German Prisoner of War
World War 11

During the war, Brook House Farm had four German POW`s working on their land.

This comes from a first-hand account by Arthur Clampin who worked there during the war.
Farm workers were classified as being in a "Reserved Occupation" and therefore exempt from National Service.

Arthur Quote:- One prisoner could speak very good English, as he had previously attended an Agricultural College in Germany. Consequently, he was a tremendous asset to the farm as well as acting as an interpreter for the other three in the group. They were all good workers and preferred to work on the land, rather than be locked-up in the Camp.

We know from Arthur`s account the POW`s arrived from Halstead, but it`s very likely some others in the village,
may have come from Stoke or Boxford.

Here we have a letter written to one of the POW` by the name of Karl Rossman.
by Bessie Garrad who lived at Brook House.

Could Karl be the person Arthur is referring too ?


Elizabeth (Bessie) Mary Garrad was the daughter of William (1833 -1921) and Isabella Garrad who lived at Brook House.
Bessie was one of 12 children.
William was a landowner and gentleman farmer of 1,000 acres in Bures and neighbourhood,
employing eight labourers and two boys.
Bessie died unmarried in 1968 and buried in Bures Cemetery.

Letter donated by Torben Bahnert in Germany, with his comments in blue.

Bessie addresses her envelope to Karl Rossmann

Herrn Karl Rossmann
Groß-Neida bei Hoyerswerda
An der Elster Nr. 13
Russische Zone

Hoyerswerda (Town in Saxony)
Russische Zonr (Russian Zone)
Germany ( Eastern Democratic Republic)

Mrs Bessie Garrad writes to Karl Rossmann
Her German has got a bit rusty, but she tries to write in the old German script she had learnt in school.

Brook House
June 29th 1950

Lieber (Dear) Karl,

It is two years since you left Bures and I would like to know how are you are ?. . .

Have you forgotten your English? It is too difficult for me to write in the old German script so now I will continue in the Latin script we use in England. Are you at home with your parents?

What is your occupation now? Bricklayer, lorry driver, farmer?

My brother died last November and now my youngest brother has taken over the lease on the farm. He has been making hay.

Cardy's little daughter, Maureen, has scarlet fever. Today she is better. I hope the other child won't get it also. I am sorry that I make so many mistakes. I think you are now very busy. I hope you find yourself well and your parents and your sister and your brother.

I remain your friend.
B. Garrad


It is not until the autumn that Karl reads the letter in Hoyerswerda, where
he immediately jots down a few notes for his reply.












The translation of the letter without any spelling correction


My dear Miss Garred.
Bin gerade von der Schule gekommen und habe Ihre Post von meinen Eltern empfangen.

Excuse me please, that I don't write befor but I was of school and she is now out. That school was a lorry driver school.
After long time, is me possible to write you a letter, because I was of a Farmer School, this school was about 60 miles from my home. I finish now this school about few weeks ago. Now we had to work the potetos out. We hav this year very good pototos.
Last year we sell our Lorrys and buy 2 horses more now we have 4 horses and you know, that give very much to work. My Sister married last year in 2 october thas was a lovely day. We hat about 80 guests. here husband is a engineer of […]. I was bei my sister best man and my bridemaid is now with me engaged. That engagement was on 23.9.50, after I finished my school.

Now work my bride by me. You don't know how much I like my little Girl, but she is not little, she is like me and is 18 year. when I am married I like to invite and then I cam over to my honeymoon.
I like to marry neckt year in the summertime. That will be all for now and I hope that this letter will find your well off.
N:S. If you can send me a nice parcel, I will be very pleaset to you.

If Karl ever sent off the letter, it would most probably have been scrutinised by the Soviet Zone censors.

Courtesy of Torben Bahnert and translated from German by Timothy Moores,

Published 05/04/2021
updated 07/04/2021