A quiet American POW was nicknamed “The Incredibly Stupid One” by his Vietnamese captors. Upon his return to the US, he provided the names of over 200 prisoners of war, which he had memorized to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
When they threw him out of Vietnam, he came out with 256 names that Joe Crecca had taught him memorized by service, by rank and alphabetically; next to each name he had a dog’s name, kid’s name or social security number to verify the quality of the name which we had picked up by tap code, deaf spelling code or secret notes. He still has those names memorized today and sings them to the tune of “Old MacDonald Has a Farm.” One of our intelligence officers asked him if he could slow the recitation down to make for easier copying. Doug replied “No” that it was like riding a bike, you had to keep moving or you would fall off.
Between 1970 and 1973, four Israeli fighter pilots translated The Hobbit from English to Hebrew to pass the time in an Egyptian prison, where they were held as POWs. The pilots’ translation was published commercially in 1977, and up until 2012 was considered the best Hebrew version of the book.
Franz Von Werra, a Nazi POW who was transfered to Canada to deter his multiple escapes and recaptures, escaped again in less than a month, traveling through the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Italy to become the only Western held POW to return to combat. On 25 October 1941 Von Werra took off in Bf 109F-4 (W.Nr. 7285) on a practice flight. He suffered engine failure and crashed into the sea north of Vlissingen and was killed. His body was never found.
British WWII prisoner of war John Fancy dug eight tunnels with a table knife and escaped a total of 16 times, but was always recaptured.
The last prisoner of war from the Second World War to be repatriated was a Hungarian soldier who was taken prisoner by the Red Army in 1944, then discovered living in a Russian psychiatric hospital in 2000.
During World War II, prisoners of war in Canada were treated so nicely that they didn’t want to leave Canada when released.
While held captive as a prisoner of war by the Germans, Major Alexis Casdagli passed the time by cross-stitching. The Germans liked his needlework so much that they hung one of his works up on a wall for everyone to see, not realizing that he had hidden a secret message on it:
On the sides, Casdagli had written “God save the King” and “F**k Hitler” in Morse Code.
During WWII, 4 Koreans were conscripted into the Japanese army, to be taken prisoners and conscripted into the Soviet army, later to be taken prisoners and conscripted into the German army- finally being taken as prisoners of war by the American army.