Chins Up

My dad’s (Wilfred George Young) 3rd cousin 1x removed was James Victor Richards. (3rd cousin 2x removed to me).

What is interesting is the following article. This is because they both served in the Buffs, they were both captured in May 1940 with the B.E.F. in France and they were both in Stalag XXA. Unfortunately, there are no names with the photo. Are they both in it? Did they know they were cousins? My dad never mentioned it.

From the Thanet Advertiser of 2 Jan 1942, we have this letter that he wrote home:

Ramsgate Prisoner Hopes to be Home Soon

On the second anniversary of the war, Pte. James Richards, The Buffs, who was captured in May, 1940 wrote from Stalag XXA to his mother Mrs. A. E. Richards, formerly of 4 Elms-avenue and now of 91 Hereson-road, Ramsgate, cheerfully exhorting her to keep her chin up as he was doing.

To corroborate his assurance that he was still “quite O.K.,” Pte. Richards, an old boy of Ellington School who joined the Territorials when he was employed as a S. R. Pullman car attendant, enclosed a group photograph take at his prison camp. Pte. Richards and his 20 compatriots portrayed in the group all look well, sturdy and smiling. At the time, he stated, the weather was still warm but there was a bit of a frost in the morning.

“It is the second anniversary of the war to-day,” he wrote, “and I sincerely hope that there will not be another Oh! to get back home to see you all again. What a time we will have, and I really don’t think it will be very long now before that great day arrives.”

“Work goes on here about the same as usual and it passes the time away. We have had Red Cross parcels quite regularly now, so we are not doing so badly for food and smokes. There is no need to worry over me. I am quite well.”

In conclusion Pte. Richards repeated “Keep your chin up as I am doing and it won’t be long now.”

Another letter in the same paper from a prisoner of war at Stalag XXA states “Since being interned he has been digging canals, unloading railway trucks, bricklaying and working in a timber yard on the banks of the Vistula and he is now on a farm. While at the timber yard he made himself an armchair and beside table.”

We later see, from The Thanet Advertiser of 15 Jun 1945 why James was in a hurry to get home!

Thanet Advertiser 15 June 1945.png


thanet advertiser 15 may 1945


Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy

Discovering Your Ancestors - One Gene at a Time


genealogy & family history



History in the (Re)Making

History, Historical Fiction and everything in between

Somerset & Dorset Family History Society

The SDFHS helps people, wherever they live, to research their family history and to help add local context and connections to the basic information they may already have found. Website:

The Perimeter

Quintin Lake's photographic Journey walking around Britain's Coast

Sevenoaks WW1

Researching and remembering the people of Sevenoaks, Kent during the First World War

HistorianRuby: An Historian's Miscellany

Early modern historian. Loves gender, women's, social & royal histories. Ventures elswhere when interest is piqued. Blog may cover above themes or something a little more random. Find me on Twitter @ruthrblair

Young Family History

Ancestors and Cousins of Mike Young

%d bloggers like this: