Information for this post was provided by Carole Procter of Berkshire, England.
Bob Smith was her uncle.
Interned in Switzerland
The Herald (A paper serving the borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, England)
January 25, 1944
“Mrs. M. Smith, Tonstall-road. Epsom, has received letters from her son Robert, who was one of the British prisoners who escaped from an Italian prisoner of war camp a few weeks ago.
“Robert Smith, aged 24, managed to reach Switzerland, where he has been interned. In a letter to his mother he wrote last December: ‘I can only say it is the best Christmas I have had in the Army. The Swiss people of this village made donations for the food, and the officers fixed everything else up. We had turkey, ham and everything that goes with it, including beer and fags. Don’t forget my bob on the Derby next year, and I am betting I will be there to see and collect it. I am treating myself to a rolled gold watch while I am here, and it is a pretty good one, too. We go to the pictures every week here, and there is also a wireless in the billet. The weather here is not too bad. We have been having snow.’
“Since he was a prisoner Mr. Smith has suffered the loss of his father and his eldest brother who was killed at El Alamein. A wounded comrade from the same prison camp, Mr. W. Timoney, was among the men repatriated recently and is now working at Cobham.
“Before the war Mr. Smith was employed by Messrs. J. H. Dewhurst, Ltd., High-street, Epsom”
Note: The Derby Bob mentions in his letter apparently is the famous horse race at Epsom Downs Racecourse.
W. “Jock” Timoney
Here are comments from Carole:
“The W. Timoney [the article] refers to eventually became a lodger in my grandmother’s house. We knew him as Jock (he originally came from Scotland). As far as I know he had no family. He lost an eye in the war and was quite severely injured–I think I was told he had a metal plate in his head, which I found fascinating as a child.
“He lived with my grandmother until she died in 1967. I think he died in the early 70s. I know I went to his funeral but can’t remember when that was.”