the camp is still there!!  Its locked up and you cant go inside.

I will have to do a lot of research here and you are quite right it could be a winner if I get the balance right and find the right words to put into the book!!

Im delighted I have all the letters and thank goodnes he wrote them as I now understand his feelings during the times when he never spoke about it.   I need a lot of information before embarking on this one though.

Okies more comments welcome please.


Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: SuzieHarris on January 24, 2006, 08:19:16 AM
Lin, my friend,

I'm not sure if this is any help, but it's a link to the UK veterans society and other useful resources.

Suzie x
Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lin on January 25, 2006, 03:16:26 AM
TX Sooz

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Gltagaman on January 27, 2006, 03:28:04 PM
 :)Four relevant books that may be of use to you concerning prisoners of war in Italy during WW11. Love and war in the Appenines by Eric Newby:Farewell Campo 12 - I can't recollect the author and The Moon by Might by ? Davies all cover this period. Another by Stuart Hood about fighting with the partisans in Italy is pebbles in my skull by Stuart Hood.

Another - I can't remember the titlr but I'm sure it is in my pile of books is The Privileged Nightmare by an English officer helf prisoner in Northern Italy.

I did research on how French prisoners of war and forced labourers for my novel fared in Germany on the Internet. There is a lot of information out there but the biggest problem is phrasing your questions in the direction in which you wish to go.

Good luck.

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: writingfriend on January 29, 2006, 05:25:01 PM
Hello Geof,

You can check out one of the WWII veteran's that write's for us, Long Story Short. He has been writing his memoir about his time in  the war and now as a POW. His name is Irv Plisking and you can find his stories here:  He's a very nice gentleman and would most likely let you ask him questions regarding his time in the war. Just click on the Wordl War II Memoir on the left bottom page of the home page and read his stories. I think you might get a world of information reading them.
Linda :)
Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: janec on January 29, 2006, 06:15:21 PM
If you search Brisish Legion - you may come up with some intersting stories.  Also the British Museum has an audio library of peoples recollections of war - it was the basis of Fogotten Voices - a great book

Good luck
Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lin on January 30, 2006, 11:20:21 AM
I got in touch with the veterans society but they wont give out any information unless you know a soldier's rank and number and have the permission of the next of kin.   Well this isnt what I asked them for and so I wrote another e-mail and I got the same answer.

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: gub2000 on January 31, 2006, 03:38:30 PM


I think this is a great idea for a book. It's also a wonderful way to honor your father's memory.

If you Google 'WWII POW Italy' you'll get a ton of links. Many look like first person journals from veterans.

You could do the story as told through letters or a journal, like in the movie 'Bridges of Madison County'.

The only WWII POW book I've read is Flyboys. This is a work of non-fiction that follows some Navy flyers in the Pacific.


Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Lin on February 01, 2006, 01:55:00 PM
Thank you so much for this information everyone, I shall look into this as soon as possible.   I wont be starting my book until the end of this year but I need a year or so to allow the thoughts to run around in my head on a day to day basis, this is how I work.   The longer I leave it the better the ideas start to flow until the time is right and it all comes together.

Keep sending the information

Title: Re: Harry's War Can you help?
Post by: Maria on February 03, 2006, 08:19:00 AM
Hi Lin,

I would go with the Eric Newby book War in the Apenines, I have read it several times excellent and it really does give you a good insight.

Maria x