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Prisoner of War - Harry Joyce

Rushden Echo, 23rd February 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sinking of the White Star Liner
Rushden Resident Rescued – By German Submarine
Those of our readers who were aware of the fact that a Rushden resident Mr. Hy. Joyce, was an able-seaman on the White Star liner, S.S. Georgie, recently sunk by a German submarine, will be pleased to hear that Mr. Joyce’s mother, Mrs. Mason, of 23 Carnegie-street, Rushden, on Tuesday received a postcard from her son to the effect that he is a prisoner at Dulmen, Westf., Germany. The postcard is dated January 28th last, and states that no communications are to be sent to Dulmen.

Beyond this there is no other information, not even with relation to his health, but it is evident that, after sinking the Georgie, the German submarine picked up at least one of the liner’s crew.

Mr. Joyce, previous to the outbreak of war, spent some time in Australia, and returned to England on the outbreak of war to serve his country in the Navy, and went through several naval engagements. He became an able-seaman on the Georgie not long before the ship was sunk.

The Rushden Echo, 20th April 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Seaman’s Bravery - Captured by the Germans – But Anxious to Recover the Vessel
Some interesting facts have come to light regarding the bravery of Harry Joyce, of Rushden, late of His Majesty’s ship Penelope, who was captured by the Germans whilst he was serving on board the steamship Georgie. Mrs Joyce, of 25, Carnegie-street, Rushden, received from her son a card stating that he was a prisoner of war, and thereupon she informed Mr. C. L. Bradfield with a view to parcels being sent to him through the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund. Mr Bradfield got into communication with the British and Foreign Sailors’ Society to ascertain if Joyce’s name was on their list, and received a reply in the affirmative, stating that they had charge of all the Georgie men and were sending parcels to them regularly. Under those circumstances, Mr. Bradfield’s committee sent a subscription to the Sailors’ Society as the Co-Committee under which Joyce is receiving benefit.

Arising out of this fact, Mr. Bradfield today received the following interesting letter from Mr. F. M. Collins, the Relief Superintendent of the Sailors’ Society:-

“Dear Mr. Bradfield, I am sure it will be very gratifying indeed both to you and your townsmen to hear of a wonderful testament of the bravery of Harry Joyce, that has reached me this morning from a Scotsman of the name of Simms, late of the S.S. Georgie, who was a fellow prisoner with Joyce on the Yarrowdale, and who has escaped from Brandenburg by falsely representing himself as an American, when in reality he is a Scotsman with a beautiful American Accent.

“Assuming this man to be entirely truthful, and he certainly impresses one with his honesty, Joyce particularly desired to take steps for the recovery of the vessel, which according to my informant, would have been a comparatively easy matter if only they had received the necessary support from others. There were only thirteen Germans on board, armed of course, and with a machine gun mounted on the poop, but Simms tells that the man Joyce, with others, would have only been too ready to have taken the risk for the recovery of the vessel, had they been supported, which unfortunately they were not. Altogether there were about 500 prisoners on board. The tales the man tells me of the condition of affairs in Brandenburg are almost too horrible for repetition, and I am so struck by the man’s intelligence, and, I believe honesty, that I purpose taking steps with a view to him offering his experiences before a Commission of the two Houses which has been appointed to look into the whole question of the sending of prisoners’ parcels.

“I am sure this letter will be of interest to you, and is simply an independent testimony of the worth of your townsman.—I am yours faithfully, F. M. Collins, relief superintendent.

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