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Martin Hunt: From Bruntingthorpe to Stalag 20a Thorn

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posted on 2024-06-05, 16:08 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Harold Martin Hunt was born in 1920. The exact date of his birth remains a mystery. His birthday was normally celebrated on October 21st, but his birth certificate says he was born on the 27th of October 1920. He was actually born in September, but his mother was seriously ill as a result of the birth and the whole process of registration was delayed.

Harold Martin Hunt was baptised in St Mary's Church, Bruntingthorpe on November 28th, 1920, son of John and Elizabeth Hunt. Harold was always known as Martin, choosing to use his middle name rather than his first.

Martin was one of fourteen children. He attended Bruntingthorpe School and later Lutterworth Central School. Martin spent time as a child riding horses on Bryce's Farm and generally doing little jobs. The money he earned was given to his mother.

In September 1939, at the time of the War Work Census, he was living at Weir Road, Kibworth with the Spriggs family. He was already in the Leicestershire Regiment 1/5th Battalion. In September 1939, the 1/5th Battalion was based at Ratby Castle, Staindrop, County Durham and was part of the 148th Infantry Brigade. In April 1940, in preparation for the Norway Campaign, they were moved to Scotland. In mid-April 1940, they were landed near Narvik in Norway. After 10 days, the evacuation was ordered.

Martin always said that the country was beautiful, but the expedition failed because they were ill-equipped compared to the German forces. On 23 April 1940, Martin Hunt was reported missing. This was reported to the War Office Casualty Section for the 24 hrs ending 12.00 on the 14 April 1940. He was casualty list number 204; his rank was Private, and his number was 4859069.

Martin was captured along with many others and spent the next five years in a German prisoner-of-war camp. An official record shows M Hunt resided at Stalag 20a Thorn PODGORZ, Poland; his POW number was 4835. He spent his days working on the local farms.

Stalag 20 was a complex of Polish forts near the town of Torun (Thorn) on the banks of the river Vistula. These were converted into prison camps. The British prisoners were in forts XI, XII, and XIII.

When the Russian advance began in January 1945, the prisoners of war from Stalag 20 were marched westwards into Germany in harsh winter conditions with little food. Eventually, they were liberated by the Americans near Magdeburg.

Martin died on 13 March 2009. The information above has been provided by his son, Robert Hunt.

History

Item list and details

His army photo and wedding photo

Person the story/items relate to

Harold Martin Hunt

Person who shared the story/items

Anon

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Great grandad

Type of submission

Shared online as part of the SOS: Save Our Stories campaign.

School

Woodhey High School, Bury, Lancashire

Record ID

96155 | SOS