Pictures

Trooper Gilbert Knott

A note informing Gilbert Knott's family that he has been declared missing

A note informing Gilbert Knott's family that he is a prisoner of war in Italy

British prisoners at P.G. 70

British soldiers of No.1 Compound line up for a photograph

British prisoners dress up for Ascot race day

Gilbert Knott making his own way to the Allied lines on bicycle

Gilbert Knott making his own way to the Allied lines on bicycle

Gilbert Knott in Llandudno in June 1946

Trooper Knott's debriefing questionnaire

The North Staffordshire Prisoners of War Comfort Fund

Trooper Gilbert Meyers Hyndman Knott

 

Unit : 4th Royal Tank Regiment, 54th Royal Armoured Corps

Served : North Africa (captured)

Army No. : 7941477

Camps : Tarhuna, P.G. 85 and 70, Stalag IVB and IVF.

 

The following is the day to day diary kept by Gilbert Knott during his captivity, June 1942 to May 1945, during which he worked at the Himmelfahrt Fundgrube mine, work camp F57, Freiberg, Saxony. My thanks to Phil Knott for donating a copy to the site.

 

June 1942

20 Saturday - Shelling Tobruk.

 

21 Sunday - Tobruk fell. Marched for 4 hours.

 

23 Tuesday - Left for Derna 7.30 pm.

 

24 Wednesday - Arrived 3 am. Washed and shaved.

 

25 Thursday - Left Derna for Benghazi. Arrived Benghazi 8 pm.

 

26 Friday - 1st shit since Tobruk fell. Tents.

 

28 Sunday - Rations were 2/3 loaf. Italian bully. Hot. Got some desert sores on arms and legs. Lots of deaths due to shits.

 

July 1942

1 Wednesday - Left Benghazi for El Agheila.

 

2 Thursday - Left El Agheila for Sirte.

 

3 Friday - Left Sirte for Horns.

 

4 Saturday - Arrived Tarhuna.

 

5 Sunday - 7 Tuesday - Still at Tarhuna.

 

8 Tuesday - Reg Howard went to hospital with piles.

 

9 Wednesday - Not feeling so good. Had to exchange rings.

 

August 1942

3 Monday - Bank holiday? Saw English MO [Medical Officer]. Very nice chap.

 

4 Tuesday - Sore throat. Had it painted.

 

5 Wednesday - Had injection for Vinson. Sore throat.

 

7 Friday - Reg Kilburn went into dock.

 

9 Sunday - Doctor said my throat was OK.

 

10 Monday - Kilburn came out of dock.

 

11 Tuesday - Kilburn again went into dock.

 

12 Wednesday - Went sick with throat again, had it painted. 1st debate on 'Has Civilisation Advanced in the last 50 years?'. Voted yes.

 

14 Friday - Paid 40 liras. 22-6-42 to 31-7-42.

 

15 Saturday - Kilburn went to Tripoli.

 

16 Sunday - Fag issue only 15.

 

17 Monday - Talk about stealing rations by cooks. Nothing came of it.

 

18 Tuesday - Several sore throats about.

 

19 Wednesday - General sore throat inspection.

 

20 Thursday - Blacks separated off. Cleaned room. 8 of our group in isolation.

 

21 Sunday - Buckshee rice. Served bread. Lecture on 'Hire Purchase'. Buildings disinfected.

 

23 Sunday - 20 fags issued. Lecture on 'Law' by Rameson.

 

24 Monday - Can not read entry.

 

25 Tuesday - Continuation of law lecture. Onions came in.

 

27 Thursday - Room cleaning. Debate on 'Conscription'. 7 for.

 

28 Friday - Tomatoes came. Bought cheese.

 

29 Saturday - Rest of tomatoes came in. Talk on 'Photography'.

 

30 Sunday - Had diarrhoea. Sold soup. Toasted bread. Lecture on 'Germany'. No fags.

 

31 Monday - 20 fags. Paid! ???? lecture.

 

September 1942

1 Tuesday - Bought rice from cookhouse. Biscuits instead of bread.

 

2 Wednesday - Attempt at escape. Bottom block had no rice. We thus got extra. Rice and cheese paste. 'London's Underground' lecture.

 

3 Thursday - Searched for lost knife. Rained. Slept in wet bed. Supper at 8 pm. Cold. Room cleaning. Lecture on 'Dardonelles'.

 

4 Friday - Lecture on 'Gardening'.

 

5 Saturday - Lecture on 'Gardening'.

 

6 Sunday - 'Back Stage' lecture. Sent wireless forms.

 

7 Monday - Quiz questions. Only 10 fags issued.

 

8 Tuesday - Bath day. Lectures interrupted.

 

9 Wednesday - Lecture on 'Borstal'.

 

10 Thursday - Buckshee loaf off Harry Parsons. Room cleaning.

 

11 Friday - 'Bolshevik Russia 1919-1921' by Skipper.

 

12 Saturday - Melons came in. Debate on 'Should Amusements be open on Sunday?'

 

13 Sunday - Took part in second quiz. Questions. Started on lemon cordial issue.

 

14 Monday - Fag issue 20. Soap issue. Cordial continued. Crown and Anchor.

 

15 Tuesday - Lost all fags at Crown and Anchor.

 

16 Wednesday - Lecture on 'Bus Services'.

 

17 Thursday - Room cleaning. Lecture on 'Cycling'.

 

18 Friday - Lecture on 'Persian Gulf' by the Skipper

 

19 Saturday - Lecture on 'Fire Fighting'. Sold hose tops 10 fags.

 

20 Sunday - Sold shorts 30 fags. Started fumigating. ????? ?????

 

21 Monday - Fumigated. Fish for tea. 3 months a POW. Slept outside.

 

22 Tuesday - Very cold morning. Went back to own room at 5 pm. Put in alphabetical order.

 

23 Wednesday - Nothing much. Talk on 'Bermuda'.

 

24 Thursday - Room cleaning. Blanket issue. Kit enquiry. Sold vest for piece of cheese.

 

25 Wednesday - Brains Trust. Ralph made a mess of his answer to the question on vitamins. Went to buy a piece of cheese.

 

26 Saturday - Continuation of talk on West Indies i.e. 'Jamaica'. Got some buckshee stew.

 

27 Sunday - Shit storm blew up. Joe Lomax sold shaver for 10 fags. Bought 1 loaves. Bought piece of cheese, 15 fags. Ate most of it but managed to save a little for Monday. Lecture on b???ning L A to Vancouver.

 

28 Monday - Fag issue 20 cigarettes. Lecture on 'FA Refereeing' interrupted. Found out that Corporal Stevenson came from Silverdale. Knew the Bradocks very well. Step - dad? named Myott, lives in Albert St., Silverdale. Bought more cheese, 15 cigarettes.

 

29 Tuesday - Lost 15 cigarettes on Crown and Anchor. Harry Parsons and Ralph Nicholson had an argument yesterday. Not patched up yet. South Africans gave a concert. Fish for tea.

 

30 Wednesday - Harry and Ralph patched up quarrel. General knowledge quiz.

 

October 1942

1 Thursday - Lecture on 'Milk Marketing Board'. Now making Tarhuna pies regularly with lime juice, rice and bread.

 

2 Friday - No lime juice today. Talk on 'Car Production'. Sour peas in soup. Curfew now at 7 pm. Roll call 7 am and 5 pm.

 

3 Saturday - A fellow named Maclean [probably Macklen] died today of malnutrition and dysentery. He makes the second one, the other was S [probably a South African named R. K. Serrurier]. We were asked to give up rings and watches for safe custody. It was supposed to be voluntary but now it is compulsory because nobody stepped forward. What a laugh! Made 3 Crown and Anchor dice. Tried to sell a pair of socks to the sentries but couldn't. Peas in stew.

 

4 Sunday - Continuation of talk on 'Car Production'. Identification parade for watches, rings and wallets. Don't know what it is all about. I think that they have been confiscated off the Italians. We have just done 15 weeks as POWs & 13 weeks at Tarhuna. It is only a 3 months transit camp so something should happen now. 3rd talk on the 'West Indies'. Bought a piece of cheese for Harry Parsons. 10 cigarettes.

 

5 Monday - Sold a pair of socks for macaroni. Whole pen was warned about selling shit. We had to identify 2 more rings. Sergeant Reynolds was put in clink for 30 days for stealing and selling a blanket. Another Sgt. went in as well. Carried rice today. Got a little buckshee. It came up very late in two portions. We had a very long wait. Got 20 cigarettes issued, stew was very late and only contained a few beans. Listened to a plumber giving a few hints in the morning, and took part in a general knowledge quiz in the second pen in the afternoon. We lost 99-116.

 

6 Tuesday - Listened to the plumber again. Got my macaroni for the socks. Bad backache. Think it is lumbago. It has been a very cold day. Lecture on 'Poultry Farming'. Fish.

 

7 Wednesday - Saw the MO. He told me I had lumbago and diarrhoea. He gave me some salts and told me not to eat anything. Put on my scarf as a body belt. Weather very cold. Went to the lavatory three times. Finish of talk on 'Football Refereeing'. Soup very thin.

 

8 Thursday - Saw MO again. Gave me 3 tablets. Room cleaning but I did not take part. Rice quite thick with beans. Lecture on 'Poultry Farming'. Nicholson sold his overcoat. He has no kit at all now. Soup very thin contained a few beans. Meat separate.

 

9 Friday - Saw MO again. No pills in stock. Back much better. Cold day. Ralph Nicholson is feeling the cold. Serves him right. Rice was late and very watery. Lecture on 'Motor Car Body Production'. Very poor. Waited hour for the count. Soup was only water, meat separate. Good nights sleep. Read Acts of the Apostles.

 

10 Saturday - Cold again. Rice contained no puree. Read St. Luke. Bread good. Lecture on 'The Solar System'. Finished reading St. John. Soup very thin. Meat separate. Got a bit of buckshee with rice in it. Lofty the cheese bloke went into isolation so I did not get my cheese. May get it tomorrow.

 

11 Sunday - Rice thick had beans in it. Bread very small. Washed my legs and socks. Started to read Revelations. Soup very thin. Meat separate. Got a bit of buckshee. Lecture on 'Nelson's Times'. Very poor. Got my cheese. Ate it all up. Fags issued 20.

 

12 Monday - Italian kit issued. Over by dinnertime. Rice was late and watery. Bread wet. Discovered Nicholson is a false name as I expected. Talk on 'Eerie Experiences' and 'Rice Mill Engineering'. Soup was vile. Made me ill. Got 2 pieces of cheese. One between Joe and I and one for Harry. Ate it up. Got up 5 times to shit.

 

13 Tuesday - Feel pretty bad. Talk on history by Fairfax-Cookson. New morning entertainment. Rice was extra thin, bread was wet and sour. Stevenson has resigned from Group Commander. Bass Allen takes over. This will cause trouble. Steve has been getting buckshee rice, and Bass has split on him. Fish for tea with a bully tea full of mixed rice and beans, very nice. Got a piece of cheese for Parsons 10 cigarettes. Lecture on 'Poultry Rearing'. This is the last one. Steve went in clink.

 

14 Wednesday - Talk by Cpl. Jones 'Internal Combustion Engines'. Bought half a loaf 5 cigarettes. Rice was thin. Puree seems to be lacking these days. Talk on 'Lumber Jacks' in the afternoon. Soup contained rice and beans. Meat was all in. Pretty good. Slept well. Bought a loaf.

 

15 Thursday - Talk on 'Modern Business Methods' by L/Cpl. Fox. Rice was quite thick. 25 liras drawn for each man but have to spend it by proxy. Had a bath, bought a loaf. Room cleaning. General knowledge quiz. Tanks versus artillery. We lost 105 to 86. I answered 8 out of 11 questions. Top score 10. Gave soup away it was vile. Got some cheese.

 

16 Friday - Told what we could buy with our money. No lecture in the morning. Weather very cold. Rice tasteless. Bread well cooked. Harry P. swindled Moscovitch and caused a row. Talk on 'A Mediterranean Cruise'. Soup was putrid. Gave mine away. Cheese racket stopped. Ordered my 25 liras worth of goods. 2 notebooks 8, 1 kilogram dates 14, 2 lemons 2, 1 pencil 1.

 

17 Saturday - Talk on 'Prospects of Employment after the War'. Newsagents and milk rounds. Rice tasteless bread moderate. Impromptu speeches in the afternoon. Soup contained a little rice and a few beans.

 

18 Sunday - Talk cancelled owing to fumigation of bottom pen. Bread good bought half a loaf. Rice slightly better. Talk on 'Rowing' by Fairfax-Cookson. Soup was bad contained a few beans. Fumigation started again in the bottom pen. We had visitors. Fags issued 20.

 

19 Monday - Talk on 'Politics' by Rameson. Rice thin, bread very good. Nicholson is a member of the BUF. Another series of impromptu speeches went down rather well. Enquiries by Red Cross about 2 fellows. We may get something done for the rest of us now. Soup was very thin and bad. I gave mine away to Joe Lomax. Revised price list of the things we can buy. I am now having kg of dates at 9, 2 notebooks 8, pencil 2 and 6 lemons.

 

20 Tuesday - Coffee stopped by Commt?. Another history talk by Fairfax-Cookson. Rice carrying. No buckshee. Bread tasted soapy. Cpl. Stevenson came out of clink. 6 days bread and water. He gave me a badge. (Drawing of shield with AK R/R). Fish for tea with spoonful of tomato puree.

 

21 Wednesday - Started fumigating again. Went through into the middle pen. Had a bath. Rice thick and contained beans. Crap loaf. Finished fumigating just after dinner but we shall have to sleep down here tonight. Last night we had a lantern in the shithouse for the first time. Cpl. Stevenson sleeps next to me from last night. Soup thick and contained rice. It was our pen's turn for thick stew. 1 in 3 nights slept in no. 2 pen's shithouse. It was warm but people were passing all the time. I only dozed. I have made a sleeping bag out of 2 blankets.

 

22 Thursday - Rose very early, and went through our own pen to clean up the room. The rest came through at 11 o'clock. There are rumours of very good news for us both from the desert and the sea. Churchill has been to El Alameine. Rice extra thin, we sent one dixie back to the cookhouse but to no avail. Bread badly shaped. No lecture in the afternoon, stayed in the room. Soup very thin. Gave mine to Joe. Had 5 shits today. I wish my gut ache would stop, I have had it for 10 days or so. We are putting 2 men into the cookhouse each day to chop wood and a cook to supervise from each pen.

 

23 Friday - Good nights sleep. Talk on 'Maths' by Bdr. Mackenzie. Rice very well cooked. Bread good. Bought half a loaf off Ralph. Washed my socks. 2 shits up to rice time. Talk on 'Freetown and Sierra Leone'. Soup very bad gave mine to Cpl. Stevenson. Got in kip very early.

 

24 Saturday - Coffee came early this morning. Talk by S/M Brown on 'The Army as a Career after the War'. Rice was well cooked. Bread sour. Risly the cook is doing good work. Bought half a loaf off Ginger Allott. Talk in 'Internal Combustion Engine' by Cpl. Jones. Bully beef went into the stew. Very good.

 

25 Sunday - Talk on book-keeping by L/Cpl. Fox. Rice very late and thin bread good. Soup thin, meat crab. General knowledge quiz amongst audience.

 

26 Monday - Talk on politics by Rameson. Very good. Rice late but good. Bought loaf off Blackie. Dates, lemons, pencils and blades came. Drew c??? badge for Joe and myself. Fag issue 20. Soup poor gave mine away meat tasty. Soup was very late. No lecture in the afternoon.

 

27 Tuesday - Talk on 'History' by Fairfax-Cookson. Rice late. Bread good, rice was burnt. Some talk about being allowed to write home. Didn't go to the lecture in the afternoon. Lobbed? up soup. It was quite thick but meat was not cooked, got a meaty bone.

 

28 Wednesday - Anniversary of MARCH ON ROME. Talk on 'Diesel Engine'. Bread good. Rice was late 1.15 pm instead of 12 noon. Did embroidery in the afternoon. Soup very late, ate it in dark.

 

29 Thursday - Rice late but tasty. Bread good. On room cleaning. Did not hear the lecture. Got card to send home 10 liras. Soup thin but tasty meat nice. Up early. Did some embroidery.

 

30 Friday - Rice was white very nice. Bread crisp. Bought loaf. Listened to Fairfax-Cookson on 'Rome' again. Rice was early. Debate on country versus town. Still got guts ache and eyes are beginning to ache when I turn my head. Fish and tomato puree for tea. Got a piece of cheese. 10 cigarettes. Gave Joe half.

 

31 Saturday - Talk on 'Bakery after the War'. Head bad and eyes terrible, stomach ache all the time - I have had it now for 3 weeks or more. Bought half a loaf. Rice contained a few beans. Bread stale. Talk on 'The Last Few Days of the Civil War in Spain' by Cpl. Jones. Very good. Soup thick and good.

 

November 1942

1 Sunday - Sleepless night due to lumbago. Went sick. Talk on 'Bookkeeping' by L/Cpl. Fox. Rice thin, bread stale. Bought a loaf. General knowledge quiz RASC v NAVY. RASC won. Soup thin gave mine away. Very late. Received 2 more lemons to make up my total. Notebooks unobtainable. Harry still owes me a lemon.

 

2 Monday - Ordered 8 lemons instead of notebook. Political talk by Gunner Knights. Rice late and cold. Bread stale. 120 men got bully. Talk on 'Buying a House' by Gnr. Bushell. Soup late but tolerable. New butcher in the cookhouse.

 

3 Tuesday - History talk by Fairfax-Cookson. Rice very late. Bread horrible. New prisoners came in from Benghazi to our pen. Group system has now been altered. 16 men now do all jobs. 600 men in our pen now. Talk on 'Hunting in India'. Soup late but good. Only half a ration though. Rooms are like a brothel now. Water went off. Burst main.

 

4 Wednesday - No coffee. No water. Lorry supplied cookhouse. Rice ration cut down. Bread not so good. Talk on 'Conditions in Blighty' by a Sgt. Pilot. Very interesting. Early count now 4.0 pm. Soup good but very late we eat in the dark now.

 

5 Thursday - Talk on post war Britain. Rice good. Sold half a loaf. Got buckshee rice. Toasted other half of loaf. Went sick, MO says its jaundice. Bought cheese 15 cigarettes. New prisoners came in. Saw Piggott again. Soup late again. Got buckshee.

 

6 Friday - Got more salts from M.O. Bully at dinner-time. Very nice. Talk about 'HMS Queen Elizabeth'. Couldn't toast my bread. Ate it with cheese. Rice was very thick but tasteless.

 

7 Saturday - Anniversary of Red Revolution. Talks by Rameson & Meadows. Went sick again. More salts. Rice tasteless. Bread new. Managed to get it toasted. Bought tin of bully 10 cigarettes. Talk on 'GPO Engineering'. Soup thin and late. We eat in the dark now.

 

8 Sunday - More salts from M.O. Debate on 'A Woman's Place is in the Home'. Rice tasteless, toasted bread. Bought cheese 10 cigarettes. Italian news bulletin read out. Walked round in the afternoon. Soup good and early. Only 15 cigarettes today. 3 men tried to escape. Soap issue.

 

9 Monday - More salts. 'Round the World in a Tramp Steamer'. Rice tasteless. Another prisoner died today of dysentery. Rameson talked again on 'Politics'. Soup thin and not so good.

 

10 Tuesday - More salts. Sore throat got 3 pills. Bully again. tin per man. Soon scoffed up. Talk on 'Mining' by a Pit Boy. Fairfax-Cookson gave another talk on 'Feudal System'. Rice came up at 5 pm. Very thick but tasteless.

 

11 Wednesday - Feel much better. Got two more tablets to suck and had throat painted. Walked round till rice. 2 minutes silence held. Rice thin but tasty. Got residue of 25 liras i.e. 8 lemons. Cpl. Jones on 'Cars' again. Soup very thin but up early. ???

 

12 Thursday - Marshall from Meir gave talk on 'Pottery'. Very good. Ate a tin of bully. It was just on the turn. Bread good. Rice thin. Oakley went to Tripoli. Ate my second tin of bully. Talk in afternoon was interrupted by issue of long underpants. Soup good. I had a lot of meat.

 

13 Friday - Talk by Capt. Russell on 'Mental Diseases'. Rice good. Bread nice. Washed shirt and self. Talk on 'Gardening' in the afternoon. Soup up early - good. Plenty of meat.

 

14 Saturday - 'A fireman in the L.N.E.R.' very interesting. Rice good. Bread nice. Bought half a loaf. Talk on 'Grocery Business' by QMS Smith. Soup good again. Told Steve my life story and he told me his from Palestine to Tobruk.

 

15 Sunday - 'Hoboing in England' talk. Bread good. Bought half a loaf off Steve. Rice late but tasty. Had a shave. Very cold today. Talk by Len Dearing on 'Football Rules'. Soup good again. Too good to last.

 

16 Monday - Talk on 'Fascism' by Pioneer Bell. All balls. Rameson cut him up terribly. Rice tasty. Bread nice. 250 men left from the bottom pen. Rumour says that we shall all be going shortly, very cold day. No lecture. 250 more men went in the afternoon. Soup thin but I struck lucky for meat.

 

17 Tuesday - Rained all night. Roof leaked down the room. Middle pen men went today. No lecture. We are hanging on to go. A guard scared us off from the wire by firing his rifle and his bayonet dropped off. Ha, Ha. Bully and bread rations today. Soon scoffed up. Nothing to do all day. Went to bed early. Had diarrhoea, went 6 times. Makes me very weak. All sorts of rumours about British advances.

 

18 Wednesday - Up early. Detailed off for moving. Going with Joe Lomax. Leaving Steve behind, worse luck. Still here at 11 am. Got a tin of bully and a loaf of bread. Ate it up. Still waiting to move at 3 pm. What organisation! Got guts ache but diarrhoea slightly improved. Very cold day. Moved off at about 4.30 pm. Rained all the way. It was dark when we arrived at a camp 27 kilometres from Tripoli. We were soaked. Slept in the doorway of the bread store. Millions of fleas. Never known such a long night.

 

19 Thursday - Wet through and freezing. Joe got an Italian groundsheet for a bivvy. Loaf was day old but very nice indeed. Bought a dixie full of dates for 20 cigarettes. Rice good and stew good. Both came up together at 5.30 pm. Slept in the bivvy.

 

20 Friday - Very cold night. No news about moving yet. Bread good got it at 11.30 am. Rice nice again. 2 pm. Raining again today. Soup contained plenty of beans. Meat good came up at 6.0 pm. Had a better night but bitterly cold.

 

21 Saturday - Told we were to move. Got bully and biscuits. Moved to station at Suanhee Ben Aden at 12 noon. Entrained for Tripoli. On board Numidia by dusk. D'Annunzio had hole in side. Raided by 6 planes. Next boat to us hit. Then a later raid lasting about an hour 4 hits on ships. Bloody awful. 44 whites, 400 blacks. Not allowed up on deck at all. Piss in the corner. Bad nights sleep.

 

22 Sunday - Moved out at dawn, along the coast. Bully and biscuits. The boil on my left thigh is very painful. Managed to buy one or two books off the blacks. One or two depth charges dropped. One submarine claimed. Not a very good nights sleep. What a way to spend a 21st birthday.

 

23 Monday - Nothing much. Had my boil dressed. Got a drink of buckshee coffee from the gally team. Bully and biscuits. Some planes flew over. Fired at but no bombs dropped. One plane claimed. Still moving along the North African coast. Found hole for piss to run out.

 

24 Tuesday - Got core out of boil. Still bully beef and biscuits. Stopped off Susa ?? Tunis. Bought 2 more books. Biscuits and bully again. Moved out at dusk. Lost my jack-knife.

 

25 Wednesday - Heavy sea running. Biscuits and bully with a spoonful of coffee and 2 of sugar. Mixed it with my biscuits. Nice weather. Boil healing nicely.

 

26 Thursday - Docked in Palermo at dawn. Biscuits and bully. No sugar or coffee. Left ship at 2 pm. Got on the train. Travelled all day through Sicily.

 

27 Friday - Crossed at dawn by ferry to the mainland. Heavy thunderstorm was on. Entrained again. 2 loaves of bread and bully. Travelled up east coast of Italy.

 

28 Saturday - Left train at 11 am at Brindisi. 2 loaves and bully. Marched 6 kilometers to new camp. (Camp 85 at Tuturano on the heal of Italy). Joe Lomax got parcel. Shared it. Got chocolate in it. Sleep on wooden 2 tier beds. Issued with 2 English blankets. Slept well.

 

29 Sunday - Got palliasses. Ate some of the parcel. Coffee pot of macaroni, small loaf. Filled in registration forms. Rice at night. Severe pains in my stomach.

 

30 Monday - Stomach still pains. Worked in the QM Stores in the morning. Bread was late. Macaroni and rice again. Finished off the meat roll. No buckshee for work.

 

December 1942

1 Tuesday - Made a knife out of a piece of iron. Macaroni and rice. Bread small. Bought half a kilo of figs with fag money. Canteen now open.

 

2 Wednesday - Same rations. Ate a tin of salmon and some raisins. Concert party by the band. We have to clear the room now 9 am - 10.30 am.

 

3 Thursday - Bread, macaroni, cheese, rice. Fellow named Fisher died in the night, took him away today. Issued with new pair of boots.

 

4 Friday - Bread, macaroni, cheese, rice. The piece of cheese is about 1"sq. by 3/8". Dishing up grub. Had a double issue. Nothing out of the ordinary.

 

5 Saturday - Bread, macaroni, cheese and rice. Canadian and New Zealand parcels tonight instead of British. No issue of cigarettes. Finished reading all my books. Worked for a hour or two in the evening and got a piece of cheese for it. Black-out of camp.

 

6 Sunday - Soup instead of rice and cheese. Nothing extraordinary. Lights were not put on until 9.30 pm. No parcels issued. Possible air raid.

 

7 Monday - Bread and macaroni, rice, cheese. Yesterday's parcels made up today. Ground out another knife. Bought 10 liras worth of apples at the canteen and 4? liras of oranges. Another man died of pneumonia. He never even reported sick. Light did not come on until very late. Got up 4 times for pisses during the night.

 

8 Tuesday - Got my parcel from Canadian Red Cross. Joe and I had biscuits and cheese for tea. Lights came on at dusk.

 

9 Wednesday - Bought a kilogram of figs at the canteen. Had prunes and milk for dinner. Washed some clothes. Weather much warmer. Felt very nice and full up today.

 

10 Thursday - Macaroni, rice, bread and cheese. Borrowed 10 liras on fags and bought more figs. Had an issue of Ovaltine. It made me bad all night. Went to bed right after rice. Very cold day.

 

11 Friday - Felt a little better. Joe got his parcel. Ate the chocolate and biscuits. Made a cake out of bread and raisins. Issued with bread and cheese for tomorrow.

 

12 Saturday - Went to Brindisi for fumigation. Started out at 6 am. Back at 11 am. Rode both ways. Some had to walk 12 miles in all. Had macaroni and rice when we were all back. 6 pm.

 

13 Sunday - Soup instead of rice. No cheese issued with kit. Trousers, jacket, pants, toerags, puttees, hat, shirt. Very warm now. We all look like farmers with pockets on the front of the trousers.

 

14 Monday - Macaroni, rice, cheese and bread. Spent 10 liras in figs at the canteen. Stewed them with milk on. Baked a pie out of a loaf and a few prunes.

 

15 Tuesday - Rice, macaroni, cheese, bread. Aluminium dixie changed for earthenware dishes. Baked two pies out of figs and 2 loaves. Bought 15 liras worth of apples. Stewed them. Touch of neuralgia yesterday. Very painful. Some talk of Brindisi being bombed last night.

 

16 Wednesday - Bread, cheese, macaroni, rice. Bought 10 liras worth of figs again. Joe and I go shares in all these. They are not all for me. On wood chopping all day. Awful job.

 

17 Thursday - Meat instead of cheese and rice. Meals up late. Cooked some prunes with milk.

 

18 Friday - Got a telegram to send through the Vatican. Joined the permanent fire pickets. Nothing else out of the ordinary.

 

19 Saturday - Fetched rations and managed to scrounge a cabbage. Joe and I ate it with some cheese. Rankin the Butcher from Tarhuna died yesterday from dysentery. There have now been 7 deaths in 3 weeks. The MO is worried about it. Today we got a letter card to send home. Bought a few figs at the canteen.

 

20 Sunday - On camp cleaning fatigue. What a waste of time. Rations are still the same. Scrounged 2 cabbages which had been thrown away. Put some in my macaroni soup instead of cheese and rice.

 

21 Monday - Five months POW. Nothing much different. Warm day. Brindisi bombed. We saw and heard the bombing.

 

22 Tuesday - Got my second parcel. It was an English one. Bought 20 liras worth of figs. Scoffed the lot.

 

23 Wednesday - Did some washing and got an issue of rice for it. No cigarettes today.

 

24 Thursday - Nothing out of the ordinary.

 

25 Friday - Christmas day. Joe got an English parcel. Bought a loaf and stewed some apples. Ate a steak pudding, some biscuits and some chocolate. Had quite a nice day. Rained heavily. Muddy under foot. Band gave an hours concert.

 

26 Saturday - Sold soap for a loaf. Raining still. Concert by the band again in the afternoon. Joe caught pinching sugar. Alice's birthday 19.

 

27 Sunday - Joe's fags stopped for 21 days. Started to make a pair of slippers. Rain has stopped. Meat today. Bought 5 liras of figs.

 

28 Monday - Sold of tin of sugar for packet of raisins. Sgt. Berry died on the 24th of Beriberi. Wrote a letter card to Alice. Got double issue of rice.

 

29 Tuesday - Same rations. Bought 5 liras of figs. English parcels have now run out. Canadian's are now being issued. Washed a few clothes.

 

30 Wednesday - 70 Italian cigarettes issued. Cold day but dry. Got buckshee for the washing. 5 English fags.

 

31 Thursday - 2 small oranges issued. No cigarettes at all. Soup instead of rice and cheese. Got some buckshee soup.

 

January 1943

1 Friday - 1 orange issued. No cigarettes. Got buckshee macaroni and rice. Another customer for washing.

 

2 Saturday - 1 tangerine issued. No cigarettes. Same rations. Nothing extraordinary.

 

3 Sunday - Soup instead of rice and cheese. Grub late in coming up.

 

4 Monday - Gave 20 A.O.I cigarettes for a loaf. Gale blew in the night. Stone wash-house blown down. Rained heavily. Had to get up at least twice in the night to piss.

 

5 Tuesday - Drew a Canadian parcel. Ate the jam, chocolate, biscuits. Made a cake with a loaf and the raisins but it was messed up in the cookhouse.

 

6 Wednesday - Christmas parcels arrived. One between two. We finished off ours. Very big eats all day.

 

7 Thursday - Sick when I went for coffee. Canteen came up. Bought jam and figs. Indigestion all day. Bought a loaf 10 cigarettes.

 

8 Friday - Italian cigarette issue 80. Bought a loaf for 5 liras. Did some washing. Bought 5 liras of figs. Canteen is supposed to come across regularly.

 

9 Saturday - Joe got a New Zealand parcel. Given 5 liras advance of pay. Bought figs and jam. Weather very cold. Rained slightly. Indigestion.

 

10 Sunday - Gale blew during the night. Snowed heavily. Very cold. Very thin stew instead of cheese and rice. Made a jam and fig cake but had it spoiled in the cookhouse. Soup instead of rice.

 

11 Monday - Lectures started in the afternoon with a talk on 'Zulus'. Got some extra grub for washing.

 

12 Tuesday - Sent another lettercard to mother. No postcard issued. Rations still the same. Macaroni, cheese, rice and cauliflower. Not been paid yet. Rained heavily. Talk on 'Greek Campaign'.

 

13 Wednesday - Wet again. Talk on 'Advertising'. Sgt. Brown got a letter dated October. He was at Tarhuna. Canteen comes across each day with figs and jam, but we have got no money. I cannot sell my cigarettes.

 

14 Thursday - Did some washing and got some buckshee conner. Nothing outstanding. Rained all day.

 

15 Friday - Wet again. No parcels issued. They have run out. The contents of some broken parcels were distributed. Joe and I got a tin of powdered milk. No cigarettes.

 

16 Saturday - No cigarettes or parcels again. No sign of pay either. No cabbage in rations. Issue dropped down to nearly half of normal. I'm famished.

 

17 Sunday - No cigarettes. No parcels. Cabbage came in but only half ration issued again. Did some washing and got a loaf for?.

 

18 Monday - Told we are to go across to the main camp. Joe and I. Wrote second letter card to Alice. Nothing else. Weather cold.

 

19 Tuesday - Fine day. Heard a lecture on 'Tanks' by Q. Lomas. No Red Cross parcels have been issued for 5 days now. Non in store but some are waiting at the station for collection.

 

20 Wednesday - Paid 21 liras but no canteen up yet. Parcels issued but no arrears. 12 articles including tea and sugar.

 

21 Thursday - Movement off. Parcels now issued in bulk. We are getting less than the sealed boxes hold. Canteen brought wine at 35 liras per litre and shoe paste. More letters came in. Meat.

 

22 Friday - Canteen brought in some figs. Bought 27 liras worth. Made some jam. Very warm day. We have been POWs for 7 months now.

 

23 Saturday - Bought 10 liras worth of figs. Felt full up for once. Warm dry again. 70 Italian fags issued. Indians are going to Germany.

 

24 Sunday - Indians left. Nothing else of any importance. Meat.

 

25 Monday - Wrote third lettercard to mother. Got my parcel. Learned that Tarhuna is in British hands. Tripoli has definitely fallen. (Bullshit).

 

26 Tuesday - Cold day. Wind very strong. Did a lot of washing and it froze on the line.

 

27 Wednesday - Joe didn't get his parcel as expected. We get it tomorrow instead. Poor macaroni issue. Grub late both times. Made a pair of gloves for buckshee.

 

28 Thursday - Issued 85 Italian cigarettes. Joe's parcel came. Warm day. Did some washing for Harry Royal. Got buckshee rice.

 

29 Friday - No English cigarettes issued. Got a book out of the library. Warm again.

 

30 Saturday - We waited 2 hours for the canteen but it didn't come. Lights came on at 8 pm. There was a practice raid on. More letters.

 

31 Sunday - Meat again. Rugby match between small camp and big camp. Bought 7 liras of tangerines. Got some soup for washing.

 

February 1943

1 Monday - Bought 6 liras of figs and stewed them with the tangerines. Very nice. Wrote third lettercard to Alice. More mail came in. Joe Lomax got 3.

 

2 Tuesday - More mail came in. Still unlucky. Warm weather seems to be in the offing now. Canteen still comes but we have no money.

 

3 Wednesday - Started fumigation on the S.As. Reported to be very good. Pay is in the office.

 

4 Thursday - Fumigated. Everything went through. Hot bath. Paid 31 liras, bought a kilogram of figs. Ate them all up. No straw to refill palliasse. Had to sleep on bare boards.

 

5 Friday - Had a fairly good nights sleep. Did not even get up for a piss. Got a job surveying the canal for a recut. On it for a few days. Got a letter from Alice dated 2-11-42. She doesn't mention mother. Why not? Bought kilogram of figs and kilogram of onions.

 

6 Saturday - Rained heavily all night. Went on job again. Got extra loaf with one for yesterday. Collected some a?us, looks like celery tastes like carrots. 2 letters from mother dated 28-9-42 and 5-10-42. Nos 8 and 4. No canteen today.

 

7 Sunday - Alice's of 24-9-42, 9-10-42, 22-10-42, 24-10-42 and 11-11-42. Mother's of 24-9-42, 22-10-42, 1-11-42 and 12-11-42. Mrs. Price's dated 30-10-42. Did not go to work. Bought 2 kilograms of onions. Soup instead of rice.

 

8 Monday - Got my parcel. Went to work again. Wrote 4th letter to mother. Fine day. Got my parcel.

 

9 Tuesday - Wet day. Finished work at 11 am. Bread was not issued until dinner. Did some washing. Naples had 4 hour daylight raid.

 

10 Wednesday - Fine again. Joe had his parcel. Got plenty of celery (wild) & cabbage (rapa) out of the stream.

 

11 Thursday - Got Alice's Christmas card. Had half a day off. Did some washing for the cookhouse. Biscuits instead of bread.

 

12 Friday - Bread didn't come until 1 pm. Windy day but nice. Bought 1 kilogram of figs. Very ill at night. Must have been the onions and celery out of the stream. Knocked off at dinner time.

 

13 Saturday - Didn't go to work. It's nearly finished now. Made a fig duff.

 

14 Sunday - Day off from work. Made a can opener. Did some washing. We are now to get one parcel per week. 3 cheers. No soup.

 

15 Monday - Very nice day. Alice's 20 October and 19 December. Mother's 3rd December. Double issue of parcels. Bought half a kilogram of figs. No cigarettes for 5 days now.

 

16 Tuesday - Wrote 4th card to Alice. Windy day again. Worked all day. 15 cigarettes issued. Soup ration.

 

17 Wednesday - Rainy day. Didn't work. Did some washing in the afternoon. Made a raisin duff. Very good.

 

18 Thursday - Worked all day. Very nice day. Soup again today. Bully beef issued. Got my parcel. Made another raisin duff.

 

19 Friday - Cold and windy. Canal coming on very well. Karkov has fallen.

 

20 Saturday - Paid 15 liras. Italian fag issue 140. Worked half the day. Did a bit of washing. Warmer. Had a bath. Joe got a Canadian parcel.

 

21 Sunday - Didn't work. Made a knife. Soup.

 

22 Monday - Alice's of 5th December. Mother's 22nd November. Wrote card number 5 to mother. No lettercard this week.

 

23 Tuesday - Sold tin of salmon for 2 loaves. Nice day.

 

24 Wednesday - Still on the canal.

 

25 Thursday - Got a Canadian parcel.

 

26 Friday - Got a letter from mother dated 15-10-42.

 

27 Saturday - Holiday visit from the Vatican. Grub 2 hours late. Letter from mother 10-11-42. Joe got an English parcel. Felt very ill did not sleep well. Headache.

 

28 Sunday - Holiday. Helped Joe with washing. Feel much better. Bought 2 kilograms of onions.

 

March 1943

1 Monday - Windy day. Didn't work. Tools locked up. Wrote card number 5 to Alice. No letters issued today. Bought 1 kilo of oranges.

 

2 Tuesday - Nice day. Moving over to the big camp. Didn't work again today. Moved at 4 pm. Went to a concert.

 

3 Wednesday - Did not work again. Got mother's letter of 25 November. Concert again.

 

4 Thursday - Very windy. Got a Perth parcel. 29 biscuits. ???? spelling bee. Fried some onions.

 

5 Friday - Joe got a Canadian parcel. Nice again. Joe had a letter addressed to this camp dated 12-2-43 in answer to letter 12-12-42. Talk on Navy. HMS Sikh.

 

6 Saturday - Made a lid for frying pan. Carrots in the canteen. Bought kilogram. Saw plays 'Of Mice and Men' and 'Return of Giles Pang Born'.

 

7 Sunday - Rained all night and day. Very muddy. Bought kilogram of oranges.

 

8 Monday - Still wet. Visit of Red Cross bloke. Cooked some oatmeal. Wrote card to paymaster. Concert.

 

9 Tuesday - Did some washing for Ginger. Told of the result of yesterday's visit. We are now ??????cigarettes per week.

 

10 Wednesday - Wet day. Took part in a general knowledge quiz. Jesse's parcel.

 

11 Thursday - Visit by a General. Fires forbidden. 1 orange issued. Talk on 'London Buses'. My parcel. Wet.

 

12 Friday - Cooked some porridge. Joe had his parcel. Bought kilogram of figs. 20 liras. New fellows came from small camp. 200 went out yesterday working. Wet again.

 

13 Saturday - Weather picking up. Nothing else of importance.

 

14 Sunday - Fine day. Cooked some dry rice that Bob gave us. Dramatic society gave us 'Monkey's Paw' and 'Miss Parker's Medicine'.

 

15 Monday - Did some washing for Ginger. He gave us a loaf. Wrote card number 6 to mother. No letter card again.

 

16 Tuesday - Received mother's letter dated 8-9-42. Bought a kilogram of figs. Read 'The Three Musketeers'.

 

17 Wednesday - Received mother's dated 15-12-42. Alice's dated 30-10-42 and Wilf Davidson's 8-12-42. Jesse had a English parcel. Imperial Imps concert party.

 

18 Thursday - My parcel came from Dumphries. Wet day but it was possible to have fires. Received mother's of 15th and 18th February.

 

19 Friday - Received mother's 24-02-43. Paid 15 liras. Joe got an English parcel. Bought kilo figs.

 

20 Saturday - No mail today. Bought kilo figs. Had a game of kick up at football. Lights did not come on.

 

21 Sunday - Received Mrs. Price's dated 18-2-43. It has worried me. Cold windy day. Joe and Jesse on double rations. Nothing to cook. So only brewed tea. Played monopoly.

 

22 Monday - Fumigated. Wrote postcard number 6 to Alice.

 

23 Tuesday - Did some washing for Ginger. Ragamuffins gave a concert. Very good. No mail.

 

24 Wednesday - Jesse got his parcel. We had ginger snaps for the first time. Took part in a quiz. We lost.

 

25 Thursday - Got my parcel. Received mother's dated 7-2-43. Dramatic society gave 'Follow the Saint' and 'Covered Wagon'. Cooked a Yorkshire pudding.

 

26 Friday - Joe got his parcel. No more in stock. Received Mrs. Price's 19-2-43. Camp visited by Colonels on the Prison Commission.

 

27 Saturday - No parcels today. Joe and I got one buckshee can of butter and one can jam. All got something. can of milk each besides. Visiting Colonels left. Talk by bomber pilots.

 

28 Sunday - Parcels came in. Only one days issue given out. Made a Yorkshire pudding. Started on double rations for one week. Talk on 'Europe in 1938' by a South African.

 

29 Monday - Wrote to mother no.7 - wrote to Alice no.7. Two postcards issued, no lettercards again. Talk on 'The Rand'.

 

30 Tuesday - Allowed fires today. Nothing much today. No entertainment. 31 Wednesday Talk on 'English Railways'. Did some washing for Ginger.

 

April 1943

1 Thursday - Volunteered for debugging and 2 minute shower. Jesse got English parcel. Camp leader and 2 other RSMs sent away over dispute about men working on an aerodrome. RSM Brown takes over Campo Grande. Talk by fighter pilot.

 

2 Friday - Joe and Jesse fallen out. Communal singsong. Violin and accordion. Got English parcel.

 

3 Saturday - Joe got English parcels. Played football for first time in 2 years. 15 sailors left for repatriation. Took part in a quiz with SAs. (Sailors only got to Camp 70 July 20th 1942)

 

4 Sunday - Rained heavily for hour. Bought 5 liras worth of figs. Imperial Imps gave a concert. Very good. Brewed up.

 

5 Monday - Cold day. Bought 20 liras worth of figs. Strained thigh playing football. Talk on 'New York' by Sgt. Corbett. Niggers left here.

 

6 Tuesday - Bought 10 liras of figs. No lecture. South Africans got ready for repatriation. Went to bed early.

 

7 Wednesday - SAs left. Lucky people. 109. Wrote postcard to the office. Wrote letter to mother no.8. Thunderstorm. Ragamuffins gave show. Sold 140 Italian fags for 20 liras.

 

8 Thursday - Bought kilo of figs 20 liras. Stew good. Received mother's dated 27-12-42,2-1-43, 17-3-43, Alice's of 13-1-43, Mrs. Price's 13-1-43. Dieci Players gave show, stopped by blackout. 'Lives of a Bengal Lancer'. Rained again.

 

9 Friday - Got my parcel. Joe and I are on our own again. Jesse fell out with Joe. Windy and wet. Quiz. Did not take part.

 

10 Saturday - Joe got his parcel. Dry day but cold. No mail for me. Bought kilogram jam 11 liras. Talk on 'International Polo'.

 

11 Sunday - Got coffee at reveille. Piccolo camp came across for football. Stew good. No macaroni only rice. Violin and accordion came? for some singing. Fires banned.

 

12 Monday - Cigarettes ran out. No issued. Played football. Won 4-3. Dieci Players gave 'Marie Celeste' and 'Man with his hand in his pocket'.

 

13 Tuesday - Wrote to Alice no. 8. Wrote postcard to mother no. 9. Wrote to mother no. 10. Bought it off Jesse Cullen. Pte. Selly gave his Tarhuna talk of 'Round the World in a Tramp Steamer'.

 

14 Wednesday - Read Mark Twain's 'Innocents Abroad'. 2nd talk by fighter pilot Sgt. Mays.

 

15 Thursday - Played football against I group. Lost 1-0. 30 men of our group to go farming. Joe and I unlucky. No meat today or macaroni. Cheese and rice ??ss. No entertainment, free night. Parcels came in. 5 cigarettes issued at night.

 

16 Friday - Got an English parcel. Chocolate, sugar, tea spoiled. Got them changed. Jesse Cullen went to Piccolo along with 50 others of our group. 237 men went. Piccolo came over here. 5 fags again. Quiz. Won 10 fags.

 

17 Saturday - Joe got his parcel. Meat today. 3 counts. No entertainment.

 

18 Sunday - Fire ban lifted. Jesse sent some washing and a loaf. Played football. Won 2-1. Talk on 'Nature Study'.

 

19 Monday - Jesse sent more washing. Volunteered to be fumigated. Very hot. Wrote to Alice letter no. 9. Wrote to mother card no. 11. Sent Vatican telegram for Easter to mother. Talk on 'Beer'.

 

20 Tuesday - Imperial Imps gave show. Spent day washing. Paid 16 liras.

 

21 Wednesday - Doing regular washing for liras and bread. Free night. No entertainment.

 

22 Thursday - Soup good. Dieci Players gave '4 Men and a Stranger' and 'Man with his hand in his pocket'. Played football won 2-0. Hurt leg.

 

23 Friday - Good Friday. Got Perth parcel. Leg stiff. Did a lot of washing. Lads of hut gave 'In Hut Tonight'.

 

24 Saturday - Did no washing. Hurt my leg again at football. We lost 2-0. Sgt. Seddon gave a talk on 'Genealogy'. Tomorrow is an Italian holiday so they issued parcels and cigarettes. Tonight everybody is to have double rations as well. They issued two loaves, double rice and macaroni as well as cheese and meat. Wonders never cease.

 

25 Sunday - Big day today. Piccolo camp came across for football in the morning. Grande camp won. Boxing show in the afternoon with 11 contest bouts and 3 exhibition bouts. Piccolo lost again to Grande. The cup match was played off in the evening. 10 Group won against 12 Group. We had a general knowledge quiz in our hut. Senior ranks vs privates. 10 cigarettes each to winners. Teams of 6 men each took part again. We won 59 points to 43 points. So much for sergeants and WOs.

 

26 Monday - Ralph (Ginger) Miller brought us some washing, as also did Jesse. Very hot again today. Bought kilogram of apples 17 liras per kilo and 2 of these books, 3 liras each. Received mother's letter dated 22-12-42. Received George Tomkinson's letter dated 1-3-43. The guards were all doubled today because of two of our fighters being over Italy. Played football lost 2-0. Very hot work. We had a 'New Faces' show in our hut. Perimeter light blacked out?

 

27 Tuesday - Only one blue light in hut now. The Italians are evidently scared. Did some washing for RSM Brown of Piccolo. Wrote to Alice card no. 10. Wrote to mother letter no. 12. Joe went to concert party. Reported sick because of legs. MO said it was due to dietary causes. Received Wilf Dawson's letter dated 18-1-43. Heard a talk by Sgt. Wurr on 'London Buses' for the second time. Brewed up.

 

28 Wednesday - Jesse brought some more washing and sent a dixie of rice across. 150 Italian cigarettes issued. Went to concert given given by the Band and the Ragamuffins in the Italian concert hall. Played football lost again 4-1. No entertainment due to lights.

 

29 Thursday - Bought kilogram of oranges 10 liras and 2 notebooks 6 liras. Made a Cremola pudding with cocoa and water. Gave Jesse my Italian fags for loaf and rice, to be received in daily instalments. Had a little talk with four others in the evening.

 

30 Friday - Rained during the night. Some chaps slept under the stars. They got a bit ??. Still raining during the day. Got an English parcel from Dumphries. Did no washing at all. Easy day. We had the lads of the hut to give us a little concert. We still have the blue lights. Very ????? scratch football in the group. AB vs CD. We won 5-0.

 

May 1943

1 Saturday - Jesse brought two lots of washing and Bobbie brought 11 articles. Played football against the cooks. We lost 2-0. Joe Lomax got a Hawick? parcel. Jesse sent a dixie of macaroni across. Bought kilogram of oranges, 10 liras. Talk on 'Education'. Paid 15 liras.

 

2 Sunday - Made some porridge and a cremola pudding. We ate well today. Did some washing for Ralph and earned a loaf. No entertainment. Went to bed early. Had to get up once to piss.

 

3 Monday - Bought 2 kilograms of figs 40 liras. Broke now. Jesse brought a dixie of macaroni. Wrote to Alice letter paper no.11. Wrote to mother card no.13. Lecture on 'Birth Control'.

 

4 Tuesday - Buckshee issue of Red Cross tins. I got a packet of Canadian biscuits. Joe got meat roll. Made some porridge. Quarter of a kilogram of German Black Bread issued instead of Italian loaf. Received Alice's dated 19-2-42. Talk by another fighter pilot Sgt. Hennly.

 

5 Wednesday - Received mother's dated 31-3-43. Jesse sent a dixie of macaroni across. Some beds taken out of room to make more space. Joe is now below me. Ragamuffins gave a show with their own bulb.

 

6 Thursday - Large amount of mail in but non for me. Stewed some apricots and made some cremola custard. What a feed! No entertainment.

 

7 Friday - Got a Canadian parcel. Received mother's dated 16-1-43, 11-1-43 and 21-1-43. Received Alice's dated 22-12-42, 3-1-43, 6-1-43 and 16-1-43. Received Burt Ryder's 7-1-43. Dieci players gave 'Scarlet Pimpernel' and 'Question of John Pender'.

 

8 Saturday - Joe got a Canadian parcel. Bought 10 liras of figs. Rainy day. Received mother's dated 31-1-43. 'Army Meaderings' by Sgt. Knox.

 

9 Sunday - Stewed some prunes. Did some washing for Ralph Miller and S.M. Sykes. Talk by a SA squadie on being torpedoed off Greece and treatment by the Italians. THE BASTARDS.

 

10 Monday - Got my weeks issue of cheese. Issued with shirt, vest, underpants and socks by the Red Cross. Wrote to Alice no.12 (letterpaper). Wrote to mother no.14 (letterpaper). Talk on South America by Sgt. Corbett.

 

11 Tuesday - Extra issue of clothing. I got a pair of underpants. Joe got pants and vest. Received Alice's dated 4-4-43. May Hathaway married. Very glad to get his letter. The one dated 19th February had me worried. Norman's pals are POWs. Where is Norman? Issued by Red Cross with new boots. Selly played the accordion in the evening. Played football.

 

12 Wednesday - Jesse sent some rice across. Nothing much out of the ordinary. Free night.

 

13 Thursday - Jesse brought some washing and Ralph Miller sent some as well. Joe went to get bread and got two extra loaves. Ralph sent two as well. Washing all day. Corp. Beale gave a talk on the 'Commandos at Bardia and Tobruk', very good and very funny.

 

14 Friday - Lecture on 'British Railways' by Sgt. Wurr. Got a Canadian parcel. Visited by Red Cross representative again.

 

15 Saturday - Joe got a Canadian parcel. Jesse sent some Vino and macaroni across. Free night tonight. Lecturer detained by Italians. Free night. Played football lost again 1-0.

 

16 Sunday - Handed in 8 liras of chits because we are supposed to be moving shortly. Did some washing for 'Bobbie' Breen. He gave us a packet of prunes. Dieci Players gave 'Challenge' and 'Where there's a Will'. Started week of double rations.

 

17 Monday - No more news about moving. Very windy and dusty. Received Alice's letter dated 27-2-43. Wrote to Alice no.13 (letterpaper). Wrote to mother no.15 (postcard). General knowledge quiz. We lost but still got 5 fags. Windy day.

 

18 Tuesday - Jesse sent some washing. Played football lost 2-0. Very hot. Worked all afternoon moving dust that blew about yesterday. Pte. Selly played the accordion.

 

19 Wednesday - Warm day. Nothing extraordinary. Talk by a SA on some 'Unsolved Murders'. Fumigated and had a bath.

 

20 Thursday - Cpl. Beale gave an amusing talk on India again. Nigger shot in Brindisi by Jerries. An Italian child also shot but for stealing food.

 

21 Friday - Got a parcel from Hove?. Did some washing for Jesse. Paid back the 8 liras that we gave in a few days ago. The move seems to be off. No concert due to nights not working. Went to bed early. POW 11 months today. Lot of personal parcels came in.

 

22 Saturday - Did some washing for Dickson. Played football. Lost 1-0. We are in a rut. Imperial Imps gave concert that we should have had last night. Weak, compared to their previous efforts. Joe got a Stirling parcel.

 

23 Sunday - Cooked some oatmeal. Went over to Piccolo for football match. Received mother's telegram through the Apostolic Delegation. Free night. Lights out for 1 hour due to air raid. Paid 12 liras.

 

24 Monday - Wrote to Alice no.14 (postcard). Wrote to mother no.16 (letterpaper). Played football drew 1-1. Sgt. Cobbett gave talk on 'America' again. Very hot now. Paid up to 27th . 12 liras.

 

25 Tuesday - Received mother's dated 3-3-43. Gave in 15 liras in chits. We're moving tomorrow. Played football won 3-0. Scored two. Told we are to move out at 3.30 am tomorrow. Packed kit.

 

26 Wednesday - Moved at 5 am. We were marched to the station. In goods wagons fitted with wooden seats. Given 4 loaves and 2 tins of bully. 2 days parcels sent with us for today and tomorrow. We went via Bari along east coast.

 

27 Thursday - Spent quite a good night on the deck. Locked in. Stopped at Camp 70 at1 pm. Near to Fermo and San Giorgio. (Camp 70 at Monturano, south of Ancone on east coast). Travelled by electric train to camp. Searched. Knife taken. Letters etc. read. Tins punctured. Beds in tiers of three. Met Sgt. Jones and Winkle of Stoke.

 

28 Friday - Good nights sleep. Issued with 50 cigarettes. Got an English parcel. All tins pierced. Short of tin of margarine. Slept all afternoon. Went to a show in the evening. 'The Wicked Uncles'. Not much good. Given a ration of wood. Sugar ration for the week.

 

29 Saturday - Joe has switched parcel days to Monday. Met Fred Bagguley from Castle Street. Slept in the afternoon. Meals are rice with puree and vegetables at night. Bed broke down. We landed on those below us.

 

30 Sunday - Meat day. No cheese. Slept in the sun in the afternoon. Walked round at night. Washed a shirt. Another bed broke today.

 

31 Monday - Football game started but cancelled. Only half rations issued. One meal. Saw Cpl. 'Trader' Horae of the Sherwood's again. He used to live in Basford. Paid 4 liras. Up to date now. Joe got parcel. Started shorthand classes.

 

June 1943

1 Tuesday - Ascot race day. Shies, hoopla, races etc. King and Royal family walked round. Got in a photo taken by Italian priest. Issued with 50 English fags. Half rations again. Band and mandolin band played. Made pair of hosetops from cut off socks. Met Stone my gunner.

 

2 Wednesday - Half rations again. Still only one meal. Slept all day. Met Hargreaves of TRDO? 4th Batt A Squadron. Made a cremola custard.

 

3 Thursday - Proper rations today. Meat vegetables and rice. Wrote to Alice no.15 (letterpaper). Wrote to mother no.17 (postcard). Rained today. Made a pair of knitting needles. Played football won 1-0.

 

4 Friday - Got my parcel. Heavy rain all day. Brewed up in the billet. Brewing is allowed every day here. Learned that when this camp opened last August, 33 men died in 28 days. Recently one was shot trying to escape. Hayes of Liverpool. One has cut his throat. Went to a concert given by Imps and Ragamuffins. Very good.

 

5 Saturday - Fine day. Slept all day. Joined the camp library. Got 'Land Truant' by Crichton Porteous. Final once more of Tuturano cup. 10 v 12 again. 10 group won once more. Half rations again.

 

6 Sunday - Full rations today. Played football - all 36 group v 37. We won 6-2. Slept for the rest of the day.

 

7 Monday - Joe got his parcel. Half rations again. Changed book with library for 'War in the Air' by H.G.Wells. Brewed up at 10 pm.

 

8 Tuesday - Sunbathed a lot. Inoculated for Typhus in the left breast. Slept all morning. Two meals today. Bought 3 liras worth of onions. Some of Piccolo came here. About 50.

 

9 Wednesday - Got 'Point Counter Point' by Aldous Huxley. Carried grub today with Joe. Got buckshee at dinner but ducked at teatime. They brewed tea twice for us today instead of only once as beforehand. The crew of a British submarine came in today. They got in Naples harbour but didn't get out.

 

10 Thursday - Got 'The Black Paw' by Constance Little. Sunbathed. The fellows from Piccolo say that San Pancrazio was bombed by RAF. 70 South Africans were killed there. They were in the workshops etc. Head cold. Breast still sore from inoculation.

 

11 Friday - Got a Canadian parcel. Wrote to Alice no.16 (postcard). (Received 16-8-43). Wrote to mother no.18 (letterpaper). (Received 17-8-43). Got 'Musk and Amber' by A.E.W. Mason. Bread did not turn up. It is usually issued a day in advance.

 

12 Saturday - Two lots of bread i.e. today's and tomorrow's. Everybody is very optimistic on the chances of getting out soon. Yesterday two chaps were caught having a brownie. They are in clink. What a life?

 

13 Sunday - No library today due to tables being used for the tote. There is also dog training today. There are lectures here every afternoon but it is too hot out in the sun and I like to get my head down in the afternoon. Did a bit of washing. 25 English tabs issued.

 

14 Monday - Joe got a Canadian parcel. Changed book for 'Spanish Steps' by Paul Macguire. 35 Italian tabs issued. Bought half a bar of chocolate for 30 English fags. Fried some onions with salmon for tea.

 

15 Tuesday - Got 'A Great Adventure' by Muriel Hine. Went to a show called 'Gypsy Rose' musical show. Chief songs were 'Toreador', 'Only a Rose', 'I Travel the Road', 'Who cares', 'I want to carve your name on every tree'. Only half ration once more.

 

16 Wednesday - C 70. Half rations again. Fried some onions. Slept most of the day. Got 'Long Will' by Florence Converse.

 

17 Thursday - Got letter from Alice dated 4-3-43. Fried some more onions. Some new fellows came here from Capua (Camp PG66). Paid 15 liras. Full rations today such as they are. Meat instead of cheese.

 

18 Friday - Wrote to Alice no.17 (letterpaper). Wrote to mother no.19 (postcard). Got a parcel from Bermondsay. Read 'Crucifixion Range'. Rainy day, very cold. Half rations again. Only one meal at midday.

 

19 Saturday - Cold again but fine. Washed a pair of underpants. Still half rations. Bought a brewing stove. 40 tabs, 8 of us mucked in. Issued with shirt, underpants, socks and vest by Red Cross. They say San Giorgio was bombed last night. Got 'A Modern Monte Cristo'.

 

20 Sunday - Meat day. Proper rations. Got 'Pendulum' by Annie S. Swan. Put collar on shirt. 25 English tabs issued.

 

21 Monday - 12 months POW. Joe got an English parcel. Got 'The Fountain' by Charles Morgan. Altered another shirt. Half rations again, but got a double loaf for working at cleaning the camp.

 

22 Tuesday - Still only half rations. Got 'Brass Commandments' by Charles Alden Seltzer. Altered a pair of wollen underpants. Won a vest in a draw. 2nd innoculation for typhus. Needles are not sterilized at all.

 

23 Wednesday - Learned that there was a blind man at Tuturano (Camp PG85) and another one here. Both due to malnutrition. Had a look in at a dance in Central Hall. Bought 8 liras of onions between Joe and I. Chest sore. Read 'Enter a Murderer'. Half rations.

 

24 Thursday - Fried some onions. Got 'Arizona Ames' by Zane Grey from library. Proper ration. Meat instead of cheese.

 

25 Friday - Got 'National Velvet' by Enid Bagnold. Half rations. Sunbathed. Had a haircut. Got an Argentine bulk parcel. Went to show. 2, one act plays. 'The Grocer Fiddles' and 'Delayed Action'. Half rations.

 

26 Saturday - Two years in the army. I wonder if I shall see 3 years. Wrote to Alice no.18 (postcard). Wrote to mother no.20 (letterpaper). (Received 13-9-43). Half rations.

 

27 Sunday - No meat today. Proper rations. Tried to get photo taken but couldn't. Rained slightly. Lots of thunder and lightning. Fried the last of the onions. Although we are having so little grub off the Italians, I don't feel hungry. It must be the hot weather. I've quit playing football. I don't know what has happened to the mail.

 

28 Monday - Joe got an Argentine bulk parcel. Got 'Unknown River' by Scott. Half rations. Changed 2 oz tea for 6 oz coffee. 100 new fellows came from Camp 65 near Gravina. They say Bari is flat.

 

29 Tuesday - Rained at night. Proper rations. Quiet day. Thundery.

 

30 Wednesday - Met Tom Lineker again of 74 Squad. Learned that Pickthall was torpedoed and killed in the Mediterranean. Also Bowker was killed by Stuka bomb. Tom was caught in El Alameine. 50th Batt last September. Half rations again. Our bulk cheese has gone bad. Went to a dance in Central Hall. Paid 15 liras.

 

July 1943

1 Thursday - Proper rations. No meat though extra issue of bulk cheese. It filled in a gap just at the right time. Wrote to Alice no.19 (letterpaper). (Received 9-9-43). Wrote to mother no.21 (postcard). Read 'Hell's Acres' by J.E. Armstead. Fingerprints and identification marks taken.

 

2 Friday - Meat day. Only one meal again. 'Lifted' some potatoes. Bought 3 liras of onions. Got an English parcel. Went to a show given by Imperial Ragamuffins. Bed broke in the middle again. Read 'On the Edge of the Primeval Forest' by Albert Schweitzer. Half ration of sugar.

 

3 Saturday - Half rations. Got a pair of BD Slacks. Read 'Round the Horn and Home Again' by Shalimar (F.C. Hendry). Dull. 25 English fags issued.

 

4 Sunday - No meat. Cheese. Half rations. Dull again. Read 'The Gun' by E.C. Forester. Wood issue 7 days.

 

5 Monday - Joe got a Birmingham parcel. Got 'Red Hills' by Rhys Davies. Washed shorts. Hot day. Half rations again. This is getting monotonous. The higher ups don't talk? enough. I guess they have enough grub. Bought 5 liras of onions.

 

6 Tuesday - Half rations. Read the 'The Public School Murder'.

 

7 Wednesday - Bought a towel 200 cigarettes. Joe advanced me half. Read 'Nobody Ordered Wolves' by Jeffrey Dell. Slept in the afternoon. Four peaches issued to each man in our group. 25 English fags issued. Fancy dress dance.

 

8 Thursday - Read 'Captain Samson RB' by Gavin Douglas. Wrote to Alice no.20 (postcard). Wrote to mother no.22 (letterpaper). (Received 31-8-43). Received Alice's dated 30-1-43. Proper rations. Meat instead of cheese. The Navy chaps who left Camp 85 to be repatriated are in this camp.

 

9 Friday - Another so-called meat day but we got no meat. Got 'Ghost Kings' by Rider Haggard. Play Circle gave 'Pygmalion'. Very good show. Took bed on to the brew patch so that billets could be cleaned out. Took 4 hours. One skilly.

 

10 Saturday - English fags issued. Only one skilly.

 

11 Sunday - Moved to no.5 group out of 36. Received Alice's dated 21-1-43 and 14-2-43. Received mother's dated 15-4-43. Meat day but only one skilly. 4.0 pm tea at 11.30 am. Read 'Cornish Adventure' by Derek McCulloch.

 

12 Monday - One skilly 12.30 am. Tea at 4 pm and 6.30 pm. Got 'Man of Property' by John Galsworthy. Joe got a Canadian parcel. Count for third time 10.30 pm to11.45 pm. Two are supposed to have escaped. Our usual counts are at 7 am and 6 pm.

 

13 Tuesday - Another long count at 7 am. Issue of tomatoes. 6 small ones each. 'Texas Law', Western novel. On parade for 90 minutes at 6 pm. No bread came up. We get it tomorrow. One skilly.

 

14 Wednesday - Sunbathed. Bread came in this morning for today. Parcels were not issued until afternoon. One skilly. Some more fellows came in from Camp 65. Central Hall is full and some are in bivvies. Got 'Bellarion' by Sabatini.

 

15 Thursday - Had a game of rounders. Remainder of Tuturano lads came in. Cullen, Bentford, McQuillan etc. Buckshee sugar issue. Meat day. One skilly 4 pm. San Pancrazio aerodrome was bombed. Lots of SAs and niggers killed. This is the second lot. Listened to a talk on 'Economics'.

 

16 Friday - Got a Canadian parcel. Political meetings stopped by 2nd Lieut of FAA who is supposed to be in charge of the camp. Nazi methods. No questions were allowed. Played football. Lost 7-1. Issue of plums also cocoa tin of sugar from Red Cross.

 

17 Saturday - Got 'Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain. On days double rations. Wrote to Alice no.21 (letterpaper). Wrote to mother no.23 (postcard). Dance outside. Central Hall is full up with beds now. I can't get a dancing instructor.

 

18 Sunday - Had a group photo taken. Stoke lads photo was not on list to be taken. Got Alice's dated 7-3-43. One skilly. Count at 10 am to 11.30 am. Three counts again today. Anonymous letter, tore it up. Wonder who wrote it?

 

19 Monday - Joe got a Canadian parcel. Listened to a talk on 'Fascism' by Sgt. Botes. The last talk allowed by the naval officer. Hot day. One skilly. No vegetables. Vegetables go in tomorrow's effort to make two skillies. There are 8,500 men here now. Saw proofs of the photos ordered two.

 

20 Tuesday - No papers on sale. Two skillies with the help of yesterday's vegetables. Got 'Love-At-Arms' by Sabatini. I guess the author. Issue of 3 plums per man. Listened to a concert by Camp 65 lads.

 

21 Wednesday - Camp 65 Dance Band gave show. Did a bit of washing. Sunbathed. Told that parcels are to be one in 10 days. No papers. One skilly. No vegetables.

 

22 Thursday - Meat day. Two skillies with the help of yesterday's vegetables. Felt very sickly. Started shorthand classes.

 

23 Friday - Got a Canadian parcel. Issue of tomatoes. 9 small ones per man. Received Alice's dated 22-5-43, 31-5-43. Received Wiff's dated 13-5-43. Slight rain. Watched football match between RAF and Navy. No shorthand. No papers.

 

24 Saturday - Wrote to Alice 22 (postcard). Wrote to mother 24 (letterpaper). (Received 7-9-43). Thunderstorm. Washed a pair of shorts. Two skillies made with yesterday's vegetables. Went for a walk outside camp. Out for 90 minutes. Warm but nice. 'Flash of Scarlet' by Florence Bone. Papers came in today.

 

25 Sunday - Nothing much. Palermo has been captured. Russians are pushing. Listened to concert given by lads of Camp 65.

 

26 Monday - MUSSOLINI IS RUMOURED TO HAVE RUN AWAY. Joe got a Canadian parcel. Listened to lecture on extracts from letters from home. Shorthand.

 

27 Tuesday - Played football 5 Group v 6 Group. Lost 5-0. Watched DLI play Essex Regiment at football. One skilly again. It's true about Musso. Yoicks. Shorthand.

 

28 Friday - Got 'Fire over England' by A.E.W. Mason. Wrote to Alice no.23 (letterpaper). (Received 8-9-43). Wrote to mother no.25 (postcard). (Received 7-9-43).Listened to lecture on 'Hire Purchase' by Jim Meadows. No shorthand. Got group photos. One white skilly.

 

29 Thursday - Slept all morning. Nothing much. Went to shorthand class. Two skillies with the help of yesterday's vegetables. Meat day.

 

30 Friday - Got a Scottish parcel. Issue of 9 small tomatoes, 6 of them bad. Boxing tournament in the evening. 14 bouts. Fags as prizes, 200 to winner, 150 to loser. Shorthand again. One white skilly.

 

31 Saturday - Got 'Hoop-la' by Crosbie Garstin and Bill Bounds lent me 'The Last Days of Pompeii' by Lord Lytton. Two skillies with yesterday's vegetables. Boxing again. 14 bouts. Cigarettes as prizes again.

 

August 1943

1 Sunday - One skilly. Meat separate. Got an issue of tomatoes. No parcels issued. Bought some chocolate for 45 fags. Hot day. Paid 15 liras up to end of month.

 

2 Monday - Hot day. Slept all morning. No shorthand. No parcels again. 'Griff from Home' read out and concert. One skilly. Italian fags issued.

 

3 Tuesday - Shorthand. Hot day. Wrote to Alice no.24 (postcard). Wrote to mother no.26 (letterpaper). No parcels. One skilly. Bought photo of Ascot Race Day. Dated cards 10-8-43.

 

4 Wednesday - Issue of 5 small green apples. Received Mrs. Price's dated 9-6-43. Played cricket. 25 English fags issued. Shorthand. Read 'The Great Arab' by Thomas Burton. Two lads have gone in clink for sodomy. One chap committed suicide in Infirmary.

 

5 Thursday - Took the suicide away (named Dummett). Had red patches put on clothes. Joe got a Paddinton parcel. Saw 'Pygmalion' again in small theatre. Shorthand. Bought 2 liras worth of onions.

 

6 Friday - Issue of tomatoes. Read the 'Faith Years' by Robert Eton. Shorthand. One skilly.

 

7 Saturday - Carried parcel. Another issue of tomatoes. Wonders never cease. Listened to a concert given by the Mandolin Band. One skilly. Shorthand.

 

8 Sunday - Meat day. Received Alice's dated 26-5-43. Received paymasters dated 29-4-43. Bought some toothpaste 30 fags.

 

9 Monday - Got a Chippenham parcel. Shorthand. Went to a concert given by Imperial Ragamuffins. Another issue of tomatoes also of Italian soup. War hasn't finished yet. One skilly.

 

10 Tuesday - Received Alice's dated 5-6-43. One skilly. Parcels are only one in ten now but only due to camp Red Cross Committee and the 'Cabin Boy' 2nd Lieut Roberts.

 

11 Wednesday - Wrote to Alice no.25 (letterpaper). (Received 20-9-43). Wrote to mother no.27 (postcard). (Received 7-10-43). Dated them 17-8-43. Bought extra letterpaper. Wrote to office (letterpaper).(Received 27-9-43). Issue of wood. One skilly. They mounted an Ack Ack gun (Breda) at the bottom of the field.

 

12 Thursday - Issued with a pair of socks and a pair of cellular drawers (by donations). Buckshee issue of cheese and biscuits. Tomatoes issued again. It must be Christmas. One skilly. No meat today. Shorthand. Water off and on all day.

 

13 Friday - Meat day. Listened to a sing song by the choir. NBG. Shorthand. One skilly. 'Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe' by Erle Gardner.

 

14 Saturday - Received Alice's dated 30-6-43. Received mother's dated 23-4-43, 29-6-43. Buckshee sugar issue. Bought 1 lira of tomatoes and 1 lira of apples. Read 'Heavy Husband' by Joan Butler. Bought scrubbing brush for 40 fags.

 

15 Sunday - Meat day. One skilly. Short jazz concert by the band. No shorthand. Joe got an English parcel. Heavy raids on Rome and Milan.

 

16 Monday - 'Penguin Herodotus' by A.J.Evans. Issue of 6 small crab-apples. Listened to 'Griff from Home' again.

 

17 Tuesday - Received mother's dated 20-7-43. Received Will Daveson's dated 29-4-43. Received Alice's dated 8-4-43, 20-4-43, 8-7-43 and 15-7-43. Went to a concert given by Bill Rae and the Camp 65 boys. Bought 1 lira of apples.

 

18 Wednesday - Wrote to Alice no.26 postcard (dated 24-8-43). (Received 15-9-43). Wrote to mother letter no.25. Had a hair cut. Bought 2 liras of onions. Listened to a concert given by George Cresswell and his band. NBG. One skilly.

 

19 Thursday - One skilly. Read 'Columbus' by Sabatini. Shorthand. Boxing concert. Coats out since last night. 10 fights. 200 fags for winner, 150 to loser. Got a Canadian parcel.

 

20 Friday - Got 'Escape if you can' by Robin Temple. Boxing tournament again. 11 bouts. Met Ernie Rhead of West St. and McEuoy of Croft St.

 

21 Saturday - Received Alice's dated 15-5-43 and 20-6-43. Received mother's dated April 8th and 28th. May 5th and 31st. June 17th and 23rd and cable dated 8-3-43. Saw a concert got up by Jack Goldwhite.

 

22 Sunday - One skilly. Meat day. Buckshee issue of cheese and biscuits. Parcels are still one in 10 days. Sub Lieut. Roberts has been repatriated and the political lectures have started again. We moved down on to the green so that the billet can be cleaned and debugged.

 

23 Monday - Still under canvas. Got pint of burgoo. Very thin but nice. One skilly. Shorthand. Bought 2 liras of apples. Bought pair of leather soles 38 fags.

 

24 Tuesday - Received mother's dated 13th July. Received Alice's dated 13-5-43, 14-6-43,9-7-43 (with photo) and 12-7-43. Bought 2 bars of soap, 20 fags. Issue of 3 small apples. Received Alice's dated 5-7-43 also W.D. Morris' dated 12-5-43.Received mother's dated 16-5-43, 7-6-43, 6-7-43. No shorthand. Wrote to Alice letterpaper no.27. Wrote to mother postcard no.29. Dated 31-8-43. Still under canvas.

 

25 Wednesday - Received Alice's dated 30-7-43. Rained heavily from 5 pm to 7 pm. We were allowed to take kit to the billet but as the gas was not all clear we slept elsewhere. I got in a vacant bed near Ernie Rhead. Joe got a Canadian parcel.

 

26 Thursday - Issue of 4 tomatoes. Back in the billet. 'Griff from Home' read out in the billet. Got 'Casual Commentary' by Rose Macauley. Met Jack Walker from Wolstanton. Listened to a concert given by Mandoliers. No meat.

 

27 Friday - Received Mr. Juring's dated 26-7-43. Received mother's dated 27-7-43, 5-8-43.Received Alice's dated 25-7-43, 26-7-43. Classical concert given by George Cresswell and his band. Bought 3 liras of apples.

 

28 Saturday - Received Alice's dated 10-5-43. Issue of 4 tomatoes. Listened to 'Saturday Night's Show' with Bill Rae etc. Meat day.

 

29 Sunday - Received Alice's dated 23-7-43. Received mother's dated 21-7-43 and 24-7-43. Meat day again. Still only one skilly, it seems to be permanent now. Got a Canadian parcel.

 

30 Monday - Got fresh straw in palliasses. Blankets checked on roll call. We were out nearly 1 hours each time. Cabaret given by George Cresswell etc.

 

31 Tuesday - Received mother's dated 10-8-43. Received Alice's dated 4-8-43. Given a notebook and pencil by Red Cross. Listened to a talk about 'C.P. Workingman's Club'. Slight rain. Cold weather for last 3 days.

 

September 1943

1 Wednesday - Wrote to mother no.30 about Tom Mayo letterpaper dated 7-9-43. Shorthand. Nothing else of importance. Met Parkes of Silverdale Road and Basford.

 

2 Thursday - Issue of cheese, tea and sugar of next weeks bulk parcels. Wrote to Alice no.28 postcard dated 7-9-43. Talk on a 'Fascist Organisation'.

 

3 Friday - Cold weather again. Bought 5 liras of onions. Received Alice's dated 10-8-43. Received mother's dated 1-8-43. Cold weather again. A tunnel has been discovered. Paratroops were attempting to escape. It was 81 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet deep. They were shopped. It is said that 50 men were in the scheme.

 

4 Saturday - Bought 4 liras of onions. 6 men given 10 days rigorous and 10 days simple confinement for attempting to escape, damaging Italian property and being in possession of excess food. They must be magicians. The compound S.M. Biggs was given 3 days of each for allowing it. Rainy day. Unissued rations in the cookhouse were confiscated.

 

5 Sunday - Very heavy rain. Photo cancelled. Wrote to Donald Morris, bought the lettercard. Issued with a BD blouse. Much too big. Nothing else of importance. Joe got a bulk parcel.

 

6 Monday - Took blouse to be altered. Shorthand. 'Griff from Home' and a debate organized by Toc H. We have had no cigarettes now for two weeks. No fruit issued now.

 

7 Tuesday - Papa says that that any Italian found tunnelling to get into the camp is to be reported. Wrote to mother no.31 postcard. Wrote to Alice no.29 letterpaper. Jack Goldwhite gave a variety concert.

 

8 Wednesday - Got a bulk parcel. Received mother's dated 22-8-43. Received Alice's dated 16-8-43. Peace between Italy and Allies declared. Learned it at 8 pm. Bought 4 liras of apples and scoffed the lot. There has been a wireless made in the camp. It works and weren't the Italians surprised. Went to bed at midnight. Band played on the Boxing Ring.

 

9 Thursday - Under British rule again. Did fatigues in cookhouse. Peeling onions but got a double loaf for it. Russians have had large successes. Italians are very pally now but we still have to stay in the wire. Guards Brigade are on the main gate now. One case of rape. One fellow missing. Bad show. No shorthand.

 

10 Friday - Altered my battle dress blouse to make it fit. Parade now at 9 am. One roll call per day. Issue of biscuits and cheese. Band concert. Group went on a walk but I didn't go. More wireless news. Scare about Jerry troops. 18 tabs issued. Put in units order again.

 

11 Saturday - Issue of 1 tin of M and V and bar of chocolate. Bought bar for 18 tabs. Allowed outside the wire to the river from 2 pm to 7 pm. More good news of Russia and Italy. Italians very pally indeed. Given a little blue exercise book. Went for a walk up the river. The raper has not come in. It is said now that 2 chaps are missing. Learned that Whiltock is a POW. Variety show with Bill Rae, Jack Goldwhite, Benghazi Trio and George Fawcett.

 

12 Sunday - Half tin of sausages issued per man. Not allowed out. Traced a map of Italy, we may need it yet. Several fellows have gone already. But I am holding on for a while. Photos taken of Stoke Lads.

 

13 Monday - One Canadian parcel between two. Went up the river again. Hot day. Good news of the Allies.

 

14 Tuesday - Nothing much. Italians have taken control again for the day due to damage being done outside. Took counts. We are all kept in.

 

15 Wednesday - Lloyd in charge again. Walks allowed by compounds. Bill Bounds and I walked up the river. Got some peaches and grapes. Very nice day out. (Usept43nofficially). Boxing in the evening, but not much of a show. Lots of lads got drunk on vino.

 

16 Thursday - Went out again for a walk. Got apples, grapes, figs and tomatoes. We seemed to walk for miles. Wore a hole in my boot. Went early to bed. German army is said to be in full retreat round Naples. Issue of 3 biscuits each and a piece of bulk cheese.

 

17 Friday - Germans mysteriously appeared round camp this morning during the count. Not a sole knew that they were coming. One I saw is only a lad and looks dead tired. This is a good sign. Walks etc. are naturally cancelled. George and band gave a show but everyone is browned off. Tin of M and V issued between 2.

 

18 Saturday - Shorthand again. Everyone is very quiet. Half bar of South American chocolate issued per man and a quarter tin of margarine. Mandoliers gave a show. Still NBG. Germans have disarmed Italians.

 

19 Sunday - Quiet day. Germans have bought in several thousands of parcels from Camp 59 (Servigliano). Which is deserted. Both Italians and prisoners have gone. Several lads who left this camp are reported to have been shot. 23 tabs issued per man.

 

20 Monday - 1 parcel issued per man. Wrote to mother no.32 (letterpaper). Wrote to Alice no.30 (postcard). Boxing tournament but cancelled due high wind and dust. Jerry is collecting all the animals etc. from the surrounding district. He is taking everything.

 

21 Tuesday - Bought a bar of chocolate for 23 fags. Jerry has laid aside 3 days soft rations for us but he is taking most of the other stuff. No cheese today. None to issue except the 3 days rations. No greens now either. Toc H quiz. Rumours are flying thick and fast.

 

22 Wednesday - Jerry issued 15 fags per man out of PP parcels. He also cleared out the magazine of all kit etc. Little else.

 

23 Thursday - Jerry has taken 1500 men out of Com 4. We do not know where they are going. Shorthand. Jerry counts again.

 

24 Friday - Detailed to move. Packed kit. Issued with a medical parcel. Moved to San Giorgio by railway at 10.30 am. Journey took 1 hours. Changed trucks. 40 men per truck. Waited until 6 pm before moving. Changed trucks half way through the night. Travelling all night.

 

25 Saturday - Slept badly. Very uncomfortable. Arrived at Verona. Allowed out for a shit. Several (about 20) drivers taken to work in Italy. Yankee 4 engined bombers came over. 15 bombs dropped. One hit near us. Roof of one wagon blown off. 5 Jerries dead, 4 of ours wounded. Train was rocked. One wagon got shrapnel through it. 30 bombers all told. Bomb was 40 yards from nearest part of train. Jerries ran away and left us locked in. Threatened (from cover) to shoot if we got out. Moved off at 6 pm. Travelled all night.

 

26 Sunday - In the mountains. Rained all night. Kit very wet. Saw some Jerries who looked like Japanese. Not allowed out for a shit till 6 pm. Travelled all day. Arrived at Salzburg. Frequent stops. Given an issue of black coffee it was horrible. Travelled all night.

 

27 Monday - Given one days issue of Jerry bread at Regensburg. Allowed out for a shit morning and evening. Stopped at 6 pm at Hof. Shit here, perched on a pole. Moving all night. Very cold. When we want to piss in the wagon we piss in a tin and pour it through a crack in the door.

 

28 Tuesday - Detrained at dawn. Marched to a transit camp. Saw plenty of Russians, men and women in the same camps. Supposed to be internees but they have poor rations and are dying off quickly. Billeted by about 9.30 am. Brewed up on broken beds. Issued with a loaf between 3 and a tin of meat roll between 8. Coal ration given towards evening. Bath in a tin. Very chilly. Detrained Jakobstal.

 

29 Wednesday - Chilly night. Counted outside. Good rations of potatoes and dried vegetables at 2 pm. More chaps came in this morning. Some are sleeping on the floor. None of us have palliasses. Organised chaos as usual. One fellow shot in the night while going for a shit. Not dead.

 

30 Thursday - Still more chaps have come in. Crowded out. Read 'Third Round' by Sapper. Loaf between 4 and 1 skilly of peas.

 

October 1943

1 Friday - Bread between 5 and meal of potatoes and vegetables. Days pass slowly. Plenty of aircraft about. Foggia supposed to have been captured.

 

2 Saturday - Two counts. Lots of Italians in this camp now. No billets for them. Weather is slightly warmer. Same rations plus a little jam. More chaps have come in. No cigarettes have been issued since arriving here.

 

3 Sunday - Same rations. Little variation. Chaps are selling kit to the Italians across the road for cigarettes. Same again. 3000 chaps are to move tomorrow. Read 'Good-bye Mr. Chips'.

 

4 Monday - British lads did not go but some Italians went instead. Loaf between 5. Only vegetables, no spuds. Small issue of cheese. It smelled horrible.

 

5 Tuesday - Cold day. Potatoes and vegetables came up at 12 noon. Our turn for sugar issue. Read 'Castle Gay' by John Buchan. Read 'Inspector Treadgold Investigates' by Antony Weymouth.

 

6 Wednesday - Warmish again. Bread between 5 with potatoes and vegetables. Margarine and jam issue. Barrack inspection. The well water has now got to be boiled before use due to no sanitation. Sump water is seeping back into the wells.

 

7 Thursday - Washed a shirt, pants and self. Postcard issued. Wrote to mother no.33 (postcard). Concert held near the wire. The Russians liked Volga Boatman, Red Flag and Internationale. Bread between 5. Pea soup.

 

8 Friday - Bread between 6. Potatoes, vegetables, jam and margarine. Lots of tracer to be seen over the trees. Warmish. 'Wild Goose Journey' by Dennis Rooke.

 

9 Saturday - Bread between 5. 'By Way of Cape Horn' by Alan Villiers. Sirens sounded last night. No bombs. Potatoes and vegetables.

 

10 Sunday - Bread between 6. 'Dude Woman' by Peter B. Kyne. No margarine. Potted meat, potatoes and vegetables. Went to church with Bill Bounds and Rhead.

 

11 Monday - Bread between 5. Margarine. Skilly all in. Ration cut down. Read 'Hopalong Cassidy' by Clarence E. Mulford.

 

12 Tuesday - Bread between 4. Jam. No margarine. Skilly less. Week's sugar issue. 'Barber of Putney'.

 

13 Wednesday - Bread between 5. Skilly a little better. Margarine and cheese. Some fellows went from across the road. Fellows off the floor went over the way. Heard a lecture by a bomber gunner.

 

14 Thursday - Torpedo loaf between 4. Meat paste and margarine. Pea soup. Few spuds. 'Clipper in the Clouds' by Jules Verne.

 

15 Friday - Carried rations. Torpedo bread between 5. Margarine and jam. Bread badly broken. Plenty of spuds and vegetables. Ellery Queen's 'Siamese Twin Mystery'. 2 English fags issued per man. Heard a talk on the 'Liverpool Blitz'.

 

16 Saturday - Bread between 4. No margarine. Spuds and vegetables. Listened to a talk on 'Canada'. 1500 men left today, together with some fitters etc.

 

17 Sunday - Bread between 5. Margarine and meat paste. Spuds and vegetables. Concert in next billet. Skit on BBC.

 

18 Monday - Detailed to move. Played cards. Washed socks. Listened to a talk on 'Motor Racing'.

 

19 Tuesday - Left Zeithain (Stalag IVB/Z). Marched 12 kilometres to Muhlberg (Stalag IVB). Split from Joe Lomax. Passed by Lichtenberg. 200 men in a billet. Bread between 4. Sugar and jam. Spuds and vegetables.

 

20 Wednesday - Washed vest. Heavy dew. Misty. One lot of 200 men went to be registered and fumigated. They then went to the next compound. Bread between 5. Spuds, soup, margarine and sugar. Registered.

 

21 Thursday - Raid during the night. Went for fumigation, inoculation and vaccination. Moved to new compound. Now sleeping in beds. Had hair shaved off. Same rations. Had a ground sheet taken.

 

22 Friday - Detailed to move. Had spuds at 10.30 am. Packed kit and then only changed barrack rooms. Barley water instead of spuds. Hungry all day. Room is packed out. Some are sleeping on the floor.

 

23 Saturday - Spuds again and vegetables, margarine. Bread 1 between 4. Changed barrack rooms. Fellows who were short of clothing were given Russian kit. Shoes had wooden soles.

 

24 Sunday - Bread 1 between 5 with margarine and fish. Spuds and vegetables. Played Bridge.

 

25 Monday - Awakened at 3 am. Issued with 1/3 loaf and 1/8 tin of meat. Left barracks at 6 am. Arrived station 7.30 am. Left station at 10 am. 40 men to a truck. Passed through Riesa and Nossen. Arrived at Freiberg 7 pm. Never allowed out for a piss or a shit. Marched to camp 40 minutes. 20 men to a room. Only men here. German girls do the cooking. Nice billets. Beds and two new Red Cross blankets issued with spoon, fork and mug. Mine was broken couldn't get it changed. Kipped at 10.30 pm.

 

26 Tuesday - Reveille 6.30 am. Only a few men detailed to work. Eating room provided with stoves. Played cards and read all day. Bread less than we got at Muhlberg. Margarine. Messy skilly. Tomorrow's bread issued.

 

27 Wednesday - Reveille 5 am. Ate bread. Only a few more detailed to work. No double rations yet. Issued with rubber boots and leather helmet. Slacks, jacket and shirt ready for mining. Bread 400 grams.

 

28 Thursday - Reveille 5 am. Went to work at 6 am down the mine loading trucks. 8 hours work. Came up 2 pm. Had a hot bath. Changed rooms. Now all miners in here. Bread 500 grams. Cheese, jam, sugar and margarine.

 

29 Friday - Reported sick with eyes. Detailed for glasses. Didn't work. No lights in the morning.

 

30 Saturday - Went down the mine again. Nothing new. Hours 6 am - 4 pm. Bread 500 grams. Jam, margarine and sugar. Skilly consisted of swedes and spuds.

 

31 Sunday - Day off. Had clothing marked with red triangles. Meeting on working in the mine i.e. war work. It petered out with with a letter to the Red Cross.

 

November 1943

1 Monday - Down for the third time. Day passed quickly. Rations are 500 grams bread. Margarine and jam. Bucket of skilly between 7. Visit by an officer. Lots of complaints put forward but only promises in reply.

 

2 Tuesday - Started work with a new bloke on the water system. Several (49) chaps had their rations cut down for slacking. Resolved to strike tomorrow.

 

3 Wednesday - Refused work. Sgt. Mjr. hit 2 blokes with his rifle. Squaddies refused to do it. We worked but under heavy protest and force. Put on punishment rations. 300 grams of bread, margarine and jam. No sugar.

 

4 Thursday - Still on punishment rations. Same work. Skilly like piss.

 

5 Friday - Same rations. Rumours that parcels are expected. Still working with the schlosser 'Walter Schreiter'.

 

6 Saturday - Nothing fresh.

 

7 Sunday - Our bread tonight went back to 500 grams and we got more margarine, jam and sugar the same. Meat with the dinner and a piece of Jerry sausage in place of supper. hour digging.

 

8 Monday - Placed on night shift 3.15 pm to 12 midnight. Skilly was very bad. 3 fellows escaped but were soon caught after 8 hours liberty. Barbed wire now put round camp as well as netting.

 

9 Tuesday - Skilly made me ill. Two fellows detailed to go to sort mail etc. There may be some for us at the weekend. No sugar tonight. No jam last night.

 

10 Wednesday - Visited by 3 German officers, lots of promises. Parcels, lettercards etc. No sugar tonight.

 

11 Thursday - Jam, margarine, sugar and cheese as well as bread and skilly.

 

12 Friday - Went for parcels. They brought back 1 issue and 2 of fags. Worked on surface today. Paid 1.40 marks.

 

13 Saturday - Issued with 43 fags and my turn for tin of tobacco. Worked on the surface again loading empties onto the cage.

 

14 Sunday - Issued with Christmas parcel. Big eats. No Jerry jam issued. hour digging air raid shelter. Very cold and rainy. Spuds done in jackets, vegetables and rissole. Rissole for supper. Other rations as usual.

 

15 Monday - Started day shift again. Bell out of our room went to hospital with finger. Very wet skilly. Jam tonight but no sugar. Cold.

 

16 Tuesday - Slight snow. Bell's finger is to come off. Sugar tonight no jam. Potatoes, spinach and a rissole.

 

17 Wednesday - Feel better for the parcels. Wet. Skilly. Jam, sugar, cheese and bread. 1 rissole, spuds and vegetables. Jam. No sugar.

 

18 Thursday - Working with the joiner down below. Issued with wooden sandals. Big cage out of order, took 1 hours to get up today.

 

19 Friday - Changed bosses again, now with a driller. 45 tabs per man. Big cage still out of order! Parcel caput. Sugar issue, no jam, wet skilly.

 

20 Saturday - Same bloke at work. Jam issue. Wet skilly. No water on tap.

 

21 Sunday - Issued with 2 lettercards and 4 postcards to last us a month. Sugar issue and cheese. Still no water. Wrote to mother no.34 (lettercard). (Received 7-1-44).Wrote card to Alice no.31 (postcard). (Received 11-1-44). Wrote card to Paymaster telling him to send 40 Pounds to mother to bank for me. Piece of Jerry sausage issued as meat ration.

 

22 Monday - Up at 5.30 am. Working on afternoon shift. 20 hours without a break. Skilly between 7. Jam and sugar issue. My birthday. What a day! 1 hour raid warning. Handed in 3 articles for washing.

 

23 Tuesday - Skilly between 6. Snowing. Parcels are at the big camp but we can't get transport for them. Another air raid. Jam issue.

 

24 Wednesday - Potatoes, vegetables and rissole, pretty good. Another air raid warning. No bombs dropped yet. Issue of soap which we have to pay for, 12 pfgs.

 

25 Thursday - Another air raid. 2 weeks issue of Canadian parcels came in. Working on my own clearing the lines.

 

26 Friday - Parcels issue. 45 cigarettes per man. Full stomach. Wynniatt scalded his hand, now working on the chutes with Franz. Snowing heavily. Only packet stuff issued rest stored.

 

27 Saturday - Drew jam, butter, meat roll. Thick snow. Didn't eat all skilly.

 

28 Sunday - Didn't eat any parcel stuff but ate well all day. Snow gone but wet and windy. Weighed in clothes 74.6 kilograms. Sing song at night. On fatigues in the morning.

 

29 Monday - Day shift. Can draw from the second parcel today. Drew chocolate biscuits and jam. Issued with 30 Jerry fags and 2 boxes of matches 51 pfgs the lot. Slight snow on the ground.

 

30 Tuesday - Working now with a driller named Schneider. Good bloke. Drew all my parcel stuff and bully. Got tea instead of coffee.

 

December 1943

1 Wednesday - No issue of parcel stuff. Snow still here. Bread, margarine, jam, sugar and cheese. Rissoles, spuds and vegetables for dinner.

 

2 Thursday - Cold again but no more snow. Still with the Jerry Schneider. Bread, jam and margarine. Rissoles again. Air raid alarm. Drew my Klim.

 

3 Friday - A pole I am working with bought me kilogram of bread. Issue of fags 45 per man. Bread, margarine and sugar. No water on tap yet. No issue of Red Cross stuff tonight. Washing returned but it is half washed away.

 

4 Saturday - Pole (Dembinsky) bought me bread again. Rubber boots now finished and we can't get any more. Drew my bully and salmon and bought a tin of jam for 45 tabs. Air raids very frequent now.

 

5 Sunday - No fatigues today but we had to go for a two hours walk at 1.30 pm. Wrote to Alice letterpaper no.22. (Received 17-1-44). Wrote to mother lettercard no.35. Rissoles for dinner and Jerry sausage for supper. Wrote a card to the office.

 

6 Monday - Learned that Bell has not lost his finger after all. On afternoon shift. Discovered a thief named Conway. Promised severe treatment by German officer. Beaten up a bit by the lads. Skilly contained macaroni.

 

7 Tuesday - Drew out sardines and meat roll. Skilly better than yesterday's. On fatigues.

 

8 Wednesday - Potatoes, vegetables and rissole. No Red Cross stuff. Slept late. Sent washing. Cheese, margarine, sugar and salmon.

 

9 Thursday - Drew out butter and salmon. Food as yesterday. Bought bully for 35 tabs and salmon for 20. On fatigues. Cold weather still but little snow. Got a new pair of rubber boots. Old ones were quite worn through.

 

10 Friday - It is said that there is an ultimatum to Germany to pack in or to be bombed out. There have been no raids this week yet. Poor skilly.

 

11 Saturday - Day workers went to work 6 am - 2 pm. We went 2 pm - 10 pm. Day workers again 10 pm - 6 am. This is to work off Christmas holiday. We do the double shift next week. Bread, jam, margarine and sugar.

 

12 Sunday - Got up at 10.30 am. Potatoes and rissole for dinner. Wrote to Alice card no.33. (Received 24-1-44). Wrote to mother letterpaper no.36. (Received 23-1-44). Drew out last tin of sardines.

 

13 Monday - Day shift again. Skilly very watery. No parcels in yet. Bread, margarine, jam and sugar. Paid 38 Marks. I don't know how they work this out. No raids for quite a while.

 

14 Tuesday - Snow still lying around. Bread, margarine, jam and sugar again. Skilly as yesterday. No parcels yet but expected any time. Parcels came in at 9.30 pm. Canadian. Unloading them until 11 pm. Issued with 10 fags straight away.

 

15 Wednesday - Bread, margarine, cheese and sugar. Rissoles, skilly and potatoes. Extra 35 tabs issued to make up issue. Weighed again 74 kilograms. Lost 1.3? kilograms. Carrying coffee at reveille and tea. Not much time to ourselves today.

 

16 Thursday - Parcel issue. Drew prunes, chocolate, raisins, cheese, salt, soap, coffee, sugar, Klim, jam, bully and biscuits. Big eat today. Air raid siren went. No rissole today. Skilly one bucket between 7. Wet and watery.

 

17 Friday - Buckshee fatigues lasting half an hour unloading wood from a lorry. Nothing much besides. Sugar, margarine and bread. Wet skilly.

 

18 Saturday - Another 64 parcels came in to make up the last lot to two weeks. Working from 6 am - 2 pm and 10 pm - 6 am Sunday. The double shift idea to make up for Christmas eve and New Years eve. Jam, sugar, margarine and bread.

 

19 Sunday - Came in at 6 am very tired. Slept until twelve. Rissole, spuds and skilly for dinner. Rissole for supper. Parade and inspection. Yesterday I drew butter, meat roll and salmon. Bit of a sing song in the mess room. Night shift again next week. 45 English cigarettes issued.

 

20 Monday - Poor skilly. Night shift. Sugar, bread and margarine. Got tin of tobacco extra today. My turn. Got a pair of Red Cross socks.

 

21 Tuesday - Poor skilly again. Jerry fags issued. 50 per man costing 1 mark 50. 5 weeks parcels came in.

 

22 Wednesday - Rissole, potatoes and skilly for dinner. Sugar, jam and margarine. Cookhouse by dining room is now open.

 

23 Thursday - Drew a Canadian parcel. Chocolate, prunes, raisins, soup, cheese, biscuits, Klim, butter, coffee, meatroll, bully, jam and salt. 90 minutes fatigue moving kit into new cookhouse. Warmer weather. All the snow has thawed.

 

24 Friday - 45 tabs issued. No work for the night shift today. Day miners finished at 2 pm. Poor skilly but I bashed my parcel and felt quite happy. Collected some coffee and Klim for the cookhouse girls. We also gave a piece of chocolate each. Air raid. A collection of cigarettes for the German cook was ignored. Everybody's cheerful as possible.

 

25 Saturday - Still eating well. Felt alone today, thank heavens! Wrote to mother card no.37. (Received 28-2-44). Wrote to Alice letterpaper no.34. (Received 11-2-44). We had a boxing contest in the afternoon and a concert at night. Extra meat ration today and bottle of beer.

 

26 Sunday - Didn't sleep well. Day passed quietly. Bought two packets of raisins for 30 cigarettes.

 

27 Monday - Started on the day shift again. Jam and margarine. Potatoes now separate from skilly. Big improvement.

 

28 Tuesday - Reported invasion of France. Scharnhorst sunk and one other. Warmish weather but very wet. No air raids for the last few days.

 

29 Wednesday - Air raid warning tonight. No more news about France. I suspect it is just another commando raid. Jam, sugar, cheese, margarine, bread, rissole and skilly.

 

30 Thursday - No parcels today for day miners. Night shift got theirs okay but the RSM had to go out at dinner and didn't return. The Corporal is on leave.

 

31 Friday - Got our parcels today. Drew out all packets with Klim, jam, butter and bully. Slight snow. 45 tabs issued. No night shift tonight.

 

January 1944

1 Saturday - Blizzard blowing all day. Drew out meat roll and salmon. Holiday for all. Had a concert at night. Buckshee meat day. Potatoes come up separately every day now. We seem to get a lot more. We could all buy a bottle of beer and lemonade today. Had a game of Bridge. Read 'Count of Monte Cristo' last week. Air raid tonight.

 

2 Sunday - 2 letters represented the first lot of mail for this camp. Another rumour of invasion between Bordeaux and the Pyrenees. Meat day. Jam, sugar and margarine. Warm day. Snow has melted. Sing song at night. Jam, sugar, margarine and bread.

 

3 Monday - 150 men have had their bread cut for 8 days for not working hard enough. One of them is Tommy Bell who has not been to work. It is most unjust since the bosses say they are satisfied. It is the work of the Director. Air raid last night. One plane came down near here. Night shift this week.

 

4 Tuesday - A Major visited the camp. Heavy snow last night. No tins issued for the night shift because of the Major, until 2.15 pm. Too late to eat anything. I drew out my last tin of sardines. Snowing heavily. Coke fatigue. Issue of soap and soap powder.

 

5 Wednesday - 4 inches of snow. Very cold. Rooms damp. Meat day. Bread, sugar, and margarine. Potatoes and skilly. Air raid warning.

 

6 Thursday - Central heating started today in the dining hall. Drew Canadian parcel. Jam, sugar, cheese etc.

 

7 Friday - Thawing. Ate my biscuits. Marseilles reported to be in our hands. Carried the latrine buckets.

 

8 Saturday - Rumour that Rumania has capitulated. Jam, sugar, margarine and bread. Drew salmon and bully.

 

9 Sunday - Day off. Not allowed in the dining hall until 12 noon. Rissole and meat.Wrote to mother no.38 (card). (Received 7-2-44). Wrote to Alice no.35 (card). (Received 8-2-44). Had a sing song in the bedroom but the other lads complained. No beer.

 

10 Monday - Got our bread back but 8 men are still on cut rations. 2 men in our room. We are making their bread up with a slice each, each day. Day shift again. Sugar, margarine and bread.

 

11 Tuesday - Beer tonight and lemonade. Sugar, margarine and bread. The stores have been taken out of the dining room now that central heating has been put in. No heat in the rooms yet. Drew out my last tin of sardines.

 

12 Wednesday - Churchill is supposed to have told the Germans to pack in or get bombed out. Sugar, jam, cheese, bread and margarine. Rissole for dinner with spuds and skilly. Slightly warmer weather. Daylight raids now over Berlin.

 

13 Thursday - Got a Canadian parcel. Drew out all packet stuff. Biscuits were bad. The weather is much milder now. The dining hall is very warm but no heat on in the bedrooms. All our kit is damp. I have a damp patch on my palliasse. The roof leaks in several places.

 

14 Friday - Little new stuff.

 

15 Saturday - Sing song in bedroom until 10.30 pm. All the other rooms complained. So what! Fag issue 45 per man and tobacco. Bought Klim 30 and raisins 15. Drew out raisins, bully and meat roll. Paddy Ryan went into dock.

 

16 Sunday - Weighed again 78.1 kilograms, a gain of 3.9 kilograms on last time. No beer again. Wrote to mother no.39 letterpaper. (Received 5-3-44). Wrote to Alice no.36 card. (Received 3-3-44). Quiet night.

 

17 Monday - Night shift again. MO is sick. We have now got a nurse. Got a very sore chest.

 

18 Tuesday - Reported sick with my chest but only got a tablet. Franz brought me a German/English book.

 

19 Wednesday - Again sick. MO has come back. He dressed my throat but I had to go to work. Felt very ill. Did not eat dinner.

 

20 Thursday - Stayed in bed. MO saw me. Got a temperature of 38.5C. Went into sick room. Got a Canadian parcel, drew all my packet stuff. Not eating again. Air raid. 85 Serbian fags given out. 2 Marks 70. Soap, shaving soap, matches and washing powder bought.

 

21 Friday - Still got a temperature 38.3C. Not eating, chest still sore, voice gone. Air raid again. Heat now on in the billets.

 

22 Saturday - Felt much better. Temperature 35.5C subnormal. Heavy cough, voice still away. Drew meat roll and salmon. No air raid. 45 English fags issued. My turn for tin of tobacco. Felt a little better.

 

23 Sunday - 6 fellows gone out of sick room today. 125 cases of parcels at the station. No temperature today. Several new guards are here now.

 

24 Monday - No temperature but not working. Daylight air raid warning. Have read Walter Scott's 'The Abbott'. Lights went out.

 

25 Tuesday - Told to work tomorrow. Moved out of sick room. Nice day. Not eating much. Drew out bully but it was bad.

 

26 Wednesday - Work again. Back on the chutes. Snowing lightly. Still not eating. Rissole for dinner.

 

27 Thursday - Sugar, margarine, cheese, bread and sugar. Meat for dinner. Electric lights went caput. We had a miner's lamp. Air raid, large fires could be seen near here. Drew a Canadian parcel.

 

28 Friday - Mild weather. Bought a pipe for 20 German fags. Bought a tin of salmon for 20 Jerry fags.

 

29 Saturday - Drew bully and sardines. No air raid tonight. Jam, sugar, bread and margarine.

 

30 Sunday - Dining room fatigue. All rooms etc. washed out and inspected. Wrote to mother no.40 (card). (Received 15-3-44). Wrote to Alice no.37 (letterpaper). Concert at night. A small stage has been rigged up in the dining hall. Air raid again.

 

31 Monday - Night shift this week. Nice day. Everybody on fatigues. They won't leave us alone. Washed a vest. Chopping wood fatigue.

 

February 1944

1 Tuesday - Read 'How Green was my Valley' by Richard Llewellyn. Air raid again lasting two hours. Bottle of beer and one of lemonade. Drew salmon.

 

2 Wednesday - 3 more letters came to the camp. Piece of meat for dinner and potatoes and skilly. On coke fatigue. Prebble went to Hartmannsdorf for canteen staff and for clothing.

 

3 Thursday - Rissole for dinner. Jam, sugar, margarine and bread. Shit shovelling. Drew Canadian parcel. All packets and meat roll. No air raid.

 

4 Friday - Cheese issued which was sour. Nobody could eat it. Canteen stuff came up. It is like penny bazaar stuff. Slight snow.

 

5 Saturday - Received mother's letter dated 7-1-44. Snow again. Drew salmon and sardines.

 

6 Sunday - Canteen stuff issued. I drew toothpowder, toothpaste, nail file, razor blade and pencil, 1.85 Marks. Wrote to mother no.41 (card). (Received 21-3-44). Wrote to Alice no.38 (card). Issued with a pair of British boots. Snowing pretty heavily. Rissole.

 

7 Monday - Dayshift. Got a pair of clogs for the mine. Snow 6 inches deep. Jam, sugar, margarine and bread.

 

8 Tuesday - Wearing clogs. Feet all wet. They kill me. Issued with a vest. I won it in the draw. 3 shirts as well for 20 men but I lost that draw. Drew bully and butter. Air raid at 4 am but nothing came over here. 2 letters and 4 cards came up.

 

9 Wednesday - 12 Macleans toothpaste, 3 shaving soaps and 1 toilet roll issued by the Red Cross. I lost on the draw. I got a few sheets of toilet paper. Snow again. Quite deep. Lots of lads put on temporary surface work. Jam, cheese and sugar. Margarine, bread, rissole, bully and spuds. It sounds a lot but it isn't much really.

 

10 Thursday - Rissole again, same as yesterday. Blizzard blowing, deep snow. Drew Canadian parcel, all packet stuff. Changed butter for jam and sardines. Gave pipe and 10 cigarettes for biscuits. Doctor visited the camp, Franz Muller our bummer while the proper one is away due to snow.

 

11 Friday - Blizzard still blowing. Very deep snow. BD slacks, blouses and pullovers issued, 19 slacks, 4 blouses and 5 pullovers. I got only slacks. But Tommy Bell gave me his old civvies pullover. Box of matches issued per man.

 

12 Saturday - Received Alice's dated 11-1-44. Received mother's dated 9-1-44. Drew bully and meat roll. Snow still falling. Deep drifts.

 

13 Sunday - Wrote to mother no.42 (letter). Wrote to Alice no.39 (card). (Received 4-4-44). Deep snow again. Concert in the dinning hall. Rissole and spuds for dinner, no skilly.

 

14 Monday - Still snowing. On nights again. Cleaning the lavatory fatigue.

 

15 Tuesday - Drew salmon and sardines and bought a tin of bully for 15 tabs. Bought a pair of braces for 10 cigarettes. Thawing. Weighed again. Now weigh 78.2 kilograms. Heaviest man in the camp is 84 kilograms. Washed socks.

 

16 Wednesday - Received Alice's dated 15-1-44. Warmer weather. Rissole.

 

17 Thursday - Drew another parcel. All packet stuff and meat roll. Carrying tins. Snowing again. No skilly today. Rissole.

 

18 Friday - Water frozen up. Had to carry it from the factory. Didn't eat skilly or potatoes. Invoice came in for parcels. Yugoslavian blew himself up by drilling into an old hole.

 

19 Saturday - 213 cases of parcel stuff came in. 44 Canadian cases and 169 bulk. Had a very busy morning unloading parcels and shifting snow. Jerry is calling up all voluntary labour for military service. Yugoslavian's, Rumanian's etc. 17-33 years. Drew bully and sardines. Bought bully 20.

 

20 Sunday - Sgt. Mjr. away. Quiet day for us but 20 men did 4 hours work in the factory and 20 more snow shifting in Freiberg. Planes passed over in the night. Wrote to mother no.43 (card). Wrote to Alice no.40 (letter). Daylight alarm at 2 pm. Bought 2 postcards for cigarettes. Received Alice's dated 17-1-44. Received mother's dated 23-1-44.

 

21 Monday - The Yugoslavian that hurt himself is not dead yet but most of his head is missing. The Englishman working with him was not hurt. A month ago another Serbian lost his leg when the roof fell on him. Air raid again last night and again in daylight today. Ginger Cox moved into our room. Bought a tin of sardines for 3 fags.

 

22 Tuesday - Went down by usual cage but it went caput halfway through the morning. We had to walk to the other shaft and then walk home through the snow. We do not go down again until 12 tomorrow when the shaft is repaired. Drew tin of salmon. Visit by Red Cross representative. He tells us to keep out of trouble because Jerry is good at shooting.

 

23 Wednesday - Went to work at 12 noon but did not go down until 2.30 pm. Put on the job of cleaning out the sump. Got soaking wet. Finished work at 9 pm. Night shift didn't go to work.

 

24 Thursday - Slept very soundly. Still on the sump. Still very wet but we are to get an extra pair of trousers for tomorrow. Drew packet stuff of a Canadian parcel. Prebble and Klein came down the mine for a visit today. Put up a lot of photos in the room. Got tea in my parcel for once.

 

25 Friday - Warmer weather now, the snow is slow disappearing. Drew new blanket pants but we are not on the job today. Gave pants back again.

 

26 Saturday - Received Alice's dated 24-1-44. Received mother's dated 16-1-44. Drew bully and meat roll. The chap who lost his finger tipping wagons some time ago returned on Thursday.

 

27 Sunday - Wrote a card to the office. Wrote to mother no.44 (card). Wrote to Alice no.41 (card). (Received 14-4-44). A bottle of beer and lemonade each. A party went for a walk but as it was voluntary I went to bed. A Yugoslavian tried to jump down the shaft yesterday but didn't succeed. A variety concert in the dining hall.

 

28 Monday - Night shift again. Quiet day.

 

29 Tuesday - Drew salmon, sardines and jam. Bought a packet of biscuits for 20.

 

March 1944

1 Wednesday - Received mother's dated 31-1-44. Received Alice's dated 31-1-44. 5 toothpastes came in for the room. I won one. Rissole and spuds for dinner. No skilly. Bought a bar of chocolate for 15. Snowing again.

 

2 Thursday - One chap (a top worker) has got frostbite in three of his fingers. Drew a Canadian parcel. Drew all packets. Snow stopped. Three packets of wash powder and 5 bars of soap per man. To be paid for.

 

3 Friday - Sunshine and nice weather. On carrying tins. Had to go twice. Three men were killed down the other shaft yesterday. They drilled into an old hole which had not gone off.

 

4 Saturday - 45 English fags issued. My turn for tobacco, half a tin. Drew jam, bully and meat roll. Air raid alarm for over an hour at 1 pm and again during the night. Went down the mine at 3 pm, should have gone at 2 pm but the Sgt. Mjr. wasn't told. So we went late. The day shift went 6 am - 2 pm and 10 pm - 6 am and Sunday. This is because they missed a shift last week. Had to hand in all Marks in-excess of 30.

 

5 Sunday - Received Alice's dated 6-2-44. Wrote to Alice no.42 (card). Very little new. Daylight air raid alarm.

 

6 Monday - Day shift. Read 'West of the Pecos' by Zane Grey. Sgt. Mjr. went mad again, he says he has treated us like gentlemen and not POWs, but he now finds us to be little children. He caught somebody brewing up in a Klim tin. Daylight air raid.

 

7 Tuesday - Bought some razor blades for half a packet of coffee. Some more parcels coming in tomorrow. Drew salmon and sardines. Bought a bar of chocolate and a tin of Klim for 40 fags. Daylight air raid alarm again. Finland is supposed to have packed in.

 

8 Wednesday - Received Alice's dated 8-1-44. 2000 more Canadian parcels came in. Night shift had to unload them this time for a change. Went to bed a bit earlier than usual. Rissole for dinner.

 

9 Thursday - Shits pretty prevalent during the night. The rissole meat caused it. Rissole again today. But the fellows fought shy. Canadian parcel again. Drew sugar, chocolate, meat roll and cheese! Bought a bar of chocolate for my tin of tobacco that I got last Saturday.

 

10 Friday - Issued with another tablet of soap and a packet of soap powder. Split my thumb at work. No spuds today only barley. 'Topper' Brown buzzed off again last night at 12 pm alone. This is his second attempt. He first one was with two friends last november. The RSM went mad. Dirty room. Cleaned up the dinning hall.

 

11 Saturday - Guards are now doubled and we have them with us all the time. Drew all my packet stuff with sardines and bully. Thin soup for dinner. No spuds.

 

12 Sunday - Wrote to mother no.45 (letter). Wrote to Alice no.43 (card). (Received 20-4-44). Dinner was just plain rice with meat. We do not get potatoes now. There are non all over Germany. Jerry tobacco issue.

 

13 Monday - Thin pea soup for dinner again. No spuds. On fatigues cleaning dinning hall. Night shift again. Levinsky brought me an open razor for coffee. Weighed again 79.5 kilograms.

 

14 Tuesday - Barley for dinner. Drew out salmon. Working on my jack now. They caught Brown yesterday.

 

15 Wednesday - Levinsky brought me 12 banjo strings. Still working alone. No rissole. No spuds.

 

16 Thursday - Received mother's dated 12-2-44. Got 'The Turning Wheel'. A story of South Africa. An officer visited the camp today. Snow still falling, it is very deep all over. Meat today, no spuds. Bulk stuff, drew jam, biscuits, chocolate, cheese, pea powder, fruit and milk.

 

17 Friday - Paid again 36 Marks. On washhouse fatigue all morning. Plain rice for dinner, with a little vegetables juice. Ate one spoonful, it was horrible. Fred Crabtree returned from work, his chest was bad with fumes from blasting powder.

 

18 Saturday - Four of us carried Crabtree to hospital on a stretcher. Ginger Cox went away to clink for being too langsam. Drew tin of pork gelatine. 'Topper' Brown also went to clink.

 

19 Sunday - Room was on general fatigue. Wrote to mother no.46 (card). (Received6-5-44). Wrote to Alice no. 44 (letter). (Received 1-5-44). Told Alice about the ring. Concert at night. Didn't go to sleep until about 1 am. Talking on the eternal subject. Macaroni and meat. Half ration.

 

20 Monday - Day shift. Handed in a blanket. Pea soup for dinner. Bill Bounds lost his watch, reported it to the Sgt. Mjr. Bought bar of chocolate for 20 cigarettes.

 

21 Tuesday - Cox came out of clink but is still on 250 grams. Drew out last tin of M and V. Working with 2 Yugoslavians pushing wagons. Easy work. A little mail came in but non for me.

 

22 Wednesday - On top today laying rails. Snowing heavily and high wind. Frozen all day and wet. Got our sugar issue. We take it once every 7 times now to save so much splitting.

 

23 Thursday - Bulk parcel again. Drew tin milk, chocolate, M and V, margarine, biscuits, cheese, honey, sugar and soap. Reports that Hungary has capitulated. Down below again pushing wagons. The Director has repeated the threat that we shall not see England again.

 

24 Friday - Same job. Received mother's dated 7-2-44 and 28-2-44. Daylight air raid.

 

25 Saturday - Heavy air raid near here last night, leaflets dropped. Translated Churchill's new warning 22-2-44. Drew M and V. Bought chocolate 17 tabs. Air raid warning at night again.

 

26 Sunday - Translated the leaflet 'Luftpost': On the Russian Front. Macaroni and meat for dinner. Snow shifting for two hours from 9 am-11 am. Snowing heavily all day. Dance at night.

 

27 Monday - Wrote to mother no.47 (card). (Received 6-5-44). Wrote to Alice no.45 (card). On night shift again. Barley for dinner.

 

28 Tuesday - Received Alice's dated 8-2-44 and 17-2-44. Received Red Cross letter regarding Tom Mayo dated 8-3-44. Bought tin of M and V for 15 tabs and sardines for 10 French tabs.

 

29 Wednesday - Received Alice's dated 11-2-44 and 22-2-44. Barley and meat for dinner. Got a very sore and swollen ankle due to wooden clogs.

 

30 Thursday - Reported sick with ankle. But still have to go to work. Drew bulk biscuits,M and V and Klim from next week's Canadian parcel. Saw Russian girls.

 

31 Friday - Reported sick with ankle again and got put in the sick room. Bread cut to 250 grams and margarine to 20. Bread is made up by the rest of the lads in 7 room.

 

April 1944

1 Saturday Foot a little better. Received mother's letter dated 5-3-44. Nothing much besides.

 

2 Sunday Wrote reply to Red Cross telling them I don't know anything about Tom Mayo. EBT 1348 WOCB tel KA. Wrote to Alice no.46 (card). Wrote to mother no.48 (card). (Received 12-5-44). Cold meat and macaroni for dinner. Leg still aching. Dance in the dining hall but I didn't go. Water went off in the washhouse.

 

3 Monday Orderly came and got a little matter out of my lag. Nothing much else. The doctor came for the first time in 3 weeks but only sent 3 men to be examined at Brand.

 

4 Tuesday Heat is off again permanently all over. We have a fire in the sick room. Drew tin of M and V and bought a tin for 15. Leg painful. Orderly didn't come.

 

5 Wednesday Orderly came and got out a lot of pus. Steve Crompton went again to Brand (Tuesday). Had his thumb cut. The mine is flooding.

 

6 Thursday Drew Canadian parcel, sugar, chocolate, raisins and prunes, meatroll, soap, salt and biscuits. Steve went again. Very sick with his thumb. Got core out of my carbuncle. Should work double shift at mine to have Saturday holiday but work is impossible at mine due to water. All kit is being brought up. Received Alice's dated 16-12-43. Received mother's dated 27-12-43. 3000 English parcels came in.

 

7 Friday Steve left for hospital. No work except for very few. Orderly didn't come. Severe headache and cold. Lads went to pictures 'Lauter Liebe' - 'Nothing but Love'. A change but not up to much. I couldn't go owing to leg. Aldridge who trapped his finger on Tuesday has not yet gone for second dressing. Trouble between RSM and Director. We are to be treated as soldiers at last (but not for long). Ernie Ross went to hospital.

 

8 Saturday Temperature 37.5 C. Sunny day. No work at the mine due to water. All lads on top. Viel schlafen. Didn't eat much. Received Alice's dated 3-3-44 and11-3-44. Received mother's dated 12-3-44. Received vicar's dated 9-3-44. Drew bully, sardines, tea and cheese.

 

9 Sunday Wrote to mother no.49 (letter). (Received 18-5-44). Wrote to Alice no.47 (card). (Received 13-6-44?). Nice day again. Rissole and spuds for dinner. Easter Sunday. Concert at night. Everybody happy as is possible.

 

10 Monday Raining all day. Fever gone. Leg better. Work on Wednesday. Others to go to work tomorrow. Mine still flooded. No water on in the washhouse yet. 8 days without, cannot flush lavatories. A terrible browned off feeling in the camp today. 7 bout boxing tournament in the afternoon and a dance at night. Wet day. Read 'Ann Carmeny' by Hoffman Berry.

 

11 Tuesday Came out of sick room. Got a head cold. Two air raids. One very close at Riesa. Could hear the bombs. Lasted for 1 hours. Lovely day. Had a bath with the top workers.

 

12 Wednesday Work again. On top today. Nice weather. Bread back to 500 grams. No mail today. Some fellows, 10 in all have got work 10 kilometres away. They are out of the camp 13 hours each day. (Brickyard). Daylight alarm.

 

13 Thursday Drew a Scottish Harwick parcel. Drew chocolate, sugar, tea, condensed milk, eggflakes, cheese, 1lb biscuits, jam, oatmeal, meatroll, soap and cocoa. On top again. Some went down the mine to work. Day and night alarm.

 

14 Friday On top again. Nice weather. Crabtree came back. Has to stop in the sick room. 4 new fellows came today. Day alarm. Saw reconnaissance plane, very high.

 

15 Saturday Drew salmon and M and V. Received Alice's dated 19-3-44. Down the mine today on night shift. On fatigues from 9.45 am to 12 noon. No alarm. Quiet night.

 

16 Sunday Wrote to mother no.50 (card). (Received 30-5-44). Wrote to Alice no.48 (letter). (Received 27-5-44). Very quiet day.

 

17 Monday Day shift in the Grube. Got Jerry sugar. Duty room. Paid 38 Marks for month of March.

 

18 Tuesday No tins left in the store so I couldn't draw any. Handed in 30 Marks to the 'bank'. Raining all day. Cooked up tin of porridge.

 

19 Wednesday Cooked remainder of porridge and egg flakes. Meat and soup for dinner.

 

20 Thursday Hitler's birthday. Plenty of flags about. Drew a Canadian parcel. Biscuits, chocolate, jam raisins, prunes, meatroll, Klim, soap, salt and sugar.

 

21 Friday 5 PPs came here. I wasn't lucky.

 

22 Saturday We have to hand in all towels and blankets other than German issue stuff. Licensed robbery. Rainy day. Drew salmon, sardines, English margarine and coffee.

 

23 Sunday Wrote to mother no.51 (card). (Received 8-7-44). Wrote to Alice no.49 (card). (Received 3-7-44). Went out for a walk and stopped at a pub (no drinks) where there were two girls, plenty of children and a roundabout. Had a sing song in the room.

 

24 Monday Quiet night. Lots of planes going over. One PP and one fag parcel came in. On fatigues for an hour digging swill hole. Jerry fags issued, also 10 boxes of matches and a block of toothpaste.

 

25 Tuesday Drew a tin of bully. 3 more PPs came in. Confiscation of PP blankets. No PPs. Raining slightly.

 

26 Wednesday Weather cold but clear.

 

27 Thursday Had to hand in PP towels. They haven't got mine yet. Drew a North Row parcel, biscuits, cocoa, tea, milk, sugar, chocolate, bacon, jam, soup, dates, rolled oats, cheese and egg flakes. Received mother's dated 17-3-44. Rissole and spuds for dinner.

 

28 Friday 16 PPs came in. None for me. Wet day. On washhouse fatigue. Bought kilogram of bread for 12 cigarettes.

 

29 Saturday Fatigues again. Air raid about 12.30 pm. Saw one 4 engined plane pass over very low. Drew M and V and tin of peas.

 

30 Sunday Half the camp out working for a full day. The other half go tomorrow because the Germans are not working. It is a holiday. Wrote to mother no.52 (card). (Received 8-7-44). Asked mother in my card about Alice and if it is fair to let her wait. Concert again. A play (one act). 'The Thread of Scarlet' and a variety show.

 

CONTINUE TO PAGE 2

 

Return to POW Stories Menu