CAPTIVES COURAGEOUS: SOUTH AFRICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WORLD WAR II
Captives Courageous; South African prisoners of war in World War II is the ninth work in the South Africans at War series published by Ashanti Press.
Leigh has divided his book into two parts. In the first part, entitled "Into the bag", he details the capture of South Africans in the Western Desert and their rapid transition from efficient fighting men to often sickly and weak prisoners of war (POW). The Western Desert was an unforgiving environment in which to find oneself a prisoner of war. If passing fighters or bombers (of either side) did not "get" you the dysentry invariably did. The heat, lack of water and lack of compassion shown by Axis non-frontline troops towards South African prisoners of war are all documented by Leigh. He also highlights the differences South Africans experienced in the treatment meted out by Italians on the one hand and Germans on the other. Ironically this relationship was to change later in the war, when many South Africans were moved north into Germany after the collapse of Italy in mid-1943. The conditions in POW camps in Germany were much tougher than those experienced in Italy.
Copyright (c) 2018 David McLennan
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