ONE of the last surviving British prisoners of war from the horrific Auschwitz death camp has died – aged 91.
Arthur Dodd from Cuddington, who spent 22 months at the notorious concentration camp after being captured in North Africa during the Second World War, passed away in the early hours of Monday, January 17 following a long battle with Alzheimer's.
His funeral took place yesterday afternoon – the day before the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp – at Sandiway Methodist Church.
The father-of-two was married to his wife Olwen for 64 years and had six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
His son Jeffrey Dodd, 63, who lives in Barnton, told the Chronicle: “I was very proud of him. I've had a lot of good times with him, he was the best dad you could wish to have.”
Arthur, who worked for British Waterways in Northwich after the war and enjoyed fishing, bowling and classical music, did not openly talk about his experiences until the release of Sandiway author Colin Rushton’s book Spectator in Hell in 1998, where he gave a harrowing account of his time at Auschwitz.
In the same year he returned to the camp for a BBC TV documentary.
Jeffrey said: “He kept it quiet for most of his years, it was only about the last 15 years that he spoke about it.
“We went back to Auschwitz with him and looked round, it was a very moving time.”
He added: “He escaped once. There was five of them all together, they made it all the way across the border to Czechoslovakia before they were caught. They got shipped back and thought that was it, that was the end, but when the driver pulled up in the camp he let them go and said get back to the hut.
“He took part in several escape plans to help the Jews. They did several trips out the camp, cutting fences, to assist with the resistance because they were planning a mass escape.”
Arthur had joined the Royal Army Service Corps at the beginning of 1940, aged 20, despite being unfit for active service following an accident.
While working near the River Weaver in 1938, he slipped on oil and his foot became trapped between spokes in a metal wheel.
However, he was given a transport role in the army when an official discovered he had a driving licence.
After being captured at Badir in North Africa, Arthur was sent to Monowitz in the Auschwitz complex.