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Cambridge prisoner of war's Christmas letters

One of John Crook's letters. Credit: St John's College, University of Cambridge.

Christmas letters written by a Cambridge academic while he was a prisoner of war have been published for the first time.

John Crook wrote the notes at the age of 22 after being captured in Italy during the Allied landings in 1943.

They are described as "unyieldingly positive" despite the notoriously tough conditions at the Stalag Luft VIII-B camp.

In one letter, he optimistically predicted he and his fellow prisoners would "do all right" over the festive season thanks to a supply of Red Cross parcels, and plenty of fuel and entertainment.

His correspondence is now available to view online through the St John's College archives.


Rare WW2 jeep stolen from Duxford Imperial War Museum

The rare 1944 Willys Jeep stolen from the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

The owner of a rare Second World War jeep stolen while it was on show at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford says he's been left devastated as it belonged to his father.

The American Marine used it while he was stationed at Pearl Harbour during the war.

It was being displayed as part of a classic vehicle event when it was taken on Sunday.

The 73-year-old owner, who doesn't want to be named, says it has 'great sentimental value' and just wants it back.

"It is extremely upsetting to lose the Jeep because it held such fond memories of my father.

"These Jeeps were built to last no longer than a week, or one tank of fuel. Soldiers even had printed instructions on how to destroy them quickly to prevent them falling into enemy hands.”

– Jeep's owner
Police in Cambridgeshire want help from the public in recovering the stolen jeep. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Dunkirk lifeboat journeys back to France

A wooden lifeboat which took part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in the Second World War has begun retracing her journey to France 75 years ago.

The 35ft Lucy Lavers Credit: ITV News Anglia

The 35ft Lucy Lavers was completed in 1940. Her first rescue was as part of the Dunkirk Evacuation - code-named Operation Dynamo - in May that year. A convoy consisting of all manner of boats, including yachts, ferries, and barges made the journey across the English Channel, to rescue beleaguered troops from northern France.

Now the Lucy Lavers is taking part in the 75th anniversary commemorations of the Evacuation, visiting towns along the East Coast. Today she is due to stop in Aldeburgh.

Her final UK stop will be in Ramsgate in east Kent, where she will join a flotilla of other little ships to cross the channel to Dunkirk once more.

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