Genie ‘What Woulds’t Thou… O Master?’

Genie“The prisoner – of – war life for these four years was an object lesson in living together. The three things that could, at any time kill us all off were work, disease and starvation.”
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg131

The ‘genie’ is Lt. Dann, who appears in a number of Des’s works with his characteristic red moustache and unique hat. It appears from our research that he was the camp policeman.

 Lt Dann was born in South London on 10th June 1913, and served with the 118th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.He died in 1993 just before his 80th birthday

Source: The Bettany Family wish to thank Sabrina Smith (nee Dann),  Lt Dann’s grand daughter for supplying the above information.

‘In order to cope, I believe, most men surrounded themselves in their own personal and protective armour. Mine, as I have already written, was work, an almost obsessive sense of duty; for others it was humour or religious faith; and for nearly all of us, it was the setting of a deadline: ‘home by Christmas’ or ‘home for my wife’s birthday, or some other date of personal significance. In establishing a mental goal to work towards we were focussing on a future life which we could anticipate living and, in the process, attempt to reject the reality of what we were experiencing, deferring our disappointment. Keeping an ‘end point’ in mind, even though deep down we know it was artificial, gave us hope – one of the most powerful weapons in the limited armoury of defence we could own. If we were to not only survive but also remain sane, it was all we could do.

Source: A Doctors War, by Dr Rowley Richards, pg 157, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.