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Hi folks

The attached picture looks rather painful. The chap playing the banjolayly* is my father Ralph who was steward on the Orama and a lot more supple than me.

Does anybody recognise the chap against whom he is leaning as their father/grandfather etc.

Regard

NigelC

Excuse my spelling please
 

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My father, Patrick O'Brien, was an assistant steward on the Orama before the war. He was on board when the ship was sunk in June 1940 and spent the next five years as a prisoner of the Germans. The first couple of years included a period in the Wülzburg, a mediaeval fortress in Bavaria, and also in a former mental hospital in Tost, Silesia (now Toszek in Poland), where one of the fellow-internees was P. G. Wodehouse.
The Orama survivors were later transferred to Milag Nord but my father was one of some thirty five Irish merchant seamen who were sent from Milag to a Gestapo Arbeitserziehung****er (work education camp) for refusing to cooperate with the Germans. This camp was attached to the notorious forced labour camp at Bremen Farge and was there to build Bunker Valentin for the construction of U-Boots.
The refusal to cooperate was in answer to the Germans' request that these men work on German merchant vessels plying mainly Baltic routes, e.g. to neutral Sweden. This would have freed work-capable German men to be sent to the front at a critical time, the beginning of 1943. All the men refused and spent the next two years at Bremen Farge (where five of them died), only being returned to Milag Nord in January 1945, some months before liberation.
 
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