Percy Douglas White completed a “Returning PoW Questionnaire” from which we have some basic facts.. This has been supplemented by research on genealogy sites and brief contact with his daughter, Linden.
Percy White was born on 31st march 1922, the birth registered in Bedwellty, Wales. Percy may have been named for his father’s brother who had died in 1917.
The family moved to the Scunthorpe area sometime after the birth of a younger brother in 1930.
Percy wrote that he enlisted in April 1939, which was before the war started. Barely 17, he would have had to lie about his age – 18 being the earliest age for enlistment then. It’s strange to think that he may have been a seasoned worker of three years by then. School leaving age being 14 in the 30’s. The enlistment date may be a mistake but it is backed up by two things. Firstly, his service number does seem to be pre 1942 – possibly for the Royal Engineers. Secondly, he is not on the 1939 register – and one group that did not appear were serving soldiers. The closed entry on the Register would be his sister, who later emigrated, having married an Australian flyer in 1944.
However, when he was captured on 26th of July 1944 Percy White was serving in the Green Howards. He arrived at the shed probably a day or so later. He moved on shortly afterwards – certainly by the 30th when Elledge arrived. It is likely he was taken a similar route to that described by Elledge – via Alencon and Chartres.
British army prisoners were normally processed through the camp at Limbourg (XIII-D), however, White does not mention this in his questionnaire. He states he went to the PoW camp at Teschen (Stalag VIII-B) in Silesia. Here he worked in the mines at Hindenburg. He probably took part in “The Long March” – when the Germans evacuated the camp in the depths of winter due to the Russian advances.
On demob Percy returned to Scunthorpe. He worked in the steel industry, as he had before the war.
In 1946 he married, remaining in Scunthorpe to bring up a family.
His daughter Linden told us that in later years he was a Sinter Plant Operator. in this responsible position he oversaw the process by which disparate raw materials are converted to a form that a blast furnace can deal with more efficiently.
He died in 1986 at the relatively early age of 64.