Combined with a brief reflection on Pretoria’s railway history, this article primarily sets out to reflect on the history of the two railway station buildings that were erected at the foot of a hill in Pretoria.
Prisoners of War
“We once bumped into a column of Russian POW’s. They were in a very bad way and some of them could hardly walk, being assisted on either side by their friends. We had just been given a rare treat - a parcel on the march and our chaps had got stuck in - so much so that some became sick and brought up. A Russian was a witness to this, and no trouble started to wolf down the vomit with his bare hands. This gives an idea of what real hunger can do.”
Below is the epilogue of Mel Baker's remarkable story. It covers his return to Wernersdorf on two occasions and his reunions with fellow POWs over the years. It also highlights the powerful commemorative events that he has been part of.
Below is Part 3 of Mel Baker's extraordinary account of being a Prisoner of War during World War II. Click here to read Part 2 and here to download the full account including detailed footnotes. The photo above shows the main gate of Stalag XVIII A (Prisoner of War Camp in Southern Austria).
Below is Part 2 of Mel Baker's moving account of being a Prisoner of War from 1941-45. Click here to read Part 1 and here to download the full account including footnotes and a bibliography. The photograph above shows Mel Baker and Lex Macrae in the back row and Freddie Webster, Len, Lofty Shepherd, George Bennet and Andy Andreason in the front.
Mel Baker was a crew member of the HMS Gloucester which sank near Crete in 1941. He was one of only a handful of survivors picked up by the Germans. Below is Part 1 of his powerful account of being a Prisoner of War for most of World War II. He was 21 when he was taken prisoner and returned to Port Elizabeth in 1945 aged 25.