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Mr Charles Camp - Three times wounded, escaped and married

Loughborough Monitor - 24th April 1959

Sentenced to death for escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp during the first world war, 66 year old Mr Charles Camp of 13 Mansfield Street, overpowered his guard, locked him in his cell and escaped again - this time for good.

During his two and a half years as a prisoner of war, Mr Camp escaped three times. The first time he was out for six weeks before being recaptured at the Dutch border. Then he tunnelled out of the camp again and was recaptured after knocking out a couple of Alsatian dogs and a guard.

For that he was court martialled by the Germans and sentenced to death. Before sentence could be carried out, he escaped again, posed as a Belgian P.O.W, and finally reached Switzerland where he was interned for the rest of the war.

While he was in Switzerland Mr Camp and his wife were married three times in two days. Mrs Camp was allowed to go to Switzerland so she packed her wedding dress in a kitbag and set off. First the couple had a Swiss civil wedding, then they married at the British Consulate and finally, the next day, they were again married at an Anglican church.

Earlier in the war, Mr Camp was wounded three times. As a soldier he was one of the first men to go to France, with the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. When hostilities were over, he trained as a teacher at Saltley Training College, Birmingham, and started his career at St Bartholomew's School, Quorn, where he remained for 13 years. In 1935 he became a supply teacher and moved all round Leicestershire teaching at various schools. When he retired in 1953, he had taught in 44 Leicestershire schools, including six in Loughborough.

Since his retirement Mr Camp has had light jobs as a school crossing warden, temporary postman and gravedigger. He has had the last job for four years and in that time has dug 84 graves. "It's only a matter of practice," said Mr Camp, who digs a six foot double grave in three hours.

Over the years Mr Camp has been connected with many organisations in Quorn and is a vice-chairman of the British Legion branch, chairman of the allotments society and is the only Old Contemptible in the village. He was also the last chairman of Quorn Co-operative Society before it merged with Leicester.


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 Submitted on: 2010-01-14
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 715
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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