In this clipping (circa July 1941) from an unidentified newspaper, Denis Crooks is identified as one of three British servicemen found to be a prisoner of war in Italy.
Thanks to Denis’ daughter, Maggie Clarke, for sharing this item.
REPORTED MISSING—NOW PRISONER.
A letter, postmarked “Tripoli,” as been received by Mr. and Mrs. P. R. Crooks, of 141, Parkanauer Avenue, Thorpe Bay, from their only son Denis, a former pupil of the Southend High School for Boys, who was reported missing while serving with a Yeomanry Regiment in April. “He told us that he was quite all right and that we were not to worry about him,” Mrs. Crooks told our representative. Denis, who is 21 years of age, was an Executive Officer in H.M. Customs and Excise before he joined up.
This memo from the British Red Cross and Order of St. John lists contents of a typical Red Cross prisoner of war food parcel. It also provides instructions for how to donate to the cause.
The memo, saved by Denis Crooks, was sent to me by Denis’ daughter Maggie Clarke.
BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY and ORDER OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM.
PRISONERS OF WAR DEPARTMENT
St. James’s Palace,
London, S. W. 1.
List of Typical Contents of Standard Food Parcels despatched from the Packing Centres of the Organisation.
Denis Crooks, photo taken in Camp 59.
In February, I received a note from Maggie Clarke in England.
Her father, she explained, was Denis Crooks, one of the servicemen whose poetry was included in Robert Dickinson’s “Servigliano Calling” prison camp journal.
Read Denis’ poems “Campo 59,” “To Mother and Dad,” and “England” in posts on this site.
Maggie wrote, “I have just downloaded and read the ‘Servigliano Calling’ camp poems of Robert Dickinson and had to write to let you know that Denis Crooks, who wrote three of them, was my father. I was so excited to read these poems, as I never knew that he wrote poetry—he certainly never wrote any after the war—and even my mother was not aware he did this.
“We have all my Dad’s POW letters written home and Bob is mentioned in so many of them. They were so close and I know he was devastated when they were split up. I’m sure they kept each other going in those bad times.