Letchworth man publishes POW father’s memoirs of World War II

Albert Edward Clack spent most of World War II as a prisoner working in a coal mine

Albert Edward Clack spent most of World War II as a prisoner working in a coal mine - Credit: Archant

A memoir that documents the life of a British solider held prisoner during World War II has been published this month.

Albert Clack from Letchworth GC has edited and published the book, entitled My Underground War: The True Story of a British Prisoner-of-War in Silesia in WWII, which was written by his father of the same name.

Albert Edward Clack, born in 1920, was studying to be a surveyor at the outbreak of the war in 1939 but immediately joined the Territorial Army as an engineer.

After being sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1940, he was captured while trying to reach Dunkirk, which the British were evacuating.

He was lined up against a bullet marked wall and thought he was going to be shot but was instead handed over a German officer who told him: “For you the war is over”.


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Along with other British prisoners he was marched through Belgium and northern Germany to Lamsdorf Prison Camp, in modern day Poland, where those held captive were forced to build roads.

As punishment for deliberately sabotaging the roadworks with his fellow inmates, Albert was sent to a coal mine in Gleiwitz, Poland, where he remained until January 1945.

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The book, published 30 years after Albert’s death in 1984, provides a first-hand account of his experiences in captivity, how he escaped a death march and went into hiding, and his journey home to the UK via Ukraine.

His son Albert Jnr said: “I only regret that I did not read the manuscript more carefully while dad was still alive, and discuss it with him.

“So many questions occurred to me while re-reading it and editing it over the past year. But we become absorbed in our own lives and enthusiasms, I suppose, and then it’s suddenly too late.

“Still, at least it’s out there now, and hopefully will give some joy to others. I found some parts of it so moving that I could feel the tears welling up.”

The book is available to buy on Amazon Kindle for £2.99 via www.amazon.co.uk – just search My Underground War: The True Story of a British Prisoner-of-War in Silesia in WWII.

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