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Ordnance Factory - Watson Street Files

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Ordnance Factory - Watson Street
Ordnance Factory - Watson Street

The photo shows a group of workers at the factory which was situated in Watson Street.It was formerly the weaving factory of Watson Armstrong & then the Wade Pottery Factory.

Photo courtesy of Rotary.

Sammy Laverty opens P0W''s box
Sammy Laverty opens P0W''s box

Sammy Opens German PoW’s Box 40 Years Late in 1984.

The name and address of a German prisoner-of-war, lay in an unopened box of pensioner Sammy Laverty’s home, until the secret was revealed

Sammy(86) isn’t quite sure what prompted him to slip the crumpled jotter page from the little flat wooden box, after 40 years. “I forgot clean all about it,” he says, “The poor fellow was captured and ended up working in Armstrong’s Ordnance factory in Watson Street, where I befriended him. “He slipped me this wee box and asked me to write to him after the war, but what with one thing and another, the box was put into a biscuit box, where it has stayed ever since.”

Gingerly, he manoeuvred the paper out this week and it revealed the name and address-- Alfred Kalber Muhzacker Wrhbg., Kirchstr 33, Germany. Now Sammy is going to write, at last to the address, in the faint hope, that he might hear from the captured German.

He recalls, “As far as I know, Alfred was held in the Gilford PoW Camp. He worked in Armstrong’s-now Wades- as an engineer looking after the boilers. There were six to a dozen Germans in the factory, doing all sorts of jobs, from gardening to cleaning. We were not really supposed to associate with them, but I could not help feeling sorry for this fellow, after all, he was far from home, in enemy hands and he didn’t know what was in front of him. I never could hold spite and God made us all. It wasn’t his fault the war started.”

Sammy was the yard supervisor at Armstrong’s, where clothing was distributed to the British forces and he recalls, that everyone knew that something big was on the way, on the run up to D-Day, since they were working night and day.

Anyway, he took pity on Alfred and used to bring him soda bread, which he adored, as well as gathering up the butts from the factory floor, for the German to have a clandestine smoke.

“Near the end of the war,” says Sammy, “he slipped me this wee box and me to write. Well I was never a great one for writing and I forgot all about it, until this week, when something clicked in my mind.”

So he is sending a copy of this week’s “Times” article, off to the address, four decades late.

“I’m not really expecting a reply,” says Sammy. “He has more likely moved- or he could be dead. Alfred was slightly younger than I was, and I suppose 86 is a grand old age, although I don’t feel old. Still there is a remote chance I might hear from him, so I might as well take that chance.”

Extracted from Portadown Times dated 16/11/1984.


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