What would you do ? (18) The Solution

“What would you do ?” used to figure on the cover of a boys’ comic called “Boys’ World”. This was a publication, obviously, aimed at boys, and first appeared on January 26th 1963. There were 89 issues before the comic was merged with Eagle in 1964. The last issue of “Boys’ World” came out on October 3rd 1964.

I used to buy “Boys’ World”, and this was mainly for the front cover which always featured a kind of puzzle. It was called “What would you do ?” and was based on somebody being in what Ned Flanders would call “A dilly of a pickle”. Here’s the situation:

And the problem was:

The correct solution was always given inside the comic, in this case on page 2.  Here it is :

And just in case you wondered, here is the whole of pages 2 and 3 :

And what about the clue? Well, if you look very carefully at the front cover, there are large quantities of lemons hanging on the trees, both behind the Orange Box, and to the right of the sentry tower.

In actual fact, this is a rather strange clue to have. Hardly any German POW camps  were in locations where lemon trees grew. For example, the POW camps of Italy were staffed by Italian troops  until September 1943 when they surrendered. Many Allied prisoners took the opportunity to leave their camp and walk south to the Allied lines. The vast majority, though, obeyed their orders from London which said, basically,  “Sit tight and we will come and get you.” Within a couple of weeks, the Germans arrived and moved every single Allied prisoner to Germany, many of them as slave labour. Some of them finished up in a POW camp from where they had a grandstand view of the daily workings of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. You can read all about this in “Spectator in Hell” by Colin Rushton. Many of these spectators were Nottingham men, captured when the Sherwood Foresters surrendered at Tobruk. In my researches, I discovered that one of them may have been John Arthur Finking, the son of a factory manager from 5 Selby Road in West Bridgford, and an Old Boy of Nottingham High School. John would be murdered by his captors as they marched all of their prisoners westwards to escape the Red Army in the snowy depths of the savage 1944-1945 winter.

Finally, there were no POW camps in the Balkans as far as I am aware or in Greece. This was because any escaper might well have been helped by the local people.

The main  criteria for the location of POW camps was (1) in Germany, surrounded by hostile civilians (2) if possible, on sandy or very light soil, so tunneling was difficult. This latter point was the reason that so many camps were located in what is now Poland, where the pine forests were gigantic, difficult to navigate in and devoid of any sympathetic locals, as those areas were then part of Germany. The soil was also extremely sandy. Finally, all of the POWcamps were as far to the east as possible, so that anybody who did escape had a very long walk to the west, and therefore a much greater chance of being spotted.




Filed under History, military

14 responses to “What would you do ? (18) The Solution

  1. GP

    Aw, no fair. I saw the fruit, but wasn’t sure what they were and to be honest – I never would have thought to use them even if I did. haha, good one, John!

    • I suppose that if the comic dates from 1963, they only had a very limited number of fruit they could use. In England there were only apples and oranges in the shops in those days, with occasional bananas.
      To be honest, I think this is the weakest puzzle so far, with a good deal of relatively obscure facts required to solve it.

  2. I don’t think I would have survived 🙂

    • And I certainly wouldn’t! Fat asthmatics are always the first ones the guard dogs get.
      Furthermore, you’d need a lot of lemons to cover my legs and I can’t reach every single bit of them!

  3. You’d have to be in a very lucky place to find lemons in that amount. Most likely I’d find myself in an camp surrounded by apple orchards.

    • I agree with you, It’s a fairly weak situation as these puzzles go. The next one is about Buffalo Bill, so I think my American readers could well be at a considerable advantage.

  4. I like the POW camp history.

    • Not many people realise that POW camps were not really very like much like the cinema has portrayed them. A book which tells the real truth about being a captive is “The Barbed Wire University” by Midge Gillies. A relative of Matt???

  5. I’m surprised that it was used during the war, but I guess someone far more clued up than me knew about it. These comics, and specially the boys ones, as far as I know, were very educational; I learnt so much from reading them (and still am thanks to you!).

  6. I think the lemons would have been plucked if they are so big 😊. And how did he cut them? I wonder how many boys were satisfied with the answer? 😊

    • Yes, I fully agree with you. Nearly all of these puzzles have been a good challenge so far, but I do think that this one is easily the least satisfactory we have seen.

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