Saturday, 10 September 2011

Open prison

A story my father told about his wartime experiences was a small incident during the time he spent in Kenya. He served in the Royal Navy during the second world war and for some reason the War Office had decided they needed Naval personnel in Kenya. Dad was never quite sure why.

Anyway, the base where he was stationed was a few miles inland from the Kenyan coast and for a short time they had a prisoner in the camp. Dad never knew why the guy was detained. He can’t have been viewed as dangerous because he was allowed to roam around the camp with almost complete freedom.

One day, the prisoner went up to the camp commander and asked him the obvious question.

‘What’s to stop me walking off down that road?’ he said, pointing to the dirt road linking the camp with the Kenyan coast.

‘Nothing,’ said the commander. He paused for a while and glanced down the road before adding, ‘apart from the lions.’

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