Gladys's story read by Kathy Burke

Read by Kathy Burke for the Radio 4 series Ancient Mysteries. Gladys’s story - “They used to tear up the reports”. Gladys, in her nineties and suffering from dementia, leapt at the chance to tell me a story about her brother Jack, who was taken prisoner by the German army after the Dunkirk evacuation. History has tended to overlook the fate of those rounded up. British press wrote about the soldiers who escaped rather than those who were left behind but the latter suffered a miserable fate. Prisoners of War - humiliated officers and soldiers stripped of their rank were forced to drink ditch water and eat putrid food. Many of the 40,000 men left behind were marched hundreds of miles into Germany and Poland, where they spent the rest of the war working in mines, fields and factories as slave labour. Perhaps because they’ve forgotten the rewriting of history over the past 60 years many of dementia sufferers I’ve worked with remember what really happened in the war rather than the later propaganda. Far from being unreliable narrators their stories might actually give us a window to the truth.