From North Africa to Italy and Germany – Con McGrath tells the Prisoner-of-War experiences of
Waterford man Thomas Barry


In ‘The Munster Express’ newspaper, dated August 24, 1945; there appeared the following interview with Thomas Barry, recently home from the war. He had certainly endured a great many experiences, stretching from North Africa, then onto Italy, and then Germany.

Mr. Barry recalled the many hardships he endured for a journalist, who only signed off as “P.J.B.”, for the paper’s series of articles entitled: “The Men Who Came Back” – after the war was over.

On the Burning Sands of Africa
The poet has urged men to leave behind them “footprints on the sands of time,” but few who have been there care to be reminded of the sands of North Africa. One of them is Mr. Thomas Barry, 27, Prior’s Knock, who served with the heavy anti-aircraft (“ack-ack”) division during the campaign in the Northern extremity of the Dark Continent.

Mr. Barry “joined up” in February, 1941, and, after a short preliminary training, was sent overseas, reaching Port Tobruk in June of the same year. Most of Mr. Barry’s period of service seems to have been spent in prison camps.
He was, unfortunately, captured early on in the campaign. He told that when he first landed in North Africa, his first important duty, with that of his comrades, was to guard Tobruk, after a period on the Suez Canal.

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