Percy Ord, Camberley Studio, and Friend

Memories of Percy Ord, a Photograph of his Brother Roy and Percy with an Unidentified Friend
Roy Ord, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

The photograph above, Percy Ord at left, has a Camberley studio stamp on the back, which suggests it must have been taken in late 1942, just before the Battalion went abroad. The photograph at right is of Percy’s younger brother, Roy, who was killed in action with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on April 4th 1945. He is buried in Faenza War Cemetery, Italy.

Percy’s son Roy has provided the following details of his father’s service:

‘As with most ex wartime servicemen. my father spoke only on rare occasions regarding his experiences, but having read your father’s account they are remarkably similar.

‘He told of his capture only being in North Africa. He was most specific that at the actual time of his capture he and several mates were pinned down under heavy fire. He said they were told that reinforcement was on their way and when they heard voices they stood up expecting it to be the British. Instead the sound "Come Tommy, Come Tommy" told them it was the Germans. He said they were told to surrender which he did. He said he could remember others who tried to escape being shot. ‘

‘After his capture he said he was in Italy until they capitulated. His story of the train journey to Germany in cattle trucks was about the most memorable and accurate he told. I never knew his POW camp number but he said it was near Leipzig and that he was on a working party building cooling towers. He spoke once of his best friend being shot through the head, lying next to him. He also told a story where they carried a fellow soldier for some days along with others until the soldier died. The soldier asked my father that if he made it back to England would he take his wedding ring to his wife. My father kept the ring safe despite being hospitalised on his return home and eventually tracked down the mans wife and returned the ring to her.

‘Whilst his treatment in the POW camps was not good, he told of competition from the prisoners for potatoes with maggots as they had more goodness. He also told of how the German guards would wake them sometimes two or three times a night making them parade outside in the freezing cold and terrifying them with fierce dogs.

‘My father sadly passed away over 25 years ago and so even my memories are now less than clear. One tragic story my mother told was of my fathers brother, Roy Ord (after whom I am named) who was in the Inniskilling Fusiliers at the end of the war, at the time when the prison camps were being released. He sent her a letter saying that he was near Leipzig and he would be with my father soon. Sadly, the next morning he was killed.

‘Returning to the prison camps, despite his treatment by the German Camp Guards he rarely said anything bad about them, just that there was good ones and bad ones. My father hated the Italians immensely. He never talked of why but even until his death he would have nothing to do with anyone of Italian origin and could not discuss anything to do with Italy. I can only assume something terrible must have happened during those days until Italian control.’