prisoner of war
ceramic letter beads, steel rods, iron oxide pigment
installation bawdsey may-oct 2005
These texts are displayed in the old wartime Observation Post at East Lane, Bawdsey. Most of them are strung in letter-beads across the window spaces but three are stencilled on the concrete walls. I compiled the majority of the texts from the recorded memories of older Bawdsey people, recalling the big events they had witnessed: the War, the floods of '53, the winter of '47. These are their voices, speaking the stories of the place.Simon Frazer
The texts are in part based on the spoken memories of Norman Simper, Elizabeth Maskell, Eric Dunn, Mike Weavers, George Mark, Vic Clouting, Hazel Crane, Margaret King, Wendy Tolliday, Roy & Jean Ford, Pam Backhause, John Garnham and Jack Baker.
Texts for 6 big upper story windows:
I WENT TO GET THE COWS OFF THE MARSHES THERE WAS HORSES AND COWS AND SHEEP ALL FLOATING ABOUT THROUGH THE BUILDINGS DOWN THERE JUST WATER EVERYWHERE THEY WERE ALL FLOODED AND THEY NEVER WENT BACK TO MARSHES NO MORE ONE YANK IN A BOAT HE SAVED ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE DIDN'T HE THAT WAS A BAD TIME I AIN'T LIKELY TO FORGET IT IN THE WINTER OF '47 YOU COULDN'T GET OUT OF HERE AT ALL GANGLOADS OF GERMAN PRISONERS HELPED TO CLEAR THE ROADS WHEN THE SNOW CLEARED YOU HAD ICE COMING DOWN THE RIVERS THAT SUMMER WAS A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER THE SEA WAS ABSOLUTELY FLAT CALM CLEAR LIKE THE MEDITERRANEAN WE ALL LEARNT TO SWIM THAT SUMMER DRONE A CONSTANT DRONE THEY USED TO HAVE A SIREN DOWN AT THE MANOR THAT USED TO GO WE HAD AN ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY ALMOST IN OUR BACK GARDEN THEY'D SHAKE YOU OUT OF BED AT NIGHT I CAN REMEMBER IN THE COTTAGE STANDING IN THE KITCHEN AND THE SHRAPNEL BANGING ON THE ROOF THE PUT-PUT OF THE DOODLEBUGS KEEP GOING YOU'D THINK KEEP GOING THE OLD BOUNCING BOMBS WERE ONE OF THE WORST THINGS WE HAD THEY DROPPED ONE OF THEM IN A FIELD AND IT JUMPED OVER THESE HOUSES AND THEN TOOK ANOTHER LEAP AND JUMPED OVER A STREAM THEN EXPLODED HARMLESSLY MY SISTER WAS IN HER BEDROOM AND SAW THE BOMB GO BY HER WINDOW NOBODY WAS HURT NOBODY GOT HURT THANK GOODNESS ONE BIG OCCASION WAS WHEN THE PIPES AND DRUMS CAME UP THE ROAD THERE WAS ABOUT SEVEN CAMPS ABOUT HERE THE SOLDIERS WERE PART OF OUR WAR EFFORT THEY USED TO COME OUT OF THE PUB ONE CHRISTMAS WE GOT UP IN THE MORNING AND THE GEESE WERE NOT THERE WE FOLLOWED THE TRAIL OF FEATHERS BACK TO THE CAMP AND FOUND THEM ALL IN THE OVEN A PLANE CAME DOWN AT A CORNER OF WHAT'S CALLED WOODCOCK WOOD THAT BURST INTO FLAMES THE PILOT WAS A NEW ZEALANDER THEY SHOVED US BACK BECAUSE THE BULLETS WERE ALL FLYING OUT OF THE PLANE A GERMAN BOMBER CRASHED ON THE MARSHES THERE WAS A TERRIBLE SMELL OF BURNT BODIES FOR A LONG WHILE AFTER THAT THEY BURIED THEM UP AT THE CHURCHYARD IN THE FAR CORNER