Stalag 357 was in a deplorable state – a lack of food and medical supplies and the influx of ”Battle of the Bulge” American POWs captured in the German push into the Ardennes was becoming a
massive problem. Tents were erected for accommodation of the newer PoWs and more were
arriving in their thousands. Despite the run-down state it was a well-run camp, although some
tension existed between the British Army prisoners and the RAF Kriegies, relating to the nature of
activities within the camp. The RAF had an escape and intelligence committee and supplied
information to the allies on certain German activities whereas the army was much more concerned with
causing as little trouble as possible.
On the 16th April 1945 at 11am the 8th Hussars of the 7th Armoured Division (the ‘Desert Rats’) reached Stalag 357.
After more than 3 years PoW #792 Barnett and #788 Addison were free.
The next morning some of the freed men, Bill amongst them, raided the German stores for food. Hunger had become unbearable and more meagre rations only arrived later that day.
The order of their departure was determined by the length of time they had been prisoners and six days later Bill and Sid packed the few possessions they
had remaining and departed by truck and Dakota airplane to England and a Receiving Centre in Cosford.