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Lance Corporal Annakin

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

Lance Corporal Annakin, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, son of Mrs Annakin, of 14 Franklin Road, appears to have been more fortunate than some of his compatriots. He was a Reservist and rejoined the Army from Sheffield, where he was in the postal service, on the outbreak of war. He was captured in August and was sent to Doberitz, which was the first prisoners' camp established in Germany, and where most of the 1914 men were confined. They were set to do almost useless work and were fed on cabbage water and mangold-wurzels, with a small ration of black bread. The greatest complaint of the British against the Germans is that although they had plenty of food in the early part of the war, they refused to give it to the prisoners. In 1917 and 1918 there was some excuse, as they hadn't it. In December he was sent to Dyrotz, and was employed for about 18 months at the Post Office there, censoring and examining parcels, with which work he was familiar. The first parcels the prisoners received reached them in January, 1915, and the bread, which was specially made by Messrs Farrah, was quite a luxury, being in beautiful condition - far better than that from Switzerland. The Danish was an improvement on the latter.

At the conclusion of his postal work, Annakin was sent to a farm, where he remained 18 months, and here he received good treatment, and repeated requests were made by the farmers for Englishmen. Subsequently he was taken ill with la grippe and went to hospital, where he received every consideration. As to the complaint of no anaesthetics, Annakin says none were to be had, all being taken for the Army. At the early part of the war the prisoners, he said, received very rough treatment, but as they became more accustomed to the German's ways they had little to grumble at, considering they were prisoners.

He was unconscious when the armistice was signed, la grippe leading to pneumonia. On recovery he left Stettin on the Princess Maud, a Danish boat, for Copenhagen, and after eight days there crossed to Leith on the Ajax, and got back to his wife and children at Sheffield. Outwardly Lance Corporal Annakin looks no worse for his long period of captivity, but he is still feeling the effects of his privations.

 

Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

W H Breare letter

Whilst this boy was with me in came Sergeant Annakin, who was formerly attached to the Harrogate Post Office. He had been a prisoner since August, 1914. Being a postman he was employed in sorting work at a German Post Office. From there he went to a farm, where he was well treated, so his experience was a contrast to the other chap's. Both he, like other men, assured me that our parcels of food really kept them alive. Annakin told me that early on prisoners were very badly treated. The Germans had plenty of food then, but they willfully starved our boys. Latterly he admits they had not the food to give the prisoners.

 

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