Life for prisoners of war features in Cumbrian talks day

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18 September 2017 6:01PM

A county group dedicated to keeping alive the memory of those who took part in the first world war is hosting a talks afternoon.

The Cumbria branch of the Western Front Assciation has two presentations with a military theme from 1.30pm on Saturday, September 23, at the Cumbria Museum of Military Life, within the walls of Carlisle Castle.

The first walk is by Niall Cherry on the Battle of Cabrai.

It was fought in northern France between November 20 and December 7 in 1917.

A major British attack was met by a huge German counter-attack.

Tanks were used in large numbers on the first day of the battle and made significant progress before being halted by mechanical failures and German artillery.

The second talk is by Richard Lloyd and is called British Prisoners of War.

News was often slow to reach Furness of soldiers who had been captured on the battlefield.

The Mail on September 15 in 1917 noted the arrival in Kents Bank, near Grange, of a letter dated July 25 confirming that a flight-lieutenant was a live and in an enemy prison camp.

Charles R. O'Brien had started his military career with the 1st Battalion of the King's Own but had moved to the Royal Flying Corps - from 1918 renamed as the RAF.

The Mail noted: "He states that he got a machine bullet through the leg during the lively scrap in which his machine was unfortunately brought down within enemy lines and that it has taken a rather long time for the wound to heal up."

He was said to be in a prisoner of war camp in Germany and had received parcels and letters from Britain.

The same edition of The Mail gave similar news of Captain H. A. Brocklebank, whose parents lived at Grizedale Hall, near Newby Bridge.

He had been posted as "missing" by the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment but a letter to his parents confirmed he was a prisoner in Germany.

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