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“Taffy and Dave Bristol with their bunch”
[Photo] The First batch of British prisoners freed by the Red Army back home in England. The picture shows some of them smiling happily as they display swastika flags and other souvenirs of their prisoner of war days.

Stalag ride of the Cossacks – freed Britons praise liberators
Express Staff Reporter:
Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, Tuesday

Four hundred and fifty ambassadors in battle dress have arrived at a British Army reception camp near Chalfont St Peter. They are British soldiers liberated by the Russians from Stalag IVB at Muhleburg on St George’s Day, April 23.

For nearly a month they were with our Russian Allies, until they left Riesa, on the Elbe, four days ago for the flight home. They have brought back some of the first full and frank accounts of Russians as our comrades in arms. Not in diplomatic dossiers have they brought them back but in their hearts, and they have told them in the dialect of the British county regiment from which most of them come.

They have spent up to three years in a prison camp and in Stalag IVB there were nearly 10,000 British and Americans.

Lance-Sergeant Louis Stewart, aged 30 from Hounslow of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, captured in February last year starts the story of the liberation.

Cut the wire.
“It was at 7.30 in the morning of April 23 that four Cossacks rode their horses into the camp, smashing down the barbed wire and shouting to us. They rode once round the camp, wheeled their horses about and rushed off to rejoin their regiment.”

Soon after more Russian troops arrived, and the prisoners were given an increased bread ration. After a few days the ration reached a 4lb loaf a day a man. They were also given bowls of pea soup with meat 2ozs sugar a day and ersatz coffee.

“The Red Army lives much harder than our Army” said Sergeant Stewart. “They seem to live on the land much more, and the men are expected to find much of their own food from the country as they advance.

As soon as the barbed wire was down on our camp the Russian prisoners who were there rushed out to the village and came back later laden with ducks, geese, chickens, pigs, and any other food they had been able to lay hands on. “We soon did the same. Never was there so much meat in our camp.”

Sergeant Alan Murray whose home is in Montreal but who is in the RASC took up the story.

“After some days we were lined up and marched to Riesa, 13½ miles away. We left the camp looking pretty battered. The Russians provided transport two days later to take the sick prisoners to Riesa.”

Girl Soldiers.
Quartermaster-Sergeant James Lomas of Manchester said that all the Russian transport was British or American and that the Russians wore uniforms of a khaki-grey colour.

“The girl soldiers fascinated us” he added “They were right in the front line. All had Tommy guns and automatics, which they knew how to use. They wore long boots up to their knees and skirts which covered the tops of the boots.”

One thing which struck this band of British soldiers was the Russian way of greeting their British allies. There was no handshaking or backslapping, instead a group of Russians would gather round a British Tommy and start to sing, and press Schnapps on him. When the party reached Riesa a Russian band gave a special concert for them. It was at Riesa that the Russians linked up with the Americans on this particular sector.

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