“Chris Barrington’s mother who used to cause a riot by bringing him Vienna bread and apple pies”
Mother hid five months in son’s gaol camp
“Daily Mirror” Reporter
A British woman who was smuggled into a German prisoner of war camp to meet her RAF son, lived there undetected for five months among 24,000 Allied flyers. Prisoners rigged up a camp bed for her in a building piled high with Red Cross parcels and shared their food with her.
In return she did their washing and mending and other little jobs, and she saw her son nearly every day.
She is Mrs Florence Barrington and last night at a London hotel she told me her story – one of the most amazing of the War.
In 1935, with her schoolboy son Winston, she went to live in Germany. Winston returned to England in 1938, but appendicitis stopped Mrs Barrington returning to England at the outbreak of war. Four months after she came out of hospital she managed to escape internment by living with friends in the mountains. “But in the end, the Gestapo got me”, she said. “I was sick and put in hospital and an English-speaking wardress helped me to escape.” An old friend managed to secure her an identity card, and she went to live on a farm at Trebsen for nine months, shifting to Vienna later.
She worried a lot over her only son. She had received no word from him since 1940. Had he received her letters smuggled through Switzerland and Sweden? she wondered. Back in England Winston had joined the RAF in 1940. And in December 1943, on a bombing attack, he was forced to bale out over Belgium. He was taken to Stalag IVB in Moehlberg, Saxony.
Speaking fluent German he became quite friendly with a German sentry – from Trebsen. He spoke of his mother who had lived there and the German promised to find out her whereabouts and give news of her son. And he kept his word.
In November 1944, Mrs Barrington arrived at Moehlberg to stay. She managed to contact a Canadian, W/O Welter, whose Red Cross duties took him outside the camp. She told him her story. He brought her out men’s clothes, and later smuggled her into the camp itself. “I’ll never forget that wonderful moment when I met Winston again,” she told me. “ I cried and cried – he was so big. He just kept saying, ‘Mother darling’, all the time.”
In April the camp was liberated by the Russians, and Mrs Barrington walked fifteen miles with other prisoners to Riesa. Later she was flown to Brussels with her son. Last week she and Warrant Officer Winston Barrington returned to England together by air.
“Harry Watson’s radio”
Secret wireless brought home
A wireless set made and operated in secret at Stalag IVB has been brought to England by one of the men who organised an unofficial radio service in the camp. The wireless supplied the news for typewritten bulletins which this ex-POW and two friends issued to their fellow captives.