Hampshire & Isle of Wight

German PoWs' scrapbook displayed at New Forest Centre

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Media captionThe book contains poems, Christmas greetings and sketches

A World War II scrapbook created by German prisoners in the New Forest is to go on display.

The book, entitled Lager 65, contains poems, Christmas greetings and sketches of the prisoner of war camp at Setley near Brockenhurst.

The book was given as a Christmas present to camp leader Max Mueller.

It has been donated by his widow to a project run by the New Forest National Park Authority which is collating World War II memories, photos and artefacts.

New Forest Remembers - Untold Stories of World War II is a project to record life in the New Forest during the war.

Mr Mueller's widow Molly and their son Mike donated the scrapbook and four 2ft (60cm) wooden figures carved for the main gate which were given to him after the camp shut in 1947.

'Fascinating insight'

Mike Mueller, who runs the Meerut bed and breakfast in Brockenhurst, said: "The scrapbook has been gathering dust in a cupboard for years, and we just thought it would be nice for other people to see it.

Image caption On the cover is the German word "Lager", which means "camp" in English

"He didn't talk much about his time there, so it's remarkable to have this record."

The camp at Setley originally housed Italian prisoners of war before German prisoners were moved in after the Normandy landings in 1944.

Max Mueller became the leader of five local prisoner of war camps after being captured in France in 1944 and sent to Setley.

Gareth Owen, from the New Forest Remembers Project, said: "The hand-drawn sketches are particularly striking.

"Many of them are initialled so we are able to match them with the photos of the prisoners in the book.

"This is a fascinating insight into what was upmost in the minds of the German prisoners so far from their homeland."

The scrapbook and carvings will be displayed as part of a New Forest Remembers exhibition at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst from 23 March until 28 April.

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