|Updated: 9/13/2012 3:57 pm
||Published: 9/13/2012 3:56 pm
Former German Prisoner of War Frank Mays, who was held as a POW at Camp Gruber, Okla., during World War II, will make a return visit there on Friday morning.
In 1943, Corporal Mays and his German army unit surrendered to the British during fighting in South Africa and he was then transported to New Jersey by ship and then to Camp Gruber by train. He was held at the internment camp for approximately 12 months.
Mays will be accompanied by his niece, Patricia Powers-Simonelli, who has planned the trip as a surprise for her uncle’s 90th birthday present. Powers-Simonelli said Mays has often talked of his time at Camp Gruber and how he would like to see it once more.
“At Camp Gruber, he used his skills as an electrician to rig up lights that they used to put on skits. He said that the leaders of the Camp came to see what they were doing and found it very impressive,” said his niece. “He never stops telling us how well they were treated at Camp Gruber. The general atmosphere didn't even make it seem like they were prisoners.”
On Friday, Mays and his family will visit Camp Gruber where they will receive a tour of the Camp and many of its modern training facilities. Camp Gruber has changed immensely since Mays last laid eyes on it some 68 years ago.