PG 66 First Letter, Pte T Tunney

And what was the Italian food like?

'Bloody marcaroni! Every bloody day!'

And the routine?

'We were up all night, man. There was no work, we were just lying about. They started tin bashing. All these empty tins, they used to cut then and they used to make these things for cutting and they used to make plates. Used to get an empty tin. You'd make a handle, a proper handle, for drinking with. Used to go in the hut in the morning it was bloody serious. "Bump! bump! bump!" Every bugger's bashing. Tin bashing. All the time.

And all you had was what you were standing up in?

'Aye, nowt. I had a nail file down the pleat in my pocket. I had a nail file in there and two pound notes. The first day we were in the camp we were starving. Me and Norman Cook, bloody starving. And this Arab, he'd been in for months, he was running these rackets and he came around with a packet of cigarettes. And I says, "How much?"

'He says, "A pound." Why, a pound was two weeks Army pay then. And he had a bar of chocolate. I says, "How much?'" He says, "A pound." I says, "I'm having the bugger, Norman!" I says, "There, two pound!" I got the cigarettes and I got the chocolate. So we ate the chocolate and then we had a smoke.'

Written in pencil, the letter form opposite was sent from POW 66 on 23/3/43.

Tom Tunney’s Memories of Camp 66 continue here

To read some of his surviving POW cards and letters from Camp 66 and Camp 53, click here or on the image opposite...

Sources

Interviews and correspondence with Tom Tunney, Les Bernard, and George Forster of C Company, 16 DLI; Charles Bray and W 'Jimmy' James of D Company, 16 DLI; Syd Shutt and Tom Turnbull of B Company, 16 DLI, Alex Gray and Ernie Scriven of HQ Company, Signal Platoon, 16 DLI Joe Drake MM of Carrier Platoon, HQ Company 16 DLI.

Arthur Jackson, William Ling and Jack Southworth MM of 4 Troop, No 1 Commando; Henry Brown of No 1 Commando;

Pat O'Sullivan of 2/5th Sherwood Foresters

The History of the 16th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
16th DLI War Diary Report on the Battle of Sedjenane
Brief Resume of the War Diary of No 1 Commando 15th October
1942-May 2nd 1943
The History of the 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment
Personal daily diary of Henry Brown, Orderly Room Sergeant Major of No 1 Commando
Army Film Unit 'Dope Sheets' on the filming of the Sedjenane fighting.

MM Citation L/Sgt J Southworth, 4 Troop, No 1 Commando (for actions on 27/2/43)
MC Citation, Capt D M Davidson, 4 Troop, No 1 Commando (for actions on 27/2/43)

MM Citation Pte G Leadbitter, D Company, 16 DLI (for actions on 2/3/43)
MM Citation L/Sgt J Drake, HQ Company, 16 DLI (for actions on
3/3/43)
MC Citation Major T G L Ballance, HQ Company, 16 DLI

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‘Since I Wrote Last We Have Had a Rather Rough Time’