PRESS RELEASE

 

A remarkable story of military courage….

 

As Wales prepares to remember those who lost their lives in wars across the world a 98 year-old veteran from Carmarthenshire publishes a book detailing his incredible experiences as a prisoner of war.

 

In All for Freedom D.T. Davies from Dryslwyn, near Llandeilo, provides an emotional account of some of the harrowing scenes he witnessed as a prisoner at Nazi camps across Europe. 

 

D.T. Davies was captured at the Battle of Crete at the end of May 1941.  He was among hundreds of troops who were herded on to cramped wagon trains in Greece and taken on a three-day journey, with very little food or water, to the infamous Stalag 18A Nazi prison camp at Wolfsberg, in southern Austria.

 

He spent three years as a prisoner of war, in Austria, then Hungary and finally at the barbaric concentration camp of Zemun, near Belgrade.   He describes Zemun as “quite simply hell on earth.”

 

These places were far removed from the rural Carmarthenshire where he was brought up, but their stench remains with him to this day.

 

“He witnessed dark deeds. But, all the while, one thing kept him going – the urge to escape.  His is an amazing and uplifting story. It is the tale of one man’s fight for a basic human right – freedom – against a backdrop of unimaginable cruelty and suffering. For his bravery, he was awarded the Military Medal,” says Ioan Wyn Evans, television producer and co-author of the book. 

 

Over 70 years after the end of the war, D.T. Davies recounts his incredible experiences in All for Freedom: A True Story of Escape from the Nazis, published by Gomer Press.

 

“Whatever your views on war, D.T. Davies’s courage, determination and humility should be highlighted and respected. This is the story of a man who truly deserves to be called a ‘hero’,” says Ioan Wyn.

 

After returning home from the war he didn’t talk about his time as a POW for years on end, not even to his family.  But he says “When I reached my 90s, my sons insisted I put my experiences on paper for the sake of my two grandsons and five granddaughters.” 

 

D.T. Davies says “For me, the most important thing is that we remember.  Remember those who lost their lives, from every nation across the world; and to remember their sacrifice. I think everyone needs to bear that in mind, people of all ages and backgrounds, but especially the young. Because without the sacrifices of others, where would they be today? Whatever your views on war, it’s imperative that we remember those who didn’t come home, and my biggest hope is that we will never see anything like it again. Ever.”

 

All for Freedom by D.T. Davies and Ioan Wyn Evans is available from your local bookshop or directly from the publisher, Gomer Press on www.gomer.c.o.uk or 01559 363092.

 

For more information, jpeg of the book cover or images from inside the book, please contact:

Gomer Press: marketing@gomer.co.uk / 01559 363090

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAILS

 

All for Freedom: A True Story of Escape from the Nazis

 

D.T.Davies with Ioan Wyn Evans

 

ISBN 9781785621680, £9.99, G

omer Press, paperback, 160 pages

 

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

 

  • D.T. Davies lives in Dryslwyn, Carmarthenshire.                                              

  • He attended Llandeilo Grammar School.

  • He was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery.

  • He is a well-known and active member of his local community. 

  • A member of Carmarthenshire County Council (1970-74 a 1996-2003), and Dyfed County Council (1974-1996). 

  • During his period in local government, he was chairman of both Dyfed between 1981-2 and Carmarthenshire 1995-97. 

     

    A SELECTION OF QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:

     

    STALAG

     

    “Stalag 18A was horrible and there was an awful stench about the place.  When I was there there were many Russian prisoners there as well… The Nazis were incredibly cruel towards them, treating them like animals. It really was shocking. They were kept apart from all the other prisoners, fenced off in their own compound. They looked terrible and I really felt for them: they were skin and bone, and no more. Some were dressed in rags; some had no clothes at all, only a blanket wrapped around them. Many of them had nothing on their feet.”

     

    “We would come face to face with them at the fence which was always between us, and throw them a few scraps of food if we could, pieces of bread or whatever we could lay our hands on. We weren’t supposed to do that, of course, and the Germans would try to stop us. But we just wanted to show some compassion, a literal crumb of kindness.  The saddest thing of all to witness, however, was what sometimes happened when we threw the food over the fence. Mayhem ensued as the starving Russians summoned up what little energy they could from their weak bodies to grapple with each other for the scraps that came their way.  It was a heartbreaking sight. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Had humanity really come to this?”

     

    ***************

    ZEMUN

    “The most awful place I had ever seen. Yes, I’d been held in pretty miserable places before.  But they were nothing like this. Everywhere else paled into insignificance compared to Zemun.  It was difficult to comprehend what happened there and what would happen. It is absolutely impossible to describe Zemun to anyone who hasn’t been there, felt it, and smelled it. For me, this was quite simply hell on earth.”

    ***************

     

    THE BATTLE OF CRETE

    “In total, we lost almost 4,000 men during the Battle of Crete. Around 1,800 troops were killed, and a similar number of seamen. It was a bloody and costly battle. A battle we ultimately lost….

     

    I don’t think that people in Wales realise that so many Welsh soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Crete – there are 91 buried in one cemetery alone. And many more died….

     

    But I think that the reason that the Battle of Crete is largely forgotten is because it was a defeat. We lost. Had we won it would have been different. The Germans suffered huge losses, as we did. But they won the battle. The margins between victory and defeat in these battles can be very slim, and it’s a shame that the lost ones generally don’t get the same attention, in terms of commemoration, as those where Britain was victorious.

     

    It was good to see the 75th anniversary events in Crete were so well attended.”