Monday, September 30, 2013

Sep

30

1943

A PoW escape goes wrong in Italy

Paul Bullard was a young artist learning his trade at the Royal College of Art when the Second World War broke out. His studies were interrupted by his service in the Royal Artillery, during which he was taken prisoner by Axis forces and held at Campo Concentramento PG 53 at Sforzacosta in Italy. It is this camp that provides the setting of this painting, which highlights the stoicism of the prisoners in coping with the boredom of captivity.

We both knew that, if we were not to spend the rest of the war in Germany, we must make a break in the course of the journey on which we were now embarking. Under my battle-dress I was wearing civilian clothes, which I had obtained from a friendly Italian guard in exchange for cigarettes and a packet of tea. Michael carried a crowbar secured inside his trouser leg. I tapped his thigh and it emitted a reassuring twang.