When he is released from Fontanellato during the Armistice in 1943 Norman Gates and his two companions Tom Harris Matthews and Alec Keay, all Signals Officers, decide to head for Switzerland. Helped greatly by local Italians they arrive only to find themselves stuck there until the war ends. Other people mentioned in the story are Alan English, Jack Mais, James (Doc) and another who were heading south. Researchers believe these people to be Ian English, Jack Moore, Jimmy James (a doctor) and Wilfred (Scotty) White.
The full story follows, in two versions. The version in the first window below is the original scanned version of the story. In the second window below is the transcribed version in plain text.
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Diary 8th September – 29th September 1943
For Keith Killby
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The Long Walk – From Fontanellato N. Italy to Switzerland
8 September 1943
20.00hrs. finished dinner, standing in the yard chatting when heard commotion amongst Italians – proved to be radio news stating that Armistice had been requested by Badoglio. 20.30hrs, SB0 [Senior British Officer] addresses whole camp reminding us that request for Armistice not necessarily means peace – keep calm – wild rumours about Allied landing in North Italy.
9 September 1943
SBO’s parade -informed that the Italian Commandant had orders to defend if necessary against the Germans and that we were to leave the camp in a body – wire fence cut making easy access out. 09.45 Great excitement in camp everyone packing – are allowed contents of one haversack and pockets. Tinned meat, tin biscuits per person issued. Remainder of kit left on beds. News that the Allies had landed Napoli, La Spezia, Pisa and Trieste.12.40 alarm sounded. Whole camp buildings deserted in 5 minutes. Alarm caused by low flying German planes and report of German troops 5 miles distant. Whole column marched North West wearing battle dress. 2 Italian officers accompanying. Astonishing welcome on part of local inhabitants. Offers of bread and assistance – they obviously regard us as best friends. Approx. 15.00hrs reach stream contained by high bunds (?) – space between bunds and stream thickly wooded – fine cover. Companies spaced out along banks. Approx. 17.00hrs unit will remain present position till next day. German troops have arrived at camp – arrested Italian Commandant and looted our parcel store. 21.00hrs moved new position on stream sleeping and watching during night.
10 September 1943
08.00hrs. newspaper confirms only Napoli landing. Cammio (It.) arranging for friends to bring food and civilian clothing. 3 companies to move South, remainder to remain by river. Germans reported to have left Fontanellato after looting and wrecking POW camp. Approx. 09.00hrs Civilians bringing in food from the camp and clothes from friends . Germans reported to be patrolling vicinity and to be established at Parma, Piacenza, etc. Colonel Wheeler and several other officers acting as intelligence, supplies etc., many civilians offering billets – officers changing into civvies and departing with hosts. Increasing difficulties amongst officers – some wish to move south – difficulty is that reports state main roads and railways heavily guarded, others wish to disperse among farms in vicinity. All feel that our hideout cannot remain secret much longer and that supplies will be difficult. 17.00hrs SBOC [Senior British Officer Commanding] decides that he cannot hold party together any longer and gives permission for officers to break off into small parties either to make South or to find a farm that will take them. Colonel Wheeler will remain behind and work South. Cammio to find refuge for any officers remaining in the area. Tom Harris Matthews, Alec Keay and myself (all Signals Officers), decide to go North East for about 10 miles, find a farm that would accept us and await developments. We had obtained civilian shirts and slacks and a tin biscuits etc. At 21.00hrs
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we set off (at dusk) keeping to fields and taking great care when crossing roads. Fortunately all these fields are arranged so that the rows of vines run North to South hence the cross tracks are East to West making travelling fairly easy. Had one scare when someone moving furtively as we were. Fortunately he had no wish to meet us either.
11 September 1943
Say 01.30hrs decided we had come far enough, selected what looked like a prosperous farm and mounted a hayloft – noted that the fascist sign had been erased from the building number plate – went to sleep. Say 05.30hrs Alec went down to reveal our presence. The family are obviously contadini. Although the house seems large only about a third of it is given over to dwelling – the remainder being cattle byre, barn etc. Our reception rather cool – we not having removed our battle dress. Shortly after, another fellow arrives who turns out to be an Italian soldier from Cremona where the Germans had taken over the local barracks. He had escaped in mufti and was making his way home to Parma. It appears that many Italian soldiers are making their way home and as a consequence the Germans are liable to grab any male of military age and in mufti. This fellow speaks better Italian than the locals and we are able to make our wants known, ie to stay at the farm and to pass the time by helping them in the fields. The contadini agrees willingly but is dubious about the ”helping” as we soon came to realise that pretty well all the farm operations are skilled! Our soldier friend continues his journey but not before the contadini, his wife and family entertain us with bread and milk. The family consists of father, mother, 4 girls, 3 boys and grandfather and grandmother. All are friendly and we soon break down the shyness of the children. An elderly neighbour tells us that his son is a POW in South Africa. Calls and gives us some wine, bread and grapes. Afternoon K calls with a great friend, he speaks very little English and is most keen to help us and hates all Germans. Has heard on the British Radio that the Italian Fleet are to sail to Malta and Gibraltar. Confirms no Allied landings north of Napoli. Rome and Milano are in German hands battles expected between Napoli and Roma. K also gives us a paper from which we learn that the Napoli landing is the largest of the war. Situation in Balkans obscure since the paper published in German occupied Italy has little definite news. LC invites us in to dinner of polenta (maize porridge) and a meat and potato dish. Lashings of bread and vino – and what vino! This, that has been made only a few days before, was infinitely better than that we had had in camp and to be able to sit down to a whole roll of bread is quite a sensation!
12 September 1943
Despite our desire to feel part of the country we feel that a Sunday shave and wash is allowed. This is interrupted by “colazioni” which is milk with a dash of ersatz coffee and bread followed by grapes and bread. This last is a very good way of taking nourishment. One takes several grapes into the mouth followed by a chunk of bread. The whole chewed together, the bread is kept moist and the grape stones and skins all go down together. Being Sunday only essential work is done on the farm and the daughters and even father put on their finery, and the father of the POW in South Africa presents me with L60 and won’t brook refusal.
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Yet another pseudo Italian civilian arrives with friend. Midday lunch of minestra – a flat macaroni in savoury gravy, quite tasty. K. arrives and true to promise produced map, clothes, food and money. Later a visit from an Italian woman doing nursing service. She says that our presence is dangerous in the farm during the day and we should spend it in the fields – we agree. No papers or radio news, hence have no idea of rate of Allied advance of our troops from Napoli. Gave K a note for British Officers we hear are in the vicinity.
Monday 13 September 1943
At dawn prepare to take to the fields but hosts insist our taking coffee and bread first. The Croce Rosso woman arrives with story that crowds of Germans have requisitioned carts and are organising sweeps of the countryside. Hence we take to trees for concealment. Minestra lunch brought out to us. K arrives with dejected spirits with his explanation very carefully written in French – obviously the work of his father although he denies this. It appears that BBC have predicted that some time must elapse before Italy is cleared up and that the Swiss frontier is open for escaping British Officers. Another point, perhaps more portent with K was report that parachutists had landed near Mussolini’s place of imprisonment and that he has been liberated and has set up a government in Germany. Badoglio has joined British forces at Napoli. Anyhow the sum of his advice is that we should leave the district and either go North or South. We reason that since British Government has coupled the Swiss with POWs that is obviously our course and hence we resolve to travel to Lake Como cross country by night leaving today. PC rushed down field to say that Germans have arrived at the farm. Take to trees. Later hear that only two Gerrys appeared and they did not pass farmhouse. Whether they searched is not clear. K’s note also reveals that other British Officers are Alan English, Jack Mais, James (Doc) and another – they are probably going south tonight. Several neighbours arrive to give good wishes and to give us food – this latter embarrassing as we have only 3 haversacks between us. Time and time again they repeat that if anything goes wrong we are to return to them. Old Luigi absolutely insists that we accept L100 from him – a simple peasant – it was most embarrassing but he would brook no refusal.
21.45 left for Zibello to cross the Po – lightest possible kits – bright moon and warm walking. Tedious walking as had to find bridges to cross canals, streams etc. Tom’s knee gave certain amount of trouble but he stuck it well. Fortunately many of the streams canals etc had dried up at this season otherwise we would not have made the Po by —- as we did. We struck it some 4 kilos. East of Zibello and after some sleuthing tracked down a fellow who would take us across. At the farm were some half a dozen Italians in hiding and we were told that only two hours previously the farm had been visited by Germans seeking presumably British and Italians. These people told us that many prisoners had been transported to Germany by train. A bowl of milk worked wonders on the fatigue we now feel and after brief courtesies we cross the Po at about a kilometre or so from the road. We struck a large farm with however a dumb population – hear of a working camp from which all the BOR’s [British Other Ranks]have dispersed and a lady
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in the neighbourhood who makes a special job in helping prisoner escapees etc., resolve to visit her . However Il padrone della azienda arrives who proves to be a great friend. He produces fruit, cheese etc., and news from the BBC broadcast that all prisoners escaped from camps, the advice is to make for Lake Como area and there contact smugglers via local inhabitants – these will take them across the Frontier to Switzerland. This finally quashes any remaining doubts we had regarding the propriety of fleeing North. In conversation he promises to supply map and hats. The contadini at this farm is a very poor type despite having worked for several years in Brazil. Again we find a woman whose husband is a POW in Egypt. B advises that we travel by day – this we agree in view of scarcity of Germans in the area – better travelling conditions etc. Hence we spend the night at San Daniele in the hay loft.
15 September 1943
Left San Daniele 0600hrs – called at B’s farm. He says we can’t make for Switzerland and produces a newspaper paragraph stating that the Germans have taken over all railway stations between Milano and Como – also the Swiss frontier. We convince him of our itinerary – keep the paper and sit down to a bowl of bread and milk each. Left B making way North by roads and fields. Population all very friendly – meet parties of Italian soldiers escaped from Germans and wearing civvies. Some Italians, with whom we talked little, take us for Italians also. About midday we call at a farm near Godeses for water. Are invited into the house of the Padrone. This farm, North of the Po, is very much larger than those south and much more English in type. They form a large square with a courtyard in the centre. The Padrone’s house is on one side and the contadini, who here are largely low grade farm workers on the other. The Padrone runs the farm himself and has his labour to hand. This fellow D is first class. His son L has just returned from military service and they treat us like honoured guests. Minestra, first rate salami, cheese, vino, fresh bread and cigarettes. They have a radio and confirm instructions for POWs from BBC. We listen to BBC but only German programmes. Father and son, from local knowledge, give us excellent route which pushes up our mileage tremendously. Meet a BOR [British Other Rank] who is working on a farm – not a very bright type. Strike the Oglio East of Robecco – become muddled by irrigation canals and lose lot of time in getting to Cremona-Brescia road South of Robecco – Make it eventually. Stop at farm where 3 BORs are working. They have made a half-hearted attempt to make their way North – have an astonishing array of stories e.g. furious fighting at Como – contestants not specified, Germans in barges, armoured cars etc., at dozens of places. We gave them the situation as we knew it and advise them to either have another go, or as they seem to be well settled, to work on the farms. “Italians wanted Brits have beaten Germans out of Italy”?? II Padrone produces wine, salami, bread, fruit, cheese etc., and a small hut in which to sleep. One BOR [British Other Ranks] asked to accompany us but we regretted that it is a case of 3’s company but 4 is a crowd and we recalled that we would have liked
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Andy Craddock to accompany us but decided against it.
16 September 1943
Left approx. 0600hrs crossed railway line in early afternoon – wandering about in wet fields – lost direction which discovered when the sun came up. Local priest stopped to chat and introduced us to a farmer who produced bread, cheese and vino for breakfast. We find that a few people working in the field do actually take us for escaping Italians – but conversation longer than a greeting soon produces the pointed question. However they are all very friendly folk and we are able to follows byways recommended by them which are not marked on our map and could not have found for ourselves. Find two pamphlets dropped by Allies explaining the true situation to the people. Since Germans control the whole of the north the Press, of course reflects their view only. Almost all our walking today on roads. Minestra lunch at a farm near Genivolta. Many BORs [British Other Ranks] and Serbs employed on farms hereabout. Decide to go round Soncino, and while discussing situation beside main road running East to West, German car passes with 3 Germans. At the same time a German plane flies over the village dropping pamphlets. This contact breeds extra caution and we decide to get well out into the countryside before we stop for the night. (Here notes become so faint as to be unreadable) Walking very hot work cross Fiume Serio which is completely dry but wide. Decided to make Spirano before stopping then obtain advice re crossing Adda. Spirano is a close collection of farms- our identity immediately recognised-move off quickly. Walked to nearest large farm which proves to be a long detour to South. Padrone seems sceptical. He has terrific bark but we think it’s worse than his bite. He allocates us a part of the woodshed and a bale of straw. His whole attitude seems to be stern but tinged with kindness. Later learn that a manifesto has been dropped on the village calling upon Italians to report presence of British prisoners and also to report themselves for military duty. This signed by Mussolini. BBC have broadcast request to Italians to help British and to take their names – presumably for records afterwards. The labourers at the farm make up for the lacking hospitality from the Padrone and gave us a meal of minestra, salami and bread.
18 September 1943
Left at 0700hrs after a bowl of milk each. A youth accompanied us as far as Verdello. On the way he obtained a lift in a cart for us for several miles. This was very helpful. Later storm overtakes us – first shelter in cemetery porch then in a hen roost. Have another very lucky escape from Germans and Carabiniere who pass in a small car after we have been warned by a local. Cross the Milano – Bergamo autostrada without incident. The mountains are now well in sight and inspire all kinds of thoughts – home, winter sports etc etc.
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The country itself is also more broken and one can see much greater distances. On either hand the country obviously is more populated and farms generally seem to be smaller and villages larger. Crossing the western leg of the Adda proves to be the day’s biggest task neglecting several holdups on account of rain – not knowing the river and thinking in terms of the dry Serio we decide to cross near Suisio where a large hydro-electric plant is located. The water is little more than knee deep but the stones are large and slippery. Tom manages to fall in (partially) and walks rest of afternoon in wet trousers. The approaches to the river on both sides are very difficult. Hence, what with rain and obstacles, we decide to cut our losses and stop early. Our way is frequently impeded by well meaning Italians who say the Germans are in just about every place except where we are actually standing. However, the less hysterical are most helpful in showing us which places to avoid and how to take tracks and footpaths. Stop near Verderio and call at farm where we find there is no padrone. It appears to be some sort of communal farm of 13 families. However, after convincing them that we are English, they warm to us and allocate a woodshed outside the farm where they bring us bedding, dry clothes for Tom, grapes, bread, cheese and risotto. Again, of course we are the centre of attraction for the whole community who watch our every action. We see the manifestos dropped by plane – one dealing with Mussolini’s escape and the other a German order stipulating that all Italian army material must be handed in and that all Italians of the armed forces must report with arms to the nearest German commander, nothing concerning British POWs.
Sunday 19 September 1943
Left at approx. 07.00hrs while people at Mass. Germans reported in Merate so keep South to cross road and railway. Very heavy going ground and grass drenched and miss shortest route. Make Lomaniga and proceed for Casatenovo, are stopped however by locals who say Germans located there. Cross country to Monticello pass a farm where they take us in for food, drink and to listen to Radio Londra in Italian. Leave our names and addresses at farm and have to take 3 bottles vino and bundle of bread, cheese and grapes and a bunch of flowers from little girl. Push on avoiding Monticello where carabiniere are stationed and make for Cassago by footpath led most of the way by some Milanese on holiday. These three friends insisted on standing us drinks at the osteria in Cassago where we soon became the centre of attraction for the whole village. Who should arrive next but the cure and he took us in tow. Produced good shirts in place of our torn ones. Replaced Tom’s trousers and fixed up a plan for getting us over the frontier without reference to us at all. The general buzz of enthusiasm plus effects of vino of which we seemed to have had plenty lately seemed to have somewhat dimmed our caution for within an hour all 3 tramping along the main Bergamo – Como road, with brown paper bundles under our arms following a man on a bicycle and committed to walking another 12 miles in 3 1/2 hours. This after some 12 miles we had already covered. We really looked more like escaping Italians than ever and as the march along the main road went on and on we began to realise
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how completely we have put ourselves into the hands of our Italian friends without really checking up. Such is the effect which is difficult to avoid with so much enthusiasm and so many well intentioned people all helping at once. One very bright spot in the tramp was when our guide stopped two girls who were riding bicycles with crossbars – Tom and I took the saddles – Alec had a lift on another cycle. This was absolutely grand – just fancy riding out of captivity – with a “fairy” almost sitting on one’s knees! This excellent rate of progress , superb disguise and pleasant company was obviously too good to last and after about two miles Tom’s machine developed a puncture, so that we had to leave our kind benefactresses in the lurch and take to shanks’s pony once again. Our guide eventually leaves the main road heading West and here we manage to stop him and find out just what the plan is. It appears that he lives at Breccia some 4kms west of South East Como and a further 4 from the wire (frontier wire). We decide to try out the plan but doubt if we can make Breccia before curfew at 21.00 hrs. Actually succeed in reaching outskirts of Como where another friend persuades a reluctant farmer to allow us to sleep in his barn. Actually once convinced that we are not Germans he and his family prove to be quite friendly. The chap who brought us to the farm promises to call for us at 05.00hrs next morning and take us to the frontier. This all seems much too good, but we of course agree. The farmer promises to call us at 05.00hrs and after this, our longest march of some 36kms – we retire to bed early.
Monday 20 September 1943
Rise at 05.00hrs decide to take only one haversack with our iron rations since crawling under the wire likely to be tricky business. Since farmer not awake we decide to leave without the promised milk breakfast. Has been much thunder and lightning and rain overnight and moon is overcast, only occasionally appearing for a second or two. Our guide with bicycle led us unerringly through lanes, across railways, main roads and the autostrada without encountering anyone other than the early workmen and early churchgoers. Once in the hills however his sense of direction left him and dawn found us on top of Mount Croce instead of at the wire. However having left us and realising his mistake, found us again. He was useful yet again in warning us off a village occupied by Germans that morning. Rain again intervened and our guide, who was quite out of his depth, left us at a farm where we feed by courtesy of the contadini – sleep in their barn in the afternoon – set off again under the guidance of 2 sons for the frontier. They have the right idea and stick to the fields although when one has to cross an open space there is an awful sense of being spied upon from all the surrounding hills. After 3/4hr walking through forests we come to a steep slope of pine trees and then halfway up is the wire fence and a sentry box. At first I think “there is a sentry, for heaven’s sake go quietly”, but no – it’s a stunted tree. Up we clamber, our guides tear up the wire to the tinkling of bells and one after another we wriggle through on to a narrow track – a quick glance in both directions reveals that no sentries are in sight.
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A hasty Grazie Buongiorno and we scamper up the mountain side to cover, like startled rabbits. However there is no hue and cry and we stop to regain our wind before proceeding. The view from the top of the hill into Switzerland is grand and indelibly etched in the memory. A wide green valley dotted with white houses, a white road winding round the hills, deep clefts in the hills where unseen lakes and in the distance the ever beautiful , always arresting snow-clad giants of the Alps. We descend and almost run into a Swiss patrol, deciding to move further west before proceeding north. Our idea is to penetrate as far as possible before surrendering ourselves, just in case we are liable to be thrown back. However, at the very first place where we seek advice from a local peasant a Swiss Guard appears out of the blue and the die is cast. He is a friendly chap and we are quite exhilarated at achieving our objective. On the way to the military post we pass guards at pretty well 100 yard intervals so that our progress further would have been very difficult anyway. At the post we gave particulars and have a beer in the adjacent tavern with the Swiss tenente. It appears that we have to go to Chiasso, the frontier town where a British Consulate representative is located. The guards who are very friendly, but simple, parade us up and down the main street where we are applauded by the populace before finally reaching the internment camp. Here we are medically inspected – given a shower and passed into a transit camp. Here are all nationalities, British, Free French, Senegalese, Serbs and Italians – about a hundred in all. So far our request to speak to British Consulate has met with no success and no-one knows anything. A British representative has called during the morning and told the BCRs [BCR – Abbreviation unknown] that in a few days they will go to a camp commanded by a brigadier and that everything there is grand. No sign whatever of repatriation so that it appears that we have simply hopped from one “bag” into another, and all we can hope for is that this is a better “bag”. Further enquiries among the Swiss officers gives the impression that even with the fall of Italy we shall still remain here – interned – which isn’t so funny. A meal of cheese, bread and very weak tea is served and we go to sleep on thin straw with no coverings in a stuffy room in far lower spirits than when we exultantly surveyed the wire from the Swiss side.
Tuesday 21 September 1943
A lousy night, cold and sleepless, bread, coffee for brekker. All enquiries re moving from here meet with negative response. No sign of Consular official. Odd parties of ORs [Other Ranks] come in. Italians all being returned to Italy. A good lunch of barley broth, meat and potatoes. Rumour arrives that we are moving off this evening – later confirmed by Swiss corporal. Several local ladies call, some with clothes, others with writing materials. All men given letter to write and assured will be delivered by R.C. [Red Cross] Dinner of barley broth, cheese and bread. Leave Chiasso at 23.30hrs, on train at 00.10hrs.
Wednesday 22 September 1943
Arrive Wil near Zurich approx 09.00hrs. Met by Birkbeck, C.Harvey. Reader & Spooner – also on same train.
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It appears that Wil is the centre for all escaped British prisoners. Officers and BORs [British Other Ranks] are to be billeted in groups in nearby villages. Brigadier Miles who escaped some six months ago is SB0 [Senior British Officer]. Fishbourne, B.Paine (RN)[Royal Navy] and another are already installed. Birkbeck & Clarke late 4g.Canteen have both arrived from Fontanellato on foot – arrived in 51/2 days. Alec, Tom and I detailed to proceed to Lichtensteig with 229 BORs [British Other Ranks] and settle in. Arrive in pouring rain but the local Swiss officer has everything laid on very well and men go straight to billets. Officers accommodated in Krone Hotel – quite a good meal served to the Ors [Other Ranks]. We find that ours is the same. The Brigadier has informed all ranks that in Switzerland we are free but since Switzerland has to guard neutrality closely they reserve the right to impose restrictions which become necessary. ORs to be paid their normal rate of pay so far as is possible – in francs at a rate of 17 to the pound whereas market rate is 10.20 . BORs will receive Swiss military rations which are in excess of rations of Swiss civilians. Red Cross clothing, blankets etc., not yet available but expected soon, from Zurich. Officers are paid at the rate of 36 francs per day plus subsistence of 20F. per day thus settle own hotel bills. Same rate of exchange applies. At Lichtensteig however authorities are providing rations to officers and situation thus obscure. Brigadier does not anticipate facilities for BORs to work on farms. We go to bed in most deliciously comfortable beds with enormous eiderdowns as light as a feather.
Thursday 23 September 1943
Whole day is spent in fixing up interior organisation. Men housed in large billets taking 30 -100 men. The Swiss Herr Lieutenant —– and his staff are most helpful. Informed by Swiss Captain that troops must be confined to billets since quarantine regulations have not been complied with. One football and a few games sent along from Wil. A recreation room, small but most comfortable now available. No visitors or clothes from Wil but understand that local people are kindly making a collection on our behalf. Food continues to be good and ample. Purchased a watch Fr.53.
Sunday 26 September 1943
Visit from Brigadier Miles and Swiss Colonel. Our status still under discussion – quarantine stands for 3 weeks. Colonel Wheeler’s story of his crossing the —- Pass near the Matterhorn – lucky escape really – ours seems to have been simplest escape of the lot. We go on to hotel rationing at Fr. 8.5O as opposed to Fr.2.50 Swiss Army but menu vastly changes – appointment provost unit. Issued first set of routine orders.
Monday 27 September 1943
Market Day – stalls in all streets and many people about. Quarantine restrictions difficult to enforce – several discipline cases. Borrow Zeiss camera from a local amateur – fix up to have battle dress altered. Local dances in evening – all dancing seems very “jiggy” – visit a cafe or two. Men now feeding decentralised in restaurants about the town – what a farce the quarantine is in these circumstances. Stocker insists on paying British personnel.
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Tuesday 28 September 1943
Changed office to old recreation room – now separated from Swiss – mutual improvement. Blankets arrive – I per man and a few spare. 54 extra men – total strength now 282 including officers. Visit from Eyles – start contingent account – several orders re censorship etc. Lousy cold coming on – Tom’s about one day worse than mine.
Wednesday 29 September 1943
Post Office still refuse to use “express service etc”, Stocker puts particular parcel through but no favour. Stocker’s orders re pay modified – we score there. Post Office and discipline now principle points outstanding. Further point re clothing cards in abeyance. Receive further 50 blankets from Wil also box of books. Dental appointment B.D.
This is the end of Norman’s written account. With regard to Status, they were eventually named “Evade de guerre”.
Later Norman went to the Consulate in Geneva where he worked on Codes & Siphers. Tom went for a course at Geneva University and later joined the Consulate Office Staff, with Norman, where they lived as civilians – sharing an apartment. Norman was repatriated in November 1944 and Tom (being younger in service) in January 1945.
Alec Keay continued his medical studies but did not keep in touch.
Jane. Apologies for atrocious typing due to old age (shaky fingers) and slight fault on machine! J.