Some knelt and kissed the ground; some danced and sang; some were quiet and bewildered; some buttonholed one of the welcoming committee and talked of their POW experiences; some quietly wept.
Stanley Harrison, RAF, 1945
In May 1945 liberated prisoners of war assembled in western Germany and Belgium. Lancasters and other aircraft of Bomber Command were fitted out as transports to fly them to Britain. They included aircraft of Australian bomber squadrons.
Second World War enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, official war artist
Australian Lancasters loading ex-POWs for England
oil on canvas on hardboard
painted in Brussels, Belgium, in 1945
acquired under official war art scheme in 1946
Australian and New Zealand prisoners in Hohenfels camp, early in 1945, with photographs of girlfriends. One of the men claimed: “The girls on the wall couldn’t wait… all finished up marrying Yanks”. This belief reflects the bitterness of prisoners, dwelling on their stolen years.