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Though he is not married, the fact that he pushed a pram 100 miles across Austria suggests that Private T. H. Garland, who returned with yesterday's prisoner of war draft, possesses at least one important qualification as a husband. Private Garland, who went overseas with the Second Echelon and was captured in Greece in 1941, told of his pram-pushing feat while being interviewed this morning at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. 'T. Garland, Epsom. Two months before the end of the war in Europe, he said, he had been taken to Stalag ISA in Austria after being imprisoned in camps in Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Austria. As the Red Army was getting "a bit close" the Germans decided to break the camp up and march the prisoners to the west. Each prisoner was given two Red Cross parcels, said Private Garland. With quite a large pack up, it soon became necessary to acquire some sort of transport. German control on the march was very loose so the men were able to bargain with the civilians and obtain carts, wheelbarrows and similar vehicles.

Purchased With Cigarettes F'fr 20 cigarettes Private Garland was cible to purchase a "1914 model" pram, complete with hood and tassels. This he shared with a British private. The entire march of 120 miles took 10 days, the prisoners putting up in barns at night. They were able to visit farms in the locality and obtain food by bartering with the cigarettes, chocolate and soap from their Red Cross parcels. Private Garland paid high tribute to. the Red Cross parcels, upon which the prisoners depended for their existence. At Stalag 18A, he said, the Russian prisoners, who were the only ones not receiving the parcels, died off like flies, as many as 100 a day being buried at the start of the Russo-German conflict. At the end of the 120-mile march he was imprisoned in a camp into which were crowded 30,000 Allied prisoners of- war, continued Private Garland. The camp was in a state of chaos. There was no food and the prisoners were escaping all the time. Contact With Americans After two days in the camp he decided, together with Private Ken Blakey, of Auckland, with whom he had previously been imprisoned up till June, 1942, to walk to the American lines. The roads were covered with retreating Germans. They walked for half a day and then caught a train, which was stopped by the Americans. First sight of the Americans was good, said Private Garland, and their hospitality, casual though it might seem when compared with that of the British, was very warm. They contacted the main body of the Americans about 80 miles south of Munich, said Private Garland. Commandeering a car, they made good progress and after sleeping on the outskirts of Munich were given road maps by an English major in the city. A days' travelling brought them to Free French forces, who might have proved awkward—they •actually arrested the two New Zealanders—had it not been for Private Blakey's knowledge of French.

Once they had crossed the Rhine little time elapsed before they drove through Luxemburg and into Belgium. They were then flown to England, where the nature of their welcome could be judged from the fact that they were carried from the plane by two airmen!

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Bibliographic details

A LONG PUSH, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 184, 6 August 1945

Word Count

A LONG PUSH Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 184, 6 August 1945

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