Raymond Stewart, POW
Lieutenant Ray Stewart (1914–2001), was one of 490 members of the 2
Shuttled between five desert camps before being flown to Italy, Stewart remained a POW of both the Italians and the Germans, until 1 May 1945, when liberated by American troops.
At considerable risk, Stewart secretly recorded his experiences on a toilet roll between 27 July and 12 September 1942, later continuing in two notebooks. He hid them in a Red Cross gift box.
The toilet-roll diary provides a fascinating insight into the daily life of a prisoner. While most entries attest to the tedium of camp life, some entries are poignant: ‘Did Jack come through? Where is Smithie? ... a few scraps of information and suddenly I get a nasty shock. They tell me Jimmie Allen is dead.’ (Entry for 27 July 1942)
Stewart’s daughter has since transcribed this unusual diary, as the paper is very brittle now—after all, it was never designed to last.