Mike Snowden – Businessman
In the Second World War this Nissen hut was used by German prisoners who were labouring on the farm. My wife was a child at the time and the prisoners made a great fuss of her. Most of them were country lads and working on the farm was just like being at home – much better than getting shot at. In fact, there was only one Nazi amongst them and he wouldn’t have anything to do with the others. He used to take his ‘llowances (meals pre-pared for all the men, by my mother-in-law) on his own. He despised the rest of them for not trying to escape.
June, my wife, had a particular favourite amongst the prisoners and she was very upset when he was repatriated at the end of the war. His home was in what became East Germa-ny and she didn’t hear from him again.
But in 1990 after the Berlin Wall came down, we got a letter from him. He said that he had never forgotten the happy time he had spent on the farm, or the friendliness of the local people, and in particular the little girl who had reminded him of his own children. He invited us to go and visit him in Germany, which we did the following year, and we kept in touch until he died.
There are broken down old Nissen huts all over Yorkshire, relics of the war. Soon this one will be gone, because my son-in-law is redeveloping the farm buildings for apartments and offices. The German prisoner is dead now and so is my wife, but people should remember this little story.
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