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prisoner of war

ceramic letter beads, steel rods, iron oxide pigment

installation bawdsey may-oct 2005

Martello Tower
Prisoner of War

the texts

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 7 small basement windows:

MOSTLY OF COURSE
NOTHING HAPPENED
IT WAS ONLY SOMETIMES
THAT THINGS HAPPENED

*

MOTHER KEPT CHICKENS
WE KILLED A 
PIG ONCE A YEAR 
WE HAD A SALT POT
IN THE KITCHEN

*

I ONLY KNOW WHAT
THIS OLD BOY TOLD ME
THERE WERE THREE 
MEADOWS AND CATTLE 
THERE

*

SCAFFOLD-IRON THINGS
THEY JUST RUSTED AWAY
THE SEARCHLIGHT PLACE
HAS GONE THE GUNPITS 
HAVE GONE INTO THE SEA

*

SNARES AND CATAPULTS
EVERYBODY SET SNARES
YOU'D SEE WHERE THE
OLD HARE AND RABBITS
WENT ACROSS THE FIELDS

*

UMBELS HARDEN
SEED SNAPS TO ATTENTION
A DRY WIND BLOWS
LIGHT HARDENS
THE WIND INVADES

*

PRISONER   WHAT IS 
INHUMAN   IS HUMAN
THE WAR    IS OVER
FOR YOU    TO HOLD 
WHAT IS    NOT WAR

 
Stencilled Texts:

IDENTIFICATION  WHO
ARE YOU  FRIEND OR FOE
FLYING UNDER THE RADAR
RIDING THE WAVES
COMING IN LOW


BALDERESEIA
BALDERSEYE
BAUDERSEY
BAUDRESSEYE
BAUDESEIA


ADIOS
RADIOS

prisoner of war

prisoner of war

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