Today is 13 July. On this day 69 years ago, my dear father came home from a POW camp in Germany. I’m not superstitious in general, but that day was Friday 13 and I’ve considered it my lucky day ever since.
Here he is (seated in the first row in the middle) with his mates, all of them doctors, from Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. He was wearing a British uniform and that complicated matters for him on his return to Zagreb: he was imprisoned, suspected of being a British spy. That episode deserves a story to be written, of course.
Here he is in the first row flanked by Dr Norman Rose from Australia and Dr Webster from Great Britain. Next to Dr Webster is Padre, but I don’t know his name. In the back row the first on the left is Dr Smith, next to him a Frenchman and a Russian, Dr Makarov, the first on the right. The tallest in the last row is Dr Atkins from Cowra, NSW, Australia. – Stalag 344, Cosel, 5 June 1944.
After the war, Dr Norman Rose became superintendent of Sydney Hospital; Dr Webster migrated to Australia and Dr Rose helped him to become superintendent of Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney; and my father migrated to Australia in 1968 to join me and my family. Already in 1965, when my parents came only for a visit, Dr Rose helped my father to get his medical registration in New South Wales. They were very good friends having spent the last two years of war working together, young Dr Rose being assistant to my father who was the chief surgeon of the POW hospital.
Yes, that’s my next project, to record a piece of history through my father’s experiences. But first I must finish his WWI story.
Wish me luck!
© 2014 Irina Dimitric