I am trying to find out more about my grandfather, Sapper John Charlesworth, who served with the BEF and was captured near Dunkirk in 1940.
I don’t know what happened to him immediately after that. My grandmother was initially told that he had been killed, but later received notice that he was being held as a prisoner of war. His POW number was 11963 and the book ‘Prisoner’s of War British Army 1939-45’ gives his camp as Stalag 344 (which I understand was previously Stalag VIIIB). I have a photo of him that has a Stalag VIIIB stamp on the back.
I know that he worked in the mines at the camp. He was a miner before the war (a reserved occupation, I believe) and was presumably called up because he had joined the TA, aged 18, in July 1938.
I never had the chance to talk to him about the war as he died in 1974, when I was still a small child. But I remember him and would really like to find out more about what happened to him. So if anyone knows anything about him, that would be really great!
Received: February 2006
From: Nicola Cutts
On behalf of: John Charlesworth