My grandfather, Major George Drew, described himself as lacking in creativity. A strange and deeply unfounded realisation given that he was the most incredible woodcarver.
“As a Prisoner of War in Germany ones thoughts continually and almost continuously were of food, women and escape. Not necessarily in that order but in the absence of Red Cross Parcels and the resulting gnawing hunger, they had a strong similarity to the feelings behind the song “Food” from the musical, “Oliver” and talk was about nothing except a dimly remembered underdone steak or Lobster Thermidor.
Because memory fades as time passes, thoughts about women became inextricably tied up with escape and a return to “Civvie” street. Some people, it was claimed, thought of escape as a means of getting back to fight for King and Country, Glory and Honour. Most, however thoughts about getting back to the little woman, or, for the majority, any little woman.
All this leads to fantasy. The reality in Prison is pretty sordid, so one tries to escape from it. One dreams up various schemes of climbing over the roof, if there was one near the perimeter fence, or of climbing over the wire itself, or under the wire, underground, or walking boldly through the gate dress like the enemy. Failing this an Alice in Wonderland syndrome came into play.
Towards the end of 1944, I got the idea of making a Chess Set. Not the conventional pattern, nor even a themed set. Just pure fantasy.
I have always been a fan of Lewis Carrol, so a lot of his characters are included, along with several other Magic figures, and most of the imps, devils and gremlins are associated with distilling.”
Grandpa was filmed for a Colditz Channel 4 documentary where he relives his experiences. Watch the Channel 4 series here.