Pictures

The identity card of Lieutenant Reg Wood

Lieutenant Reg Wood in Oflag VIB

Lieutenant Reg Wood in Oflag VIB

British officers

Sir She Said

"Dossing Dulcie"

Lieutenant Basil Reginald Wood

 

Unit : The Princess Louise Kensington (Middlesex) Regiment.

Served : France (captured).

Army No. : 85465

POW No. : 1283

Camps : Stalags XXID and VIIA, Oflags VB, VIB and VIIB

 

12th Jun. Marched to large field outside St Valery. Rain stops and sun breaks through. Order to march off over hills escorted by large line of tanks. Go past French battery all dead. Three R.A.F. bombers fly over the long column of British and French prisoners, engaged by combined A/A and A/T German guns. Very hot and dusty, marched for hours no rest, food or water. Picked up bottle of wine in a deserted village, ate half of emergency ration. At 14.00hrs arrived at small town of ………… , marched into farmyard and given a rest of 1 hour, pulled off boots from aching feet and had first sleep for many days. Off again, marched over hills, through villages and practically dead after 38 kilometer march. Arrive at village of Manneville and put in deserted farm, no food or water given, sleep under trees. Rain at night but past caring.

 

13th June. Awoke at 06.00hrs, very stiff. Shaved in water from greasy stagnant pool, first time for three days. No food. Taken off in trucks through charred remains of burning villages and smell of burning flesh. Amiens mass of ruins in centre of town. Arrived Formerie, blackened shell, dreadful stench. Taken into large field surrounded by heavy M.Gs. Lot of French and British prisoners already there including Brig Burney. Charles, Jack, Ham and myself shared a tin of herrings which, with tin of bulley, was all we had on us when captured. Went to sleep. Given cup-full of weak pea soup at 14.00hrs. Johnny Dodge arrived clothed only in trousers and greatcoat, said he had tried to swim out to get boats to come in closer but had returned to shore and found all his clothes gone. Slept in open field, very rainy night. R.A.F. bombed Formerie aerodrome.

 

14th Jun. Cup of ersatz coffee for breakfast. 12.00hrs cup of weak pea soup. Left field at 13.00hrs. Very few houses in town occupied. Obtained water on march from few houses that were still occupied, also scrounged small bowl. Villages on route all bombed, large bomb craters beside road, smell of burning flesh and decaying bodies. Arrived at Joillay tired out at 19.00hrs, led into field where cattle sheds with just roof and four pillars were. Given cup of ersatz coffee, small chunk of very stale bread, piece of horsemeat. Bathed feet in water in steel helmet. Rain.

 

15th Jun. Cup of ersatz coffee for breakfast. Got separated from rest when trucks arrived to take us off. Taken in truck to field 20 miles from Amiens near Liguiere. Previous trucks had gone on. Large numbers of Ps.O.W. already in field and some British but none of my party. Made a bed of loose straw gathered in fields with Padre Charles King of 7th. Norfolks who I had first met on the Saar. Johnny Dodge arrived with next truck to end. Cupfull of weak soya bean soup at 12.00hrs, same again at 19.00hrs. Had wash in stream.

 

16th Jun. Weak coffee for breakfast, pouring rain. British officers allowed into empty houses by road, found a towel and Padre King made some cakes out of flour he had found in house. 12.00hrs Soya bean soup. Trucks arrive to take us on to Domart, 50 in small truck, towns burnt out, many bomb craters and abandoned and destroyed vehicles. Amiens mass of ruins. Driven into large field outside Domart, masses of British and French prisoners. Met Mike and Salmon. No food issued as French had queued up twice and taken our small share. Washed and shaved in muddy stream. Being Sunday night a prayer meeting was held.

 

17th Jun. Issued with ½ packet of British biscuits, small piece of cheese and cup of ersatz coffee. Marched off to Doulens 21 miles away, uphill, very hot. Managed to eat raw mangels and Swedes and ears of corn from the fields on the way. Many signs of ravages of recent war. Saw burnt out R.A.F. bomber with two shrivelled up skeletons inside it. Reached Doulens in late afternoon, many houses bombed. Marched into old monastery with tents in the grounds. French at once seized all the tents so we let them down and in the end we had half and they half. Made a stew of the turnips and Swedes we had collected on the way. At 17.00hrs ½ loaf of bread and cup-full of soup issued. Washed and shaved. Gave field service postcard to sentry in hopes that it might get home.

 

18th Jun. Issued with cup of ersatz coffee and 1/5 loaf of bread and marched off at 06.30hrs to St Pol, 16 ½ miles away. Reaching area of France that was inhabited again. Bought small pieces of bread for exorbitant prices and ½ loaf for 100 francs ( 11s/4d). French officers rushed into shops to get food. Old lady gave me two raw eggs which I sucked. Led into troops camp outside St Pol, knives, lighters, cigarette cases etc taken away. Issued with cup full of bean soup, small piece of meat and ½ packet of British ration biscuits. Then marched on a further two miles to St Pol racecourse where tents had been erected. Wrote down name, number and rank, civil German officer gave me a cigarette. Washed self and clothes which soon dried in hot sun. People from St Pol sold food at main gate, got bread, butter and cigarettes. Find a store of B.R. biscuits behind grandstand and have good feed for first time since capture. At 20.00hrs coffee issued and Reiney-Dougal D.A.Q.M.G. of 51st. Div made speech saying tomorrow would be issued with ½ packet of biscuits and a cup of coffee and that sick officers would go by truck but the rest would march 18 ½ miles to Bethune. He himself was going by truck (he wasn't sick !!) and Lt Col Swinborne , the G.I. of the 51st. Div would be in charge of the party marching.

 

19th Jun. Issued with ½ packet of B.R. biscuits and cup of ersatz coffee. Inhabitants en route very generous, particularly the women. Gave us coffee, wine, bread, chocolate and cigarettes in small quantities. In centre of mining district, outside Davion, led into a large field and women came in loaded with baskets and gave us sandwiches, lettuce, bread and butter, jam and coffee, sardines, cigarettes. Gave names and addresses to local Red Cross representative. Half an hour later resumed the march and in other towns and villages as we marched by people gave us strawberries, chocolate, beer etc and one dear lady gave me a bottle of champagne. Despiute the good cheer it was very tiring, all the roads were cobbled and dirty and it was extremely hot. Bethune comprehensively bombed and shelled. Marched into sports stadium, filthy condition, masses of French there already also party that went by truck. Placed in grandstand, very draughty. Issued with bowl of soup and 1/3 loaf of bread. No washing facilities, latrines putrid. Settled down to cold night on stone floor of stand.

 

20th Jun. Only issued with cup of ersatz coffee before march of 21 miles to Seclin. Posters up in Bethune saying how British had deserted the French etc and French were fighting Britain's war. Received gifts of food on way from French population. Buy two tins of sardines for 20 francs at Busay. Marched into school at Seclin, French officers seized all accommodation inside so we had to sleep outside on concrete playground. Washing facilities and latrines dreadful. French girl whom I spoke to over wall got me some bread.

 

21st Jun. Issued with cup of ersatz coffee and then marched off to Tournai, 17 ½ miles away. German sentry said "nothings in the stomach, I was P.O.W. in last war-in Liverpool and I-learnt-English-there". After 3 hours march with no rest in boiling sun on dusty cobbles reached Sin. Local population streamed up to give us food. Crossed Belgium frontier. Atmosphere quite different, no signs of anyone willing to give us food or even water. Marched into jail at Tournai , cells with doors left open for four officers apiece and plenty of straw on the floors. Cold shower. At 14.00hrs given some bean soup and 1/6 loaf of bread. Buy through gates of jail butter, chocolate, gringoire, gingerbread, sardines and beer. At 18.00hrs some rice, a herring (raw) and 1/6 loaf issued. Heard we were to stay here another day and very pleased as after all we had been through this seemed like heaven.

 

22nd Jun. Bought cherries, chocolate and butter, raisins and beer. Washed clothes. Issued at 12.00hrs with 1/6 loaf of bread and cup of soup. At 18.00hrs the same.

 

23rd Jun. March to Renaix (Ronse) 15 ½ miles away. Belgian population now more friendly and generous. Germans objected to our songs whilst marching. Led into dirty unused factory. Given Ό loaf of bread and not possible to buy any food. Gave cheque to Belgian Red Cross official with message to my people on back with hope it might get cashed. At 18.00hrs a cupful of potato soup issued.

 

24th Jun. Given cup of ersatz coffee and marched off to Ninove, 22 miles away. Very fatigued, hilly and dusty and hot. Marched into silk factory there and issued at 15.00hrs with Ό loaf of bread and 2 ozs sausage. Buy food over garden wall of house adjoining factory; jam, cheese and cherries. At 20.00hrs issued with soup and 1/6 loaf of bread.

 

25th Jun. Stay at Ninove for further day. Issued with cup of ersatz coffee at 07.30hrs. Bought more butter, cherries, jam and gringoire over garden wall. Ό loaf of bread issued at lunch time and cup of soup and same at 18.00hrs. Washed clothes.

 

26th Jun. Issued with cup of ersatz coffee at 05.30hrs and left for Aalst, 9 ½ miles away. Shortest march yet. Bought some chocolate and cigarettes outside gate, Half way received soup from Belgian Red Cross and gave a further cheque to Red Cross official . Led into barracks at Aalst. Bullying guards. Managed to buy some chocolate from a man who came in. At 18.00hrs issued with Ό loaf of bread, 2 ozs sausage and ersatz coffee and then locked in barrack rooms, 200 in room meant for 40.

 

27th Jun. Issued with cup of ersatz coffee and slice of bread. Marched 20 miles to St Niklaas, bridges in this neighbourhood all blown up. Boy on bike gets …….. cheese, 20 tins of sardines and half loaf of bread. Very fine cathedral in square at St Niklaas. Population give us beer and chocolate. Marched into barracks at 15.00hrs and register our names etc. Straw on barrack floor. Shop open in barracks and able to buy custard pies, cakes, chocolate and lemonade. Barbers shop also open. Issued at 18.00hrs with 1/3 loaf, lard (which ……….sunshine …….up) and cup of ersatz coffee.

 

28th Jun. Stay in barracks for further day and very glad of rest as absolutely worn out. Washed clothes and had a hair cut. Bought sardines, cigarettes and 2 origano. Soup issued at midday and in evening, 1/3 loaf and small portion of butter.

 

29th Jun. Issued with cup of coffee and 1/3 loaf and set off at 06.30hrs for Holland where barges were to take us down the Scholdt into Germany. Passed through very beautiful forests with attractive cafes in them. Passed over Dutch-Belgian frontier, quite different. Everything very neat and clean and fields cultivated up to last inch of ground. Factory girls rushed out and gave us each a sandwich, Reached Huilst at 10.15hrs. Red Cross officials gave us 2 sandwiches each. Put in train, 70 in compartment for 40, very hot. Dutch threw food in to us. 11.30hrs arrived at Walsoorden, given extremely stale loaf, 3 potatoes and soup which was our rations for journey on barge. Taken to the river Scheldt and allowed to bathe. Boarded barge "Queen Emma" at 17.00hrs. French seized all accommodation down below but left us the deck, we were thus really far better off. Sailed off at 18.00hrs. Went through locks and mass of waterways connecting Dutch islands. Girls in national costume. Tied up for night at Emmeircht, hoardes of French kept coming up from below and told what they could do.

 

30th Jun. Went into river Maas, concrete pill-boxes on banks of river, bridges blown up. Delightful scenery; Dutch men and women in canoes seemed oblivious there was a war on. At 11 o/c stopped at Dortrecht and a meat sandwich a head given us by inhabitants, also small quantity of honey. Speech by German officer from boat in perfect English saying how fortunate we were in coming into Germany and he hoped when we returned home we would take back many happy memories with us. Sun boiling hot; envied girls in bathing costumes. Arrive at German-Dutch frontier, forts blown up. At 19.00hrs tie up at Wesel and see our first German civilians; very apathetic and show little interest. Flags flying from all buildings to celebrate victory over France. German Luftwaffe soldiers and N.C.Os talk down to us. Boat pulls away and anchored midstream for night.

 

1st Jul. Boat ties up against wharf again. Steel helmets taken away (contrary to Geneva convention). Marched off boat, civilians stare, shops empty. Marched into large park and given 1/3 loaf, cheese and ersatz coffee. Wash and shave at taps in park. Women instructors teaching P.T. to small children. At 16.00hrs issued with ration for train of 1/3 loaf of bread, cheese. Marched off to station and put into 3rd Class carriages. Very delightful scenery at first, people working in fields think we are a troop train and wave. Enter Ruhr district, town after town smoke, noise etc. Bochum, Sterkrade. Go to sleep sitting up. Air raid alarm goes, searchlights in sky and A/A heard very close. Sentry says raid on Cologne. At 02.00hrs arrive at Heimar station, Marched to barracks partially built in side of stone quarry.

 

2nd Jul. Many Polish prisoners there. Barracks unfinished and unfurnished. Sleep in rooms on stone floors covered with straw but inside washroom and lavatories working. Each barrack wired off and only 20 yards exercise space. No view at all. At 07.00hrs gate opened to allow us to go into central compound to get ersatz coffee from cookhouse. Jack, Ham and Charles in neighbouring barrack, talk to them through wire. At 11.00hrs go to cookhouse to get potato soup, Polish cooks give us double portions on learning we are British. At 18.00hrs 1/5 loaf and small piece of cheese issued. Air raid warning during night.

 

3rd Jul. 07.00hrs ersatz coffee. Walk up and down the 20 yards stretch. 11.00hrs potato soup. Sleep until 15.30 hrs. 16.00 hrs issue of 1/5 loaf and ersatz treacle. Read terms of French armistice in old German newspaper. Air raid during night; heard bombs dropping.

 

4th Jul. 07.00hrs ersatz coffee. 11.00hrs tomato soup. 16.00hrs 1/5 loaf and bacon fat. Started to wash clothes outside but Senegalese took them off me and insisted on doing them.

 

5th Jul. 07.00hrs ersatz coffee, 11.00hrs potato soup, 16.00hrs 1/5 loaf and 2 ozs sausage. Very bored now nothing to do, nothing to read, nowhere to walk. Hope we get sent on to proper camp soon.

 

6th Jul. Usual issues of food. Up to now we had managed to augment the meagre rations by a tin of sardines a day which we had bought on the march. Heard we were to leave at 15.00hrs for final destination. Only train ration would be the usual evening ration of 1/3 loaf and 2 ozs sausagemeat. Doors locked of train, beautiful scenery, forests, villages etc. Ate ½ our ration and kept our other ½ for tomorrow.

 

7th Jul. Ate other half of our ration. Very hungry by midday and wooden seats of compartment getting very hard. Rumour we would reach Munich at 15.00hrs and be fed there but unfortunately passed through without stopping. Train very hot and very, very hungry. No water, Arrived at Nuremberg at 17.00hrs and saw people eating and drinking in station restaurant; made us even more ravenous. Typical Bavarian scenery, mosques, domes etc, Passed through Letmanthe, Altenhunden, Kreuztal, Regensberg, Muhldorf; very hilly. Frantic with hunger and thirst. Reach Laufen station at 21.00hrs.

 

8th Jul. Arrive at Schloss Caserne after Ό hours walk from station at 01.00hrs. Used to be bishops palace, then barracks and now P.O.W camp formerly occupied by Poles but now by British officers. Marched into large garage, given 1/5 loaf and slept on straw. Issued at 07.00hrs with ersatz coffee and ½ loaf to last two days, bowl, mug, knife and spoon. Chair and table brought into garage and interrogation and particulars taken. All heads shaved. Issued at 11.00hrs with ½ litre soup and 3 potatoes and at 16.30hrs with ½ litre of soup and 3 potatoes. Interrogation didn't reach us so had to spend another night in garage. Place swept up by orderlies in red trousers who were part of International Brigade on way back from Finland and caught in Norway.

 

9th Jul. Woken at 06.00hrs. Interrogation and search. French money taken. Given two postcards to write, one home and one to I.R.C. Taken into large main building, very old fashioned, given hot shower and clothes de-loused. First hot shower for two months. Medical inspection and then taken to room 87 where Jack and Ham already were. 63 in room which would have housed 12 comfortably. Beds in tiers of 3, straw mattresses, 1 blanket, ½ locker, 1 small towel, bed cover and pillow cover. Seven tables, so divided ourselves into messes of 7. Tony Robertson of 23rd. Field Regt (51 Div) made room commander, Told that we get two ½ litres of soup a day at 11.00hrs and 16.00hrs, three potatoes with each soup and ersatz coffee at 07.00hrs. 1/5 loaf of bread except Sundays when Ό loaf of bread. Small quantity of marg a week, spoonful of jam a week, small amount of camembert cheese a week. Only 1 soup on Sunday; 2 cigarettes a day; cup of milk twice a week through canteen at 10 pfennigs a glass; beer at 45 pf for ½ litre in canteen, but no food could be bought in the canteen. 2 letters and 2 postcards written each month. Parade outside at 09.15hrs but had to be on parade at 08.50hrs. Ranks paraded separately. At 10.00hrs Germans came round rooms and counted. Exercise space very limited, small round area with grass and trees and slope leading down to an even smaller space by the river Salz. This area locked up at dusk. Otherwise only exercise space in courtyard. Pay of 12 L.M.S. every 10 days; should be 72 but alleged that German officers only get same in England. Austria just over river, wonderful view of Salzburg and snow-capped Bavarian highlands. Very few books in library approx 1 per 9 officers and very old. ……………editions ordered and levy of 10 Pfs a week made to pay for this. Also books ordered from Switzerland. Approx 1400 officers in camp; Brigadier Nicholson from Calais S.B.O. All communications between England and Europe cut so letters don't get further than Switzerland.

 

10th Jul. With only one book between 9 officers had to spend most of day sleeping; very tired, hungry and faint. Bought notebooks in canteen.

 

15th Jul. Received first pay of 12 L.M.S. after long queue-up for it. Canteen issued 3 fruit biscuits at 20 Pfs each, this issue occurred about once a week.

 

20th Jul. Papers report peace proposals made to Britain. Did washing. Read " Judith Paris" by H. Walpole.

 

23rd Jul. Read in "Camp" propaganda newspaper produced for our benefit in English that W.C. had said "He would rather see London a mass of ruins like Warsaw than surrender".

 

24th Jul. Canteen issue of 1 lettuce at 25 Pfs a head. Search to find pliers and map said to have been taken from milk cart.

 

28th Jul. A few Red Cross parcels arrive. Works out at one parcel between 9. Everyone very excited. Issue tomorrow. Read "Man against death" by P. de K……..

 

29th Jul. Parcel issued containing marmalade, milk powder, egg powder, margarine, jam, sausages, corned beef, rabbit, liver pate, herrings, pineapples, sugar, cheese, soup cubes, chocolate sweet. All meat spreads just enough to cover three slices of bread. Look forward to day when we get one of these parcels each instead of having to share it with 9.

 

30th Jul. Canteen issues 10 tomatoes a head for 12 m.

 

2nd Aug. August Bank Holiday Sunday. Thought of more happier times. Rumour that 1 tin corned beef and 200 cigarettes had been sent to us from Switzerland.

 

6th Aug. Bulk supply of food arrives from I.R.C. Mostly jam, chocolate, cigarettes, condensed milk and cocoa powder. No meat or biscuits and really a small amount but still it is something. Read "Bridge of San Luis Rey" by T. Wilder.

 

8th Aug. Capt Cameron, 51st. Div catering officer takes over cookhouse in place of Capt Goodrich, A.M.Ps, so food should be better and rackets cut out.

 

11th Aug. Slab of chocolate and 5 cigarettes issued.

 

12th Aug. ½ slab of chocolate and 8 cigarettes issued. Canteen issue of 4 plums for 11 Pfs. Red Cross guarantee that letter written on 3rd. Aug will be sent home by air mail. Read "Unto Caesar" by Baroness Orczy.

 

13th Aug. 5 Ovosports issued.

 

14th Aug. 7 cheese and 1 ovosport issued. Very worried at claims in German papers that bombers doing great damage in England.

 

15th Aug. ½ tin jam issued.

 

16th Aug. 1 tin condensed milk and 1/3 tin of chocolate powder issued. Read "Dawn" by Rider Haggard.

 

17th Aug. 1 tin marmalade issued. Big fuss because 1 tin not returned from yesterdays issue and Germans threaten to issue no more until it is found. Tin found.

 

20th Aug. 1/3 tin of condensed milk and 1/5 tin of chocolate powder issued.

 

22nd Aug. 1 tin quince jam issued. Hot water now provided in shops block washhouse for washing clothes. Great improvement over doing them in cold water but very hot working in there doing it.

 

23rd Aug. 1/9 tin of plum jam and 2 ovosports issued.

 

26th Aug. 1000 letters mostly dated July and 62 parcels arrive from England. Unlucky. Large numbers of …………… editions of books arrive. Proper library now established in charge of Major Viney of Hazell, Watson and Viney, the printers and publishers.

 

28th Aug. 5 cigarettes and 1/9 tin of marmalade issued. Read "Sons of the Suns" by Jack London.

 

30th Aug. ½ tin of condensed milk and ½ tin chocolate powder issued.

 

31st Aug. General Fortune left to go to Oflag VII D, Tittmonning. All very sorry to see him go. More bags of mail arrived. Unlucky.

 

1st Sep. Had litre of beer to celebrate (?) mobilisation. First time I had been able to buy a litre, previously only ½ litre as money very tight. Canteen purchases such as razors, blades, toothpaste, toothbrush etc, etc (soak) up money and all things like plums, tomatoes, fig biscuits, cigarettes had to be paid for at exorbitant prices. Air raid alarm during night.

 

3rd Sep. War declared a year ago. What a lot can happen in the space of a year. Canteen issue ½ kilo of grape jam, very good but very expensive. Read "Pitcairns Island" by Nordliff and Hall.

 

4th Sep. ½ tin of condensed milk issued and Ό tin of chocolate powder. Informed that all mail had now left camp to go over France to Portugal and thence by boat to England. Letters and parcels to us would come the same way.

 

7th Sep. Ovosport and 3 sausages issued. Special parade summoned at 3 o/c in afternoon. Escape of 6 officers discovered who got out of tunnel in East block. Garden and theatre shut (no collective punishment but withdrawal of privilege). Hair raising stories of damage done to London by heavy bombing in last four days, "London a sea of flames". Read "Goodbye Mr Chips" By James Hilton.

 

10th Sep. Rumour invasion of England had started but air force had caused large casualties. Escaped officers recaptured. All packs and equipment confiscated. Some Red Cross parcels arrived. Everyone very pleased after 3 months of semi starvation. Weather very cold.

 

11th Sep. 2 Kilos of bad apples issued from canteen at 1.60 L.Ms. a kilo. Severe bombing of London continued.

 

12th Sep. Very cold. Extra blanket issued. Read "Stars look down" by A.J. Cronin.

 

14th Sep. 2 Sausages issued.

 

17th Sep. Garden reopened and theatre. 2/Lts amongst the officers who escaped sentenced to 24 days imprisonment and the Capts to 28 days for "endangering security of 3rd Reich", "endangering domestic peace" and "Having foreign currency in their possession".

 

18th Sep. 1 Red Cross parcel between 4 issued. Ό M and V, Ό tongue, Ό meat roll, 8 dates, 2 spoonfuls marmalade, 2 ozs margarine, 2 spoonfuls of cocoa powder, milk powder, sugar, tinned tomatoes, 1 ½ cheeses, 5 cubes of Ό lb slab chocolate, 3 sweets. Read "Here comes the king" by Philip Lindsay. Press claims 2000 killed and 4000 wounded in last daylight raid on London.

 

20th Sep. Sentry shot at window because someone was looking out.

 

23rd Sep. 1 Red Cross parcel between 2. Great contrast to 1 between 9. Great difference in camp now it is organised and life better with books to read and food to eat. Overcrowding and washing of clothes still major bugbears, and lack of letters. Several letters in room but unlucky. Read "Harvest in the north" by J.L. Hodson.

 

24th Sep. Received my first letter dated Aug 12th. From Gladys. Great relief at hearing, but little news.

 

29th Sep. Roy Clegg and Henry Coombe-Tennant played dance music on two pianos in the theatre.

 

1st Oct. Read "Albert goes through" by J.B. Priestley. Ό Red Cross parcel a head issued, leaving 750 over and it was decided not to leave them for Xmas. 1st issue of coal.

 

2nd Oct. Canteen shut for a day because officers did not go to identification check parade promptly.

 

4th Oct. Read "Victoria Regina" by L. Houseman. Charles got letter saying Chimay had got home.

 

6th Oct. Ό Red Croxx parcel issued. Received letter from Constance Hoare in Bucharest saying she would send me parcels and had written to my parents and her brother had informed the War Office that I was a prisoner.

 

7th Oct. Received letter from Gordon Ball in New York saying he had written to my people saying I was a prisoner and would send me parcels.

 

9th Oct. Ό Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Golden sovereign" by L. Houseman.

 

10th Oct. First performance of light orchestral concert in theatre conducted by Col Fraser. Instruments obtained from Y.M.C.A., I.R.C. etc. Very well received.

 

14th Oct. Received my first parcel, a food one, from Constance Hoare in Roumania containing 1 ½ lbs bacon, 1 lb sausage, 100 lumps of sugar, 80 biscuits, 1 lb jam, 1 lb chocolate, 2 lbs sweets, 12 cheeses and 100 cigarettes. Received first letter from Dad dated Aug 12th.

 

15th Oct Ό Red Cross parcel issued.

 

16th Oct. Received parcel from British Legion in Geneva containing 24 biscuits, 2 slabs of chocolate, 2 ovosports, 6 cheeses, 1 sausage, condensed milk, 60 Players Clipper cigarettes. Read "Egypts gold" by David Scott.

 

17th Oct. Received clothing parcel from home sent off on Aug 10th. Containing toilet requisites, shirt, vest, pants, pullover, socks, shoes etc and grey flannel trousers (put in at suggestion of B.R.C.) and confiscated. Very pleased to get it as my clothes very nearly worn out.

 

18th Oct. Great pleasure having a hot shower and being able to dry myself with a large towel.

 

21st Oct. Ό Red Cross parcel. Very relieved to receive first letter from Mum dated 10th Aug.

 

24th Oct. Received 2 British Legion parcels (Type B) containing 4 honey cakes, 6 slabs of chocolate, 6 cheeses, 1 lb marmalade, 60 cigarettes, and a tin of ovaltine. Read "Mary, Queen of Scots" by Eric Linklater.

 

28th Oct. Received second parcel from Roumania.

 

29th Oct. Received third parcel from British Legion, same as first.

 

30th Oct. Received 1/3 Red Cross parcel. Heavy fall of snow.

 

31st Oct. Received first parcel from Col Clarke, military attachι at Belgrade, Jugo-slavia, containing 1 ½ lbs bacon, 1 tin goulash, 1 tin liver pate, 60 rusks, prunes, 6 cheeses, 40 cigarettes, Turkish delight. Italy invaded Greece. Read "We're not alone" by James Hilton.

 

4th Nov. Received book parcel containing six penguins sent by Mum and Dad through W.H. Smith and Sons.

 

5th Nov. Received parcel from Wanders, Berne, Switzerland, to whom I wrote in August, containing 20 0vosports. 1st night of Desmond Delarges show "Round the world in song and dance".

 

6th Nov. Received 1/3 Red Cross parcel and 4th British Legion parcel (Type B).

 

11th Nov. Respected 2 minutes silence. Thought of feelings of Ps.O.W. 22 years ago and wondered when that day would come to us. Read in "Volkisher Beobachter" that Neville Chamberlain had died.

 

12th Nov. Search of camp. Left out in snow and freezing cold for 5 hours. 1st night of John Galsworthy's "Escape" produced by W. Finlayson with D. Llewelyn, Bertie Harwood, Raymond Grace.

 

13th Nov. Received 19.99 L.Ms. for £2 sent from England. Received book parcel of Penguins.

 

14th Nov. 3 ovosports and 3 cheeses issued.

 

15th Nov. Read "Benighted" by J.B. Priestley; remembered seeing the film of this "Old Dark House" at Gaumont Palace when I was at St Pauls. Received 5th British Legion parcel and second parcel from Jugo-slavia.

 

16th Nov. 6 cigarettes issued. In future no soup at 16.00hrs on Tuesday and Thursday, instead German coffee and skimmed cheese. This will make the bread go much quicker unfortunately.

 

18th Nov. 50 officers left to go to Tittmanning, amongst them Andrew Biggar from our room.

 

19th Nov. Received ½ tin sausage meat.

 

21st Nov. Announced in future we would receive our full amount of pay due, i.e. 24 Marks every 10 days instead of 12 Marks. Rumours Spain is negotiating an armistice.

 

26th Nov. Received 6th British Legion parcel. Sent off Xmas cards.

 

27th Nov. Received 7th British Legion parcel and 3rd Jugo-slavian parcel, and book parcel of Penguins from W.H. Smith and Sons. Read "Island of sheep" by John Buchan. 1st night of revue "Chez Victor" written and produced by Victor Wood.

 

29th Nov. Ό tin of chocolate powder, ½ tin of condensed milk issued. Wonder where the devil our Red Cross parcels have got to which we should be receiving 1 a week. Snow very thick.

 

2nd Dec. Received 8th British Legion parcel.

 

3rd Dec. Received 19.9 L.Ms. for £2 received from England. Letter received that no more parcels would be sent off by British Legion by British government order, also no parcels from other Red Crosses , Legations or Embassies as we were receiving Red Cross parcels regularly! This was a deliberate lie by someone and the whole camp intensely annoyed and fed up.

 

6th Dec. Received parcel from Gordon Ball in New York containing biscuits, fruit, chocolate, cigarettes, sardines, ham, tongue, OXO cubes, condensed milk, cards and soap; a really wonderful parcel. Can't help wondering how these parcels get through yet the Red Cross don't. Read "Heir apparent" by Philip Gibbs.

 

7th Dec. ½ tin condensed milk issued.

 

8th Dec. Read in "U.B." that British troops were in Greece getting drunk at all the cafes.

 

9th Dec. Arrangements made by Mrs Ian Campbell in Lisbon for letters to be sent air mail to her and for her to forward them on by air mail to England.

 

11th Dec. Received 4th parcel from Col Clarke in Jugo-slavia. British attack starts in Egypt.

 

15th Dec. !5 degrees F, very cold indeed. Read very suitably the "Epic of Capt Scott" by M. Lindsay.

 

16th Dec. All sheets had to be handed in as they were needed for the German war effort. Received parcel from Miss Martin, a friend of John Hussey, in Switzerland containing 4 slabs of chocolate, 12 cheeses, 1lb jam, 1lb marmalade, 100 cigarettes, 4 ovosports, I tin ovaltine and 2 packets of biscuits. Received 3rd parcel from Constance Hoare in Roumania, but likely to be the last in view of British governments order. Kept some of this food for Xmas as unlikely to get any Red Cross parcels.

 

17th Dec. 20 Turkish cigarettes issued.

 

20th Dec. Received telegram from home wishing me a Happy Birthday and Xmas.

 

21st Dec. Received two book parcels from W.H. Smith and Sons. Large number of Red Cross parcels arrived, all camp very cheered.

 

23rd Dec. Had Totopoly race meeting in room organised by John Hussey.

 

24th Dec. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Had lot of beer in canteen in the evening with music. Very hot and very overcrowded and had to queue up hours for beer.

 

25th Dec. English tea at 09.00hrs (from parcels). Parade at 10.00hrs. Had beers in canteen afterwards. Lunch excellent; stew (our meat ration had been saved for a month), mashed potatoes, stewed fruit (bought through canteen). Had more beer in canteen during afternoon, then goodish tea of biscuits, marg and jam. Beer again in evening. Supper of bread and cheese. Read on bed afterwards and thought of people at home.

 

26th Dec. 6 degrees F. In evening saw Bobby Loder's pantomime "McLaddin and his wonderful lighter". Chief parts played by Sam Crouch, B. Loder, B. Harwood, R. Grace, J. Galthrop and D. Llewellyn.

 

28th Dec. ½ Red Cross parcel issued.

 

31St Dec. Big New Years Eve celebrations in canteen. Very wild. M.Gs mounted in passages. Cdt and Nicholson in night shirt appear and tell us to go to bed.

 

1st Jan.1941. Canteen shut for 4 days!

 

2nd Jan. Received parcel from Jytte Allemp in Denmark containing 60 rusks, 2 lbs butter, jam, marmalade, sausage, 1 lb sugar, 12 cheeses and clothes parcel from home containing socks, handkerchiefs, pullovers and …………. Read "Wonder hero" by J.B. Priestley.

 

6th Jan. Received second parcel from Denmark. 14 degrees F.

 

7th Jan. German commission visited camp. Skating rink in only exercise ground opened.

 

8th Jan. Received another clothes parcel from Denmark containing very thick sweater.

 

9th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued.

 

10th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued owing to lack of storage space for Red Cross parcels and private parcels. Only one small room available. Although we could well do with the parcel having been without so long, it would have been better if we could spread them over in case any more don't come in. Officer read in letter from home that Daily Mirror had said we got whisky in P.O.W. camps!!

 

14th Jan. Received 2nd parcel from G. Ball, as good as the first. Read "Skin and bones" by Thorne Smith, very amusing.

 

15th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. 7 degrees F.

 

19th Jan. Orchestral concert in theatre. Krampfel gave lecture on Bavarian highlands illustrated by lantern-slides. Very interesting.

 

20th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Thaw commences.

 

22nd Jan. Small Turkish bulk issue of figs, raisins and cigarettes.

 

23rd Jan. 1/3 Red Cross parcel issued.

 

25th Jan. Received parcel from British Legation, Hungary, containing biscuits, chocolate, salmon, sardines, tunney, lousy cigarettes, shirt and pillowcase. J.Dees shot dead by sentry whilst sketching at a window.

 

26th Jan. Absolute quiet on parade. Weston theatrical performances for week.

 

28th Jan. Received 3rd American (parcel) from G. Ball.

 

30th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Protecting Power, Americans, arrive to investigate shooting. Received parcel from Greece.

 

4th Feb. All letters and cards to England to go by air mail in future from this camp. Received third Danish parcel. Read "Reckless lady" by Philip Gibbs.

 

6th Feb. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Two one act plays produced, "Hewers of Coal" and "Second Degree". Actors including Dan Cunningham, B. McIrvine, Jack Higgon, Archie Noel and W. Finlayson.

 

8th Feb. Read in "V.B." that British Legation had left Rumania; wonder where Constance Hoare has gone to.

 

12th Feb. John Lightfoot produces cheerful concert party show called "Cobbles". Read "Farewell to Arms" by G.E. Hemmingway. ½ Red Cross parcel issued.

 

18th Feb. Swiss Medical Commission to pass "Grandes Blesses" for repatriation. Received second parcel from Wanders.

 

25th Feb. 500 Subalterns to go to new camp in Poland. Said to be "Polish Sandhurst". Subalterns wonder why they have to go as Nicholson had some choice in those to be sent. A few Majors to go as well and Lt Col Todd of R.S.Fs to go as S.B.O. All "………." Actors and musicians etc to stay behind so we are to be pretty badly off but John Lightfoot and Ray Clegg volunteer to come. All our luggage to be carried by ourselves.

 

26th Feb. Move cancelled. W. Finlayson produces adaptation of Peter Cheyney's novel "Another little drink" by Jim Bailey. Chief parts played by Dan Cunningham, W. Finlayson, A. Noel and Cecil Tress. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Receive book parcel of Penguins from W.H. Smith and Sons.

 

27th Feb. Receive 3rd parcel from Wanders.

 

28th Feb. Move on again. Hear our address is Stalag XXI D, Posen, Poland. Cannot understand it as should be an Oflag. Hear later move postponed. Receive two book parcels.

 

1st Mar. Receive parcel of 200 cigarettes from home, the first to come through. Very lucky as 80% of officers haven't yet received their first clothes parcels.

 

2nd Mar. Definitely move to Poland on 4th Mar. Bobby Loder puts variety show on for us. Read "Age of Reason" by Philip Gibbs.

 

3rd Mar. Sew up blanket of very inferior quality which I bought for 9 Marks in the canteen and pack all my kit in it. Having had no Red Cross parcels since 26th Feb, little food left, but a few cheeses and biscuits. Blanket very heavy when full; wonder how on earth I shall carry it to station. People staying behind come round like ghouls to see what we are leaving behind.

 

4th Mar. Awakened at 1 o/c in morning, plates, towels, blankets etc handed in. Put canteen purchased crockery in top of sewn up blanket and marched to canteen. Ration for journey issued of ½ loaf of bread and 1/3 sausage. Marched into exercise ground. Frei said we were going off to a very fine old German city and hoped to hear a good account of us on our return. Can't understand why he should have said the latter. March off to station at 08.15hrs. Nightmare journey, hands refuse to grip suitcase and blanket load very heavy. Weak and tired arrive at station at last and pray that the march on the other end wont be far. Gen Fortune on platform, said he was coming with us. Journey started, scenery uninteresting after Regensburg and Nuremburg, very flat and deserted. Read "Ragged Banners" by Ethel Marrian. Compartment very overcrowded, seats hard and impossible to sleep.

 

5th Mar. Still in train. Rather uncomfortably cold, train very cold. Weak soup dished out to officers feeling weak. Go through many large towns, arrive Cottbus station on old German-Polish frontier at 19.00hrs. Gen Fortune purchases ersatz coffee for us at 60 marks the lot.

 

6th Mar. Arrive at 07.00hrs at Posen station. S.S. guard and police very much in evidence. Marched off with Genl Fortune at the head through Posen. Interesting old town, many signs and posters up; populace sympathetic. Notices in trams "Poles only" etc. Luggage getting very heavy; many people drop it and leave it. At last after 4 miles of a staggering weary march arrive at underground fort surrounded by empty moat and barbed wire on outskirts of town. Marched over drawbridge and into long underground tunnel. Proclamation read out by interpreter that owing to fact German Ps.O.W. in Canada were kept in Fort Henry with not a shrub or patch of shade and in bad conditions, we had been moved to this "Fort 8" until conditions in Canada had been improved. All rooms underground, 8 and 12 tier beds, fleas, lice. Locked in rooms at night with blanket. Old and primitive aborts, some seats nailed down to give us exact number they had in Fort 8. Only exercise place about 100 yards in moat, very narrow and excreta stream running through it. Fortune sends telegram to American Embassy. He himself in room of 11. No hot showers available; water supplied by pump only. All Penguin books taken in search.

 

12th Mar. Allowed out, outside fort, into small space of 100 yards square for 2 hours. Bitterly cold, ice and snow. Read "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons. Very hungry; no parcels of any description.

 

14th Mar. Protecting Power officials, from American Embassy, arrive including First Chancellor. We complain about only one light in room and that so weak that we cannot read by it. Americans reply "I guess that's the idea of it". Request for bed sheets "nichts in Canada". Denial of lice. Fortune turns round to Dr Lake and says "Fetch a louse". Lake speeds off and returns with one. Met Sgt Webb and L/Cpl Buyers.

 

16th Mar. Still bitterly cold and very hungry. No sign of Red Cross or any parcels being sent on from Laufen. Read "Nightingale Wood" by Stella Gibbons

 

18th Mar. Suffering very badly from fleas.

 

21st Mar. Given first postcard to write since being here. Informed that no air mail possible. Read "Owls House" by Crosbie Gantin.

 

23rd Mar. A few parcels arrive from Laufen. Very fortunate and get one from Jytte from Denmark, making my fourth from her. Pangs of hunger at last assuaged.

 

25th Mar. 1 Red Cross parcel issued complete and unopened, the first since Feb 24th. These came from XXI D H.Qs and will come regularly each week in future. Also received parcel from Mrs Leola in America containing 1 tin corned beef, biscuits, raisins and 2 lbs cheese. Read "Oxford Tragedy" by J.C. Masterman.

 

28th Mar. Announced that conditions would be improved as from 1st. April. To be allowed out on roof. 120 to move tomorrow to similar fort at Thom attached to Stalag XX A. Our room will then be down to 14 instead of 20. Make double tier beds in place of long big ones. Room quite comfortable now as most of fleas got rid of, but feel lack of hot showers. Received cigarette parcel from Queenie. Canteen far better here than at Laufen as regards purchases, able to buy most things like photo frames etc, also sweets and ersatz honey. Laundry service too a very great boon. Feel that after April 1st. this camp wont be so bad but most depressing feature lack of mail which is piling up at Stalag due to alleged lack of censors. Read "Pekin Prince" by Ann Bridge.

 

1st Apr. 1 Red Cross parcel issued for week. Receive small clothes parcel from Portugal.

 

2nd Apr. Small stage built in one of the underground rooms. Camp can see a show in two nights as only 400 here. "Sir, she said" musical comedy produced by John Lightfoot. Chief actors George Powell, Arthur Barradell-Smith and J. Lightfoot. Read "Murder at Crome House" by A. Christie.

 

4th Apr. Read "Murder on Orient Express" by Agatha Christie. Small library now established for one book per head brought from Laufen and books sent by Danish Red Cross.

 

6th Apr. Good Friday. Search by S.S. All sent out of room then come down one by one and searched; rooms also searched. Read "Come wind come weather" by D. du Maurier.

 

8th Apr. Weather still very bad. Told we shouldn't get any Red Cross parcel this week as none available at Stalag.

 

10th Apr. Get first letter from home dated Feb. Read "Theatre" by Somerset Maugham.

 

15th Apr. 1 Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Hatters Castle" by A.J. Cronin; very depressing but good.

 

18th Apr. Receive my second clothes parcel sent off in October and my uniform parcel sent off in November. Very pleased to discard the battle-dress I was captured in. Read "All this and heaven too" by R. Field.

 

19th Apr. Receive 400 cigarettes from Mrs Campbell. Very good bulk issue made of food from Turkey and Hungary including tongue, ham, sausage meat, biscuits, figs, cheese and sweets.

 

22nd Apr. Received small clothes parcel from Portugal. Wish some letters would be issued. Read "Turning Wheels" by Stuart Cloete. No Red Cross parcels this week. How we curse them for their inefficiency in not getting things organised after all this time.

 

24th Apr. Snow clears up; very pleasant on roof. Muller has many talks with Fortune, also Mavis and Festenburg. Read "Confessions and Impressions" by Ethel Mannin.

 

27th Apr. Still no mail. Read "Mutiny on the Bounty" by Nordliff and Hall.

 

30th Apr. ½ Red Cross parcel issued (first for a fortnight and better than nothing).

 

2nd May. Heavy fall of snow again. Still no mail; very depressing.

 

6th May. Read "Elizabeth and Essex" by L. Strachey. Receive a letter, still a very old one.

 

9th May. 1 Red Cross parcel issued (Christmas parcel, very good except for so called tin of chicken which was obviously rabbit), 3 meats, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, chocolate biscuits, condensed milk, tea, cheese and sweets. Read "My American" by Stella Gibbons.

 

10th May. Weather now very hot indeed. Play rounders and form of cricket on slopes of roof. Watch Poles on walks going past camp. Many trains carrying vehicles, tanks etc go East. Wonder if Russia is going to let Germany through to India or Egypt or whether Russia and Germany are going to fight each other.

 

14th May. Weather still extremely hot; makes one read most of the day. Read "Men are Unwise" by Ethel Marrin. Many troop trains going East - wonder why.

 

16th May. No Red Cross parcels this week. What are the Red Cross doing? No mail.

 

17th May. Receive two very welcome food parcels from Gordon Ball (my 4th and 5th from him) and also my fifth from Denis. Read "International Affair" by Bruce Grahame.

 

20th May. Receive my third clothes parcel sent off in January. Red Cross parcel issue.

 

23rd May. Read "Postman always rings twice" by James Cain. 5 officers (Rolt, Blair, Martin, Parsons and Oliver) caught in moat at 02.00hrs in morning trying to escape. Check parade at 03.30hrs. Muller says " It's like a game of chess."

 

25th May. Receive another old letter but better than nothing. Annoyed to think of all the letters piling up uncensored. "Ghost Train" produced by Douglas Young; chief actors Bobby Barr, George Powell, Bertie Harwood and J. Lightfoot. Rumour "Hood" sunk confirmed by Germans. Had communion service from German padre.

 

28th May. "Bismark" also admitted sunk. Receive 4th parcel from Wanders. Read "Cards on the table" by Agatha Christie.

 

29th May. 1 Red Cross parcel issued. 5 officers escaped (Littledale, Davis-Seinfield, Sinclair, Douglas and Corksedge).

 

30th May. Corksedge caught. Saw troop trains going East.

 

2nd Jun. Crete captured. Freyberg, New Zealand V.C., claimed killed. Receive fourth letter since being here. Germans say troops are going East not to fight Russia but combine with them on movement on Egypt.

 

5th Jun. Received excellent parcel from Mrs Leder in America, my second. Containing ham, spam, bully, sardines, biscuits, chocolate, Nescafe, condensed milk, tea, cheese, raisins. Letters from June 1st. for all Ps.O.W. to go by air mail. Saw troop material going East.

 

6th Jun. 1 Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Present Indicative" by Noel Coward. Informed we were moving to another camp, all luggage etc would be taken for us. Wonder what new camp will be like.

 

9th Jun. Search of all luggage in corridor. Taken down in trucks to station.

 

10th Jun. At parade in morning 4 officers missing, Winton, Sutherland, Silverwood-Cope, …………….. [The name of the fourth officer is left blank in the diary, however it has been discovered that he was Lieutenant John Crawford.] Search of rooms and small kit. Soup issued at 11.30hrs and left at 13.00hrs just carrying our light luggage to the station. Very hot day but enjoyable march, much different from the way up. 3rd class compartment of train but only 7 to a carriage. Ό loaf, marg and cheese issued as train ration until midday tomorrow. Pass through Beck, Neubentashen, across river Oder, Rothenburg, river Spey and stop at Gufen. Here given mineral water drinks by German Red Cross. Reach Cottbus at 22.00hrs and settle down for night. Passed many troop trains on way.

 

11th Jun. Reached Leipzig at 02.00hrs and surprised to see all station lights blazing, no doubt too far for R.A.F. bombers. At 06.00hrs reach Naumberg and shave in compartment from water sentry fetched. Jena (lovely scenery), stop at Saalfeld and given 1/10 of a loaf and sausage. Protemitz, Eishitz, Hoskcroder (scenery still very beautiful), Nichtenfels (castle on a hill), and stop at Nurnberg at 13.00hrs. Saw train with lot of Khaki figures in it, and thinking they were British, Corksedge waved home-made Union Jack. Troops turned out to be D.A.K. and officer came over for apology. Soon afterwards at Throrklingen Philip Taylor, Phil Pardue, ………… and …………escape from train but seen by signal box. Train stopped, shots fired over train and great excitement and shouting for some time. After that train goes on full speed ahead. At Donauworth pass over the Danube and again at Lanningen. Neuoffingen, Ulm where we cross the Danube again. Bathing huts on banks of river, beautiful cathedral but light A/A guns mounted on roofs of houses. Finally reach Biberach am Ris at 21.00hrs. March up hill to camp about 1 ½ (miles) away and arrive there in darkness. New brick buildings, first impression very good, guard says "Viel besser". Great difficulty in getting into the camp as they cannot get the figures right. Marched onto parade ground and hear voices of chaps from Thom out of windows. They had been here for two days, say it is quite a good camp but exercise space very small. Marched into Blocks, we go into Block 2 and bed linen, blanket and crockery laid on each bed. 14 in the room, amongst them John Hussey, Fanny Neave, Barry Henshie and Ham who have been with us the whole time.

 

12th Jun. Parade next morning by Blocks. Quick count by Adjt Leut Gommel. One block full of French officers, mostly doctors , who were due to leave shortly and told by Germans that we should give them a rough time. Hut outside the camp occupied by French working party. Heavy luggage brought up from station. Had march kit rewashed and had excellent hot shower in good bathroom. The first hot shower since Feb 28th. Food, though meagre, excellently cooked by French cooks.

 

13th Jun. Heavy luggage searched. Bulk issue of Turkish figs and raisins. Read "I found no peace" by Webb Miller.

 

14th Jun. Camp composed of 8 Blocks, six for officers, 1 administration, 1 for Orderlies. Wooden recreation hut used for theatre and library; canteen; exercise perimeter about 300 yards; grass plots outside each Block. Excellent washing accommodation and sanitation. Stone area outside canteen used as small football pitch. Heard 300 officers were coming from Greece to fill two empty Blocks and part of another already full, so shuffle round required. Mike and I moved into Block 10, Room 66, making 10 in room really meant for 6.

 

16th Jun. Read "Merchant of Venice" by W. Shakespeare. Late in evening we were all locked in our Blocks (this was always the case at dusk and so didn't look forward to winter) and "Greece" officers arrived led by Brig Barrington carrying a fly swatter.

 

17th Jun. Spoke to new officers, British, Australian and New Zealand. Got great deal of news of home as some had been in England up to as late as January of this year. Six Maoris, very decent fellows. Padre Mcintyre said to have posed as new officer to get cigarettes and food.

 

18th Jun. Fortune addressed the new officers. Read "Cage me a Peacock" by Noel Langley.

 

20th Jun. No sign of any Red Cross parcels; new officers and ourselves all pretty hungry.

 

21st Jun. Stage for theatre still being built so John Lightfoot produced variety show on steps of Block 6. Read "Fanny by Gaslight" by M. Sadlin.

 

22nd Jun. Russia in the war; great optimism in camp.

 

24th Jun. Commandant Eittner makes speech on parade regretting he could not put us into hotels but few available in Germany. He would do his best to make life bearable for us and would of course strictly adhere to the Geneva Convention. Read "Sailor on horseback" by Jimmie Stone.

 

25th Jun. Received two parcels from Gordon Ball (the sixth and seventh respectively) one containing an excellent pair of shoes as well as the usual good food. Also my sixth parcel from Denmark. Food very welcome as of course no Red Cross parcels available, and no potatoes being issued as crop bad and noodles issued instead which aren't very filling. Shand Blair and Bill Cheyne escape.

 

27th Jun. Read "Mystery of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie. Shand Blair discovered missing on 4 p.m. Roll call check and Germans discover there are 12 officers more in the camp than they thought.

 

28th Jun. Bill Cheyne recaptured. A few letters issued sent on from Posen. Variety show on steps of Block 6.

 

30th Jun. Read "Thirty nine steps" by John Buchan. Whole camp very annoyed with Red Cross at failure to supply parcels.

 

2nd Jul. Received book parcel from Denmark. Read "Huntingtower" by John Buchan.

 

5th Jul. Weather very hot. Wish we were allowed out for walks. Read "Castle Say" by John Buchan.

 

8th Jul. Read "House of the four Winds" by J. Buchan.

 

10th Jul. Read "These foolish things" by M. Sadlin. Received cigarette parcel from Gladys, first to get (through) since March; also fifth parcel from Wanders. "New boys" put on show on steps of Block 6, not too good.

 

12th Jul. Read "Vanity Girl" by Compton Mackenzie. Still no Red Cross parcels and still no potatoes. Mike Fan and Sean Luke caught trying to get out.

 

14th Jul. Received eighth parcel from Gordon Ball and read "English Journey" by J.B. Priestley. General Fortune and other senior officers leave for Tittmonning. We move across corridor into room 72 with Anthony Bourne and John Errington. Very large room and only 12 in it.

 

16th Jul. Receive small food parcel from N. Koenigs in Holland, also cigarette parcel from home. Stuart Walker and Drom Goole escape. Read "Remember Fred Karno" by Edwin Adler and Con West.

 

18th Jul. J. Lightfoot produces "Sir, she said" again on steps of Block 6. News received that Shand Blair was in Switzerland. No Red Cross parcels now for 6 weeks and still large number of letters sent on from Posen awaiting censorship.

 

22nd Jul. Receive three cigarette parcels, second Dutch parcel and 7th parcel from Denmark. Read "Enter the Saint" by Leslie Charteris. Bruce Mckaskie and Mike Trevor escape.. Walker and Goole caught at Singen.

 

23rd Jul. Y.M.C.A. representatives came round camp and told Cdt that letters would soon be coming addressed direct to this camp so suggested immediate issue of all old mail. Received cigarette parcel from Queenie.

 

24th Jul. Received 14 letters including one from Marjory, very glad to hear from her again. Read "Set me Free" by Denise Robins.

 

26th Jul. Red Cross parcels arrive at last, also bales of clothing. Argument as to opening of parcels. We say unopened at last camp and refuse to have them here if opened. We win. Receive first suit of battledress since capture. Read "Angel Pavement" by J.B. Priestley, good but depressing story of conditions in the city.

 

28th Jul. Received 21 letters. Lot of air mail letters direct to this camp and dated 7th Jul on. Mckaskie and Trevor caught. Received 6th parcel from Wanders, also cigarettes from Olive.

 

31st Jul. Received 42 letters, all back mail sent on from Posen. Received 7th parcel from Wanders. Read "Song of the Tide" by Ernest Raymond.

 

2nd Aug. Brush, Prettie, Baxter and Rolt escape. Red Cross parcel.

 

4th Aug. "Leave it to Psmith" produced by J. Lightfoot in theatre, chief parts played by George Powell, F. Romney, A. Barradel-Smith. Had group photo taken. Received cigarette parcels from Queenie and home.

 

8th Aug. Glorious sunny weather. Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Water Gypsies" by A.P. Herbert. Brush and Prettie caught.

 

12th August Read "The Frontier Doctor" by N.L. Coe. Receive cigarette parcels from home and Olive. Rolt and Baxter caught. Hugh Woollast comes on evening parade in greatcoat. Todd makes him open it and he is naked.

 

15th Aug. Red Cross parcel issued. Christie escapes. Revue "Claptrap" produced in theatre.

 

18th August Receive three parcels from Holland and cigarette parcel from Olive. Read "Edgar Wallace" by Margaret Lane.

 

22nd Aug. Received book parcel from Christine Knowles, usual pocket filler and novels published many years ago which publishers were unable to sell. Christie caught on frontier. 1 Red Cross parcel issued.

 

25th Aug. Douglas Young produces "Ghost Train" in the theatre. Received three cigarette parcels from home and one from Gladys. Read "Not too narrow, not too deep" by R. Sale. "Lights of London" variety show.

 

26th Aug. Visit of German O.C. area from Stuttgart.

 

29th Aug. 1 Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Death takes the Stage" by Gavin Holt.

 

1st Sep. Received April clothes parcel.

 

3rd Sep. Receive first American Red Cross parcel sent by Walter Foxall, containing Bully, pilchards, sardines, biscuits, cheese, milk, chocolate, prunes, raisins, cigarettes, orange juice, and oleomargarine. Also 8th parcel from Wanders and sixth from Holland, cigarette parcel and book parcel containing "Gone with the wind" and "North West Passage".

 

6th Sep. Orchestral Concert. 1 Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Grand Canary" by A. J. Cronin.

 

8th Sep. Received cigarette parcel from home.

 

12th Sep. No Red Cross parcels in, so no issue this week. Read "Thieves Picnic" by Leslie Charteris. "Maoris Revue" produced.

 

13th Sep. 23 officers escape from tunnel in Block 6.

 

16th Sep. Received cigarette parcels from home and Gladys and book parcel. Most of escaped officers caught. Rumour of move to big camp near Nuremburg.

 

19th Sep. A few Red Cross parcels arrive so get ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Received cigarette parcel from Gladys. Read "Pilgrims" by Ethel Marin.

 

21st Sep. Rumours of move confirmed but won't tell us where to. Read "Tangled Trousseau" by H. Park.

 

23rd Sep. Move off. Received 7th Dutch parcel.

 

24th Sep. Received American Red Cross parcel from Mrs Laola and two cigarette parcels from home, one from Gladys, Olive and Queenie. Read "Gladstone and Disraeli" by D.L. Somerwell.

 

26th Sep. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Letters of T.E. Lawrence" by D. Garnett.

 

28th Sep. "Stop-Gap" revue produced. Read "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawrence.

 

29th Sep. Received 9th parcel from G. Ball and 8th from Denmark. Rowan, Hamilton, Woollatt, O'Sullivan, Duncan only officers not caught from escape on Sep 13th, so presume they have made it.

 

1st Oct. Heard move of camp is on again. Receive 10th parcel from G. Ball.

 

3rd Oct. 1 Red Cross parcel issued.

 

6th Oct. Preparations for move began. All kit to be taken for us, only dry rations and bit extra to be taken for journey, also light kit.

 

8th Oct. Heavy kit searched, sealed and sent to station.

 

9th Oct. Allowed to write card and told to leave new camp address vacant which they would fill in. Burnt all old rubbish. Block 1 turned out because thought maybe screen was being put up to aid escape and they have to spend the night in the canteen.

 

10th Oct. Reveille 04.30hrs. Parade 05.00hrs. 14 officers missing. Tea at 05.15hrs. Personal search begins at 06.30hrs. After search sent to theatre. Soup issued at 11.00hrs. Parade 12.00hrs. Moved off 12.15hrs in batches of 50, N.C.O. tries to stop us smoking at halt but order countermanded by German officer. Long halt outside station, led into train, long corridor with observation platforms, wooden seats, lavatories, 3 guards per carriage. Ration issued at Biberach of 1/5 loaf and marg and 1/3 loaf and 1/3 tin of sausage meat issued at station. Stanton shot 4 times. Train left 14.45hrs, passed through Ulm, little sleep during night.

 

11th Oct. Raining. Passed through Carlsheim. Told Stanton only slightly wounded. Reach Cassel at midday, see little signs of any bombing. Arrive Warburg station at 14.30hrs. No shouting! March to camp about 4 miles away, load of Red Cross parcels pass us on the way, cheering sight. Led into group of huts outside main camp, very muddy. First impression bad. Search. Led into lower camp, very large indeed. Block 28, wooden hut, very thin walls, no electric light only carbide lamps. 14 in room; Ronnie Baxter, C. Barrett, J. Vicars, S.Holliday, Ian Fisher, Doug Alison, Tom Roberts and "Holly". Outside wash houses very primitive also lavatories. Shut in at 19.00hrs. Thunderboxes. Spannenberg, R.A.F. and Lubeck there. Other end of camp, where R.A.F. and Laufen vets go is much better; also decent washing rooms down there. Two large messing huts are used as theatre. Met Doug Bader (who) said "End of war in sight" (as usual!). Heard Stanton had been killed. 14 missing officers captured. Palestinian escapes.

 

12th Oct. Reveille 07.00hrs. Parade 08.00hrs. Got settled in; moved lockers out of room into corridor to make more room. Luggage brought up from station. Soup in dining hall, uncooked vegs and earth. 17.00hrs ersatz coffee and 1/5 loaf, marg. Collected food case as it was sealed from dump in empty hut. No light at night as no carbide issued.

 

13th Oct. Collected suitcase and rest of luggage. Laufen and Tittmonning arrived. Subalterns travelled in cattle trucks, Capts and above 3rd class. Genl Fortune arrived. Laufen chairs come up from station.

 

14th Oct. Brig Somerset made S.B.O. Camp divided into five factions, we from the fifth under Col Todd with Maj Timpson as Adjt (same as at Biberach). Usual Laufen rackets trying to get best rooms etc. Dining hall our end of camp opened with Jack Laslett in charge.

 

15th Oct. Red Cross representative arrived; disgusted with camp but Germans say all British officers asked to be together in large camp so there could be plenty of sport facilities. Under football pitch small earth plot for small rugger pitch and Indian volley ball court. …………. In bath house under tap with only a trickle coming from it. Fortune says to Red Cross "There you see a Colonel having a bath". Laufen luggage still arriving.

 

17th Oct. 1 Red Cross parcel issued, tins punctured despite protest. Allowed to send two cards with address on only. Germans claim to be within 100 miles of Moscow. Read "Return of Dr Syn" by Russell Thorndike.

 

18th Oct. Variety show "Kick-off".

 

20th Oct. Read "The Calendar" by Edgar Wallace.

 

23rd Oct. 1Red Cross parcel, all tins punctured. Read "Miss Callaghan comes to grief" by J.H. ……….

 

24th Oct. Received 2nd uniform parcel from home containing new S.D. uniform, also cigarette parcel. Air raid on Cassel, lot of A/A fire, few bombs.

 

25th Oct. "Sir, she said" produced for the third time.

 

26th Oct. Rolt, Prettie, Walker and Cheyne escape, first two caught soon afterwards, other two in afternoon. Carbide issue still very small and inadequate; impossible to have any lights later than 8 p.m. Read "No Orchids for Miss Blandish" by J.H. Chase. Red Cross parcel issued for week.

 

1st Nov. Solid rain for two days, whole camp a sea of mud. Read "Your deal my lovely" by Peter Cheyney.

 

4th Nov. Eric Arden and Freddie Gray put on excellent Dance Band show with turns. Read "W Plan" by Graham Seton.

 

5th Nov. Received 11th parcel from G. Ball and three cigarette parcels. Red Cross parcel issued for week.

 

6th Nov. Received 2nd American Red Cross parcel from Mrs Leola, 12th from G. Ball and two cigarette parcels.

 

8th Nov. Read "Guy and Pauline" by C. Mackenzie.

 

10th Nov. Read "Blood Relations" by Philip Gibbs.

 

12th Nov. Received Egyptian parcel from Constance Hoare containing sausages, bully, biscuits, cheese, cigarettes, chocolate, and sweets. Also 8th from Holland and cigarettes. Read "Holy Deadlock" by A.P. Herbert. Red Cross parcel issued for week.

 

15th Nov. Read "Riddle of Helena" by C. Houghton. Technical library opened containing history, literature, drama, music, language books etc.

 

18th Nov. Received July clothes parcel, wrongly addressed, wrong P.O.W. Congratulations to B.R.C. Read "Famous Murders" by G.A. Birmingham. Red Cross parcel issued for week.

 

21st Nov. Received 13th parcel from Gordon Ball. Read "Jamaica Inn" by Daphne du Maurier.

 

24th Nov. Full symphony orchestral concert. Had supper with David Barratt. Read "Poison Ivy" by Peter Cheyney.

 

25th Nov. Received 3rd American Red Cross parcel from Mrs Leola.

 

27th Nov. Read "History of St James Theatre" by A.E.W. Mason.

 

29th Nov. Received four cigarette parcels. Red Cross parcel issue.

 

2nd Dec. "Behind the scenes" really excellent musical comedy produced and written by Wally Finlayson with Eric Arden's band. Chief actors Bobbie Loder, Brian McIrvine, Des Llewellyn, Pat Sherard. Best show I have seen as a P.O.W. Read "Designing for the stage" by Doris Tinkeisen. Red Cross parcel issued.

 

4th Dec. Received 4th American Red Cross parcel from Mrs Leola, 2nd A.R.C. parcel from Walter Foxall and 1st from Richard Storey.

 

5th Dec. Received 5th, 6th and 7th A.R.C. parcels from Mrs Leola and books from home and Holland. Best two days as P.O.W. Food should ensure good Christmas as no signs of any Christmas parcels. Read "Donogline up" by Steve Donogline.

 

6th Dec. Party of R.A.F. officers try to escape. Special parade in afternoon, long search, very cold. Bad news shot 21!! Red cross parcel issued.

 

8th Dec. Read rather appropriately "Christmas Holiday" by Somerset Maughan. Apology for 6th. Heard that Japan had declared war on America and America had declared war on Germany. A long time coming but don't expect effect will be felt until some time.

 

10th Dec. Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Taste and fashion" by James Laver.

 

12th Dec. Read "Ju-Ju in Nigeria" by F. Hives.

 

15th Dec. Heard that large number of parcels had been diverted at the station including Xmas parcels. Large protest made and letter sent to Swiss. Received cigarette parcel and tin of biscuits from Mrs Campbell, Portugal.

 

17th Dec. Red Cross parcel issued for week. Only half hoard left now so pray more parcels arrive before Christmas. Read "Glorious Pool" by Thorne Smith.

 

20th Dec. Received 9th food parcel from Holland. Read "Brown paper and vinegar" by John P. Carstairs.

 

23rd Dec. ½ Red Cross parcel issued, no sign of any fresh supplies. Read " I lost my girlish laughter" by Jane Allen. Mail position very bad.

 

24th Dec. Received cigarette parcel from home and games and Christmas decorations from Jytte Allemp in Denmark.

 

25th Dec. Went to Holy Communion service before parade. Had tea party in morning. Lunch of Spam, carrots, biscuit, cheese, chocolate and Nescafe. Tea: three pieces of toast, butter, marmalade and biscuits. Supper: soup, bully beef pie, home-made Christmas pudding (bread, raisins, apricots etc), sardines on toast and jelly. Unpunctured tin in oven blows oven up. Read "Salome" by Oscar Wilde. Wondered if next Christmas would see us all home. Thought of B.R.C. inefficiency.

 

26th Dec. Pantomime "Citronella" produced and written by Bobbie Loder, music by Eric Arden, Peter Sperrings theatre orchestra. Chief actors Bobbie Loder, B. McIrvine, Pat Shand, Charlie Hopetown, Tony Green and Harry Dros.

 

28th Dec. Race meeting held and fun fair, quite good.

 

29th Dec. Received 1st parcel from Mrs Lawrence. Read "Candide" by Voltaire.

 

31st Dec. New Years Eve. R.A.F. drink lot of home-made hooch.

 

1st Jan 1942. Year of final decision. Thick snow, bitterly cold, water frozen. Have to go down to far end of camp for washing, MINUS 14 degrees. Read "When alls said and done" by Herbert Swears.

 

2nd Jan. Water off all day and night due to freeze-up. Have to fetch water from far end of camp. See now through gaps in wall of hut. 10 girl censors to work at Commandantut in future, hope this will therefore speed the mail up.

 

7th Jan. Snow and bitter cold and freeze-up continue. Receive Christmas pudding from Mrs Campbell. Russians go over to attack 30 miles from Moscow. Read "Importance of being earnest" by Oscar Wilde.

 

8th Jan. A few Red Cross parcels arrive. 1 issued, the first since we drew ½ parcel on Dec 23rd.

 

10th Jan. Received 14th parcel from Gordon Ball. Freeze-up continues.

 

12th Jan. Mail issue still very poor. Read "Greenmantle" by John Buchan.

 

14th Jan. Mail improves. Receive book parcel from Denmark.

 

16th Jan. Read "Mr Standfast" by John Buchan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued.

 

20th Jan. Heard Mum had been very ill and had to have operation. Sent cable off; very worried indeed, do hope answer comes quickly. Receive 15th parcel from Gordon Ball, 8th A.R.C. from Mrs Leola. Read " Three hostages" by John Buchan. Still dreadfully cold and freeze-up of water continues necessitating daily trek to far end to wash. MINUS 22 degrees, Rumour "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse" sunk off Singapore, confirmed by papers. "Black Eye" a play by J. Birdie produced by M. Goodliffe, chief actors Michael Langham, Wally Finlayson and Andrew Biggar.

 

21st Jan. Russian prisoners arrive at top huts outside camp, dreadful conditions. Only 1 blanket, clogs, little food. Die by scores. We send them spare soup etc.

 

24th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. What are the Red Cross doing; haven't been on full rations since middle December and this the coldest time of year. Receive 9th A.R.C. from Mrs Leola. Read " Collar test sketches and ………" by Noel Coward.

 

27th Jan. Bitter cold continues. Russians die by scores. Read "Within four walls" by Harrison Cartwright.

 

30th Jan. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Received two cigarette parcels. Relieved to get letters saying of Mum (she) was much better and recovering.

 

2nd Feb. Receive 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th A.R.C. parcels from Mrs Leola, more welcome than ever as on half B.R.C. rations. Also got cigarette parcel. Read " J.T. Grier" by Michael Orme.

 

5th Feb. Symphony concert.

 

6th Feb. Receive 9th food parcel from Jytte Allemp and books from Holland. Read " Byng Ballads" by Douglas Byng. Freeze-up continues. 1 Red Cross parcel issued.

 

10th Feb. Search of hut. Ankle troubling me. Read "Crowthers of Bankdam" by Thomas Armstrong. Best book I've read as P.O.W. Earth found in west dining hall so shut, also theatre privilege withdrawn for a month. Mike goes into hospital with pleurisy. Receive answer to my cable of Jan 20th, very relieved.

 

13th Feb. ½ Red Cross parcel issued for week. No parcels of any description coming through.

 

16th Feb. Singapore falls. 15,000 British and American prisoners claimed and 30,000 Indians. Why were women and children not evacuated when Mekong peninsula invaded. Think of poor Walter Foxall and his family. Scharnhorst and Gneisau get up channel safely. 2 officers get close confinement for insulting German nation. No S.C. only G.C.

 

19th Feb. Y.M.C.A. representative Mr Berg visits camp. Rumour we go to Spain after two years. Read "Hassan" by James E. Fletcher.

 

20th Feb. 1 Red Cross parcel issued for week. More Russians died of cold. T.A.B. inoculation.

 

24th Feb. British parachute troops mentioned as attacking wireless station near Le Havre in papers. Read "London Fabric" by James Pope Henessy.

 

27th Feb. Receive 10th food parcel from Denmark; damaged with butter and biscuits missing. ½ Red Cross parcel issued for week.

 

4th Mar. Tunnels in camp dynamited, smashes windows. Freeze-up and bitter cold still continues. Doesn't help us much but is certainly helping Russians. ½ Red Cross parcel issued. Read "Book of ballads" by A.P. Herbert.

 

7th Mar. Went into hospital for operation on ankle. Had evipan which didn't take as came round half way (through) so had chloroform. Very muzzy when came round. Sprung bed in ward with Mike and Guy Ward.

 

8th Mar. Very pretty ill.

 

9th Mar. Felt better but of course couldn't walk for at least a week. Read "Golden venture" by H. Bloom. Officer who submitted claim for return of L.Ms in recent search put R.Ms by mistake on claim form so sentenced to 10 days for having German money in his possession.

 

10th Mar. ½ Red Cross parcel issued for week. Air raid.

 

12th Mar. Heavy air raid during night.

 

14th Mar. 3 officers ………… Read "As we were" by E.F. Benson. Air raid.

 

17th Mar. ½ Red Cross parcel issued for week. Read "Pavlova" by C.W. Beaumont. R claims tunnel in hut 29 so whole hut turned out whilst room is dug up but nothing found. 4th air raid of week.

 

20th Mar. Read "Ariel" by Andre Maurois. Bader and 3 officers caught escaping. Thaw commences.

 

23rd Mar. Read "John Lane and the 90`s" by J.L. May. 6 escape from tunnel in orderlies hut. Rumour German civilian shot by police whilst attempting egg racket.

 

24th Mar. Fl Lts Tunstall and Bruce leave for another camp. Tunstall had been caught 14 months (ago) and done 156 days imprisonment. Read "Suffragette Movement" by S. Pankhurst. J. Lightfoot produces "Miss Easton suggests".

 

25th Mar. 1 Red Cross parcel issued.

 

26th Mar. Left hospital. Received 14th and 15th A.R.C. parcels from Mrs Leola, Just private parcels to come through for a month. Read "Redheap" by N. Lindsay. Snow entirely gone, thank god. Most dreadful winter yet.

 

30th Mar. W.M. Read "Celluloid, the film today" by Paul Rother.

 

31st Mar. Raid at St Nazaire. Hugh rumour goes round camp that B.E.F. had landed at Ostend and captured Lille! Germans blast tunnel in hut 29 and dig up floor of W dining hall. Lunch issued to Blocks in future. Stuzkopf said at conference that no deputy for Friedricks could be found as British officers objected to Friedricks deputy.

 

2nd Apr. Read "Youd be surprised" by Peter Cheyney. 5 officers escape from jug. ½ B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

4th Apr. Received a cigarette parcel. Read "The mountain vision" by F.S. Smythe. Officers caught.

 

7th Apr. Read "Road to glory" by Brittan Austin.

 

9th Apr. Received cigarette parcel. Read "Balletamania" by Arnold Haskell. ½ B.R.C. parcel issues for week. Stalland and Page go through wire.

 

10th Apr. Long parade in morning. R says we shall soon get cold. Answer we had porridge for breakfast. H on 2 Bn refuses to let people go to abort. Malcolm and McBrane sent to jug. Sentry bangs rifle on Bader's toes not knowing he has wooden legs and surprised at no result. Bader falls on "Bulk Issue", goes to jug. Parade dismissed at 12.45hrs.

 

12th Apr. Fan and Edelmann go through wire.

 

13th Apr. Hole in wire discovered by civilians. R. greatly annoyed. Theatre privilege again withdrawn for a month. Read "Ballet" by Arnold Haskell. Received two cigarette parcels.

 

15th Apr. Germans say no more tins for parcel hut, we have no containers.

 

16th Apr. Swiss Legation visit. All questions raised; overcrowding, sanitation, lights, letters, parcels, canteen requisites etc etc , meat ration reduced because we get Red Cross parcels. S.O. question brought up and Swiss say "We thought so". Germans issue tin for tin. Read "Nijinsky" by R. Nijinsky.

 

17th Apr. 21 tunnel discovered. Bader accuses H of not returning salute. Meeting in Campbell's office. H apologises for behaviour on April 10th parade when he said names of all officers in 2 Bn would be sent to Berlin for reconstruction work after war. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

18th Apr. Receive 16th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. 2 officers escape in tin cart and caught at station. Read "Queer things about London" by G.E. Harper.

 

21st Apr. Search of Brick Block. Fish juice spilt wiped off with Brosky Nighton's shirt. Read "Theatre Street" by Tamara Karsavina.

 

23rd Apr. Read "Appointment in Samara" by G. O'Hara.

 

24th Apr. Toft, R.A.F., pushes ping-pong ball round camp with his nose to win 1000 L.Ms. New tin dumps being built with bricks of double thickness. Brick Blocks are only 1 brick thick !

 

25th Apr. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Chronicles of Sally" by Beatrice K. Seymour.

 

27th Apr. 3 R.A.F. officers escape under M.S. (amongst them 2 Poles).

 

28th Apr. Long parade. R cannot find where. 2 Poles caught, 1 stood against wall for 9 hours. Read "Ballet-Hoo".

 

29th Apr. 4 more escape same way. Receive 3 cigarette parcels. Read "There's a porpoise close behind us" by Noel Langley.

 

30th Apr. Long parade. Method discovered. Identity check of R.A.F., 12 go to jug for swapping discs. Stood against wall. Other Bns kept on parade as reprisal. Parade dismissed at 13.45hrs. Sentry shoots when officer throws cigarettes to Russians and wounds Australian Ken Young, lying on his bed, in leg. Read "Design for living" and "Hay Fever" by N. Coward.

 

1st May. Receive 2 cigarette parcels.. Read "Bitter Sweet" and "Post Mortem" by Noel Coward. Mobile German cinema puts on film in theatre "Die drei Cordonas". First film I've seen since French version of "Rose Marie" in Armentiers in April 1940.

 

2nd May. 1B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Cavalcade" and "The Vortex" by Noel Coward.

 

4th May. Received 17th A.R.C. from Mrs Leola and 16th parcel from Gordon Ball. Read "Young Idea" by N. Coward.

 

6th May. Hag keeps R.A.F. on evening parade because they are smoking. When dismissed crowd round and Charlie Hopetown produces big drum and cymbals. Read "Outward bound" by Sutton Vane.

 

7th May. Received cigarette parcel.

 

8th May. Received 2 cigarette parcels. Read "White chateau" by Reginald Berkeley.

 

9th May. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "My life" by Havelock Ellis.

 

12th May. Received cigarette parcel. Request officers in jug should get B.R.C. parcels as German rations 2/3 because we get Red Cross parcels. Read "Danish Delight" by Monica Realish.

 

13th May. Officer escapes in C. Read "Camp Six" by F.S. Smythe. Receive 3 cigarette parcels.

 

14th May. Long parade. Prowlers instituted. Read "London for ever" by R.J. Blackbourn.

 

15th May. Orr-Ewing and dog. Receive November clothes parcel and 17th parcel from Gordon Ball. Read "You can't keep the change" by Peter Cheyney. "Pot au Feu" review produced by Michael Yates and Lawrence Wilson; not up to much.

 

16th May. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Charles Laughton and I" by Elsa Lanchester.

 

18th May. Received cigarette parcels from Queenie and Gladys. Bruce, Willis and Hamilton cut wire. Bader. Sentry fires warning shot when they are walking away. Guard commander goes on bike to investigate. Recaptured.

 

19th May. Commandant replies to 20 contraventions of German convention submitted to him a week ago and also forwarded to the Swiss. All denials. Received cigarette parcel from home. Read "Half-time" H.B.T. Wakehams autobiography. Heavy air raid during night.

 

21st May. Received 2 cigarette parcels from Marjory and Queenie.

 

23rd May. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Received cigarette parcels from home and Olive.

 

24th May. Heavy air raid during night. Germans say Munster.

 

26th May. Tunnel in hut 20 discovered. Hut which is used in N. end as silence room shut. Read "Frenchmans Creek" by Daphne du Maurier.

 

28th May. Symphony concert produced.

 

29th May. Receive cigarette parcel.

 

30th May. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

31st May. Very heavy air raid on Cologne. Read "Vile bodies" by Evelyn Waugh.

 

3rd Jun. Kings birthday parade. Indians very impressive in home-made turbans. Heavy air raid on Essen.

 

5th Jun. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued. Long parade beforehand as R.A.F. tunnel into German compound discovered during night after 6 R.A.F. had got out and away. "George and Margaret" produced by Wally Finlayson. Chief players Bobbie Loder, Bertie Harwood, Brian McIrvine, Michael Goodliffe and Michael Langham.

 

6th Jun. Block 10 tunnel discovered 14 foot down and under wire. Stuykopf said he knew of its existence when started ! Read "Story from an African farm" by Olive Schreima.

 

7th Jun. Roving patrols instituted.

 

9th Jun. Received 18th and 19th A.R.C. parcels from Mrs Leola. Air raid during night.

 

11th Jun. Rademacher threatens search of whole camp because four spades are missing.

 

12th Jun. Only sufficient Red Cross parcels in to make ½ B.R.C. issue this week. Block 12 searched at 18.30hrs, beds dismantled, everything thrown out of windows. Worst conducted search yet. Pouring rain.

 

14th Jun. Read "Ridiculous hat" by John Brophy. Brick Block, 24 and 29 searched at 04.00hrs in morning. Everything turned or thrown out. R says will make it "A second Cologne".

 

18th Jun. Visit of protecting power. Say have submitted our allegations of Geneva Convention contraventions to O.K.W. and protested strongly about manner in which recent searches were carried out. During night two got out from Brick Block t(unnel).

 

19th Jun. Receive January clothes parcel, medical comforts parcel and 17th parcel from Gordon Ball. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Traitors gate" by Edgar Wallace. Rest try to get out, 4 away but next discovered. Parade at 20.00hrs.

 

20th Jun. New Commandant arrived. Said he would strictly adhere to Geneva Convention. Received cigarette parcels from Queenie and Olive. "Rhapsody in Blue" light orchestral concert produced. Very good indeed, mostly old musical comedy numbers.

 

22nd Jun. 4 missing from 3 Battn. R discovers t(unnel) and searches 2 Blocks. Various tunnels in camp blown up or filled with excreta. Long parade in evening.

 

23rd Jun. Received cigarette parcel from Gladys.

 

24th Jun. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued. Read in papers that Tobruk had fallen with many thousands of allied Ps.O.W. Read "Tiny Carteret" by Sapper. Received cigarette parcel from home.

 

25th Jun. German Commission from Munster came round camp. Rather annoyed with 3 Battn. New order from Cdt that Reveille for officers would be at 06.00hrs and orderlies to sweep out at 06.30hrs. Restriction of clothes order and baggage store to be instituted. After great deal of arguing, no action to be taken on any of these orders. Read "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier.

 

26th Jun. Pat Sheard, Charlie Hopetown and John Arundell caught down tunnels in 2 Bn and 3 Bn. New long list of punishments issued, "Walking up and down the front", "Jumping from a running train" and "Blew his nose in provoking manner".

 

27th Jun. Received cigarette parcel from home.

 

29th Jun. Read "He wont need it now" by James Hadley Chase. Air raid during night.

 

1st Jul. "Pliers Please" variety show produced by Bobbie Loder. 1B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

2nd Jul. Received cigarette parcel from home. Mckenzie caught a.w. by gate.

 

4th Jul. Read "Passionate witch" by Thorne Smith.

 

6th Jul. Big clean-up of camp by Germans. Obvious Commission of some sort coming round. Started to read Moneypenny and Buckle's excellent" Life of Lord Beaconsfield".

 

7th Jul. Swiss repatriation commission arrived. Double wire started to be put out in fields.

 

8th Jul. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Officers leaving for Lingen repatriation camp near Dutch frontier. Some escape and sent back. Received A.R.C. parcel from Richard Stoney also books from home and cigarettes from Olive. Air raid during night.

 

10th Jul. Received cigarette parcel from home.

 

11th Jul. Swiss Legation visit camp. Recent badly conducted searches brought up. R censored for mass punishment and closing of theatre. Rolt, Prettie, Lawrence and Christie escape. Fire under Swiss car.

 

13th Jul. Unless wire taken from Kommandantur loudspeaker in the camp is returned Cdt will make "lot of Ps.O.W. appreciably harder". Water turned off for 48 hours because German Ps.O.W. in Egypt were not given water after capture!

 

14th Jul. Received cigarette parcel from Gladys. Wire not returned so theatre shut for month. Mass punishment.

 

15th Jul. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Rolt and Co return.

 

16th Jul. Receive cigarette parcel from Metcalfe.

 

17th Jul. Receive small clothes parcel from Portugal.

 

19th Jul. Germans capture officers as they emerge from 3 Bn t(unnel). R eats chocolate and makes them stand up for 6 hours.

 

21st Jul. Cdt agrees to S.B.Os suggestions re searches.

 

22nd Jul. 1B.R.C. parcel for week issue. Receive 20th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. Hear Stumkopf is going on leave, all very pleased. German mobile cinema arrives in camp. Film "Die Postmeister".

 

24th Jul. 5 unconscious in bath-house t(unnel). Big rumour that invasion had started.

 

25th Jul. Receive cigarette parcel from Bill Dodd.

 

27th Jul. Major Remmington, R.A.O.C. arrives in camp having been sunk on convoy to Russia. Very optimistic.

 

29th Jul. 1 B.R.C. parcel for week issued. Germans announce that owing to fact German Ps.O.W. in Britain and dominions are not getting mail regularly, restrictions on mail would be imposed. Full amount of outward mail would be issued but only 1 letter and 1 card would leave the camp next month, and we would only be issued with 4 letters next month of any incoming mail. Air raid during night.

 

31st Jul. A and B. Receive 18th parcel from Gordon Ball.

 

4th Aug. Rumour invasion had started again.

 

6th Aug. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Oil and Greasepaint" by Dame Laura Knight.

 

7th Aug. 9 officers captured at Tobruk and …………… arrive. Captured by Italians but ask to go to Germany !!

 

8th Aug. Many officers up for writing insulting letters on mail restrictions. Court martials threatened. M. Taylor ("aspirant officer") and 40 R.A.F. get 5 days for being late on parade.

 

9th Aug. Rumour that we are going to a neutral country. 1st carbide or oil issue for 6 weeks!!

 

12th Aug. R.A.F. warned to move. Rumour whole camp is moving. Receive May clothes parcel and comforts parcel.

 

14th Aug. Older officers to move to Rothenberg camp. Young officers to go to camp in Southern Germany. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

18th Aug. DuRee dies in ct. Read "In the teeth of the evidence" by D.L Sayers. Heavy night raid on Cassel.

 

19th Aug. Received 19th parcel from Gordon Ball and cigarette parcel from home. Read "Fellowship of the Frog" by E. Wallace.

 

20th Aug. ½ Red Cross parcel issued.

 

23rd Aug. Old officers leave for Rothenberg. Read "A.B.C. murders" by Agatha Christie.

 

24th Aug. O.W. parade 03.30hrs . Read "Have his consent" by D.L Sayers.

 

25th Aug. Large number of parcels and Argentine bulk arrive. Parcels to go to old officers and R.A.F., bulk to go with us. Ό Red Cross parcel issued. Read " Holiday Camp murder" by B. Francis.

 

27th Aug. Luggage packed and searched. Read "Death at Bank" by B. Francis.

 

29th Aug. R.A.F. leave. Hugh barrack damage bill submitted.

 

1st Sep. 1st party leave for VII B at Eichstatt. Germans say it is a good camp. Read "Murder must adventure" by D.L. Sayers.

 

4th Sep. ½ medical comforts parcel issued. Dried goods for 3rd party packed, tin store etc. Read "Carnival at Blackspot" by J. Horton.

 

7th Sep. 2nd party leave for VII B. Camp very deserted. Read "Unpleasantness at Bellona club" by D.L. Sayers.

 

11th Sep. Move outside to be searched at 04.30hrs.

 

12th Sep. Stay in German dining hall until 07.30hrs. Coffee issued. Move off at 08.15hrs through village of Doddel. Guards helpful. Pleasant walk to station; get apples. Glad to see last of Warburg, quite the worst camp we have been in especially regarding accommodation, sanitation and attitude. Reach station at 10.00hrs. 2nd class carriages, very comfortable, corridors. Guard each end of carriage. Porridge issued. Lovely day. Move into main station at 11.30hrs. After much shunting leave at 12.00hrs. Pass through Cassel, see burnt out wood where R.A.F. had dropped incendiaries but little damage in town except the odd house gutted and a few trains. Go through Rothenburg, Gunterhausen, Korle, Moselheim, Befra (large junction), Hersfeld, Fulda, another large junction where we were able to get beer and water. 2/3 of a loaf and blood sausage had been issued at camp for train journey and we were, of course, able to take other food. Last station before darkness fell Nuremberg.

 

13th Sep. Went through Nuremberg at about 07.00hrs and stopped. Guards obtained hot water for shaving and to make tea with. Typical Bavarian scenery again, domes, cupolas etc. Arrive Eichstatt station at 09.00hrs. Trouble with Sonderfuhrer over smoking. Move off, march through old-world town, very pleasant and charming. After 20 minutes march reaches camp in valley. On one side hill, another river ……… and hills. Schloss in distance. Marched into camp and onto large field. Pleasant sight to see green grass in camp again and avenue of trees. Three big Blocks and hospital on upper level and five new blocks on lower level. First impression, good clean camp with plenty of exercise space. Strip tease search and then taken to Block 6, 32 in room (5 in Block and one room of 16). Too many, but everything clean and new. Carbide lamps the only drawback. Top Blocks old, pre last war, but smaller rooms and no passage through them like lower Blocks and better washing and lavatory accommodation. Beer on sale in canteen, smallish theatre but extra parades most days. Dieppe boys here.

 

14th Sep. Very slow issue of baggage. At this rate wont be issued within six weeks.

 

15th Sep. Argentine bulk issue. Excellent, only snag no drinks. Read "Waxworks murder" by John Dickson Carr.

 

19th Sep. First issue of letters and cards to write home.

 

20th Sep. Read "Georgian England" by ………… Do you think I am a fool.

 

23rd Sep. Baggage and private parcels mounting up. Issued under trees between Blocks 2 and 3, if wet in theatre, as small parcel barrack hopeless for our needs. Argentine Bulk issued. Tin ………. Agreement but only six in all. Got some baggage. Camp orders read out on special parade through loudspeaker on very hot afternoon. Loudspeaker going most of the day telling various people to report at the Kommandatur etc.

 

24th Sep. Receive 21st A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. Parcel staff announce that owing to slow issue of baggage, Red Cross food etc, private parcels would have to mount up and only a few issued each week on a Friday afternoon. Warburg tin store would not be available until 1st December when stables would be used as parcel barrack and lot of tin sorting to be done. Library also would not be open until 1st November. Theatre properties would be the last to come up from the town so no shows could be expected until at least November.

 

29th Sep. Announced that letter reprisal was still on. Several officers charged here with offences at Warburg relating to this reprisal.

 

30th Sep. Parcel issue 1 B.R.C. parcel. Germans take all day to issue only 280…………………………..and pointed out masses of baggage still to be issued and accumulated pile of private parcels.

 

2nd Oct Parade 15 minutes earlier. Blasterbauer makes inspection, asked S.B.O. "why some officers had no collars on". Reply - officers have been without heavy luggage for five weeks. "Why aren't boots polished?" Reply - no polish in canteen. "Cant you get it sent from home?" Yes we do, but it is forbidden by camp S.O." Bugler blows bugle calls, we clap, Cdt very annoyed. Search of buildings.

 

3rd Oct. As we laughed at Cdt, no tea on Sundays. German rations cut from damn all to 2/3 damn all as we get Red Cross rations.

 

4th Oct Hauptmann Blomberg arrives as postal officer who had been at Donnington in last war. Inequity of mail reprisal pointed out to him. Read "Waxworks murder" by John Dickson Carr.

 

5th Oct. ½ Red Cross parcel issued for week; no more left in camp. Hope Red Cross get move on and send them here. Guy gets 10 days for offensive letter. Extra parades still a leading feature. Some officers still waiting for luggage to be issued.

 

7th Oct. Receive 22nd A.R.C. from Mrs Leola. Many parcels damaged.

 

8th Oct. No parade as Germans in camp until 11.30hrs when bugle blows. Parade takes place at 11.45hrs and order read out that owing to fact that an order had been captured at Dieppe saying that German Ps.O.W. were to have their hands bound until they could be put on board ship, all Canadian and British captured there will be bound except wounded. Canadians and British concerned marched off to Schloss.

 

10th Oct. Extra appel called at 12.00hrs and those late (240) marched off and Block 1 to be used for all officers who were to be bound, but manacles to be used instead. Block 1 moved round rest of camp and party at Schloss marched to Block 1 and barbed wire barricade put across Lagerstrasse. Sports field put out of bounds as to be used for exercise space for four hours a day by Block 1. Reason given for further chaining was that Churchill had done same to equal number of German Ps.O.W. in England and Canada. Received 20th parcel from G. Ball and cigarettes from William Dodd and Queenie.

 

12th Oct. Parcel issue 1 C.R.C. to last the week. Details of exchanges concerning handcuffs between governments read through loudspeakers during special parade in the afternoon.

 

13th Oct. Read " Hours Pass" by Noel Langley. Receive last of my luggage from the station although many officers still without any. Announced that all those chained would get 1/3 ration cut restored.

 

14th Oct. Letter restrictions for October announced to run up to Nov 9th. 2 letters and 2 cards out, 8 letters in. Receive 21st parcel from G. Ball.

 

17th Oct. Receive 2 cigarette parcels from home and one each from Gladys and Olive. Read "Broome Stages" by Clemence Dane.

 

19th Oct. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive 22nd parcel from G. Ball.

 

20th Oct. Receive Invalids comfort parcel from home including large delicious tin of tongue.

 

23rd Oct. Receive 23rd A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola and cigarettes from Gladys and home.

 

24th Oct. Read in paper that big British offensive at El Alamein started yesterday. Read "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens. All luggage at last issued. Parcel staff able now to concentrate on accumulated private parcels.

 

25th Oct. Visit of Protecting Power who knew nothing of mail restrictions.

 

26th Oct. ½ B.R.C. parcel issued as no more than that in camp.

 

27th Oct. Receive July clothes parcel from home and A.R.C. parcels from Mrs Leola.

 

28th Oct. Receive 24th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola.

 

29th Oct. Mr Berg of the Y.M.C.A. arrives.

 

 

30th Oct. Receive 25th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. Handcuffs with longer length of chain introduced. Finan says to Cdr Lambert " I expect you find these new handcuffs far better than the old", to which Cdr Lambert replies " I have no wish to discuss with you the merits of relative barbarity".

 

1st Nov Receive 22nd parcel from Gordon Ball. Library opened in camp for first time. Read "Kings game" by John Buchan.

 

2nd Nov. Receive ½ B.R.C. again to last the week as no parcels in yet.

 

4th Nov. Very poor coal issue for winter announced. Rooms in lower camp very damp and cold. Get chilblains, very painful. Read 2 volumes of "Life of Lord Birkenhead" by his son; very good indeed.

 

6th Nov. Read "English Saga" by Nathan Bryant. History of England from 1840 -1940. Very good in parts. Parcels arrive.

 

7th Nov. Receive 2 cigarette parcels from home, one each from Gladys and Queenie.

 

9th Nov. Mail restrictions for period Nov 9th - Dec 9th announced. 1 B.R.C. parcel for week. Read "Life of Beaconsfield" by J.A. Fronde.

 

11th Nov. Read H.A.L. Fisher's excellent "History of Europe". Blocks in Garden City very damp, little coal and chilblains bad. Read of Anglo-American landing in …….. Germans occupy unoccupied France.

 

14th Nov. 4 cigarette parcels, three of them from Gladys, Olive and home. Search of Blocks 2 and 8. Read "History of England" by G.M. Trevelyan.

 

16th Nov. First snowfall, pretty heavy. Parcel hut moves down to old stables. Receive ½ Argentine bulk for week. No milk or drinks. Drink situation very serious as all issues practically since we have been here have been Argentine bulk and only drinks from private American parcels.

 

18th Nov. Bitterly cold, snow very thick. Read Arthur Bryants small monograph on "King George V".

 

20th Nov. Read 2 volumes of "Life of Lord Carson" by Edward Marjoribanks and Ian Colier.

 

23rd Nov. 1 Argentine bulk issued for week. Meat and biscuits good, but as usual no milk or drinks. Read "Unfinished Autobiography" by H.A.L. Fisher.

 

25th Nov. Read "Me and my Missus" by Seymour Hicks,

 

27th Nov. Prittie, Maitland, Walker and …………escape. Left in cold bitter snow at temperature of MINUS 4 degrees all day whilst useless identity check proceeds. Read "Epic of America" by John Adams.

 

28th Nov. Receive cigarette parcel from Queenie. Night checks introduced, have to get up in middle of night for parade outside in bitter cold weather and snow. Makes chilblains even worse. 1st night of "Stop-Gap" revue.

 

30th Nov. ½ Argentine bulk for week as no other parcels in. Read "In search of rugby football" by J.M. Kilham.

 

1st Dec. Owing to Mediterranean sea now being a theatre of war and occupation of unoccupied France, I.R.C. say Red Cross supplies and parcels will suffer from transport difficulties and we have to go ½ parcel a week. Why wasn't a large dump formed at Geneva and so save us having to go on reduced food during worst period of year and particularly during these night parades? Restrictions on mail lifted.

 

2nd Dec. Read "All experience" by Ethel Marin.

 

4th Dec. Read "They're off" by C.W. Miles. Cdt says that room strengths must be reported in German, S.B.O. says "Why?" Cdt says "In your colonies you speak to the natives in their own language", S.B.O. says "We will report room strengths in German". Receive 2 cigarette parcels from home.

 

6th Dec. Read "My life" by Isadora Duncan. ½ issue Argentine bulk for week.

 

7th Dec. Cdt asked S.B.O. why he was described on his record card as a gentleman when he had previously told him he was a M.F.H.

 

8th Dec. Read "Life of Oscar Wilde" By G.J. Reiner. Xmas parcels arrive; not very good. Contain 2 x 16ozs tins of meat, 1 pudding, 1 cake, 1 condensed milk, 3 ozs cheese, chocolate biscuits, margarine, marmalade, 4 ozs chocolate, tea and soup. Intention is that we only get half this for Christmas week which will be worse than half Argentine bulk.

 

10th Dec. Protest that Prettie and Co who escaped on Nov 27th. and recaptured on Nov 29th were still in jug.

 

11th Dec. Receive cigarette parcel from Olive. Read "Anonymous 1871 - 1938".

 

12th Dec. Still bitterly cold and thick snow on the ground. Coal issue only sufficient to light fire at 5 o'clock in evening. Walls damp, carbide issue for lighting often not issued regularly.

 

13th Dec. ½ Argentine bulk issue to last a week.

 

14th Dec. Protest lodged about extra parades day and night in temperature of MINUS 10 degrees F. Black Mamba don't be familiar with me.

 

16th Dec. Read "Inquest" by ………………, very interesting. Telegram received from I.R.C. that Xmas parcel was to be treated as an extra in Christmas week. Big camp relief so we now get ½ Argentine bulk and the Christmas parcel during Christmas week which means we really get the Xmas parcel for the day which is more like it considering how small it is.

 

18th Dec. My birthday. Wonder yet again how many more I shall have to spend in captivity. Owing to lack of parcels no birthday spread possible.

 

20th Dec. Read "Surgeons mate" by Robert Hale; life of naval surgeon during seven years war period. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

23rd Dec. 1 Xmas parcel a head issued. Night parades cease. Lights out to be at midnight on Christmas day and 12.45hrs on New Years Eve, but have to have morning parade on Christmas day. Block 1 to be let out of chains and allowed to mingle with camp from 17.00hrs on Christmas eve to 08.00hrs on Boxing Day. Read "Conservation" by Prof F.J.C. Hearnshaw.

 

25th Dec. Breakfast: porridge, 4 sausages, chipped potatoes, 2 slices of toast and tea. Lunch: biscuits, cheese, chocolate, coffee. Tea: 2 slices of toast, butter, jam, Christmas cake. Supper: soup, steak and onions, fried potatoes, Christmas pudding, biscuits, cheese, coffee.

 

26th Dec. Bobbie Loder produces his third pantomime "Babes up". Cast includes B. Loder, R. Swain, K. Dee, B. McIrvine, Pat Sherrard, Sam Crouch, and Charlie Hopetown.

 

28th Dec. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week. Read "Faked Passports" by Denis Wheatley.

 

31st Dec. Lights out at 12.45hrs. Maoris visit us and play on their guitars.

 

1st Jan 1943. First mention that 6th German army surrounded in Stalingrad but they will get out.

 

2nd Jan. Read "Promised land" by Cedric Belfrage. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

6th Jan. MINUS 2 degrees C. Read " Mammy hold the door" by J. Buchan.

 

7th Jan. Pay limited to 30 L.Ms a month; doesn't matter much as nothing ever obtainable in the canteen.

 

8th Jan. Search of Blocks II and VIII. Officer from Tunis arrives.

 

9th Jan. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

10th Jan. Heavy fall of snow again. MINUS 14 degrees F.

 

11th Jan. Receive cigarette parcel from home. Permission to lop branches of trees in camp and use for fuel as situation in Garden City pretty desperate as regards fuel.

 

14th Jan. Read "Life worth living" by C.B. Fry.

 

16th Jan. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

19th Jan. Receive October clothes parcel from home, also cigarette parcel and one from Gladys. 1st night of Wally Finlayson`s production of Noel Coward's play (written but not meant to be performed) "Post Mortem". Bright sunshine but temperature still MINUS 4 degrees C. Ice skating in full swing. Read "Hollywood is the place" by Charles Laudery.

 

23rd Jan. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week. Read "Oliver Cromwell" by John Buchan.

 

28th Jan. Received cigarette parcels from home and William Dodd. Read "Self portrait" by Gilbert Frankau.

 

1st Feb. 1st night of "Stop-gap" revue. ½ Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

4th Feb. American air force Col arrives. Calderwood, Baxter and Vickers caught at the gate. Temperature MINUS 2 degrees C. Col Broomhall arrives from Spannengberg. 4000 C.R.C. parcels arrive; great hope in camp that this will mean that we go on a full parcel a week. Read "West to north" by Compton Mackenzie.

 

5th Feb. Receive cigarette parcel from home.

 

6th Feb. ½ Argentine bulk for week. Thaw begins.

 

8th Feb. Telegram received from I.R.C. saying we were to go full parcel a week as from 1st Feb. This week's issue made up. Read "Life's a circus" by Lady Eleanor Smith. Really sunny weather.

 

10th Feb. Camp onion reserve disappears.

 

13th Feb. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Summing up" by Somerset Maughan.

 

15th Feb. 1st night of revue "Pasquinade". Cast includes Pat Sherrard, Brian McIrvine, Ken Dee, Wally Finlayson, Sam Crouch and Billy Loder.

 

16th Feb. Hughie Davis dies of peritonitis. Lovely weather.

 

18th Feb. Receive 4 cigarette parcels, 2 from home, 2 from Gladys.

 

20th Feb. I.C.R.C. parcel for week issued. Th.

 

23rd Feb. 3 American Cols arrive captured in Tunis: Cols Drake, Alger and ……… Really sunny.

 

25th Feb. Receive cigarette parcels from home and Queenie.

 

27th Feb. 1 B.R.C. parcel for week issued. Read "Charles II" by Arthur Bryant.

 

28th Feb. Receive 23rd parcel from Gordon Ball.

 

3rd Mar. Receive book parcels from home.

 

5th Mar. Search of Block 6. Turned out. Our room goes into the hospital empty rooms. Read "Gladstone" by G.F. Birrell.

 

6th Mar. Argentine bulk issued for week. Receive cigarette parcel from home.

 

8th Mar. John Colthrop produces two good shows " ………" and "Man of destiny". Read "Fame is the spur" by Howard Spring.

 

9th Mar. Receive cigarette parcels from home and Olive. Rumour 200 Americans are coming.

 

13th Mar. Receive Argentine bulk for week. Read "Fight for the ashes, 1932/3" by J.B. Hobbs.

 

15th Mar. Those rooms of Block 6 which were accommodated in hospital ordered to move from hospital by 16.00hrs. S.B.O. refuses as no accommodation available elsewhere.

 

17th Mar. S.S. search of whole camp. Cheered as they came in. Kept out until 15.30hrs.

 

18th Mar. As we cheered yesterday canteen shut for 10 days. Read "American tragedy" by T. Dreiser.

 

20th Mar. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

22nd Mar. Leave hospital for Block 3, room 22. Americans said to be arriving to go back into Block 6. Receive two cigarette parcels from home and 1 each from Gladys and Queenie. Read "Anthology of memories" by F.W. Tuckier.

 

24th Mar. 4 American officers arrive. Read "English Revolution 1688/9" by G.M. Trevelyan.

 

27th Mar. Argentine bulk issued for week. 1st night of "Stop-gap" revue.

 

29th Mar. Long Appel due to J being stupid.

 

1st Apr. Receive cigarette parcels from home and Olive. Read "Life of Joseph Chamberlain" , 3 Vols, by James L. Swain.

 

3rd Apr. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

7th Apr. Receive January clothes parcel and 26th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola, the first to come through for four months and more welcome than ever.

 

10th Apr. Baseball in full swing. Argentine bulk for week. Read "Moon is down" by John Steinbeck, excellent.

 

12th Apr. First night of Alan Aldridge`s revue "Lets go gay", cast including W. Finlayson, Tony Green, Sam Crouch, Brian McIrvine and Bobbie Loder.

 

14th Apr. Read "Curtain up" by Lennox Robinson.

 

15th Apr. Visit of Protecting Power. Tell Cdt camp is not up to standard.

 

16th Apr. Receive cigarette parcels from home and Olive.

 

17th Apr. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read " Barney Bamals" by R. Lewissohn.

 

19th Apr. 23 American officers arrive including one of Eisenhower`s A.D.Cs. Given great welcome. Read "Essays in Biography" by J.M. Keynes.

 

21st Apr. Read "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward.

 

24th Apr. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

26th Apr. Read "In camera" by Yevonde.

 

28th Apr. Receive 3 cigarette parcels, 1 from Gladys, and 2 from Olive. Also 1st A.R.C. parcel from G. Ball and books from Olive. New type of A.R.C. parcel containing 1 bully, 1 spam, 1 salmon, 1 pate, biscuits, ½ lb cheese, 1 lb raisins, figs, chocolate, ½ lb sugar,1/2 lb cocoa, 2 x 4ozs tins Nescafe, sweets, 100 cigarettes, 1 lb oleomargarine, and orange juice. Best parcel from America yet.

 

29th Apr. Two officers to go to Katyn; Major Nizzar and Col Krish. Strong protest lodged and then told they need not go. Read "Stormy Petrel" by Thomas Holder.

 

30th Apr. Received 27th A.R.C. (new type) parcel from Mrs Leola. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

2nd May. Receive cigarette parcel from home. Read "Random Harvest" by James Hilton.

 

4th May. Read "Man on my back" by Eric Linklater.

 

6th May. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive cigarette parcel from home.

 

8th May. Read "English night life" by Thomas Burke. Letter received from American Red Cross saying that parcels now being sent out are still those ordered up to end of last year and regret no more can be sent to private individuals as they have to look after their own prisoners. Disappointed but extremely grateful to get them for so long.

 

10th May. Read "Empty room" by Charles Morgan.

 

12th May. Receive cigarette parcel from home.

 

13th May. Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

14th May. 1st night of Wally Finlayson`s production of Edgar Wallace's play "Case of the frightened lady". Cast includes W. Finlayson, John Dixon, B. McIrvine and D Llewellyn. Read "Unnatural death" by Dorothy Sayers. End of resistance in North Africa.

 

16th May. Read "Dover harbour" by Thomas Armstrong.

 

19th May. Receive 28th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. Read "Cock-a-doodle-do" by W.B. Cochran.

 

20th May. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive cigarette parcels from Queenie and Gladys.

 

21st May. Read "Call her savage" by S Thoryer.

 

23rd May. Read "Clouds of witness" by D.L. Sayers.

 

25th May. Read "Strong poison" by D.L. Sayers. Cdt goes.

 

27th May. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

28th May. 1st night of "Stop-gap" revue. Read "Victorian Panorama" by P. Quennell.

 

31st May. Read "Reveille in Washington" by M. Leech.

 

3rd Jun. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Sports meeting.

 

4th Jun. Long parade as 65 officers escape. Canteen shut also theatre withdrawal of privilege. American officers leave. Read "Whose body" by D.L. Sayers.

 

6th Jun. Celebration of King's birthday. Read "Gracious majesty" by L. Houseman.

 

9th Jun. Receive April clothes from home in quickest time yet. Read "Twelve chinks and a woman" by J.H. Clare.

 

10th Jun. Argentine bulk issued for week.

 

11th Jun. Read "Bunch" (Nelson Keys) by J.P. Carstairs.

 

14th Jun. Read "Anna" by Norman Collins.

 

16th Jun. Read "General: a portrait" by D. du Maurier.

 

17th Jun. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

19th Jun. Read "Herbert Farjean Omnibus".

 

21st Jun. Canteen reopened but theatre only to be used for concerts. Read "Trevelyan" by M. du Maurier.

 

24th Jun. Read "Three loves" by A.J. Cronin. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week.

 

26th Jun. Read "Amazing theatre" by James Agate.

 

28th Jun. Read "The rich house" by Stella Gibbons.

 

30th Jun. 120 bad record cases sorted out on parade to move within next day or so to Spannenberg. Charles Mountfort amongst them. Col Broomhead, Rolt, Christie and Pope dressed as Germans escape but caught after 10 miles. Read "Cossack Girl" by Marina Turlova.

 

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