Staff-Sergeant Peter Clarke

Staff-Sergeant Peter Clarke


Unit : No.23 Flight, "F" Squadron, No.2 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment, detached for Market Garden from No.10 Flight, "G" Squadron, No.1 Wing.

Army No. : 7356321


Peter Clarke was a pre-war territorial soldier based in West Croydon. In May 1939 he enlisted as a medic in 133 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (TA). On the 2nd September the same year the unit was mobilised and Peter was called up for active service with his fellow medics. The Field Ambulance was deployed to France in October 1939 and was involved in the Dunkirk campaign in the summer of 1940. Peter did not cross the channel with his unit as he was under nineteen years of age and therefore ineligible to deploy overseas.


While he waited for his nineteenth birthday to come, Peter was posted as a medic to a Royal Artillery Anti Aircraft Regiment, he remained at Gravesend until June 1941. Peter then had an early brush with flying when he was detached to RAF Manston to work alongside the RAF medical services manning their ambulances by day and night. Peter then served with RAMC detachments at Leigh on Sea, Colchester and Epping. In the September of 1941 Peter had successfully applied for RAF Aircrew Selection and subsequently passed and was accepted for flying duties with the RAF. Unfortunately the Army that autumn stopped all transfers to the RAF.


In the spring of 1942, Peter volunteered for service as an Army Glider Pilot. He reported for training at the Glider Pilot Regiment depot Tilshead on the 18th July 1942. After a short stay on Salisbury Plain he was posted to 29 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) at Clyffe Pypard near RAF Lyneham. Training complete, Peter concluded his initial flying training:


"E.F.T.S. Course concluded with "Above Average" Assessments as Pilot and Navigator (hours:- Dual day 51.05 Dual night 7.10 First Pilot day 47.00 Night 2.55 TOTAL 108.10)"


Peter moved north to 4 Glider Training School (GTS) at RAF Kidlington, he completed his conversion to gliders without incident in January 1943:


"G.T.S. Course concluded with "Above the Average" assessment as a Glider Pilot (hours:- Single engined day Dual 4.50 Solo 5.00 Glider Dual day 11.35 Dual night 1.15 Solo day 26.30 Solo night 1.45 TOTAL 50.55)"


On the 9th March 1943, Peter was awarded the Army Flying Badge (Wings) and promoted to Sergeant in the Glider Pilot Regiment. He then moved to the Heavy Glider Conversion Unit (HGCU) at RAF Brize Norton. Here he and his comrades were introduced to the Horsa Glider. Peter quickly got to grips with the Horsa spending just over two weeks at Brize. On completion of the course he was graded "Above Average". His flying log book shows how quickly he adapted to the new aircraft between 8-20 April 1943:


"Glider Pilot (hours: - Dual day 3.15 & night 0.5 1st pilot day 3.10 & night .40 2nd pilot day 2.50 Night 0.50 TOTAL hours -11.35)."


May 1943 was a no flying month but Peter spent the first week of June flying at the Glider Pilot Exercise Unit back on Salisbury Plain at Shrewton. After a few weeks at Shrewton Peter was posted to 6 Squadron Glider Pilot Regiment. He embarked for Algiers with his new squadron on the 19th June, the troop ship docked in North Africa on the 26th June. The first leg of the journey complete Peter and his fellow Glider Pilots boarded a US Navy troopship and sailed for Philipville. On arrival the journey continued by road, this time by Bedford 3-tonner over the Atlas Mountains. At the end of a very long and dusty road journey the convoy reached the US Airstrip at Kairouan. On arrival Peter learned of the Sicily Landings and of the losses incurred by 1 Airlanding Brigade during Operation Ladbroke.


While in Tunisia Peter added the CG-4A Waco Glider to his list of types flown, he and his comrades were converted onto the Waco by US Army Flight Instructors. He later flew as a passenger on two Albermarle sorties. His training on the Waco included some testing night flying, casting off from a C47 Dakota Tug aircraft at 4,000 feet, using moon light to navigate and then landing on flare markers. Peter's log book for the period 22 Jul – 20 Aug 43 has the following totals:


"Hours:-Day Dual 0.50 1st Pilot 2.35 2nd Pilot 2.35 Night Dual 1.00 1st Pilot 3.40 2nd pilot 1.40 Flights included remote releases from 4000 feet landing by moonlight onto two flares."


The capitulation of Italy on the 3rd September resulted in 1st Airborne Division being called forward for new operations. Peter embarked on a British troopship on the 11th September in Bizerta, the Glider Pilot Regiment was to be employed in the Infantry role. His destination along with the remainder of 1st Battalion of the Glider Pilot Regiment was the Italian mainland port of Taranto, the battalion docked 13 September 1943. Peter was stationed outside Taranto until early October when the Squadron moved to Gioia Del Colle and Putignano. There was little flying to be had and Peter logged no flying hours for September, October or November. He did however manage to 'cadge' a twenty-five minute flight as second pilot in a captured Klemm trainer. Peter flew with an RAF Flight Lieutenant from 242 Squadron RAF, he remembered the aircraft as similar in type and performance to the Miles Magister that many Glider Pilots had learned to fly in at EFTS. Peter was finally shipped home from Italy in a British troopship that left Italy on the 19th November, arriving back in England in time for Christmas on the 9th December 1943.


On the 15th December, Peter was posted to the Glider Pilot Exercise Unit (GPEU) at RAF Thruxton near Andover, where he was reintroduced to the delights of flying the Hotspur glider. After Christmas Peter, completed refresher training on the Horsa glider, the towing aircraft at the time were underpowered Whitleys. Peter moved on the 27th February 1944 to the Operational Training Unit at RAF Leicester East. Over the next few weeks Peter was introduced to the Short Stirling as a tug aircraft. With hours logged flying the Horsa as part of a combination with the Stirling under his belt Peter was posted to "G" Squadron at RAF Fairford. Again flying the Horsa in company with the Stirling he was detached to one of RAF Greenham Common's satellite airfield at Hampstead Norris in early April 1944. There was much talk of the coming invasion; speculation was ended when Peter was briefed for Operation Overlord. Peter was destined to miss the Normandy landings as his co-pilot, Sergeant Jimmy Roberts, was taken ill on D-1 with Jaundice and Glandular fever. There were no reserve pilots available; Peter missed the long awaited opportunity to gain operational experience with the 6th Airborne Division on the eastern flank of the Normandy landings.


In spite of missing out on Normandy Peter was promoted to war substantive Staff Sergeant on the 26th June 1944. The summer that followed Normandy was a long and frustrating one for Peter and the majority of Airborne Forces. Between June and September 1944 he remembers being briefed for at least half a dozen operations in France that did not materialise. In September 1944, Peter was among Glider Pilots briefed for Operation Comet but this was cancelled shortly before take off at RAF Manston. Following the abortive Comet operation three crews (including that of Peter and his second pilot - Sergeant Arnold Phillips) were detached at short notice from "G" Squadron to fly with "F" Squadron from RAF Broadwell (between Burford and Lechlade) on Operation Market Garden.


On Sunday 17th September, Peter Clarke and Sergeant Arnold Phillips took off from Broadwell, their destination was Landing Zone "S" north of Oosterbeek. On board Peter's glider were No.23 Mortar Platoon (plus handcarts) of the 1st Battalion The Border Regiment, towed by a Dakota (KG432) of 575 Squadron RAF, commanded by Warrant Officer S. Parker. At this point Peter was a very experienced pilot:


'Ours was, as far as I can recollect, one of three glider crews detached from Fairford late in the day to fly one of the gliders allocated on the first day of Market Garden to convey the 1st Border Regiment's 23 Mortar Platoon (Handcarts) or a major part of it to the battle, tasked to land on LZ "S"; their rendezvous being located at the south-west corner of that landing area.'


'The flight to Wolfheze on September 17th 1944 was my 242nd glider landing, 483rd aircraft landing and 250th solo landing (total flying hours - 260 hours 55 minutes). My next previous flights, four in number, as first pilot, had taken place in a Horsa at Leicester East on August 11 1944. Sgt Phillips, my second pilot, never flew with me in a Horsa glider prior to our flight to Arnhem on 17 September, although he did so in a Tiger Moth.'

'I regret I cannot recall whether we were briefed at Fairford or at Broadwell but I do know that we were efficiently briefed with maps and photographs to the extent that by the time we were approaching the LZ at 2500 feet, without the benefit of our having any kind of communication with the tug aircraft, as this had been inoperative from takeoff, I clearly identified where we were to land and descended rapidly with the use of flap, landing I recollect at around 80-90 mph and steering the glider as far as was possible towards the south-west corner of the field, as near to the line of trees to our left as was possible, not to be near the rendezvous (as no one told us where it was at the time), but so as to be able to unload the glider as conveniently and as without interference as possible. As we were only carrying a maximum of 13 individuals and 6 handcarts loaded with mortars and bombs and the rest of their paraphernalia, who and which could be extricated through the left hand side front door, it seems likely that "ours" is one of the three gliders observable in some of the subsequent aerial photos, at that end of the field nearest the railway line with the tail intact but probably not that one nearest to the west boundary (line of small woods at that end). The process was completed very smoothly.'


Peter landed his Horsa at 1330 hours – duration of flight was 3 hours 20 minutes


'I do not recall having been told in advance who or what we were to carry. All I knew was that we were to fly glider 184 into LZ "S" at Wolfheze and after discharging our cargo, were to rendezvous, with the rest of F Squadron from Broadwell, in the school on the south side of the railway line accessed by what was then an "on foot" level crossing (it's since then and comparatively recently been removed). I'm afraid I cannot recall the name of the school but it's still there today, just as it was at the time and with the three small detached houses to the west of the school, where we were initially welcomed. When we left the LZ, this was the last we saw of our live load and their handcarts. I do not recall having exchanged information with them in flight but we may well have done so. One of them later told me it was "a good landing" and "just like an exercise". All I can say is that I had no problems doing what I'd been trained to do.'


'I had no further contact with the Border Regiment until, on the 45th Anniversary (1989 that is) I was on a coach doing an official tour of the battlefields and asked whether there was anyone from the 1st Border Regiment aboard? I was introduced to ex Corporal Jim McDowell of 23 Mortar Platoon who I knew (almost certainly from Luuk Buist's records) had been one of our customers. We warmly exchanged greetings and each took a photograph of the other (see the attachment for mine of him). He told me they would be having an Annual Reunion up at Carlisle in April 1990. I attended this event and sat at the same table with Jim McDowell, Jack Hardwick, Ernie Westerman and another whose name I have forgotten. A memorable and most enjoyable happening!'


Jim McDowell, September 1989


'All went quiet then till on the evening of 12th February 2004 I was browsing the Battle of Arnhem website and spotted a request by Andrea Tierney, granddaughter of Ron ("Ginger") Tierney, seeking to contact relatives of Norman ("Jock") Knight whom she had identified as having been with her grandfather in the classic photo of a 3 inch mortar in action, taken by Army photographer Sgt D M Smith, which she exhibited with the same message. As a result of this contact I ascertained the whereabouts and spoke with both Jack Hardwick (resident in Hayle Cornwall) and Jock Knight (resident in Forfar Scotland), whose wife Deirdre wrote me on his behalf on 8th April 2005 with details of those who, as far as he could remember, were carried in glider 184 on the fateful day:-'


'Lieutenant (Michael Robert) Holman who was in charge of the Platoon, recommended for the MC and awarded the Dutch Bronze Lion/Star, Sergeant (Frederick William ''Mickey') Price who was KIA 22 September 1944, Corporal C. McInnes, Lance Corporal Jim McDowell, Private John Sidney Cringle, a POW in Stalag XIB Fallingbostel, Private Jack Hardwick, Private Norman (Jock) Knight, Private Ron ('Ginger') Tierney, Private Ernest Westerman, also "4 Bomb Carriers" - names unknown to Jock Knight. The glider also contained 6 handcarts (as earlier mentioned) With the exception of Sgt Price and Pte Cringle, the group returned intact to the UK after the operation.'


Later that evening Peter was dug in on the eastern side of Landing Zone "L", No.12 Wing The Glider Pilot Regiment were deployed as part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade perimeter. The next night Peter was involved in the move of the Regiment south to Oosterbeek. From about the third day of the battle Peter was responsible for the establishment and manning of an ad-hoc Regimental Aid Post (RAP) serving the men of 7th Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Glider Pilots of No.2 Wing who were holding the northern perimeter. The RAP was located in a Dutch house on Oranjeweg. Peter's second pilot Sergeant Arnold Phillips was killed in action on the 25th September - the circumstances of his death are unknown. Arnold Phillips is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Oosterbeek, plot 6.B.14. In correspondence Peter later added further detail to his memories of Arnhem, especially of the Airlanding Infantrymen that flew as his load (see article below).


Peter did not escape Arnhem in spite of being given the option to withdraw with the remnants of 1st British Airborne Division during Operation Berlin. On the night of the 25th September as hundreds made for the river bank he remained in the house on Oranjeweg caring for four wounded soldiers. Consequently he was taken prisoner on the 26th September and moved to Krone Wilhelm III Barracks in Apeldoorn.


On the evening of the 30th September in company with two other Glider Pilots (Fred Eaton & Bill Blanthorn) Peter escaped the Germans. They were recaptured at dusk on 1 October, 13 miles North West of their point of departure, the Germans, who were hunting deer, returned them to captivity. From October onwards Peter was a POW, spending three weeks in Stalag XI B at Fallingbostel in northern Germany. He was then moved east to Stalag VIIIC at Sagan in Poland. Peter was on the move early in 1945; setting off under guard on 9 February he and hundreds of POWs were marched west ahead of the advancing Red Army. After six days in a revier (minor hospital), Peter considered himself fortunate in being able to join a group of a some dozen prisoners under two elderly guards and continued walking west and then north, finally arriving at a Stalag at Brunswick on the 26th March. On the 11th April, he joined a group of prisoners walking east, but on Friday 13th April, after walking for some 330 miles in all, Peter was finally liberated by the American 2nd Army in the village of Horsingen, east of Helmstedt.


What follows is the diary that Peter Clarke kept during his captivity.


POW Diary


When we left the old Homeland on Sunday 17th September. Among the many names inscribed on the outside of the old glider was "Jehovah Jireh" - the Lord will provide. And as I sit up on the old 3 tier bunk on today Friday, 12 January, 1945 I know this quotation has been proven time and time again during the past four months.


Sunday 17 Sept 1944

England to Arnhem


Tuesday 26 Sept 1944

Arnhem to Apeldoorn Krone Wilhelm Barracks


Monday 3 to Thursday 6 October 1944

To Stalag XIB, Fallingbostel near Hanover


Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 October 1944

Stalag XIB to Stalag VIII C Sagan


Thursday 8 Feb 1945

Left Sagan by road for we don't know where


Sunday 19 March 1945

Still on the road and we still don't know our final destination




There's a lady that's waiting in a land oe'r the sea

With a genuine welcome for you and for me

With a smile and a kiss and a loving embrace

Happiness glowing on her sweet smiling face

It's a love that's different - the love of a mother

The love that can never be shared with another

A love that is true, that is deep and sincere

Growing in depth of each passing year


She has worked and prayed for each of her brood

Taught them to be honest, straightforward and true

Has moulded the day in her own special way

To weather the storms of each passing day

She tended our needs and guarded our health

Giving advice - the choice of her wealth

Of experience gleaned in the years of her youth

Taught us with care, with patient and truth


It's a true mother's love as you can see

That's extended to us from over the sea

As let us remember the things she has wrought

And repay her with kindness of ever sort

There's a lady who's waiting in a land o'er the sea

With a homecoming welcome when you are free

She'll hold you and kiss you, hold you so tight

That's all that she prays for, all day and each night


From another POW's scrapbook Sagan 27 Nov 1944


Books that have come my way


Through jade gate and central Asia - Mildred Cable and Francesca French - Hutchinson

High Country - Alistair Maclean - Allenson

The Story of the other wise man - Henry van dyke - Harpers

Coaching Days and Coaching Ways - W Outram Tristram - Macmillan

The Philosophy of the atonement - Revd Wade Robinson - Everyone's Library

Poor Little Joe - Aunt Friendly


XMAS DAY - 1944

Ray and I were able to save the majority of the fare that made up on Xmas Day menu but the arrival of a red cross parcel on the day before enabled the food situation to be doubly fortified! Thank God for all his benefits. "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness" Psalm 107



Breakfast 8am

Porridge, toast and marmalade, Toast and cheese, bread and blackcurrent jam, cocoa


Elevenses - 11am

Deutsche Macaroni (De-Luxe)


Xmas Dinner at 2pm

A magnificent fry-up composed of meat roll, egg, radish, bread and potatoes, xmas pudding and jam sauce, coffee Biscuits and cheese


Tea Classic - 5pm

Strawberries on biscuit and cream Bread and jam xmas cake select brew


Supper at 8pm

Pilchards on toast cheese and biscuits Toast and marmalade toast and jam cocoa


And so came the end of what was, in the circumstances a very happy, and for a change, a completely satisfying day's food.


FOOTNOTE Xmas parcels finally arrived in January and the first one was "dished out" on Thursday 11 January 1945. It contained -


1 Xmas pudding

1 Xmas cake

1 Tim of Steak

1 Tin of baked beans

1 Packet of Pudding Powder

1 Tin of Empire Honey

1 Tin of Butter

1 Block ¼lb of sugar

1 2oz packet of tea

1 Small tin of fish

1 Tin of Pork & Stuffing

1 Tin of corned pork

1 Packet of custard

1 1/4lb block of blended chocolate


This parcel was very much appreciated and the contents were excellent quality. The cake was delicious, the pudding, which we had with custard at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16th was of the final quality and Hunters and Palmers were the makers of the cake and Peek Freans of the pudding. The honey was of excellent quality the pork was very tasty, but the pork had to be looked for !! The steak was undoubtedly of the premiere class and we disposed of it in two delightful pies which were demolished with ceremony on Thursday and Friday 18 and 19 Jan and of course it would not be fair to fail to mention the blended chocolate which was the best we have tasted so far.


So much for food. We have so very much to be thankful for and indeed God has been our most ever present provider for the good things and personally I have appreciated the most meagre of Red X issues for the have provided all that speak of Home Sweet Home and make up the variety which is the spice of this life.





Some quotations from books that have come my way




"Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul May keep the path, but will not reach the goal While he who walks in Love may wander far Yet God will bring him where the blessed are"



The moral of which book is -


"Verify I say unto you, in as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou last done it unto me


ibid p.74


29/1 "High Country" p 57-63 John 14 13-14


"If ye shall ask anything in my name" - anything - ask for -


1. Forgiveness of sins

2. The mind of Christ

3. For the Power to be what you believe Power to live as you Pray Power of the Holy Ghost

4. For the Assurance of your own immortality in short - ask for great and lasting things.




"Thus it is ever with the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father. Everyday is the good day, for it is God's day of opportunity, whatever befalls is best. His will is love - his service freedom - His purpose is wise and kind and as our faith in him grows firmer and our trust more radiantly sure, our souls breathe a calm which no happening can mar. In possession of it we feel that nothing hurtful can harm us in easy way and we are not afraid even of evil tidings!"


The Tranquil Heart p.147 of High Country




"In plainer speech, you come to the secret of Jesus when you have the courage to take the road Jesus took. What was that road? - He went with his father God - he loved the things God loved, whatever is fair and good and high. He loved every man as brother and every woman as sister. He forgave every one. He belied in the poor stuff an angel is hidden somewhere. So was he never frowning to natural weakness, but pitied it, and by his pity redeemed it. He hated deliberate sin, but the sin doer he loved and loves us still. Did he not die for us on his Cross? Does he not plead for us in his heaven? There is no profit or purpose in pushing at an open door. The secret of Jesus is his peace, is plain to all the humble in heart. Whatever you have been in the past, live as he lived in the future. Turn your feet to the way of God. Cherish truth and goodness. Love everyone. Forgive everyone and the boon is ours the joyous quiet of Jesus" p.182 "High Country"


Hymn from the Methodist Hymn Book Much Beloved and of especially tender memory of the Frys of Gravesend


"I know not what the future hath, or marvel or surprise

Assured alone that life or death, his mercy underlies

I know not where his islands life their fronded palms in air

I only know I cannot drift beyond his love and care

P.168 High Country


"Whatoever that ye would men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them" Matthew 7.12


Charles Simeon of Cambridge said this about our relations with other men - Regarding speak of others


1. To hear as little as possible whatever is to the prejudice of others

2. To believe nothing of the kind until absolutely forced to do so

3. Always to believe that if the other side was heard a very different version would be given to the matter"


High Country p. 191


Also said by Charles Simeon - "I consider love as wealth, and as I should resist a man who should come and rob my house, so would I resist a man who would weaken my regard for any human being"


Ruth to Naomi - "Entreat me not to leave thee nor to depart from thee, for where thou goest I will go and whither thou dwellest I will dwell. The Lord do so to me and more also if ought but death do part thee and me"


Ruth 1. 16-18


"But to love the unseen Christ that lies deep hidden in every man and woman, to love past the veneer of ignorance and vanity and vulgarity to the sleeping Christ below, to believe in the divine goodness and to love your brothers and sisters for that - this is a harder thing. This is the disciple's task and when we have achieved it, this is to achieve enrichment and growth and achievement


"Oh ye who taste that love is sweet

set way-marks for all doubtful feet

That stumble on in search of it

Lead lives of love; that others who

Behold your lives may kindle too

With love and cast their lot with you

P. 198 "High Country"


"….But what most of us feel with the increase of years and knowledge is that there are three distinct duties we owe ourselves and God -


1. To think through things into decisions

2. To accept your work as being the work your father meant you to do and to do it with all your might.

3. To live in an atmosphere of gladness and to carry your atmosphere with you and the power to do this comes direct from God, and when it does, the lovely thing that happens is that God thinks through your mind and acts through your will with gentleness and certainty and rightness and life becomes a thing of growth and fruit. So our dear Lord taught simple folk long ago in Galilee and as you and I yield our wills to his truth and our sins to his cross, so still he teaches all. "Belong to God" as a Saint of yesterday put it "Belong to God and become a wonder to yourself"


P.202 High Country


Prayer for knowledge and love


"O thou who art the light of the minds who know thee, the life of the souls who love thee, the strength of the hearts that serve thee; help us to know thee that we may truly love thee, so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whose service is perfect freedom, through Jesus Christ our Lord"


Gelasian Sacrementary AD 494


The March from Russian Slavery (?)


Feb 8th Thurs

March started to glassworks.


9th Fri

Slept in Commando the other side of Muchau, good billet - hotplate in the hut, but someone stole my Bible, cigarettes and matches in an oilskin case


Sat 10th Feb

Slept in a wood. Chaotic conditions. Very cold


Sun 11th Feb

Introduced to our first football pitch in Spremburg. Bitterly cold snowed in the night - it was so cold that couldn't sleep - just wandered about all the night.


Monday 12th Feb

On next day to the second football pitch 6 kilos south of Seftenburg. Got together with 4 others and built a fire - stayed up through snow all night and when the morning came could hardly open my eyes for the smoke that came from the fire.


Tuesday 13th Feb

Staggered on all day and had to dispose of the pole and box in which we had carried out kit from the beginning of the march. Yet another football field today. We just slept through the rain and woke in the morning feeling as you would think after sleeping in these conditions.


Wednesday 14th Feb

On today through a very Nazified town under the Autobahn and came to a village 5 kilos or so from it. We were introduced to a very unique village and to a big barn which was under cover too. Hot water came up.


Thursday 15th Feb

Got mixed up with "Kranke" column and pulled Dave Harrison on a trolley stretcher for 11 kilo to Grossernheim. Went to a Revier which was a haven of rest. Had spuds, soup, coffee, dressings and a good rest in Russian Revier.


Friday 16th Feb

Left Dave Harrison behind in Revier and carried on with another fellow on same cart to another village near to Rissa. Slept in another barn. No cooking done for us though we pooled the stuff that came to us on the shop the "Boiler man" being i/c the dishing out of rations! No bread issue today either.


Saturday 17th Feb

On today through Rissa. Received dressings in the open outside a factory. Some of our fellows in a commando just on the outskirts of the town gave us some bread, food and cigs and on the outskirts of the town folks boiled a soup for us and spuds and we went to a village where we slept in a house for the night. Very fairly treated indeed though first signs of Gestapo tried to throw us out. Boiled egg a piece at this farm.


Sunday 18th Feb

On by transport to Oschatz Barracks - then Revier, when I was detailed together with Glenn Ferreara - a South African and Percy a G.P. Received a tin of jam and packet of biscuits for three of us. Dates are a bit confused. I am pretty sure I cam in Revier on a Saturday, not a Sunday


Sun 19th Feb

Received first rations - soup on morning of 19th. The rations were good all the time here. Fresh meat four of five times. Good pea soup and spuds and second vegetable and also meat.


On the Monday 20th Padre from Stalag IV C came and some bulk issue. Jam, M&V & Butter came same afternoon which we distributed arriving the 22 there. There had been a big fiddle among the French with the last lot of BRITISH Red X stuff coming in - so we 'lashed out' the lot. 2 tins milk, jam 2 of plum jam, 2 of M and V of butter per man 11/2 tins of m jam went in as many days.


Tuesday 21st - Monday 27th

In this Lazarette saw German Doctor on the Saturday and he discharged many of us though my wrist is far from healed yet - said we were going by Transport but this was not the case and we joined a mixed column as they left Ozchatz Barracks at 10am on Monday the 27th Feb. Marched 11 kilos today to Barn - we were too slow with getting spuds here, but we traded with Indians - so acquired some.


Tuesday 28th

On to village. 4 kilos east of Grimma. Spuds cooked for us here - plenty of them for four of us - Bert Honey of Woodfood Green, Cyril of Lincoln - Bill of Gravesend.


Wednesday 1st March

We 'went slow' to Grimma and beyond in order to stay and get dressings but did not succeed and finished up that night in a very 'ropey' billet indeed - near to S of Leipzig. Managed to get some spuds cooked for a piece of soap - the Hun fraulein!


Thursday 2nd March

On today, near to a Jerry surface coal installation. Bitter winds in the day here. Cyril slipped the column today but go nothing. Stopped in village and put in a barn, opposite the Burgomasters. Bert and I got dressings in this lady's house - but nothing to eat. Good rations of coffee, sausage, bread and marg etc at village on Thursday evening. Availed ourselves of local supplies of spuds and leeks! I got a soup cooked in a house p.m.


Friday 3rd

We laid up all day as a day of rest. Brought syrup and also saccharine from lady of the house - this was my first attempt at getting cooking done. We also had a soup before leaving on Sat 4th - we tried to 'go slow' again but without success. Very bitter wind over again today. Lunch was on the edge of a surface coal installation. On for a good distance through one village to the next because they couldn't give us any rations. Finished the day in a small village off the main road and 18 kilos from Naumberg (which was said to be our final destination). Cyril & Bert found a Polish family who cooked us a grand soup with the spuds - they also made us a soup and cooked spuds for the road for us. We arrived at Naumberg and on Sunday 5th and contrary to expectations ended up in a barn - after covering the town from end to end. Spuds cooked for all but a new Feldwebel took over and forbade the future of cooking of spuds.


Monday 6th

On the road again today. Through Bad somewhere or other - up steep hill - saw marvellous views today. But very very stiff march for 36 kilos - got into a village 2 kilos the other side of Buttstedt and I was pretty nearly dead beat. Tried to find a barn of own but didn't succeed - got back to main column - nobody minded. Chaotic trying to make bed in the dark.


Tuesday 7th

Bert, Leonard and I laid up in straw under cart and eat everything by 4pm. Away at 5 and thanks to the excessive attention of some kiddies ended up at the Burgomasters. Got a spot of bread and coffee and got connected with the "Kranke" column that left Oschatz a week after us by Transport. Cake, bread, potatoes, pm and some wizzo soup - so we went from the region of nix to that of plenty! Thank God.


Wednesday 8th

Bert and I more or less lived in the house for today which was a day of rest for the column. Soup for all & spuds. Replenished supplies with Syrup, sugar, cheese etc.


Thursday 9th March

French (3 of them) worked a fast one on the English fellows as the time came for departing. Bert was away for dressings and they got 9 of us onto a fast column - but we went very slowly and so kept going - partly by cart but mostly by foot. "Wog" collapsed in a town. Notorious kindness of some Poles who gave three of us Bread, Worst bread and jam, coffee and 2 cigarettes bless them. Walked last 5 kilos at cracking pace. Night in a school there. Got cracking in the morning at 6.15 and was eating my soup at 6.45. Still had Berts bread - spuds and other joint stuff, so was pretty concerned about it. Fortunately, the Wog slowed things down very considerably and the column left at 10 or so. I did a 'double shuffle' onto Bert's cart. Read English with small German girl and was given some bread and fat and bacon fat. Night before - 2 white rolls and coffee in nearby house.


Friday 10th March - which together with an egg - extra bread enabled us to make the best of a dead u/s billet on the next evening. Coffee was brought up but this was all.


Saturday 11th

ON today to yet another u/s billet I'm afraid. A barn on the outside of a village. Fortunately we were a ration in hand and so this helped us through the difficult period. Went with Harry - to the Feldwebels house! But didn't meet with approval here. Guard brought us back but with no ill feeling really! On the morrow - Sunday 12th walked with the cart to our next billet - Harry and I were counselled to walk! As we had walked so well round village the previous evening! Needless to say we only did so for a kilo or so and then rejoined the carts. Coming to the village which we reached at midday. There wasn't much to be had and Bert and I were slow in getting out much to our regret, but all the same we visited a house to get tea cooked and the old 'so and so' was a bit of a tartar and gave us only one piece of white bread. Did quite well round house pm and good soul gave us huge soup with sheep's head in it at 5pm. Got some spuds from Russian at 6 and then turned in. Coffee in the morning here.


Monday 13th

On the road once again today. Through a Nazified town - Muhlhausen - Just outside we changed carts and Bert and I nipped off to see what could be done - Answer - much coffee but little more. Came this evening through lovely villages to The Village.


On the Monday evening I nipped straight out with Bert and three old souls got cracking on our soup which was absolutely first class - their interest was for soap afterwards but that was to be understood really. Good kip and on the next morning we were all ready to go at 7.30 when the order came to stay for another day.


Tuesday 14th

We got cracking for spuds and soup materials and did astonishingly well indeed, no one refused and we soon had 70 spuds, carrots onions and beet. We visited a house finally where we were given lovely coffee and bread and spread. Our soup was cooked here and we had our dinner before the soup!! To which was added fried onions. We finally left here at 5 and got spuds cooked elsewhere at 7 - very enjoyable too (Listened to BBC from 12-2 today in house of lady who cooked our soup - this comment was added after return to the UK).


Wednesday 15th

Regretfully moved on from here (Tessa) and came at midday to Best ever. Like chumps we came back from our travels too early but had a reception that has been equalled nowhere at all. Bags of bread and cheese and bread and cakes and it stood us in very good stead later. Village to which we came - first house - no cooking - no spuds so we went to a good barn where a soup was cooked. Only minor activities in the event Breadcakes. Up early am and got coffee, bread and dripping bread and paste and 2 cigs. But this was the end of things for us.


For Thursday 16th we moved for a few kilos by cart. Village was u/s - actually got told to "clear off". Arrived at Brick works - Dudestadt slept outside (practically) - no soup no rations - none for 2 days now. Filthy place. Soup queues were like bedlam. Shots through the night Stayed outside till 2 when coming back from dressings (where I left my gloves behind - blow it) Conditions in the factory were absolutely foul. Thousands of chaps living - just about - in brick dust. We are on bottom floor whence filter through lice urine - brick and particles from above two floors.


On the Friday night 17th (unreadable section). Rations are - 6 to a 1500 gram loaf. 1 Limburger cheese or 30 to 3lb marj. Jerry tea - cold first thing and Klim Tin of soup at 6pm for us and up to 12pm for some poor devils. No fires allowed for cooking chaps come through - trading wheat, gold rings - everything in fact and ones kit is liable to 'take a walk' at any moment.


On Saturday 18th German authorities said all would be away by coming Tuesday, this remains to be seen of course. Many Americans are in a very bad state - they have been ill treated and some have on the road for 2 months - ever since capture (on December 18th 1944). Their rations have not been consistent at 4 to 1 loaf - 1 day - sometimes 8 to a loaf (we had 12 to a loaf for 2 days!) and have had 6 days total so far without any rations! French are treated best of all and have lived the best of all on the road - they had the parcels, the cigarettes therefore the means to trade, also the experience and the fact that French labour has pretty nearly run the German agricultural machine for I don't know how long.


Sunday 19th

Sees me still here and this morning I have written diary lying on my bed of 3' by 2" boards with the brick dust all round and rations of bread and I don't know what eagerly awaited. Thanks to God - from whom most surely comes our daily bread - we entered this filthy place with a 2 kilo loaf, 1 kilo more of civvy breach which we had scrounged, 13 spuds, 2 swedes, 6 onions, 4 carrots and some salt, we haven't starved yet, but many of the fellows are pretty near it believe me. We've got little less than a half loaf left - a bit of swede and a few onions and some salt. This is now 11.30am Sunday 19th March 1945 - Roll on the day of liberation! I've spent the last two days delousing myself to the best of my ability - having had no delousing since 1st week on January. On March 10th - I had to sling my pullover - it was too bad to do anything with.


I won't forget those two words chalked on glider 184 on Sunday 17th September 1944 "Jehovah Jireh" - truly, to God can be our only hope of deliverance and to his only son our only hope of both and eternal salvation to whom be the glory.


Monday 19th March

Up 2 floors today. Death trap of a building - goodness alone knows what would happen if there was a fire here. Out on the field in the afternoon.


Wednesday 21st March

Moved at 12.40. Feeling very weak. Marched 21 kilos (no name stated) 100 in Barn. Half a dozen hot spuds.


Thursday 22nd March

Rations pm pork and bread issues. With 400 in big barn.


Friday 23rd March

23 kilos to a v. large barn. Washed in stream. No food other than jerry rations. Totally inadequate. Feel weaker now than at the beginning of March - everyone else the same.


Saturday 24th March

Day of rest today. Soup (?) midday - ½ litre. Rations pm bread and meat.


Sunday 25th March

Moved at 6am 25 kilos - very tired. Arrived at 3.30. Very tired and weak. Finished off bread ration here.


Monday 26th March

Although had been told that we wouldn't move till Tuesday at least - we suddenly moved at 2.40pm and did 8 kilos without a break all we had was 3 raw and 2 cooked spuds and a good soup at 10pm. We arrived at Brunswick at 7.30pm - Incomplete Stalag - we were fortunate in that Bert and I went straight into beds - top bunks.


Tuesday 27th March

Waited till 4pm before any food came up - was absolutely famished by then. We chatted about food with one Marty Dudek from New York for hours! Awful shambles all day waiting for hours for soup and then till 6pm for bread - 5 men to 1500 gramme loaf and a tiny piece of sausage for one day. Bed was welcome but a very irritating business - oh those little wretches.


Wednesday 28th March

Roll call took from 6.30 to 7.25 then in for breakfast! Salt and bread 5 to 1500 gramme loaf for today.


Thursday 29th March

Soup up at 12.30. Carried some bread and got 1/3 of broken loaf for it gave us ½ loaf for today to eat liberally today - physical condition is in direct relation to ones daily ration. Wednesday's soup was Noodles, Thursday's swede.


Friday 30th March

¼ loaf for 2 days! and infinitesimal amount of meat as 2 days back issue and for Friday and Saturday. Soup did not come up till 7.15pm. Many chaps eat their bread and meat for today and tomorrow on Friday as soon as they were issued with it. I managed with difficulty to save some for Saturday morning. CSM Downs has gone to Fallingbostel and Lubeck to see about Red Cross Parcels - we are hoping for the best. The news is also alleged to be very good!


Saturday 31st March

Breakfast consisted of coffee (without sugar) - sugar yesterday morning only! and a fragment of bread I had managed to save for which I was very thankful. Air raid 9.30am - very close at times water and lights u/s. Starvation rations today - 200 gr of bread and 50 gram of margarine to last till Sunday next! Just ate small slice with the marj - saved larger portion of tomorrow's bread which was issued at 5.30 - one hopes it will last.



































































































* Denotes matching rations


Total for Marching Rations is




Per day







- 2800 gr)

- 160 gr  ) 6 days

- 230 gr  ) 

- 466.6gr

- 26.6 gr

- 38.3 gr


Total for Stationary Rations is




Per day








- 1825 gr

- 1775 gr  ) 5 days

- 95 gr


- 355 gr

- 19 gr

























Extra 1

Marg 50










Extra 2


Jam 165


Jam 80






























Sunday 1st April Easter Sunday

Jam and bread came off at 12 midday. I eat todays ration and the small bits off tomorrow's and Tuesdays 400 grams of bread for two days and about 165 grams jam. Chatted with fellows in Revier all the afternoon and got to bed at 9.


Monday 2nd April Easter Monday

Up at 7.20 - Summer time has begun! Know places the allies at 85 miles away here now (Friday). During the night someone took my Red Cross box from behind my head and got 1 ½ days bread, 1/3 jam and 1/3 margarine plus my salt. They took the whole box, which I found later - fortunately 2 cocoa tins and another tin was left - so all one can say is "Roll on skilly!"


Tuesday 3rd April

Skilly last night was swede again - 5 days running. I got up for coffee this morning (-Roll Call!) but felt so horrible that I went straight to bed again and stayed there till 4pm - when I got up I felt absolutely terrible - weak as a fortnights flu and horrible taste in my mouth too, but stayed up. Tea was up at 6 and special soup for the sick. A British Lt Colonel - two German m.o.'s have been round today - are very concerned about the state of affairs here - if they all feel like I do - 48 hours 2 skilly and two thin slivers of bread then it can be understood. The promises of Matthew 6 need to be borne very much in mind. Its 6.10 and we still await dry rations and soup. Oh Roll on. Bread suddenly came 500 grams today and tomorrow plus the ½ jam ration. Soup at 7.30. Eat a little over half my bread - what a grand change to have some food inside me and boy was that jam and bread good? Thank God.


Wednesday 4th April 1945

Finished off my bread for breakfast and the jam - couldn't resist it. We made a skilly at midday out of someone elses peelings and scraps and it was good too - the first cooking we have been able to do so far. English Tea up at 4.30. Bread promised for next two days is 500 grams. Cheese and jam promised but not materialised also a sugar ration dry thanks to Sgt - Major. At 9pm - Terrific shout lorry with 400 parcels and the Dollmecher. All American parcels. Soup didn't come up till 9.30pm. Couldn't sleep all night not till 4.30am - felt like a little kiddie awaiting Xmas - up at 6.


Thursday 5th April

Very impatient for parcel. One between 3 at 9am. We split it up and then had spam, bread, prunes, milk (Nestles), chocolate and sweets. Had a coffee brew later together with bread and liver pate and cheese and oleo margarine. Contents of parcel:-


1 Tin of Nestles milk powdered

1 Tin of jam (traded for butter ¼ lb)

1 Block of chocolate

1 Tin of coffee

1 packet of sweets

1 Tin of salmon

1 Tin of corned pork

1 Packet of sugar

1 Tin of M & V

1 100 cigarettes

1 Packet of Biscuits (traded for cereals)

1 Tin of Oleo Margerine

1 Tin Liver Pate

1 Tin of cheese

1 Packet prunes

1 Packet vitamin tablets


Felt very satisfied indeed and very thankful indeed too. Soup threatens to be very late again this evening (its now 11.15)




At 12.30 Hrs 2 No ARMD DIV U.S.E.F



Soup, potatoes and Noodles

Brot, Uns. Marmellata

Café mit milch


Aft Snack

Following much Milch etc

Chopped ham and egg sandwich

Biscuit. Butter and marmalade

Biscuit butter and cheese

Orange juice



A La Carte

Spam Frise

Oeuvres Frise

Spud Frise

Brot Frise

Onions Frise


Tea milk and sugar (Kleine Ersatz)


Friday 6th

German Ration were not quote so important from now onwards - bread ration was stabilised at 250 grammes per day and soup was consistent i.e. swede, swede and more swede!! - absolutely no food value whatsoever.


Saturday 7th

These Red X parcels caused plenty of bartering to take place - Peanut butter being the special promise of the Americans - and of course tea - the special promise of the English. Various rumours have circulated as to the proximity of allied arms - but one never believes anything until it happens!


A further supply of parcels - 804 to be precise arrived at 11pm - wild excitement again.


Sunday 8th

In the afternoon - issue of American parcels one to two men. We got an excellent parcel with Raisins and all we most hoped for







































i/c 7356321











i/c 7259










i/c 3192442











Clarke P

Honey A E

Lock E S

S/Sgt Clarke P

Sgt Honey A E

L/Bde Coote E G

Cpl Deakins W H

Cpl Lock E S
Spr McDonald R

Pte Burden R S

Pte Fleming W F

Cpl Hale R

Rfn Clare J C

Pte Pofficary E G

Cpl Rathburn J

Pte Martin R

Pte Edmunds E C

Pte Hanson L D

Gnr Taylor G

Pte Way E

Pte Selfridge

Fus Macl

L/Cpl Bain

Dvr Rugen

Cpl Andrew K

Gnr Walters E

Pte Morris

Pte Lloyd R T

Pte Brown J D

Pte Chapman C

W/O Garnett W

Pte Cunningham L E

Pte Scarborough































(     )




























NOTE - this list of allied POW's was prepared by Peter at the request of a senior NCO prior to his departure to the UK from Hildesheim but never utilised.


Monday 9th April

Bert's birthday - a monumental occasion - I prepared two "Sundaes" - utilizing powdered milk, chocolate, coffee, raisins, jam and bread and biscuits - we voted them a great success and all things considered we consumed a small but satisfying repast.


Wednesday 11th

At 8am marched out of the compound. Great scramble for bread. Some civilians walking away with some of our bread shortly afterwards - Americans got honey - we didn't. We got 1 loaf - some - only 2/3 for two for two days. Discipline went completely to pot this time on the march - chaps were leaving and joining the column when they thought fit and the guards were grouped together taking no notice of us whatsoever.


Douglas Dakota FZ669




Wireless Operator

Jack J Reed S/L

Mell Depew

W J Hughes

Maclerd C F

R.C.A.F. 437 Sqn




Detail of aircrew who flew us home from Hildersheim on 18th April.


- with the possible exception of one or two "ropier" types who still caused a little trouble. German soldiers of all regiments were seen in groups along the road - mostly deserters and fellows who had been discharged in haste from surrounding hospitals. Wednesday we stopped in a good barn for the night. Coffee was served straight away on our arrival.


Thursday 12

En route once again. Cooked potatoes on the march - roasting them on our brazier. We purchased a good 30-40 lbs for 12 cigarettes! During the morning I conversed with 4 different French men - each of whom assured me that the Americans had encircled us - we didn't dare believe it! During the afternoon lorries and cars with Luftwaffe personnel on board passed us going the same way - this gave us the first indication that the rumours had become facts!


All today we had heard the sounds of gunfire all round us and towards the end of the day - machine guns joined in to give us more optimism. We had heard guns now from Wednesday onwards.


Friday 13th

Who said 13 was unlucky? We had a day of rest at the farm at Horsingen - soup and coffee had been supplied for us - no argument at all! I was engaged in the process of shaving at midday when someone came running in to the yard and then chaos ensued. Just got out into street in time to see jeep and armoured car with white star pass us. Within a hour all our ex-guards were on parade outside the "local" - yanks in charge.


Attempted estimate of credits up to end of March 1945


Last pay day was 12th Sept approx.




Sept 22 29 (2)

Oct 6 13 26 27 (4)

Nov 3 10 17 24 (4)

Dec 7 8 15 22 29 (5)

Jan 5 12 19 26 (4)

Feb 2 9 16 23 (4)

Mch 2 9 16 23 (4)





Deduct tax 28 weeks



Remittances home






























(workings out)




Peter flew home five days later in Dakota FZ 669 piloted by Squadron Leader Jack T. Reed then of 437 Squadron RCAF, who, as a Flight Lieutenant with 512 Squadron RAF had, on 17th September 1944, towed a glider from Broadwell to Holland in Dakota KG 558, just 10 minutes ahead of Peter's own departure from the same location! Peter has no record of their flight time from Hildesheim to RAF Wing in Buckinghamshire but very happy memories of his first bath there after a gap of seven months.


As a returning POW Peter was granted six weeks leave on double rations. He never returned to flying duties and was demobbed from the Army at Finmere on the 28th April 1946, following which he returned to complete the last month of his articles as a prospective Solicitor. After satisfying his examiners, he was finally admitted to the profession in July 1947 and in October 1987 had the privilege of completing the legal work that gave birth to then newly re-constituted Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop, the home of today's Army Air Corps, successors (inter alia) to the Glider Pilot Regiment.


Peter Clarke remains an active member of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association; he is a regular speaker on Army Air Corps, Senior Command and Leadership Course Battlefield Studies of Arnhem.



My thanks to Para Data and Mike Peters for the Arnhem and biographical aspects of this account, to Rosemarie Martin and Joanne Hook for the POW account, and not least to Peter Clarke for all of the above.


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