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Front and back of a Christmas postcard Eric Sanderson sent to his nieces in Doncaster, Yorkshire (England) from P.G. 59 on November 11, 1942

Yesterday I received a note from David Sanderson, who lives in Esher, Surrey (England).

David wrote, “I recently visited Campo 59 with the Escape Lines Memorial Society (ELMS) on their Tenna Valley Trail for 2016.

“My dad, Eric Rockliff Sanderson, was at Campo 59 during WW2.

“Dad was a tank driver with the Fourth Hussars, and was captured in Greece on 28th October 1941. Like many others, he had been left behind in Greece in April 1941 during the evacuation to Crete. Dad escaped into the Taygetos Mountains (for six months), until finally being captured by the Italians in October. He was transferred via Bari to Campo 59, where he was imprisoned from—I think—November 1941 until July 1943.

“In July 43 he was moved to Bolzano in northern Italy. When the Italians surrendered in September 1943, he was captured by the Germans and taken to Germany. In Germany he was in Stalag IV B at Lamsdorf for around six weeks, and then sent to Stalag IV F (near Chemnitz) where he remained until the end of the war.”

Eric’s details are as follows:

Army Number – 320875
Rank – Trooper
Enlisted on June 20, 1938 in the Cavalry of the Line (4th Hussars)
Medals received – Africa Star, 1939–45 Star, and War Medal 1939–45

The postcard pictured above reads:

“Breezy greetings send this ship
On a pleasant Christmas trip,
Bringing you kind thoughts sincere
With its cargo of good cheer,
And of lucky wishes true.
Joy and health and peace to you.
Love Eric”

I directed David to a post on this site with a holiday postcard featuring a full-rigged ship drawn Robert Dickinson (see “The Christmas Ship.”) Robert’s postcard was also sent in November 1942.

David wrote, “It does seem likely that the same person drew/penned the two cards. Certainly my dad’s handwriting was not so neat, so his card would I’m pretty sure have been drawn and written for him. Perhaps by Bob or maybe a third party?”

I noticed that the art is initialed—a further suggestion his dad was the artist.

“You may be right, he replied. “I still think it likely that someone other than my dad drew it. However, I’ll keep an open mind.”

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Eric Rockliff Sanderson