Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 13:54 UK

PoW who survived Nazi death camp

Charlie Evans
Charlie Evans was wounded at Dunkirk and spent four years in Auschwitz

A soldier who spent four years as a prisoner of war in Auschwitz is being recognised by the Royal Welsh regiment.

Charlie Evans, 89, of Presteigne, Powys, was a private in 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers when wounded and captured at Dunkirk in 1940.

His captors later transferred him to the concentration camp which was to become a shorthand for Nazi war crimes. He was being presented with a bugle and a plaque by the regiment, which now includes the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Mr Evans was a member of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France to try to hold back the German advance.

The then Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a surprise visit the to frontline and Mr Evans heard him say Britain would fight on.

Two weeks later, the troops were evacuated from Dunkirk and Mr Evans was in the rearguard, trying to delay the Germans, when he was wounded.

He told BBC Wales he would never forget what the Luftwaffe did to him and his friends that day.

He said: "They were machine gunning us. It was hell on earth. They shot me through the back and, all across my chest, that was all taken off.

The entry gate to Auschwitz concentration camp, with the words 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (work liberates) overhead
Mr Evans survived Auschwitz but lost more than half his body weight

"They split my shoulder wide open. I was bleeding at the mouth like a pig."

His story was taken up by Royal Welsh Major Glyn Hughes, who is making the presentation at the Royal British Legion in Presteigne.

Major Hughes said: "The policy was that the wounded were more or less left to the generosity of the German army.

"He was more or less frogmarched across Belgium and Germany into Poland and in to Auschwitz, where he stayed until the end of the war.

"He would have been used in working parties. That would have been hard work and long hours and he would have seen an enormous amount of death and hurt."

The presentation has been promoted by Mr Evans's friend, Douglas Jones, who found the bugle embossed with the fusiliers' emblem.

He said: "He had one hell of a time. He went at 13 stones (82.5kg) and came out at six stone (38kg)."




SEE ALSO
Row over Auschwitz 'gimmick' note
22 Feb 08 |  UK Politics
Prisoner recalls Auschwitz horror
27 Jan 05 |  Mid Wales

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