Walter Meadows

Photo:Walter Meadows in his RAF uniform

Walter Meadows in his RAF uniform

Walter Meadows

Photo:Walter Meadows with his crew

Walter Meadows with his crew

Walter Meadows

Photo:A letter received by Walter Meadows' mother in 1944

A letter received by Walter Meadows' mother in 1944

Walter Meadows

'Orders to abandon ship'

Walter Meadows tells of the day his plane came down in Germany.

Recollections of wartime service in the RAF and becoming a prisoner of war.

The early years

Walter Meadows a Grammar schoolboy from Barnsley came to London in the late 1930s to embark on a career in the civil service.  Then war broke out. Walter chose to join the volunteer RAF reserve. Little was he to know that a few short years later at just 21 he would become a prisoner of war first in the Luftwaffe’s Stalag Luft 6 and then Thorn in Poland.

Time in the RAF

Walter’s story of his war takes him from London to the West Country for his initial pilot training in rickety but efficient Tiger Moths.  From here Walter went to Assiniboia in Canada and then back to the UK by which time he’d re-mustered as a bomb aimer with duties including map reading, flying missions all over Germany and France.  Walter recalls in meticulous detail being shot down over Dusseldorf in spring 1944, bailing out of a damaged plane and of him and the rest of the crew being “rounded up one by one”.

Life as a POW

Walter is at pains to offer a considered and balanced account of his treatment while a prisoner of war.  Walter observes that while he found the Germans “civilised” at least towards British and Americans, he admits that he couldn’t say the same for the relationship between German and Russian troops. What resonates in Walter’s account of being imprisoned is the pre-eminence of routine and rules. 

Returning home

The end of the war sees Walter back in the UK - it was he recalls “much the same as it ever was” - and back in the civil service.  In one sense Walter comes across as a conscientious young man overtaken by extraordinary events. As Walter puts it “….it’s quite an experience, really wasn’t it? I mean for somebody who the amount of travel he had ever done was on the – the local train up to Barnsley….”


Interview with Walter Meadows
Interview with Walter Meadows (210k)
To read the full transcript of Walter's interview please press the above link.

'Orders to abandon ship'
'Orders to abandon ship' (91k)
Transcript of audio clip with Walter Meadows.

This page was added by Emily Beaney on 10/03/2012.