Staff-Sergeant Ralph Gordon Bishop

 

Unit : "G" Squadron, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

Served : North-West Europe (captured).

Army No. : 1872087

Camps : Stalags XIB, VIIIC and IXB.

 

Staff-Sergeant Bishop participated in the Normandy Landings, flying in soldiers of "A" Company, the 12th Battalion The Devonshire Regiment, into battle with the Second Lift on the evening of the 6th June 1944. Three months later he flew to Arnhem, where he was wounded and captured. The following is the diary he kept.

 

SEPT 16th SAT

Wrote to Dae

 

SEPT 17th SUN

1st Airborne Div landed at Arnhem

 

SEPT 18th MON

2nd Lift

 

SEPT 19th TUES

3rd Lift - containers

 

SEPT 20th WED

Mortar shrapnel wound back of right shoulder. Containers

 

SEPT 21st THURS

Containers. Moved from Borders R.A.P. to an MDS - Shelled and moved again

 

SEPT 22nd FRI

MDS

 

SEPT 23rd SAT

Containers (tld same in)

 

SEPT 24th SUN

Containers Gerry over ran area. We were P.O.W. W.W.marched to Arnhem. Ted and I in nearby hospital. Shelled!!

 

SEPT 25th MON

Shelled again. Evacuated in trucks to Appledorn !?

 

SEPT 26th TUES

Entrained in cattle trucks

 

SEPT 27th WED

Saw Munster! From train

 

SEPT 28th THURS

Arrived Stalag XI B Nr Hanover. Red X parcel. 10 Players

 

SEPT 29th FRI

Wound dressed. Roll call for list to Geneva

 

SEPT 30th SAT

15 Players. Band played from opposite compound. Church service

 

OCT 1st SUN

Cooked and ate porridge

 

OCT 2nd MON

Wrote card to Dae (1)

 

OCT 3rd TUES

Wound Dressed

 

OCT 5th THURS

10 Cigs

 

OCT 6th FRI

R X P. Moved to opposite compound. 15 cigs Saw P. Clarke Watty + Turner + Bib

 

OCT 8th SUN

Church + HC

 

OCT 10th TUES

Wrote to Dae (2)

 

OCT 11th WED

Shower + de-lousing etc @ 357

 

OCT 12th THURS

25 cigs

 

OCT 13th FRI

RX Bulk issue.

 

OCT 15th SUN

Church + HC

 

OCT 20th FRI

RX Bulk issue

 

OCT 21st SAT

Wrote postcard to Dae (3)

 

OCT 22nd SUN

Church + HC

 

OCT 23rd MON

Baths etc 357

 

OCT 24th TUES

Moved from XI B to VIII C via Soltau. Berlin & Frankfurt/ Oder

 

OCT 25th WED

Berlin

 

OCT 26th THURS

Arrived Sagan 0800HRS Dae's Birthday. Bread & Honey

 

OCT 28th SAT

RXP each. Invalid Parcel/4 baths

 

OCT 29th SUN

Church Service

 

OCT 30th MON

Concert, Library Book Heather Moon. Drew Shirt

 

OCT 31st TUES

RC Bulk issue 50 Fags

 

NOV 1st WED

Showers

 

NOV 3rd FRI

RC Bulk issue 2nd 1/2

 

NOV 4th SAT

Wrote Dae (4) Mum (Both)

 

NOV 7th TUES

50 Cigs

 

NOV 8th WED

1/2 RXP English

 

NOV 10th FRI

1/2 RXP Canadian. Saw show:- The Pirates of Penzance.

 

NOV 11th SAT

WROTE CARD TO DAE

 

NOV 12th SUN

WROTE CARD TO DAE

 

NOV 14th TUES

50 cigs

 

NOV 16th THURS

SNOW!

 

NOV 17th FRI

1/2 RCP BULK

 

NOV 21st TUES

17 cigs!!.! 1/2 RCP Bulk FATIGUE Clean outside area

 

NOV 23rd THURS

CARD TO "DAE"

 

NOV 25th SAT

FATIGUE! Clean Ablutions

 

NOV 26th SUN

LETTER TO DAE

 

NOV 29th WED

Delousing & Baths

 

NOV 30th THURS

Haircut

 

DEC 3 SUN

FATIGUE/CARRYING PARTY

 

DEC 5 TUES

Radishes issue. Bulk remains issue

 

DEC 7 THURS

Innoculation Lt Shdr. Typhus, Cholera & Dysentry

 

DEC 8 FRI

SNOW. Touch of Flu - stayed in bed - some pleasure !

 

DEC 9 SAT

--- do--- Severe frosts FATIGUE/BILLET CLEANING

 

DEC 10 SUN

Much Better Thank God. Very Cold Weather

 

DEC 11 MON

Bath. Snow again, Very cold sleepy in my trousers.

 

DEC 12 TUES

Much warmer after the snow

 

DEC 14 THURS

Snow ! English film !

 

DEC 15 FRI

FATIGUE/ABLUTIONS

 

DEC 17 SUN

2 Letters to DAE. Very Homesick

 

DEC 19 TUES

Very miserable today but I guess its another day to the end of the war and to seeing Dae and all at home. How I long for some good appetising food and plenty of it, after fried potato peelings and boiled bread some

 

DEC 19

Moms food at Hookfield or Picklebatch will be paradise but most of all Dae I would like you to prepare all the nice dishes I shall like when I come home on leave. There are a few things and meals to note. Breakfast. Eggs, bacon, beans on toast, liver and onion. sausage, Mushrooms Porridge. Cornflakes, coffee, cream,sugar, toast and marmalade,chips, spam, Bully.

 

Elevenses. Hollicks Ovaltine Cocoa Bournvita with plenty of cakes and toast and marmalade

 

Lunch. Roast Beef, Pork or Lamb, spuds sprouts peas cauliflower, marrow chicken, liver and onions and bacon and sausage. Beans and bully. Chips, poultry, cold rice pud, spotted dog, jam roll, treacle tart, sponge cake and custard.)

 

DEC 19th

Drink & cakes & toast in afternoon

 

TEA. Cheese, tomatoes, onions, crumpets eggs beans & bully cakes toast sardines fruit & cream, chips sausage & mash,pie & mash.

 

Supper. Chips, beans,cheese, toast eggs bacon, cold meats

 

MILK JAM + TREACLE + MARM CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN MARS CRUNCHIES MARSHMALLOW NOUGAT CONDENSED MILK + CARNATION CREAM + CREAMCAKES TOAST & MARMALADE PIKELETS & MARMALADE BEANS CHICKEN LYONS CHOC SWISS ROLLS, FRUIT & PIES, CREAM SLICES, CREAM DO'NUTS, CREAM BUNS, CUSTARDS, ECCLES, CHELSEAS,GINGER BISCUITS, PASTRY, MINCE PIES

 

DEC 20 WED

Cig off Bill !

 

DEC 21 THURS

RX parcels in - newsflash. FATIGUE / CP.

 

DEC 22 FRI

Severe frost overnignt - window & stove pipe !

 

DEC 23 SAT

Severe frost ! 5 cigs from Luft Stag. Parcel between 3 ! 16 cigs Red X

 

DEC 24 SUN

Severe frost 30 below ! Water steams. Scotch parcel ! Dumfries. Church & H.C. 1430hrs made pudding. Went to town on the 1/3 parcel with sweets & choc, Toast & Salmon, Biscuits & Cheese & Treacle, milk, marm pud & good brews. Vinegar off Bill Ramsey. Sing song. 1 PINT BEER. Church service & Communion.

 

DEC 25 MON

Good brews. Porridge, meat roll. Macaroni for soup. German sentry wished us a happy Xmas ! no smile ! Bacon, Toast & Xmas Pud with cream. 2 letter cards. Bread and meat roll. R.C. 0930 & 21.30 12 cigs for meat roll

 

Tues 26th DEC

Good brews. Toast & Meat roll Potato S.K & Oxtail Stew. Less cold today. RC. 0900 & 1430. Meat roll & spuds. Porridge

 

WED 27th DEC

Bath. What a skilly ?! Severe cold again. Meat Roll & spuds egg & toast.

 

THURS 28th DEC

Moved to A Block ! what a crush. Shaved. Bread and cheese ! Goulash. Snow. Mild night ! good sleep.

 

FRI 29th DEC

Cold again. Good swede soup.

 

SAT 30th DEC

Moved next compound. SNOW

 

SUN 31st DEC

Blizzard all day. 50 mins on RC @ 0900. Good barley soup. 40 mins on RC @ 1500. Let us hope the New Year will bring a speedy end to this hellish war. In the meantime food, clothing cigs & mail are needed.

 

1945

 

MON 1st JAN

Snowing still & cold. Pea soup very thin ATE BREAD WITH IT !

 

TUES 2nd JAN

FATUGE - CLEANING & CARRYING SPUDS. ATE Goulash & 9 big spuds. - roll on the bread ! All the time I am hungry and eat everything immediately it is issued with is a bad thing. Starting tonight I will try to get a grip on myself and establish a definite supply to my stomach instead of alternating. Roll on the food parcels. Issued with foot rags & a pair of long pants of German make.

 

WED 3rd JAN

On RC for 1hr 5 mins @ 07.30 45 mins @ 11.00 45 mins @ 14.00 A very miserable day, bitter cold standing in wet boots & sleet. 7 Men had tried for a break the night before.

 

THURS JAN 4th

19 cigs from LUFT. 3 Ate all my spuds & my tummy hurt because it is now small & was so full. Have not yet acquired the food control!

 

FRI 5th JAN

21/2 fags for spuds ! Spinach good !

 

SUN 7th JAN

Church service. R.Call 1700hre ! in the dark after parading from 2.30 - 3.30 to hard in Benches, Tables & Pillowcases as a reprisal against treatment of German Prisoners in Egypt 2yrs previously. What a ridiculous race. Doubled up with Jim. Spinach again not so good. Ate bread by 1500hrs. Sold F.P. for spuds had a good scoff. Wrote letter to Dae.

 

MON JAN 8th

Spuds for Breakfast. Xmas parcels in. Snow. Macaroni x2

 

TUES JAN 9th

No RED X Issue. No parade for GPs for transfer to Luft VII Jerry bugering thigs around trying ot bring down moral. ATE ALL SPUDS WITH GOULASH - NEVER AGAIN BOY WHILE A kg. Another NCO killed last night, being outside after 2000hrs.

 

WED JAN 10th

Very cold. Parcels commence! Rerisals are now against British NCOs not volunteering for work! Lights out 2000hrs. Parcel Issue started.

 

THURS JAN 11th

XMAS PARCEL BETWEEN 4. 25 cigs each. Xmas cake, pudding, custard. Pork & stuffing. Stewed Steak, Beans, Spam, Honey, milk, Butter, Sugar, Yorkshire Pud, Chocolate, Fish - Tea. 55 Greatcoats! FATIGUE / Ablutions

 

FRI JAN 12th

It thawed last night! 5 fags for bread.

 

SAT JAN 13th

Drew clogs

 

SUN JAN 14th

Letter to Dae & Mum. Pea soup

 

MON JAN 15th

De-lousing. Real Sprouts in DH7 Skilley!

 

TUES JAN 16th

Macaroni Skilley. Best & Tastiest Supper since being a P.O.W Pork & stuffing & Yorkshire Pud. & toast - Xmas Pud + custard, cake + jam + custard. Honey + toast. Jam + toast. Honey + bread + butter. Jam + bread + butter. (Honey to finish) Red X issue 1 /4 again Bad stomach pains.!

 

WED JAN 17th

Stomach pains worse Diarrhea? Best gen yet on bartering deals - ?

 

THURS 18th JAN

25 FAGS 1/8 Bulk issue Prunes, milk, butter, corned beef M&V tea egg pdr, pea pdr, marmalade biscuits 2 types tea. Admitted Ravire with high temp MO says bronchitis - still eating well but stomach pains

 

FRI 19th JAN

5 Brews ! good. DHy Veg. NBG TOMS

 

SAT 20th JAN

1/8 RX Bulk issue - hardly makes a good meal. Good Honey & Butter issue

 

SUN 21st JAN

LETTER TO "DAE" Pea soup

 

MON 22nd JAN

DISCHARGED RAVIRE !! 9 MEN TO A LOAF ! macaroni

 

TUES 23rd JAN

No Gerry Tea. 0900HRS. Flour Soup. 1430HRS Goulash & Spuds - 1/4 RX issue. 25 Cigs ATE 6 Biscuits, 21/2 meat biscuits, Honey marmalade. 3 Brews. Chocolate M&V (1/2 tin), Cheese ! 9 to a loaf no jam

 

WED 24th JAN

Overcoat. Cheese issue. 9 to a loaf, flour soup DH veg

 

THURS 25th JAN

9 to a loaf. Flour soup Bulk issue Red X Spuds & Goulash

 

FRI 26th JAN

Admitted Ravire again ! Temp 103.8 ! 1/3 tin pinapple csush 1/4 tin creamed rice 1/2 tin lemon curd Brew tea & ovaltine

 

SAT 27th JAN

Temp down. Refugees going by on the march

 

SUN 28th JAN

TEMP UP! SLIGHTLY 2 Letter cards! NOT WRITTEN Refugees!

 

MON 29th JAN

Temp down! Refugees 4 Luft III ?! Flogged Ticker for 300 & a 2 Kilo Macaroni, Good barley

 

TUES 30th JAN

1/4 Red X Christmas Parcel Refugees Temp OK Bought 3/4 Xmas Pud 20 1/4 Bar Choc 15 Good Barley too, Spuds & Goulash Brew cocoa! Ate 1/4 Loaf. 1/2 Pud, 1/4 P+S, 3/4 Choc, 1/4 Sardines

 

WED 31st JAN

Ate 1/4 Loaf , 3/4 Pud, 1/2 Cake, 1/4 Honey, 1/4 Beans 1/4 Spam, 1/4 Steak, 2 Barleys, 4 Spuds Refugees. 1st day up No marg or Jam

 

THURS 1st FEB

Refugees. 1 onion! & vest from Frank 1/4 Red X Xmas Parcel + 25 Cigs Goulash + spuds. No marg - cheese issue. Big Thaw overnight

 

FRI 2nd FEB

Carrots + Barley. Discharged Ravire. 1 Pullover! Haircut. Big Thaw. 3 Onions! No marg.

 

SAT 3rd FEB

No snow left now. No marg

 

SUN 4th FEB

No marg

 

MON 5th FEB

10 to a 11/2 Kilo loaf. No marg. Pea Soup. 1/4 Red X Bulk issue. 13 fags

 

TUES 6th FEB

Spuds (less) & Goulash. Wrote letter to Dae. Cards to Joan & Mum.

 

THURS 8th FEB

Evacuated SAGAN. Marched 23 Kilos. Skilley. 1/6 loaf + marg.

 

FRI 9th FEB

Another 23 Kilos- Priebus. 1/4 loaf 1/6 Bully. Night in woods.

 

SAT 10th FEB

14 Kilos. 1/4 loaf 1/6 Bully. Night in French commando Camp - very fair. Muskau.

 

SUN 11th FEB

Spremberg - night on football pitch. Snow rain. 1 tin bully to 3 Marg to 9 men 4 loafs 7 men for 2 days

 

MON 12th FEB

Still marching, another football pitch, Seftenberg. More snow TUES 13th FEB Football pitch,1/6 loaf 1/6 meat 2 days

 

WED 14th FEB

Night in barns. Ortrard

 

THURS 15t FEB

Night in barns Oszenhein !. Marched on my own! Refugees Box spuds, 1/2 loaf.

 

FRI 16th FEB

Sick, 11 loaves 20 men Tin meat 4 men 2 DAYS Rested in Barn all day. Spuds & tea

 

SAT 17th FEB

Marching! Riesa ( fast attention!) River Elbe ? 3 Kilos outside a barn

 

SUN 18th FEB

Coffee NIX ESSEN! Transport to German Barracks @ Oschatz Ravire treatment - Skilley

 

MON 19TH FEB

12th Day. Wermsdorf 12 Kilos 5 loaves 11 men VG Bread In barns 8pm 5 men to marg

 

TUES 20th FEB

13th day. Walked all morning W spuds cooked Tractor thtough Grimma left of Liepzig road

 

WED 21st FEB

1/2 loaf & sausage 2 days coffee Tractors x2 to Braed for soup & coffee!

 

THURS 22nd FEB

Marched to Hauinburg. 1/2 loaf 1/4 bully - 2 days

 

FRI 23rd FEB

To Stalag IX C. Bad Sulza

 

SAT 24th FEB

1/7 loaf Pkt biscuits. Sausage 7hrs Apolda

 

SUN 25th FEB

Weimar 1/3 loaf sausage. 36 Kilos! Cheese sandwich. Nr ERFURT. Russian - bread. AIR RAID!!

 

MON 26th FEB

ERFURT. 1/4 loaf 1/8 sausage (x2) soup VG. Arrived Nr GOTHA. 2 Thunderbolts.

 

TUES 27th FEB

Arrived. 6th loaf+ 11/4 limburger. 1/4 loaf + 2 cheeses for tomorrow. Ate

 

WED 28th FEB

ARRIVED EISENACH + 4 kilos No bread now!

 

THURS 1st MARCH

Barley soup. Arrived Hestog ? + 4 Pea soup X country march at end 4 biscuits & fat

 

FRI 2nd MARCH

Days rest 2/5 loaf 1/2 tin cheese for 2 days ate all! Very bad remember "Dae" in future

 

SAT 3rd MARCH

No bread now. Start march

 

SUN 4th MARCH

Long March 3/4 loaf 3/7 Bully - 3 days I ate all - stupid !

 

MON 5th MARCH

V short march 3 spuds

 

TUES 6th MARCH

Rest day again

 

WED 7th MARCH

8th day of marching 2/3rds loaf 2/7ths meat ate all FULDA

 

THURS 8th MARCH

March no bread

 

FRI 9th MARCH

1/5th loaf days rest 3GP's died - Garth Statham, Gr---s, Hodges.

 

SAT 10th MARCH

1/3 loaf 1/6th meat Arrived Stalag IX B 1/5 loaf for tomorrow - ate ! Fleas are terrible!!!

 

SUN 11th MARCH

A good soup. De-loused? In middle of last night

 

Mon 12th MARCH

Skilley same 1/6 loaf. 1 cig

 

TUES 13th MARCH

1/6th loaf Skilley same --- papers. Weather warmer. Marg

 

WED 14th MARCH

250 GRAMMES MARG + JAM

 

THURS 15th MARCH

250G's Marg

 

FRI 16th MARCH

250G's Butter Jam

 

SAT 17th MARCH

250G's Butter Cheese 1/4 Red X P American No 10

 

SUN 18th MARCH

250G's Marg + Saus

 

MON 19th MARCH

250G's Marg. I AM FEELING VERY VERY WEAK. I AM V. THIN

 

TUES 20th MARCH

210G's 1/2 litre skilley

 

WED 21st MARCH

250G's 15G's Marg (11AM!) Skilley 4pm 1/4 litre

 

THURS 22nd MARCH

250G's 250G's 20G's Marg Skilley 1 litre thick

 

FRI 23rd MARCH

3 more men died in Ravine 210G's 15G's Marg

 

SAT 24th MARCH

250G's 20 Marg 21/2 cigs. Letter Cd

 

SUN 25th MARCH

250G's 20G's Marg. 40G's Meat

 

MON 26th March

250G's 15G's Marg Thin skilley!

 

TUES 27th MARCH

210G's 20G's Marg 1/12 th Parcel!

 

WED 28th MARCH

1/7th loaf 20G's Marg

 

THURS 29th MARCH

1/7th loaf 20G's Marg "More" spuds

 

FRI 30th MARCH

GOOD FRIDAY Thick skilley No bread? Thin skillet 2 Fags 2nd ANNIVERSARY

 

SAT 31st MARCH

1/5 American parcel 51/2 cigs 40 French CIGS LIBERATED ? NOT YET Thick skilley no bread thick skilley

 

SUN 1st APRIL EASTER SUNDAY

Pea skilley 1/7 Loaf marg. 20Gs

 

MON 2nd APRIL EASTER MONDAY

AMERICAN TROOPS ARRIVED, LIBERATION DAY

 

TUES 3rd APRIL

C rations. Barteded rogan meal macaroni + spuds for fags Bought 2 mess tins, knife, mug Skilley bowl, Sugar, Treacle, coffee, milk Bad ORB. Started moving to Blighty by AIR

 

SAT 7th APRIL

BR. Di Su Grd Mt + Spag

 

SUN 8th APRIL

B Ham & eggs D Chicken + veg + Pork and beans ? C Cereal + Buscuits

 

MON 9th APRIL

AIRBORNE EVAC COMMENCED? MAIN BODY OLD TYPE C RATIONS B - Biscuits etc D - Chicken + veg - M+V S - M+V + Pork and beans

 

Bad Night ?!!!

 

TUES 10th APRIL

Breakfast -Biscuit burger Dinner - burger

 

1900hrs left camp by truck 25 - serial 25, Arrived Drome - de-loused into Red X tent - Bang on.

 

 

Staff-Sergeant Bishop never spoke of his wartime experiences, yet he was extremely proud of his association with the Glider Pilot Regiment. He died in 2004.

 

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