Prisoner Of War Message Service

During WW2, New Zealand DXers (principally members of the NZ DX Club) provided an invaluable service to the family of prisoners-of-war by relaying messages heard on enemy forces radio stations.

Following is an extract from the February 1944 issue of “The NZ DX-TRA” the magazine of the NZ DX Club.

“Several members of the N.Z. DX Club are performing a very worthy service by listening to prisoner-of-war broadcasts and handing on the messages to the next-of-kin. Further volunteers are required for this worthwhile job and any DXer available please contact Peter Thorn, 14 Bangor Tce, Dunedin.

It was in the early days of its monitoring that the Otago Branch became interested in the Prisoner of war question, mainly on the initiative of its president, Jack Fox, Messages from P.O.W were copied down and sent to those concerned and this service was obviously much appreciated. The Red Cross was contacted early in 1943 and their cooperation was sought. A special letter-card was designed and forwarded to the Red Cross who in turn discussed the card and its merits, at their next general meeting and officially approved of it. The card, with the message is forwarded to the next-of-kin and a copy of the message forwarded to the Red Cross for checking purposes. Soon after the scheme’s inauguration, conditions became very poor, and with lack of messages it seemed as thought he scheme would not be able to operate as well as had been anticipated.

Peter Thorn is the of affairs and is assisted by several of the Otago DXers and this has added the advantage that messages are checked by more than one monitor to minimise mistakes in monitoring.

Arthur Cushen is engaged in a like service as Radio Officer to the Southland Branch of the Red Cross. The many appreciative acknowledgements received and the donations towards Red Cross funds, leave no doubt as to the value of really fine effort and more than compensate for many hundreds of hours put in.

John Stuart, Palmerston North, undertakes another service. He listens to “Anzacs Calling Home” on the 41m band Wednesdays and sends a copy of it to those concerned on a specially typed form. John says some of the replies have been very encouraging.”

Here are two examples of the many prisoner of war messages intercepted by members of the NZ DX Club and forwarded to their families.

1955-1945 message number 948

THE NZ DX CLUB

PRISONER OF WAR AND MONITORING DIVISION
Princes St, .
INVERCARGILL, N.Z.

January 25th, 1945.

A radio message was broadcast over BERLIN Radio on January 24th 1945, addressed to Mrs Turner, 68 Lake R0ad, Pons0nby,Auck, from – Pte K.M Turner, a Prisoner of War at a German camp. This message was picked up by Arthur Cushen, a member of the New Zealand DX Club. The full text of the message was:

” DEAR MUM AND DAD. HOPE YOU ARE WELL AS I AM. REGARDS TO ALL. LOVE”

I know this message will be of Interest and I‘m glad to be.able to pass the news on.
Yours sincerely
ARTHUR T. CUSHEN,
Official-in-Charge

THE NZ DX CLUB

PRISONER OF WAR AND MONITORING DIVISION
Princes St, .
INVERCARGILL, N.Z.

October 31st, 1944

A radio message was broadcast over TOKIO Radio on October 31st, 1944,  (4.57 pm EST) addressed to Mrs P. M. C. Blake, from – GNR R.S.BLAKE, a Prisoner of War at a HONG KONG internment camp. This message was picked up by Arthur Cushen, a member of the New Zealand DX Club. The partial text of the message was:

“Hope this finds you well, Mother also. Thanks to Uncle for his help, hope reunion soon, love”

I know this message will be of Interest and I‘m glad to be.able to pass the news on.
Yours sincerely
ARTHUR T. CUSHEN,
Official-in-Charge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *