« Government delusion: public is bad, private is wonderful | Main | How to lose friends. »

August 02, 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Dear Mr. Flynn,

I stupidly forgot to mention this guide on how to make best use of the Red Cross prisoner of war records:


Yesterday, I was able to confirm a family story of one of my Grandfather's cousins taken prisoner on 21.3.1918 whilst serving in what had been the same battalion as R.C.Sheriff, author of Journey's End. This man's brother had been killed on 8 May 1915, they had both embarked for France just two weeks earlier.

Paul Flynn

Many thanks. I did not know that this record existed.

Thank you very much for searching for what is another precious memento of what certainly is my father.

Paul Flynn

01633 262 348/ 020 7219 3478/ 0788 792 5699

Twitter: @paulflynnmp


Dear Mr Flynn,

A moving story of the lottery of survival in the Great War and reminder that the struggles ,both physical and mental, and hardship of many those who returned did not end with the Armistice.

If you didn't already know,the ICRC has just made some records of POW in the Great War available for searching and viewing on-line.

Pte 102046 J Flynn 25th MGC:


Paul Flynn

If the coincidence has been between two Freemasons/Protestants/Homosexuals/ Jewish or any other identifiable minorities the likelihood would have been that the officer would have helped. This is the family story that is supported by all that I have learned subsequently.
Anti-semitism was widespread in Europe at that time - including the UK. I had an uncle who joined the Blackshirts in Cardiff in the 1930s.

Thanks for your interest.

Paul Flynn

01633 262 348/ 020 7219 3478/ 0788 792 5699

Twitter: @paulflynnmp


"He heard a German-speaking group approaching, took his rosary beads and said his Hail Marys with his eyes shut. He waited forthe bullet. It never came. The officer leading the Germans was a Catholic. They carried him three miles on their backs to a field hospital. He would have bled to death in the foxhole. My father believed that the rosary beads saved his life."

That's an amazing story Paul and thanks for sharing it with us. I'm so glad your father survived.

I wonder what the German officer would have done if your father hadn't been a catholic, though? If your father had been, for instance, Jewish, then judging by the virulent anti-Semitism that existed within the German officer class even then (who indeed ended up making up much of the leadership of the proto-Nazi Freikorps in the troubled years following WWI) things might well not have turned out so favourably then. Whilst there were German officers who were honourable men, I do feel it's important not to buy into the Hollywood myth of the archetypal 'noble' German officer as a given.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)