Diaries Dog tag

The Lost Six Years 1939-1945

Derek Hunnisett


Derek Hunnisett (1918-1990) was called up in 1939, following his 21st birthday. He enlisted as an infantryman in the Royal Sussex Regiment and after his initial training was sent to France and then to Belgium where he was with a unit guarding the British embassy in Brussels. However, after only a few days they had to withdraw because of the German invasion. While making their way towards Dunkerque they were over-run by the German Army and Derek was taken prisoner on 27th May 1940.

Derek was taken to Poland and spent most of the next 5 years in prison camps there.  Initially at Schubin and Poznan he then spent about 9 months at Mogilno, 10 months at a farm in Labanau and then almost 3 years at a farm in Finckenstein.

In January 1945, as the Soviet Army began to invade Poland, Derek was force-marched west to Germany, in blizzard conditions, following the northern route of  “The March”.  They travelled over 500 kilometers in a month, with many dying along the way. Derek survived, just, and was sent to a Hospital Stalag in Neubrandenburg, from where he was eventually liberated and sent back to England in May.

During all his captivity Derek had kept a series of diaries and in 1983 he used these as the basis of a book which he wrote for the benefit of his immediate family, as until then he had said little about his experiences as a POW. Although the book was never published the family came to believe that it should be made available so it is reproduced here in its entirety with the addition of a few illustrations and maps.

Any correspondance regarding this book should be sent to , Derek's daughter.

Website designed by Pete Hunnisett (Derek's nephew)