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
1st Jul. Argentine bulk issued for week. 120 bad types leave.
2nd Jul. Read "Private life of Charles II" by D. Wheatley.
4th Jul. Read "Storm over the land" by Carl Sandburg.
6th Jul. Search of ground floor of Block 3 and they have to move into Block 8 (used as silence rooms etc). Read "Good days" by Neville Cardus.
7th Jul. Receive cigarette parcel from Battn.
8th Jul. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Jupiter laughs" by A.J. Cronin.
9th Jul. Officer from Spannenberg brings news of Brig Nicholson's death.
10th Jul. Read "Gaudy night" by D.L. Sayers.
11th Jul. Landing in Sicily yesterday reported in German papers.
12th Jul. Read "Red widow murders" by Carter Dickson.
14th Jul. Receive cigarette parcel from O.C.A. Read "Knight without armour" by James Hilton.
15th Jul. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week.
16th Jul. Read " Blessington-D'Orsay" by M. Sadlein.
19th Jul. Eric Arden's dance band show. Read "Drama" by Desmond McCarthy.
22nd Jul. Argentine bulk issued for week. Read "Sola" by Ralph Strauss. Peoples hope of invasion this year now rapidly receding but everyone says "Well it must come next year and then three months after we've landed it will all be over". Don't think so myself as fear it will take a good year. What a prospect.
23rd Jul. Receive 3 cigarette parcels. Read "Cricket between two wars" by Pelham Warner.
25th Jul. Read "High conquest" by James Ramsey Williams.
27th Jul. Read "Five years dead" by Bernard Falk: amusing experiences of a journalist on Fleet Street.
29th Jul. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Mistress" (life of Lady Hamilton) by Brenda Field. Very good, but too long.
2nd Aug. Owing to camp saving over ½ parcel period from December to February and stock not coming in before we had to go out, two parcels a head credited to everyone as reserve. Read "Recent revolutions of European diplomacy" by S.P. Gooch. Weather very hot. 2 cigarette parcels.
3rd Aug. 102 degrees F in shade, 117 degrees in sun. Tomato crop going to be excellent this year.
5th Aug. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Eye of storm" by E.L. Woodward.
10th Aug. Lower floor of Block III move back from Block VII and accommodation reorganisation by British. Read "Parliament" by Ivor Jennings.
13th Aug. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "15 years a store detective" by H.W. Cooper.
15th Aug. Received two cigarette parcels. Read "Old public schools of England" by John Rodgers.
18th Aug. 1st POW-WOW concert started. Very popular.
20th Aug. Sicily finished. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Received 4 cigarette parcels from home. Read "It couldn't matter less" by P. Cheyney.
24th Aug. Visit of Inspector General of Ps.O.W. Read "In search of England" by H.V. Morton.
25th Aug. Visit of Protecting Power. 2 cigarette parcels.
26th Aug. 2nd POW-WOW concert produced. Read "Allenby" by S.M. Lord Wavell.
27th Aug. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive 5 cigarette parcels.
30th Aug. Announced that 50 officers per day will be allowed out on parole walks during the afternoons. It will mean 200 a week so everyone should get out once in 7 weeks but less if weather is bad or for other reasons. Still it's something to get out at all. Read "The call of England" by H.V. Morton.
2nd Sep. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive cigarette parcel from Medcalf. Read "Busmans Honeymoon" by Dorothy Sayers.
4th Sep. Germans say Italians have sued for an armistice but they will go on fighting in Italy.
5th Sep. Allied landing in Italy. Receive cigarette parcel. 3rd POW-WOW concert party produced. Read "Life of Sir Henry Ponsonby" by Lord (A) Ponsonby.
7th Sep. Agreement announced between two governments on repatriation of "Grands Blesses" to take place sometime next month. Ipse leaves and Dittman takes over.
9th Sep, 1 B.R.C. parcel for week issued, Receive cigarette parcel. Read "Mother of Queen Victoria" by D.M. Stuart.
14th Sep. Read " England, the industrial power of the great powers" by A.E. Pitman.
16th Sep. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive 3 cigarette parcels and one from the Regt.
18th Sep. 4th POW-WOW concert party produced. Read "When Victoria began to reign" by M. Lambert.
20th Sep. Von Fetter and Reinhardt, two members of German embassy service and F.O. service visit camp with a view to "Bettering relations". This after 4 years of war! However all our many complaints put up to them. Von Fetter to be permanently attached to the camp from October 1st.
23rd Sep. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "In search of Scotland" by H.V. Morton.
26th Sep. Read "In Scotland again" by H.V. Morton.
29th Sep. Read "Autobiography" by Margot Asquith.
30th Sep. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week.
1st Oct. Received 29th A.R.C. parcel from Mrs Leola. Assume this is unfortunately the last allowed to have been sent off. Read "The scene is changed" by Ashley Dukes. Parole walk parties increased to 100.
3rd Oct. Read "South wind of love" by C. Mackenzie
6th Oct. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Vic Wells: a ballet progress" by P.W.
7th Oct. First party of "Grands Blesses" leave, including John Hussey.
9th Oct. Read "Hungry Hill" by Daphne du Maurier.
10th Oct. Number of officers captured at Salerno arrive in the camp. Went out on first parole walk; grand feeling.
12th Oct. Search of Blocks III, VII and VIII. Von Fetter officially assumes his position as "Good relations officer" . Read "King Edward VII" by Catherine Gavin.
13th Oct. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. 2nd party of "Grands Blesses" leave. Orchestral concert.
15th Oct. receive book parcel from Gladys. Read "From a window at Lords" by E.H. Sewell.
18th Oct. Read "London" by H.V. Morton.
20th Oct. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "British history in 19th century and after" by G.M. Trevelyan.
21st Oct. Receive 4 cigarette parcels.
25th Oct. Read "Groundwork of British History" by Wane and Marten.
27th Oct. Party allowed out to go and dig up and blow up tree stumps in neighbourhood and bring wood back to the camp for fuel in view of decreased coal ration. 1 trailer in 5 to go to the Kommandantur. Read "Students history of Ireland" by A.S. Gaynor. 1 C.S.C. parcel issued for week.
30th Oct. Read "Sorry you've been troubled" by Peter Cheyney.
2nd Nov. Read "6000 beards of Athos" by Ralph Brewster.
4th Nov. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive cigarette parcel from home. Read "My best riches" by Horace Collins.
6th Nov. Light fall of snow. Read "Gladstone and Palmerston" by Philip Guedalla.
9th Nov. Read "A tome to help" by Halliday Sutherland.
10th Nov. Receive July clothes parcel from home.
11th Nov. First night of "Gaslight" by Patrick .. produced by Dan Cunningham with Wally Finlayson, Brian McIrvine and Michael Goodliffe. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Had x-ray of chest taken.
12th Nov. Read "England their England" by A.S Medarell. Von Fetter arranges (for) us to visit local cinema once a month. Whole camp very pleased: to go in four parties, 2 in morning and 2 in afternoon.
16th Nov. Go to cinema in town to see film "Roses in Tyrol" with English sub-titles. Cinema very modern inside but exterior cunningly adapted to old local building styles. " Workenschrau" also very much enjoyed. Wooden seats. Walk to cinema and back also very pleasant. Read "For whom the bell tolls" by Ernest Hemingway.
18th Nov. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.
22nd Nov. Handcuffing stopped, having lasted since October of last year. Read "In my path" by Halliday Sutherland.
25th Nov. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. 1st night of "Stop-gap" revue.
27th Nov. Received 2 cigarette parcels from home and Gladys.
28th Nov. 26 officers arrive captured on Kos.
29th Nov. Snow falls again. Read "In my path" by Halliday Sutherland.
2nd Dec. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.
3rd Dec. Receive book parcel from home. Search of Block III.
4th Dec. Read and make notes from R.C.K. Ensor's brilliant history of years 1870 - 1914 called "England" in Oxford History of England series. Receive cigarette parcel from home.
7th Dec. Visit cinema to see film "Immortal Waltz" featuring life of Strauss family; music very good.
9th Dec. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Receive book parcel from Denmark. Arrange to spend Christmas day in Guy Wood's room.
12th Dec. Go for second parole walk and gather cones for fuel. Rain some of the time but pleasant to get out.
16th Dec. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued for week.
18th Dec. Make cake for birthday and have spam, potatoes and mixed veg, bread pudding, condensed milk sauce, biscuits and ..
23rd Dec. 1 christmas parcel a head issued containing 1 x 16 ozs stewed steak and macaroni, 1 x 16 ozs minced beef, 1 x 8 ozs salmon, 1 x 8 ozs bacon, 1 christmas pudding, 1 christmas cake, I packet chocolate biscuits, 1 condensed milk, 1 packet tea, 8 ozs butter, 8 ozs syrup, Ό lb chocolate, and 4 ozs sugar. The best Christmas parcels yet. In addition Clay had saved some stuff from broken parcels and bulk etc and issued: 1 meat roll, ½ salmon, ½ M & V, and ½ sardines, fruit, 2 packets of Argentine biscuits, ½ egg and ½ porridge a head which means good feeding over Christmas.
24th Dec. No parades between evening Appel Xmas eve and morning Appel on 26th. Lights out midnight on Xmas eve, Christmas night and New Years eve. Heavy air raid during night.
25th Dec. Went to Holy Communion service in the morning and then spent rest of day with Guy and Co. Breakfast: porridge, egg, bacon, and sausages, toast, butter, and marmalade. Lunch: Lemon curd tart, cake, biscuits, butter, jam, cheese, chocolate, sweets and coffee. Tea: Toast, butter, jam, Christmas cake and chocolate biscuits. Supper: soup, fish and mashed potatoes, stewed steak and macaroni, roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, Christmas pudding, biscuits, cheese and coffee. Excellent meals but unfortunately couldn't eat more than half of them!
28th Dec, Went to cinema to see colour film "Munchausen" featuring Ilse Werner. Very amusing.
29th Dec. First night of Bobbie Loder's pantomime "Dossing Dulcie" featuring himself, John Dixon, Ken Dee, Bertie Harwood, Brian McIrvine, Tony Green, John Luther and Sam Crouch. Parole walk parties increased to 150.
30th Dec. 1 C.R.C. parcel issued for week. Read "Hebridean journey" by Halliday Sutherland.
31st Dec. Received two cigarette parcels. And so yet another year of this existence comes to an end but the invasion must surely take place next year and perhaps we might be home for Christmas, particularly when one looks back on how far we have gone this past year: North Africa, Tunis, Sicily, Italy. Big difference in being allowed out on parole walks after 3 ½ years, and also cinema visits. Long may both continue.
1st Jan 1944 Saturday. Eric Arden's band played in canteen from 11 - 12.
2nd Jan Sunday. Read "King George V" by John Gort (published by John Murray); excellent, though chapter on Bacchante cruise rather long. Wrote letter home.
3rd Jan Monday. Parcel issue of ½ B.R.C. parcel. Long parole walk over hill; countryside covered in snow; come back through the town.
4th Jan Tuesday. Read "Years of endurance" by Arthur Bryant dealing with first half of Napoleonic wars. Fair. Wrote card to Olive.
6th Jan Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. parcel. Temperature 10 degrees F.
7th Jan Friday. 730 Officers left for Oflag VII F believed to be near Breslau in Silesia.
8th Jan Saturday. Last night of Christmas pantomime "Dossing Dulcie". Hope it really will be the last.
9th Jan Sunday. Snow still very much in evidence. Wrote card to Marjory.
10th Jan Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote letter home.
13th Jan Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Received a parcel of 200 cigarettes.
14th Jan Friday. Went to cinema in Eichstatt and saw film called "Das andere ich" featuring Heide Krabe. The best German film we had seen yet. "Feind hort mit" and "Pst" posters plastered all over the town. Received October clothes parcel.
17th Jan Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Read "Letters of Empress Frederick" by Sir F. Ponsonby. Very interesting.
20th Jan Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote letter home. First night of "I killed the count" by Alex Coppel, produced by Wally Finlayson. Chief players being Don Ritchie, Tim Bailey, John Luther, M. Goodliffe and Jack Higgen. Usual excellent production.
21st Jan Friday. Des Greenslade stopped a large hole in upper tooth, spent nearly an hour in chair. Received 2 cigarette parcels.
24th Jan Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote card to Marjory.
25th Jan Tuesday. Parole walk to woods opposite Landershofen.
27th Jan Thursday. Parcel issue1/2 C.R.C. Received cigarette parcel.
31st Jan Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote letter home.
1st Feb Tuesday. Read 1st Vol of "Life of King Edward VII" by Sir S. Lee. Very good.
3rd Feb. Visit to Eichstatt cinema to see film "Hab mich Liebe" featuring Marika Rokk. Singing and dancing quite good. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
4th Feb. Paid second visit to same film.
5th Feb. First heavy fall of snow. Wrote letter to Olive.
6th Feb Sunday. 10 degrees F and more snow.
7th Feb Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk, very poor especially in meats and milk. Parole walk into woods near Landershofen. Thick snow.
9th Feb Wednesday. Received 2 cigarette parcels. Wrote card home.
10th Feb Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Wrote letter to Marjory.
11th Feb Friday. Parole walk to woods near Landershofen. Thick snow. Read 2nd Vol of "Life of King Edward VII", rather inaccurate in places.
14th Feb Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Parole walk to woods near Landershofen. Thick snow. Wrote card to Gladys.
17th Feb Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Read "Divorce case of Queen Caroline" by T. Bowman. Poorish stuff.
18th Feb Friday. Transferred 1725 R.Ms home (£115). Search of Block I in the morning. Read "Gentle Caesar" by R.J. Minney and O. Sitwell. Interesting play about last two years of Tsar and Tsarina's lives in Russia during last war. 1st night of music festival, 6 programmes lasting for a month.
20th Feb Sunday. Read Ben Travers amusing farce "A cuckoo in the nest". Wrote letter home.
21st Feb Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk, again very poor. Parole walk in thick snow to woods near Landershofen.
22nd Feb Tuesday. T.A.B. inoculation.
24th Feb Thursday. MINUS 1 degree F. Coldest day so far of winter. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Received cigarette parcel. Wrote card to Marjory. Heavy air raid during night.
25th Feb Friday. Very large Allied air force over camp during middle of day. Saw masses of them. Attacked by fighters. Lts Duncan and Poole killed outside Block during raid. Read "Barrie" by W.A. Darlington. Good but sketchy. Another heavy air raid during the night.
28th Feb Monday. Visit from Swiss Legation, Protecting Power. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Read "No complaints" theatrical memoirs of O.B. Clarence. Wrote letter home.
1st Mar Wednesday. British bugle calls introduced into the camp except for air raid alarm, all clear and special parade.
2nd Mar Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Read "Story of J.M.B." by D. Mackail. Official life of James Barrie.
4th Mar Saturday. Read "Parnell" by St John Ervine. Excellent. Wrote card to William Dodd.
6th Mar Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk, again poor. Read "Opera nights" by Ernest Newman.
7th Mar Tuesday. Parole walk to Pfunz and back.
9th Mar Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Card home.
10th Mar Friday. 1st night of Dance Band programme in Music Festival. Wrote letter to Marjory.
13th Mar Monday. Parcel issue ½ Christmas parcel being lucky in draw for 200 excess parcels on strength. Heavy snowfall.
14th Mar Tuesday. Read novel called "Silver mountains" by P. O'Shea. Quite good. Wrote card to Olive.
16th Mar Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Air raid during night. Received cigarette parcel.
17th Mar Friday. Air raid during the night.
18th Mar Saturday. Air raid during the day. Read "The Duke" by P. Snedalla, excellent biography of Duke of Wellington. Air raid during the night.
19th Mar Sunday. Went on roster of employed personnel Sunday parole walks. Went for walk into woods near Landershofen with Lofty, Jack and Mac.
20th Mar. Parcel issue Argentine bulk, usual lack of meats and milk. Wrote letter home.
23rd Mar Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Received watch I ordered through Wanders on September 4th.. "Mido multifact". Shockproof, waterproof, dustproof, etc. Price Number 3866. Read "Loves of Louis XIV" by M. Glennie. Rather tawdry but amusing.
24th Mar Friday. Search of Block 8 during morning. Wrote card to Marjory.
26th Mar Sunday. Parole walk to old Roman camp near Pfunz. Read "You can always duck" by Peter Cheyney. Typical Cheyney stuff.
27th Mar Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Read "Europe" by E. Lipson.
29th Mar Wednesday. Strip search of Block II by civilian police.
30th Mar Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
31st Mar Friday. Wrote letter home.
2nd Apr Sunday. First really fine snowless day of the year.
3rd Apr Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk.
4th Apr Tuesday. Visited Eichstatt cinema to see film "Operette" featuring Willi Forst and Monica Holst. Strauss music. Quite good. Wrote card to Mrs Lawrence
6th Apr Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Paid second visit in afternoon to film of "Operette".
7th Apr Friday. Good Friday.
8th Apr Saturday. Air raid during day. Read 1st vol of "Life of Gladstone" by John Morley. Exceedingly well written but early chapters a trifle dull.
9th Apr Easter Sunday. Attended Holy Communion service at7.30. No parade as parole given. Parole walk in afternoon to old Roman camp near Pfunz with Jack and Mike. Sat on hill overlooking village for an hour in the sun.
10th Apr Easter Monday. Parade at 9.30 instead of 9. Wrote card home.
11th Apr Tuesday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote letter to Marjory.
12th Apr Wednesday Air raid during the day. 1st night of Michael Goodliffe's production of "Hamlet" with himself as Hamlet and settings by M. Yates. Excellent production in every respect. Richard Wood extremely good as the King. Others in cast; Brian McIrvine, John Dixon, Victor Hellaby . Andrew Biggar, Don Cunningham, Don Ritchie and Lawrence Wilson. Work began on air raid shelters on garden plot.
13th Apr Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Air raid during the (day). Read 2nd Vol of Morley's "Life of Gladstone", far better than the first volume.
14th Apr Friday. Wrote card to Henry Grove. Received cigarette parcel.
15th Apr Saturday. Morning search of Block 6. Read "It was good while it lasted" nauseating reminiscences of old Carthusian golfer, Henry Longhurst.
17th Apr Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Visit of International Red Cross representatives. As usual knew little and could do little.
18th Apr Tuesday. Visit of Inspector General of Ps.O.W. Ordered cessation of work on air raid shelters on present site and said damage to tennis court to be repaired. Shelters to be built under the banks. Read "Oliver Wiswell" by Kenneth Roberts, excellent novel of American war of independence.
20th Apr Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote letter home.
21st Apr Friday. Major R. Carlson R.A. died in camp hospital. Received two cigarette parcels.
22nd Apr Saturday. Col Sevack S.M.O. left camp for repatriation. General camp feeling very pleased to see the last of him. Air raid during night.
23rd Apr Sunday. Parole walk to woods near Landershofen. Air raid during night.
24th Apr Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk, most poor quality. Wrote card home. Air raids during day and night.
25th Apr Tuesday. Air raid during day.
26th Apr Wednesday. Air raid during day.
27th Apr Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Air raid during the day. First night of Orderlies show "New faces". Not up to much. Air raid during night.
28th Apr Friday. Read "Khaki and Gown" by Field Marshal Lord Birdwood. Good "slap myself on the back" touch. Received 6 cigarette parcels.
30th Apr. Parole walk to Pfunz in the afternoon. Wrote letter home.
1st May Monday. German holiday. Read "Upon that mountain" Eric Shipton's reminiscences of climbing.
2nd May Tuesday. Parcel issue ½ N.Z.R.C. Not a bad type of parcel in some respects but no biscuits or milk, the things we need really most.
3rd May Wednesday. Search in the afternoon of attics in Block 3. Read "Life of Marquess of Reading" 1st vol by his son. Extremely interesting. 2nd vol not yet published.
4th May Thursday. Received film magazine from Jytte Allemp. Wrote card to Olive. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
5th May Friday. Received cigarette parcel also Spring number of "The Countryman".
7th May Sunday. Parole walk to Pfunz and back. Read "Spirit of English history" by A.L. Rowse.
8th May Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Read "Curtain calls" Noel Coward`s one act plays.
9th May Tuesday. Wrote card home. First night of "Once in a lifetime" musical comedy adapted by Wally Finlayson and Frank Stewart from plays by Bella and Samuel Spewack and Kaufmann and Hart. Not very good but Jim Bailey excellent as temperamental film star also Michael Goodliffe as film producer. Others in cast; Bobby Loder, Don Richie, W. Finlayson, Ken Dee, Brian McIrvine and John Luther.
10th May Wednesday. Wrote letter to Marjory.
11th May Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
12th May Friday. Received 3 cigarette parcels. Read excellent American novel "Kings Row" by Henry Bellaman.
14th May Sunday. Wrote card to Jytte. Read novel "They wanted to live" by Cecil Roberts.
15th May Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk.
18th May Thursday. Read "Theatrical Cavalcade" , theatre memoirs of this century by Ernest Short. Parcel issue Argentine bulk.
19th May Friday. Visit to travelling circus "Hellas Circus" on town playing fields. Very amusing show made chiefly by father and two daughters. Received two cigarette parcels.
20th May Saturday. Morning search of Block 7.
21st May Sunday. Second visit in the morning to "Circus Hellas". Read "Spanish .." by H.F. Prescott.
22nd May Monday. Parcel issue ½ N.Z.R.C. Parole walk to Pfunz and back. Rather cold and chilly weather.
23rd May Tuesday. Wrote letter home. New wood-gathering parole walks started.
25th May Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote card to Marjory. Read "The second Tory party" by K. Feiling.
26th May Friday. Parole walk in pouring rain to Eichstatt railway junction then on to Schloss and back through the town.
28th May Whit Sunday. Read "History of Ireland" by Robert Dunlop.
29th May Whit Monday. Read "The robe" by Lloyd Douglas, Excellent American novel.
30th May Tuesday. Visited Eichstatt cinema to see film "Frauen nach mass" with English sub-titles (a well cut woman) featuring Leni Marienbach. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
31st May Wednesday. Wrote letter home.
1st Jun Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Paid second visit to film. Received 4 cigarette parcels.
3rd Jun Saturday. Pipe band display on football ground. No parole walks in June due to forestry restrictions for growing young trees during that month.
4th Jun Sunday. Read appalling novel by Angela du Maurier "Perplexed heart". Not nearly so talented as her sister Daphne. Wrote card to Queenie. Guy and I agreed we did not know what we should do if invasion did not come before end of the month.
5th Jun Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. German rumour that Rome had at last fallen to the Allies.
6th Jun Tuesday. Spring cleaned room. Heard in afternoon that invasion had started, later confirmed on parade by Germans. Immense discussion as to where and how long war would now last. Many think 6 months, not so optimistic myself. Think about this time next year but pray to god it will be earlier.
7th Jun Wednesday. Morning search of Block I. Read sparse details in "V.B." and "Munchener" of the invasion, landing on the Normandy coast.
8th Jun Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
9th Jun Friday. Visit of protecting power, Swiss Legation. Tell us not to worry about repatriation. Air raid during day.
11th Jun Sunday. Celebrated King's birthday. Wrote card home. Read "Evenings in Albany" by C. Box.
12th Jun Monday. Letter from B.R.C. that Argentine bulk could be slightly increased so received increased issue. In afternoon went for parole walk to Schloss and back.
13th Jun Tuesday. Air raids during day and night.
14th Jun Wednesday. Wrote card to Gladys.
15th Jun Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Read "America and England" by C.R. Enoch. History of America with customs, laws etc. Very interesting and well written (1921).
16th Jun Friday. Received two cigarette parcels. During night 8 officers escaped from tunnel in Block 2, two being recaptured immediately and the rest soon afterwards. Camp brought on parade on Lagerstrasse at 3.30 in the morning.
17th Jun Saturday. German threat of secret weapons.
18th Jun Sunday. Whilst on parade all huts searched as one officer still missing from escape. Read "Georgian Adventure" by Douglas Jerrold. Fair.
19th Jun Monday. V.1. attacks on Great Britain announced. Tremendous damage claimed. Large columns of our losses and ability to stop our further efforts at landing. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
20th Jun Tuesday Visit to cinema to see "Die Goldene Stadt" postponed. Wrote letter home. Received two very lovely photos from Marjory.
22nd Jun Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Received two cigarette parcels. 13 officers arrived from Sagan, amongst them Major Keith Mountford of Middlesex Regt attached Parachute Regt. Private in A/A battery at beginning of war and commissioned six months after Dunkerque. Told us that 46 R.A.F. officers had been shot because they resisted arrest after escaping.
24th Jun Saturday. 50 officers ex Italy arrived from Stalag VII A Moosburg.
25th Jun Sunday. Read "Life of Conan Doyle" by Hesketh Pearson. Good. Wrote card to Marjory.
26th Jun Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
29th Jun Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
30th Jun Friday. Morning search of ground floor of Block 3. All German blankets called in for examination. Good ones kept and poor, torn ones issued in exchange. Wrote letter home.
1st Jul. Press stated General Dieth killed in an accident on 23rd June. Read "A history of Ireland" by Edmund Curtis. Best history of that country I have read.
3rd Jul Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk.
4th Jul Tuesday. Read "A Cornish childhood" autobiography of A.L. Rowse, who rose from working classes. Against everyone particularly all governments except Labour government. Dreadful nauseating stuff.
6th Jul Thursday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk.
8th Jul Saturday. Three more generals stated killed on 23rd June.
10th Jul Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote card home and letter to Marjory.
11th Jul Tuesday. Heavy air raid during day. Bomber brought down near camp.
12th Jul Wednesday. Bugle for parade sounded at 06.30hrs, on parade at 07.30hrs. Civilian police from Munich search Block III, its occupants and all belongings turned out into canteen. At 19.00hrs ordered to go into Blocks 7 and 8 and 7 and 8 into Block III. Lofty became Block Cdr of Block 7. Air raid during search.
13th Jul Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Air raid during day.
14th Jul Friday. Went to Eichstatt cinema to see colour film "Die Goldene Stadt" featuring Christian Soderbraun. Not very good. Wrote card to Olive. S.B.O. protested about manner in which search was conducted, bad bread and bad potatoes. Air raid during day.
16th Jul Sunday. Read Austen Chamberlain's memoirs "Down the years". Air raid during day.
17th Jul Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Parole cards not to be used in future, instead form to be signed at gate. Heard Hugh McKenzie had been killed.
19th Jul Wednesday. Parole walk over hills, very pleasant day. Had beer at village pub. Air raid during day.
20th Jul Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.. Wrote letter home. Air raid during day. All air raids of last 10 days concentrated on Munich. Much damage done according to Germans and press.
21st Jul Friday. Attempt on Hitler's life said to have taken place on Thursday 20th July. Some Generals of his entourage wounded. Air raid during day.
24th Jul Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Read "Palmerston" by P. Suedulla. Very good. Air raid during the day. Wrote card to Marjory.
26th Jul Wednesday. Visited Eichstatt cinema to see film "Wiener Blut" featuring Maria Holst. Strauss music. Enjoyable film. Over 5000 letters arrived, latest date being 26th June, so presumed air mail had started again. Mr Berg of Y.M.C.A. visited the camp. Air raid during night.
27th Jul Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Air raid during day.
28th Jul Friday. Second visit to film "Wiener blut". Agreed by German 2 I/C that at least 1200 letters a day should be issued. Postal officer said he was doing his best. Repatriation rumours rife.
31st Jul Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.. Air raid during day. Wrote letter home. Received acknowledgement of money sent home in February.
2nd Aug Wednesday. Further search of all huts in afternoon during special parade to see if anyone still left in, as Capt Thorneycroft had not been recaptured since escape of 16th June. Weather hottest and brightest this year.
3rd Aug Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
4th Aug Friday. Read "Europe in 19th and 20th centuries" by Grant and Temperley. Wrote card to Jytte.
7th Aug Monday. Visited Eichstatt cinema to see American film "Shall we dance" featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Excellent entertainment. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Heard Marjory had been badly injured in accident.
8th August Tuesday. Went to see "Shall we dance" again in the afternoon. New Commandant arrived. P.O.W. in last war captured by British on the final attack in 1918. Understood our difficulties as was interned for 14 months. His aim was to treat us fairly and correctly in light of his own experiences. In return he expected attitude of all officers to be fair and correct towards him.
9th August Wednesday. Wrote card home . Air raid during day. One copy of "Use of arms without warning" issued to all Ps.O.W..
10th August Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote letter to Marjory.
11th Aug Friday. Search of canteen Block. South African officers left for Oflag V A near Stuttgart.
12th Aug Saturday. Read "Theatre in my time" By St J. Ervine. 8 officers arrived from Oflag V A amongst them Emile de Groot who was at school with me.
13th Aug Sunday. Tunnel claimed to have been made in Blank Hut.
14th Aug Monday. Parcel hut closed. S.B.Os protest to Commandant (see 8th August). Wrote card to Marjory. Sports meeting held in evening. Von Fetter present and told all competitors would go supperless to bed. Baggage store also shut and Carpenters shop.
15th Aug Tuesday. Parcel hut opened for 2 hours in the afternoon. Small bulk issued. S.B.O. cancelled all parole walks because of discrimination of officers .
16th Aug Wednesday. Parcel hut reopened. Air raid during day. Germans report allied landing in south of France.
17th Aug Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
19th Aug (Saturday), Read Vt Mersey's memoirs "A picture of life", Very enjoyable. Work begins on two new huts on garden plots. German order published stating that musical instruments were only to be played on west side of canteen Block. Received cigarette parcel.
20th Aug Sunday. Wrote letter home enclosing group photo.
21st Aug Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.. End of three weeks of really fine weather. R.O.W.
22nd Aug Tuesday. Read 1st vol of Duff Cooper's "Life of Haig". Good answer to Lloyd George. Visit of I.R.C. representatives, Mon E. Mayer and Mon B. Brena. Cdt stated baggage store and carpenters shop would be reopened tomorrow. Request made to try to speed up censoring of mail but authorities said they were doing their best.
24th Aug Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote card to Mrs Webb.
25th Aug Friday. First night of revue "Second Wind" produced by Wally Finlayson, players being John Luther, Bobbie Loder, Jim Bailey, Wally Finlayson, Don Ritchie and Sam Crouch. Read 2nd vol of "Haig". As good as the 1st vol.
28th Aug Monday. Bathing parties started in place of parole walks. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Read "Brief life" by Cecil Whiteley.
29th Aug Tuesday. All parole walks are stopped by O.K.W. order. Assistants appointed for Bde jobs. Rumour fall of Paris.
31st Aug Thursday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Read "Indian Pageant" by F.W. Yeats-Brown. Wrote letter home.
1st Sep Friday. Commandant Oberst Pietri leaves, new Commandant Oberst Bessinger.
3rd Sep Sunday. Read "End of a chapter" by Shane Leslie. Five years ago, on this same day, war broke out. God forbid that I should see another 3rd September still a P.O.W.
4th Sep Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Wrote card to Gladys. Read "Colour and design" by B. Chambers.
7th Sep Thursday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
9th Sep Saturday. 1st night of new edition of "Second wind".
10th Sep Sunday. Wrote card home. Air raid during day.
11th Sep Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Wrote letter to Marjory. Air raid during day. Allied airborne landing at Arnheim. Terrific optimism in camp that end of war only a matter of weeks.
12th Sep Tuesday. Read 2nd vol of "Life of Balfour" by B. Dugdale. Air raids during day and night.
13th Sep Wednesday. Address by Commandant on parade. Search of Blocks 4 and 5. Two air raids during day.
14th Sep Thursday. Parcel issue1/2 B.R.C. Wrote card to Olive.
15th Sep Friday. Due to incompetence of someone at home for not seeing that large reserves of parcels were held at Geneva for use in emergency, the camp has to go on half a parcel a week in future.
17th Sep Sunday. Read "Mrs FitzHerbert" by Shane Leslie.
18th Sep Monday. Parcel issue Argentine bulk. Air raid during day. Visit of G.O.C. Munich.
19th Sep Tuesday. Orderlies concert. Air raid during day. Question of 1/3 ration cut raised with General yesterday.
21st Sep Thursday. German order published ordering removal and handing in of home-made stoves by 1st October. Pointed out if so we required adequate fuel issue, no action then taken. First night of Symphony concert.
22nd Sep Friday. Read "An Irish Journey" by Sean O'Finley. Air raid during day
24th Sep Sunday. Wrote card to Marjory.
25th Sep Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Read "40 years in China" by Sir M. Hewlett.
30th Sep Saturday. Read "In the defence" by Edward Marjoribanks, being the life of Marshall Hall. Very good. Wrote letter home. Arnheim battle finished.
2nd Oct Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Less optimistic view now taken in camp after failure of airborne divisions at Arnheim.
3rd Oct Tuesday. Received July clothes parcel with all the chocolate missing. Read "This above all" by Eric Knight. Very good interesting descriptions of England after Dunkerque. Air raid during day.
4th Oct Wednesday. Announced that 1/3 cut in German rations would be restored with effect from Monday, 9th October. Air raid during day. Wrote card to North.
5th Oct Thursday. Re-read "English Saga" by Arthur Bryant. "Escaping is no longer a sport" posters put up in camp.
7th Oct Saturday. Capt Thorneycroft returned into the camp.
9th Oct Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Wrote card home. Visit of Representatives of Swiss Legation M. Denzler And M. Keller. Pointed out that according to latest orders we were responsible for providing fire fighting squads etc but all equipment held by Germans under lock and key (fresh orders later issued). Announced that camp fuel ration would be 1/3 less than last winter. 1 issue per week available only in November if October ration held. Wood party to be allowed out in near future.
11th Oct Wednesday. Air raid during day. Read "Britain against Napoleon" by Carola Oman. First night of two one act plays "The proposal" by Tschekov with W. Finlayson, M. Goodliffe and T. Bailey, and "Hands across the sea" by Noel Coward with Bertie Harwood, Lawrence Wilson, Don Ritchie and John Dixon. Letter received from Howard Vyse saying he realised that "time" repatriation was necessary but proposals turned down, and anyway the end of the war would come first ! All camp "Lager geld" handed in and replaced by German R(eich) M(ark)s.
15th Oct Sunday. Read 1st Vol of "Marlborough". Excellent. Wrote card to Mrs Leola.
18th Oct Wednesday. Read "Letters of Mrs FitzHerbert" by Shane Leslie. Air raid during day and night.
20th Oct Friday. Wrote letter home. Heard John Annstell of Waidan who had been repatriated had died at home. Read 2nd Vol of "Marlborough".
23rd Oct Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.. 1st night of Orderlies show "Coffysteria". Air raid during day.
24th Oct Tuesday. Wrote card to Marjory. Read "A short history of France" br Sir John Marriott.
26th Oct Thursday. First night of "Choral and Orchestral" concert.
28th Oct Saturday. Read 3rd vol of "Marlborough".
30th Oct Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
31st Oct Tuesday. Wrote letter home. Read "Gods Englishman" by L.D. Baldwin. All R(eich) M(ark)s to be withdrawn.
2nd Nov. Lights out in future at 22.00hrs and not 22.30hrs. Read "House of Macmillan" by Charles Morgan, story of the publishing firm, later chapters very good. Received a cigarette parcel.
5th Nov Sunday. Read 4th vol of "Marlborough". Air raid during day. Wrote card to Olive. British plane at roof level shot down 2 German planes.
6th Nov. Camp information started. Parcel ½ B.R.C.
7th Nov. Read "Modern England, 1888-1940" by Sir John Marriott. Slight snowfall. Sent 375 RMs (£25) home.
8th Nov Wednesday. Received two book parcels, one from Mrs Leola containing "A tree grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith and another novel, and the other from home containing "Face without a frown" by Iris Leveson, being life of 5th Duchess of Devonshire, and "Ego 3" by J. Agate.
9th Nov Thursday. Wrote card home.
10th Nov Friday. Wrote letter to Marjory.
11th Nov Saturday. Announced that 13 officers would be allowed out for a week at a time to collect cones for fuel for the camp. Read "Face without a frown" by Iris Leveson-Gower. Air raid during day.
13th Nov Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C.
14th Nov Tuesday. Wrote card to Gladys. German order published saying that although punishment for escaping had been light in the past, in future owing to the war and present economic situation, all misdemeanours connected with escaping will be punished severely because they are likely to be detrimental to German economic situation. a) destruction or damage of building or barracks. b) Destruction, damage or theft of articles of furniture etc (i.e. use of bed boards in tunnels, electrical wiring systems etc) c) Theft of tools and materials, unauthorised use of current in tunnels etc d) Alteration of uniforms, which are not the personal property of Ps.O.W. e) Forgery and theft of identification papers and passes and forbidding of copying pencils for Ps.O.W. V2 attacks announced on G.B. John Elphinstone and Max deHamil who left camp on 11th November believed to have gone to Oflag IV C. British camp money issued for use in camp payments only.
15th Nov Wednesday. Received 3 cigarette parcels. Air raid during day.
16th Nov Thursday Air raid during day.
17th Nov Friday. First night of "French without tears" by Terence Rattigan produced by Wally Finlayson with himself, Lawrence Wilson, Brian McIrvine, Jack Paul, Tim Bailey, John Dixon and Bertie Harwood.
20th Nov Monday. Went out for week on cone party. Got very wet. Wrote letter home. Read "A history of the Times". Parcel issue ½ B.R.C.
21st Nov Tuesday. Fine day for cone party.
22nd Nov Wednesday. Air raid during day. Got very wet on cone party.
23rd Nov Thursday. Got very wet on cone party.
24th Nov Friday. Out on cone party from 09.45hrs - 15.00hrs. Fine day. Wrote card to Marjory. Air raid during day and night.
25th Nov Saturday. Fine day for cone party. Two air raids during the night.
26th Nov Sunday. Read 1st vol of "Haldane" by Sir F. Maurice. Very good except for chapters on philosophy.
27th Nov Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. German order stated Ps.O.W. may have in future only two sets of uniform and two sets of other clothing, rest has to be stored in verwalting by 5th December 1944. Air raid during night. Control of 2 items of food a day introduced.
28th Nov Tuesday. Read "A failure of a mission" by Sir N. Henderson. Big rise in local river, sentry boxes marooned.
29th Nov Wednesday. Read "Edward Lyttelton" by C.A. Alington. Air raid during night.
30th Nov Thursday. Wrote letter home. Announced that no more beer would be on sale in camp, present stocks to be kept until Christmas.
1st Dec Friday. Clothing order altered to 2 sets of uniform, 1 sports kit and 4 each of other clothing. First night of Eric Arden's Dance Band show "Lo-Gang" with turns by Bobby Loder, Brodie Cochrane etc.
4th Dec Monday. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Three air raids during day. Read "Those days" by an Old Pauline E.C. Bartley.
5th Dec Tuesday. Letter sent to Swiss urging them to get parole walks started as soon as possible. Wrote cards to Queenie and Jytte. Air raid during day.
7th Dec Thursday. Read 2nd vol of "Haldane" by Sir F. Maurice. Sent Christmas cards to Dodd, Ronnie Hoare, G. Ball, D. Lawrence and Mrs Webb. Air raid during night. S.B.O. had interview with Security officer and asked, in view of general deterioration of conditions in the camp, for the following to improve conditions over Christmas: a) provision of portable cinema and/or radio sets b) issue of 1200 second blankets c) lights to be left on in the morning until 9 a.m. and to be switched on at 3 p.m. d) extra rations for Christmas day e) walks on parole f) issue of all letters and magazines as soon as possible. The S.O. was sympathetic and said he would do what he could.
9th Dec Saturday. Search of Orderlies huts. Read "Life of Nelson" by C.S. Forester, not up to much.
10th Dec Sunday. Read "A great experiment" Vt Cecil's apologia for League of Nations. Doesn't make a good case. Wrote card home. Air raid during night.
11th Dec Monday. Parcel issue ½ C.R.C. Wrote letter home.
13th Dec Wednesday. Air raid during day.
14th Dec Thursday. Air raid during day. Wrote card to Grove.
15th Dec Friday. German General of Police visited the camp. Said parole walks had been stopped due to friendly attitude of civilians. Handed in excess clothing to Black hut against receipt.
16th Dec Saturday. Read "A Jerseyman at Oxford" by R. Marett. Christmas greetings received from Maj Genl Sir R. Howard Vyse K.C.M.G. and D.S.O. but nothing concrete in the
18th Dec Monday. 5th birthday in captivity. What a prospect to look back on. Read "Men, women and things" by the Duke of Portland. Parcel issue ½ B.R.C. Had very good birthday supper.
19th Dec Tuesday. O.K.W. order stated by 1st January all stocks of parcels in camp has to be reduced to 14 days supply or equivalent in tins in tin store. No other private tin store or reserve parcels may be held. By 14th January all stock in camp has to be consumed otherwise no more allowed to come from Geneva. A telegram will be sent regularly requesting 14 days supply as and when required. British order all reserve parcels to be drawn this week. Have big tea as a result of order. Means a good feeding over Christmas and early New Year but pray to god parcels arrive on 14th January otherwise we shall be as badly off as we were in first six months of capture.
20th Dec Wednesday. Wrote letter home. Drew out our mess's reserve of 27 parcels.
22nd Dec Friday. Parcel issue 1 C.R.C. German order regarding barrack damages. 618 officers to be credited with 9.02 and 886 officers with 9.01. 397 blankets claimed missing. Red Cross blankets to be marked as German property.
23rd Dec Saturday. Fun fair held in canteen.
24th Dec Sunday. Parole given for today and next two days so no parade until Wednesday. Toy fair held in canteen in afternoon. Toys made by officers for Ilags. Lights out 23.59hrs.
25th Dec Monday. Air raid during day. Excellent days feeding with home-made Christmas pudding. Breakfast: Porridge, bacon and sausages, toast. Lunch: Biscuits, cheese, cake and chocolate. Tea: Cake, toast and biscuits. Dinner: Soup, hor's d'oevres, fish, meat roll and potatoes, Christmas pudding, sardine savory, biscuits, cheese, coffee, cigars and fruit. Lights out at 23.00hrs.
26th Dec Tuesday. Wrote cards to Marjory and Wanders. Air raid during night Repatriation rumours rife.
28th Dec Thursday. Blanket parade to prove to Cdt we were not 397 blankets short after S.B.O. had had stormy interview. Final count revealed 16 short. First night of Christmas show "A comedy of errors". Novel and good, with excellent crowd scenes produced by Michael Goodliffe, with Sam Crouch, Don Ritchie, John Luther, W. Finlayson, Tim Bailey and John Dixon. Dances arranged by B. McIrvine, music by Barry Grayson. Air raid during day.
29th Dec Friday. Air raid day and night.
30th Dec Saturday. Cabaret show in canteen at 20.00hrs, featuring Roy Clegg's band and various turns, to celebrate New Years Eve. Band good but turns poor.
31st Dec. Last day of old year. In many ways an exciting year, the early months well nigh unbearable wondering whether the invasion was ever coming, and then the great day finally arrived and the hopes of the camp on the war ending in three months seemed vaguely possible in August and early September. Then came reverse of Arnheim and failure to capture channel ports early enough. Settled down to winter. Large offensive started in November , but offset by German offensive in December. Camp conditions became worse with clothing restrictions, no food reserves, lack of arrival of Red Cross clothes and cigarette parcels. Repatriation rumours of long-term prisoners rife from June onwards culminating in intense excitement over Christmas. Personally I think nothing will be done until at least five years have been clocked up and even doubtful. So pray to god Red Cross parcels, repatriation or end of war comes in this coming year. Feel I absolutely cannot face a further winter after this one.
1st Jan 1945, New Years Day. Parade at 09.30hrs as day treated as a Sunday. Eric Arden's band played in canteen from 11 to 12 o/c. Usual spate of repatriation rumours.
2nd Jan. Air raid during day and very heavy air raid at 19.00hrs. Large numbers of planes over camp. Read "Golden fleece" by Bertita Harding, biography of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. Very good indeed.
3rd Jan. New officers expected to fill first of new huts. Believed to be senior officers.
4th Jan Thursday. "Grands Blesses" party off in near future. New huts declared uninhabitable as pipes frozen, and new officers on arrival to be spread over the vacant spaces in camp temporarily. Raid on 2nd January said by German press to be on Nuremberg. Much damage done. Wrote cards to Olive and Jytte.
5th Jan Friday. Small party of "Grands Blesses" left today for home including Bertie Harwood. Short air raid during the day. Read "The Londoner" by Lady Nicholson, part of the series of Britain in Pictures. Had bad attack of sinusitis.
6th Jan Saturday. Second party of "Grands Blesses" left very early in the morning. Announcement in papers that big collection of clothing to be made for army, Volksturm, police and fire brigades etc.
7th Jan Sunday. Very heavy air raid lasting from 19.00hrs to midnight. Read "The Kings and Queens of England" by Vt Mersey. Had very good supper.
8th Jan Monday. Received four cigarette parcels.
9th Jan Tuesday. MINUS 14 degrees C. Coldest day this winter. No papers in for second day running so assume that Sundays raid was on Munich. Wrote card home.
10th Jan Wednesday. A weeks ration of Argentine bulk arrived. No papers in. Read "Britain in Europe" by R. Seton-Watson. Excellent survey of foreign policy 1789-1914. Heard that 15,000 letters had been burnt in last raid on Munich. Wrote letter to Marjory. Last night of "Comedy of errors" after run of 12 nights. Extremely popular show.
13th Jan Saturday. MINUS 15 degrees Centigrade.
14th Jan Sunday. Wrote cards to Gladys and Mrs Lawrence. No Munich papers in this week.
15th Jan Monday. S.B.O. and Brigade Major come from Kommandatur with Hauptmann Dittman, camp officer. S.B.O announced that owing to alleged conditions in Camp 360 in Egypt whereby German Ps.O.W. had to live in tents without paliasses and chairs and tables, conditions would be simulated in British officers Ps.O.W. camps in Germany leaving 1/10th of furniture. Large numbers of S.S. troops brought in with Tommy-guns. K trying to interrupt S.B.Os speech told what he could do with himself. British officers left in temperature of MINUS 7 degrees Centigrade from 09.00hrs to 12.00hrs whilst 90 % of furniture was removed from Blocks. NOTE; In Egypt British troops never have paliasses because they would be full of vermin in two days, large mess tents with plenty of chairs and tables etc provided. Large difference in temperature between Egypt and Germany in winter. This is sixth reprisal in 4 ½ years, but proud to think that British government, despite deplorable conditions in German P.O.W camps such as overcrowding, bad lighting, poor sanitation, lack of adequate rations, lack of fuel etc etc etc have NEVER introduced reprisals on German Ps.O.W. in England and dominions. Telegrams sent to protecting power, I.R.C., and B.R.C. Air raid during day.
16th Jan Tuesday. Read "Woe to my comrades" by John Brown. Very poor issue of ½ bulk as only 1800 rations arrived last week for a fortnight. This means 2 ½ tins of meat (1/2 of which is Pork and Beans) for the fortnight and ½ tin condensed milk. Still no Munich papers in.
18th Jan Thursday. As far as an officer in this camp can remember, who was in Egypt and in camp 306, the following was a typical days messing in 306: Breakfast: ½ tin bacon, biscuits, marg, jam, tea, sugar and milk. Lunch: 1 M & V, 1 tin mixed veg, biscuits, marg. Jam, tea, sugar and milk. Tea: ½ tin sardines, biscuits, marg, jam. Tea, sugar and milk. Supper: Thick stew, biscuits, marg, jam, tea, sugar and milk. In addition each officer received 5 ozs chocolate per week and 7 cigarettes and 1/3 box of matches each day. Biscuits were issued in lieu of white bread at special request of German P.O.W. officers. The officers had single beds with type of felt mattress on it (straw palliasses would be useless in that climate and in any event would not be issued to officers). There were large recreation tents, one for messing and the other for recreation, both well furnished. If we had to live on German rations only the following would be a typical days messing. Breakfast: 2 thin slices of bread spread thinly with marg and jam and ersatz tea. Lunch: Ό litre soup, 1 thin slice of bread spread thinly with marg and perhaps a small quantity of cheese or sausage meat. Tea: 2 thin slices of bread spread thinly with marg and jam and ersatz coffee. Supper: potatoes (possibly some veg as well, such as cabbage).
19th Jan Friday. Commandant paid visit into camp. Thaw started during night but blizzard sprang up in afternoon and it started freezing again. Russian offensive seems to be going very well. Camp optimistic but don't anticipate any large break through. Read Marriott's "Modern England" again. Wrote letter home.
21st Jan Sunday. Read "Evolution of England" by J.A. Williamson.
22nd Jan Minday. Very poor bulk issue. Issued 1 tin of meat for week, Ό tin of condensed milk and small biscuit, cheese items etc.
23rd Jan Tuesday. 61 new officers arrive from Oflag 12 B, all captured at Arnheim. Asked "Where were you captured?" - Reply "Arnheim". Next question "Where's that?" . Say that Arnheim was meant to finish the war off before Christmas. Rumour 1800 parcels at station, hope its true as will delay starvation a bit longer and in future, if German train restrictions and transport difficulties, doubt if any more will arrive.
24th Jan Wednesday. Parcel rumour unfortunately untrue. Wrote card to Marjory. 300 letters arrive. Had Ronnie Stark of 1st Parachute Regiment in for a chat.
25th Jan Thursday. 1900 medical parcels arrive (Howard Vyse's idea of joke? Or sent by I.R.C. as we are living hard?). Stored outside camp despite promise they would be allowed in camp as barbed wire had been erected. Received first letter this year, a Christmas card from Dorothy Lawrence.
27th Jan Saturday. Read "The prince imperial" by Katherine John. Bitterly cold still, even more snow. Fighting near Posen; wonder if it's near Fort 8. Lofty went into hospital with poisoned toe.
29th Jan Monday. Visit of I.R.C representative. Not very helpful, thought repatriation out of the picture. Parcels would be erratic and overcrowding in near future likely. Authorised careful use of I.D.S. parcels as no others available so decided to issue ½ I.D.S. to Lagerstrasse on Tuesday and ½ to Garden City on Wednesday. No meats, fish, biscuits or marg in them. Read "Spirit of English history" again by A.L. Rowse. MINUS 2 degrees, bitterly cold. Starting third week of reprisals.
30th Jan Tuesday. Received cigarette parcel. Russians have bridgehead over Oder at Steinan and not far from Oder near Frankfort. Seems as if East Prussia is nearly cut off.
31st Jan Wednesday. Wrote letter home. Read "How we are governed" by Sir J.A.R. Marriott. Received ½ I.D.S. parcel. Contents: 2 tins porridge, 2 egg powder, 2 soup, Horlicks, ovaltine, cocoa, 2 ozs chocolate, 4 ozs tea, 8 ozs sugar, custard powder, lemon curd, and 2 tins milk. Thaw begins.
1st Feb. Thaw continues. Hope we have seen last of cold weather. 2000 Xmas parcels arrive, better late than never but none the less welcome. Read "Phantom crown" by Bertita Harding.
3rd Feb. 7 R.A.F. officers arrive from Stalag IV B Muhlberg. 350 new prisoners expected. Existing accommodation for 240. What happens to the other 110?
4th Feb. Read "Life of Sir Edward Clarke" by D. Walker and Edward Clarke. 6 army officers and 7 R.A.F. officers arrive. Wrote cards to William Dodd and Jytte.
5th Feb. ½ Christmas parcel issued to last the week. Contents: 1 roast pork and stuffing of 16 ozs, 1 stewed steak of 6 ozs, 1 spam of 12 ozs, 1 small Heinz beans, 1 small sardines, 1 condensed milk, Ό lb milk chocolate, 1 small honey, 1 Christmas cake, 1 Christmas pudding, 1 pancake powder, 2 custard powders, 4 ozs sugar, 2 ozs tea, and 8 ozs butter. A very good parcel if issued as an extra in Christmas week but not much help to last a fortnight as no biscuits. Roast pork and stuffing simply dreadful. Dates stamped on meat tins 31st July so these parcels couldn't have been sent off very early.
7th Feb. Read "From many angles" by Major General Sir F. Sykes. Very good and very interesting.
8th Feb. Messrs Denzler and Keller, representatives of Protecting Power, arrived in the camp. Usual report submitted but no change of any consequence. 500 letters came in. Hope I shall hear from home this time as haven't had a letter this year. ½ Xmas parcel to last all next week.
9th Feb. Receive first letter this year from England from Bill Dodd. Letter received from I.R.C. saying they had had advice from B.R.C. to put us on a full parcel but stocks at Geneva and transport did not permit this and they would telegraph us when we could go on a full parcel. Seems like usual B.R.C. stupidity to tell us to go on full parcel without seeing or making any preparations for adequate stocks to be there. However S.B.O. authorised issue next week of remaining stocks in parcel barrack, i.e. Ό B.R.C. or Ό Xmas parcel a head. Wrote card home.
11th Feb Some Volksturm absorbed into guard company, two on morning parade. Wrote letter to Marjory. Read Grant and Temperley's excellent "Europe in 19th and 20th Centuries" again.
12th Feb. Ό B.R.C. parcel a head issued. Rained solidly for two days. All Garden City a sea of mud.
13th Feb. Read "Life of C.P. Scott" by J.L. Hammond. Received first letter from home dated 24th December.
14th Feb. Two very heavy air raids during night. Bombers extremely low. Very noisy. Wrote cards to North and Olive. Air raid during day.
15th Feb. Two very heavy air raids during night, bombs close. Read "Its too late now", A.A. Milne's autobiography.
16th Feb. Read "A short history of Chinese civilization" by Tsui Chi. Air raid during day.
17th Feb. Read "Living in Bloomsdury" by A.T. Burke. Air raid during day.
18th Feb. Read "Life of Sir Travers Humphreys" by B. Roberts. No parcels in since 1st February, so all we get this week will be 1/3 of an I.D.S. parcel and then nothing left at all. Air raid during day.
19th Feb. 1/3 I.D.S. parcel issued. Read "Metropolitan man" by Robert Sinclair. Air raid during day.
20th Feb. Read "St George or the dragon" by Lord Elton. Wrote letter home, Very heavy air raid during day.
21st Feb. Germans say raid yesterday on Nuremberg. Search of Block 8. Despite fact 800 letters came in, I didn't get any. Short air raid during day.
22nd Feb. Heaviest day raid yet, 11.30hrs to 15.30hrs. 5 Yanks chase German over camp, cannon fire very close. Visit of G.O.C. Munich area early morning. S.B.O. requests parole walks, General says impossible because of possible hostile action of civilian population in case of air raids. He turned down the suggestion that the camp should be suitably marked, e.g. P.O.W. on roofs, as he saw no possibility of situation arising to warrant this.
23rd Feb. Very large allied air fleet over camp, clear beautiful day. Raid lasted from 11.00hrs to 15.30hrs. Read "The joy of London" by Wilfred Whitten. 2000 boxes of saccharine arrived from Sweden.
24th Feb. Read "Van Loon lives" by W.M. Van Loon. Had T.A.B. inoculation. Offensive by Americans supposed to have started on West front. Raids recently made on rail communications.
25th Feb. Wrote card to Marjory. Read "Australian summer" by Neville Cardus (1936-1937 Test matches). Air raid lasting from 11.00hrs to 14.45hrs. Masses of bombers and fighters easily visible in clear sky. Felt very little ill effects from yesterday's inoculation, arm hardly stiff or sore. Eton R.
26th Feb. Read "Among others" by Lord Elton. No parcels issued as no parcels in camp. Raids last week make prospect of any more coming in extremely doubtful but why didn't Howard Vyse ensure that there were sufficient parcels at Geneva to see that we had at least a months supply in hand which we are allowed instead of having to live from hand to mouth since 14th January. Short air raid during day. Went to Guy Ward's room to hear Sam Turner's band but stopped after 20 minutes by an air raid lasting from 20.15hrs to 21.15hrs. Got sack.
27th Feb. Read autumn number of "The Countryman". Air raid, very heavy, flies close lasting from 12.45hrs to 15,45hrs. Eichstatt junction set on fire. Column of fire and smoke. Americans and Canadians under way in West offensive. Heard Tony Baines "Symphony Orchestra" in Nobby Clarkes room. Air raid during night.
28th Feb. Wrote letter home. Air raid from 10.00hrs to 11.30hrs in beautiful clear sky. Then further raid from 13.15hrs to 17.05hrs, the longest we have had yet, and in evening from 20.30hrs to 21.15hrs. Yesterdays raid on Eichstatt junction hit two magnesium vans and fire engines. Rumour parcels at station, wish it was true. R.C. and rep. Read "I liked the life I lived" by Eveleigh Nash.
1st Mar. We are getting on now in the year. Wonder whether at 1st June war will be over or repatriation on. Search of Block 1 in the morning. Air raid, heavy, from 13.05hrs to 16.10hrs. Read "Memories of Victorian Oxford" by Sir Charles Oman. Received "Ego 3" by James Agate which arrived in camp last November. Some mail in, about 600 letters in all, but as usual, nowadays, unlucky.
2nd Mar. S.B.O. told before parade that ground floor of Block I had to move down into hut A as all flooring was to be pulled up. This need not be done if he would give his parole that nothing suspicious was there. Of course he did not do this and said he was surprised that they should even ask him to do such a thing, but he said it in such a forceful manner that nothing has happened yet. Two officers who went to Ingoldstadt for x-rays yesterday had to return on foot as large bombing raid had demolished station and lines and also the laundry! Fortunately our Block's laundry wasn't there but with present soap difficulty hope new one is soon arranged. Heard that the rations we get are lowest scale civilian ration which is issued to people who have small farms or holdings and are partially self-supporting !! We SHOULD get same as their base troops ration. Air raid from 12.30hrs to 14.15hrs. Very cold and windy day after several beautiful days. Pleased to get two letters (one from home) but both dated middle November. No local trains all day.
3rd Mar. Very cold and windy, little snow again. Read "Ego 3" by James Agate. Invoice received for wagon- load of parcels sent off on 22nd February. As they were dispatched so long ago rather doubt if they will get here now after all the bombing around here. American 9th Army seem to be pushing ahead well according to "M.N.N." . Air raid from 11.05hrs to 12.45hrs.
4th Mar. Snow all day and bitter wind. First local trains run for 48 hours. Laundry at Ingoldstadt only slightly damaged. Air raid from 09.40hrs to 11.40hrs. Wrote cards to Gladys and Constance Hoare.
5th Mar. Snow still. Final issue of odds and ends in parcel hut, i.e. ½ marg, ½ condensed milk, 1 Bengers. Not much to last a week on ! No sign of parcels dispatched on 22nd February. Ground floor of Block I moved down into hut A although snowing hard. Heard Sam Turner's band in Guy Wood's room. Heavy air raid during night.
6th Mar. Snow and sleet again. "V.B." announces rations cut but pray it will not affect us on our meagre rations. Also allies reaching Rhine. Hot showers postponed for a week making then five weeks since we had a hot shower. First day without any air raids since Saturday, 24th February. Finished with great regret reading James Agate's "Ego 3", look forward to reading all his others at home but don't suppose that will be for at least six months. Six months! What a time and how dreadful if on existing rations, potato and turnip.
8th Mar. Air raid during night. O.Rs to be reissued with paliasses and study rooms to be reopened. Snow and sleet still. Red Cross lorry breaks down near camp containing 850 assorted American, Canadian, Belgian and French parcels and is brought to the camp. I.R.C. representative said that this was first of regular convoy which it is hoped to run from Geneva to camps in Germany. 80 wagons had been sent to Moosburg where a dump was being established and it was hoped to run lorries from there to camps but recently evacuated camps and Stalags would have first preference. Read Summer 1944 number of "The Countryman".
9th Mar. Issue of parcels to our mess of 7 of 1 A.R.C., Ύ C.R.C. and 1 Ύ F.R.C. French parcels only had 1 tin meat, but good macaroni, dried beans and peas, biscuits etc, but no margarine or butter. Read "I saw England" by Ben Robertson. Short air raid during the day. Wrote card home.
10th Mar. Snow clears but bitterly cold still. All rations including bread cut by 1/5th except potatoes cut by 1/3rd. Rations before were barely enough to live on so god knows what will happen now if Red Cross supplies do not come through regularly.
11th Mar. Wrote letter to Marjory. Read "The duke" by Richard Aldington.
12th Mar. No parcel issue as, as usual, no parcels in and very little prospect of any coming in unless the 1500 turn up sent off by rail on 22nd February. Ration cuts mean thin Ό litre soup, 4 thin slices of bread extremely thinly spread with margarine OR jam, 4 potatoes and perhaps a bit of turnip ! 1450 calories a day in all which means 50 less than an invalid in bed normally gets. Two short air raids during day.
13th Mar. Read "Ego 6" by James Agate. Longest air raid yet from 11.05hrs to 15.40hrs. Read first letter from Olive this year dated 4th December. First really sunny day for some time.
14th Mar. Kept on parade whilst Germans take all paliasses away again. 3500 parcels came in composed of 3000 B.R.C. and 500 I.D.S., both consignments sent off from Geneva on 22nd February and redirected via Moosburg. No issue, though, until Friday when a ½ issue. No other ½ until Friday week, so it means we get really none this week. Very cold at night sleeping without paliasses again. 2000 letters come in; hope I get some.
15th Mar. Read "Amazon throne" by Bertita Harding. Telegram received from Geneva saying 8,800 parcels had been sent off, some on 23rd February and others on 1st March. Hope they get here alright as will make up in a slight way for cut in German rations. Beautiful weather continues.
16th Mar. ½ parcel a head to last a week. Another lovely day. Received three letters, one from home dated 1st January. Air raid from 21.00hrs to 22.30hrs. S.P.P.
17th Mar. Air raid from 22.00hrs to 22.30hrs.
18th Mar. Wrote card to Henry Grove. No sign of parcels sent off on 23rd February and 1st March, everyone therefore getting very despondent.
19th Mar. Block I ground floor move back. Air Raid. Plenty of planes about from 11.40hrs to 15.40hrs. Read "Lost worlds" by Anne Terry White.
20th Mar. Wrote letter home.
21st Mar. Longest air raid yet from 11.15hrs to 17.45hrs, many planes visible. To be allowed out in future when "yellow" goes after a "red".
22nd Mar. 8,800 parcels arrive, sent off on 23rd February and 1st March, enough to last us until end of May at half a parcel a head provided no more officers turn up. But we could all do with full parcel a head in view of cut in German rations. Air raid from 12.00hrs to 15.00hrs. Beautiful sunny weather continues.
23rd Mar. ½ B.R.C. parcel issued to last three days and ½ issued on Monday again to get issue day normal again and to last a week. Read "Candles and Crinolines" by D.L. Murray. Sinus trouble very bad again.
24th Mar. Air raid from 11.45hrs to 13.15hrs. Air raid shelters being filled in everywhere as banks collapsing. Another lovely day. M.O.
25th Mar. Wrote card to Marjory. Air raid from 11.20hrs to 12.50hrs.
26th Mar. Cone party not allowed out and wood party supposed to be recalled until front is stabilised, but wood party remain out all day and cone party to be allowed out as normally in future. Visit of Mr Berg of Y.M.C.A. Higgar goes to Steinburg for 4 days whilst Col Thompson takes over. Lofty very optimistic and seems to think that war is over because of rumour that has fallen. Nothing to stop them sweeping through. Doesn't seem to realise that Germany is not France and even an odd Battalion can cause great havoc to L. of C. and cut continuously. He cannot realise that even modern armoured columns have to stop for supply etc and have to go forward in waves. ½ B.R.C. parcel issued.
27th Mar. Read "Imperial Policing" by Major General Sir C.W. Gayson.
28th Mar. Hear that approx 950 officers and 145 O.Rs are arriving here from Oflag V A near Heilbronn. Kammer (which has no sanitation or stoves) to be used. Theatre, canteen, Room VI in Blocks I, II and III to spread over these Blocks and Rooms I in Blocks IV, V, VI, VII and VIII and huts A and B to be filled up. Reprisals lifted but all paliasses required for new officers to sleep on as no beds. Stools and tables to be distributed pro rata as far as possible. Jack Odell's recent visit to Berlin was to attend a conference called to improve conditions in P.O.W. camps ! Still only hope is that it will not be for long, though of course they may not turn up.
29th Mar. 2 Red Cross lorries arrive late at night with 1600 B.R.C. parcels. Hear that Oflag V A will leave tomorrow and expected to arrive either tomorrow night or Saturday morning. Lt Col Thompson D.S.O., M.C. takes over S.B.O. Wild rumours as to the nearness of Americans.
30th Mar. Parade at 09.30hrs. Parole given for Easter Sunday and Monday so no parades. Lights out on Saturday and Sunday at 23.00hrs. 9295 rations of Argentine bulk arrive so S.B.O. orders one parcel per head to be issued tomorrow and it is to be on parole so no tins opened. Typical Easter weather for a Good Friday, rain, sun and windy.
31st Mar. 3 Scotch, 2 new British and 2 old British parcels for mess. Sunnier day, no rain. No sign yet of Stalag V A camp. Hope they will not now arrive until Tuesday as parole given from after evening parade tonight until morning parade on Tuesday so no parades during that time. Lights out 23.00hrs.
1st April. Easter Sunday. Attended 8 o/c Holy Communion service, very crowded. Will be the last H.C. I shall attend as a P.O.W. as I go twice a year, once at Easter and once at Christmas. Jack Higgar returned from the Holiday Camp. Another truck- load of Argentine bulk arrived but on opening it at station found it had been badly pilfered, out of 300 crates only 16 left. Serious enough but even more serious if we had not received Friday's consignment. No parades and Lights Out at 23.00hrs.
2nd April. Easter Monday. No parades and Lights Out at 22.30hrs. Parades in future, as summer time commenced, at 09.00hrs and 20.00hrs. Traffic allowed on Lagerstrasse up to 22.00hrs and Lights Out at 22.30hrs. Wrote letters home and to Olive.
3rd Apr. Wild rumours as to nearness of Americans. S.B.O. authorises issue of extra rations, Ύ bulk on Thursday, following week 1 parcel and Ύ bulk, and week after 1 ½ parcels.
4th Apr. Rumours as to camp move. 20000 letters arrive, got thirteen. Air raid during the day. Wrote cards home and to Marjory.
5th Apr. Ύ Argentine bulk issued. Cdt gives warning of possible move either in 70 railway trucks or on foot, destination unknown. All documents etc being packed up outside. Other camps pass through town on foot, believed all going to Moosburg. Got 10 letters.
6th Apr. "Flap" in camp and outside camp going strong. Got paliasses as unlikely Oflag V A will turn up, but to be returned if they do. Weather still very April-like.
7th April Air raid during day from 12.00hrs to 13.00hrs. Cone party not allowed out owing to war situation, not because of possible move, but wood party allowed out. "Flap" in camp seems to be less today.
8th Apr. Air raid during day. Read "I'd live the same life over" by Philip Lindsay.
9th Apr. 1 B.R.C. parcel issued unopened for week. Dattmann warns of possible move. Rumours we go on Tuesday or Wednesday. Very heavy air raid during day. Planes very low. Wrote cards home and to Gordon Ball.
10th Apr. Camp quiet again. Wrote letter to Marjory. 3 air raids during the day. Weather very hot.
11th Apr. 3 heavy air raids during day. Cdt warns S.B.O. of possible move by march route either tomorrow or Friday. Destination still unknown. Camp opinion divided between Moosburg, Hohenfels or worse still in Bavarian alps or Tirol at Garmisch, Partenkirchen, Innsbruck or in Salzburg neighbourhood.
12th Apr. Warning of possible move on Saturday at 05.00hrs by march route, Bulk rations issued.
14th Apr. Parade at 06.30hrs which becomes 07.30hrs. Leave camp at 09.15hrs, first company having left at 08.30hrs. Mustang recce plane comes over followed by five Thunderbolts. Road opposite camp bombed and then they turn on to our column, going up and down it and opening up with their cannons. 7 killed, 42 wounded. Attack leaves after half an hour. Go back into camp. To move on Sunday night at dusk and march by night in future. 4 die of wounds.
15th Apr. Leave camp at dusk, fine night. March 21 kilometers to .
16th Apr. Billeted in barn. Leave at 20.30hrs. Go past aerodromes, Ingoldstadt, Autobahn and Danube. 32 kilometers, arrive very tired.
17th Apr. At 05.00hrs at Ensgarten near an airfield. Planes very active all day. Leave at 20.30hrs for Rottenegg 15 kilometers away.
18th Apr. Arrive there and billeted in barn at 03.00hrs near good pub. To stay there 48 hours. Ό parcel issued and 1/3 loaf.
19th Apr. 1/3 loaf issued. Leave at 20.30hrs for .
20th Apr. Arrive there after 21 kilometers march Mainburg at 03.00hrs. Stay there possibly until Sunday on and then on to Moosburg 18 kilometers away. Planes very active.
21st Apr. Lot of aerial activity. Thunderstorm at night. Barn very wet.
22nd Apr. Wet and cold. To move at 06.00hrs for Moosburg tomorrow.
23rd Apr. Cold, cloudy, but fine. Thunderbolts in distance so straggle. Arrive Moosburg at 10.30hrs but wait outside camp until 12.30hrs then wait inside camp until 14.30hrs. Searched. Hot shower. Wooden huts; 400 in hut meant for 150. Dirty and full of fleas.. Receive biscuits, ½ tin of stew and cheese. Oflag V A, some R.A.F. and American flyers here. About 9000 officers. Total camp strength all ranks and nationalities about 30,000. Rations very poor. 4 soups a week, 1/8 loaf of bread, bad potatoes and little cheese, marg and sausage. 1/6 parcel a day issued, British, Canadian or American.
25th Apr. Bomber and fighter activity. Bread trucks from Landshut get direct hit. Only 1/10 loaf.
27th Apr. Beautiful day but no bomber of fighter activity. 1/12 bread only issued. Thunderstorm in evening. Rumour Bavaria sueing for separate peace.
28th Apr. Rumour confirmed but tell Germans only. Rain all day. We take over control of camp at 18.00hrs, only skeleton German staff remains. Close gunfire at 19.00hrs. Rumour Americans 7 kilometers away but news seems to indicate that American 7th Army is still at Ingolstadt and 3rd Army going from Regensburg to Austria. Gunfire all night.
29th Apr. M.G. fire close at 07.00hrs. British parade at 08.00hrs. Battle develops round camp at 09.00hrs. M.G. fire over camp and around camp. Shells. Tanks seen at 11.00hrs, many planes low overhead. Infantry seen at 11.45hrs. Official statement at 12.00hrs that at 21.00hrs last night Commandant said allies were close and suggested senior allied commander and S.B.O. should go to bridge and await. This they did at 23.00hrs but with nothing happening, returned at 01.00hrs. At 03.00hrs further conference with Cdt and German S.S. General commanding area who offered to make town and camp an open area and suggested Allied Commander and S.B.O. should go through lines in Swiss car with Generals envoy and contact advance American troops. This was done but advance Commander had no authority, so they saw Div General who had to refuse as he required the bridges but offered to accept surrender of Germans. The envoy said he would have to ask German General and U.S. General said he would give them until 09.00hrs to decide, when battle would commence. Group Captain Willets and S.B.O. returned to camp and battle started at 09.00hrs and finished at 12.00hrs when U.S. flag hoisted over town and camp. Tank and Jeep came into camp and after 4 years and 10 ½ months as a P.O.W. am now released and eagerly await home-going. Trust it will not be too long before we get out of this camp and that nothing to prejudice our safety will occur.
30th Apr. Our liberation yesterday was done by C Coy, 47th Tank Battn, 14th Armoured Division, 3rd Corps, 3rd U.S. Army. Did guard duty on wire to stop people getting out from 02.00hrs to 04.00hrs. Allied repatriation Committee arrive. Rumour that difficulty in getting such a large camp out is chiefly transport but hoped to clear camp by end of week. Pray we will get out of here by Thursday. B.B.C. say opposition at Moosburg was heaviest since the crossing of Rhine. 3 American Red Cross girls in camp. 2 local pockets of resistance. Evacuation letter from Schaef arrives: To prepare air landing strip 500 yards from camp, to use C47 planes taking 25 a time in ratios 2 to 1. Hope to start tomorrow and get 5000 a day out but previous best 2000 a day so looks like little chance of getting out for four or five days. Battle in distance at night. Hitler supposed to have died of cerebral haemorrhage. Himmler said to be negotiating peace. No bread issued.
1st May. Snow. Very cold. Rumour repatriation from here wont start until at least 7 days. Hope to heavens it's not true as life almost unbearable in this dirty, filthy camp. R.A.F. evacuation officer arrives and says air landing strip will be 5 miles from camp but no information offered as to when the construction will start. We all realise the immense difficulties involved but wish some effort would be made to improve the dreadful living conditions inside the camp. General Patton visits camp. American bread issue. Wonderful to see such white bread again.
2nd May. Snow. Very cold. Hear that we have drawn second British Battn to go and to leave tomorrow at 08.30hrs for Landshut where we hope the planes will be without delay. Destination either Brussels or England. Naturally hope latter but as long as I get out of this country I shall not mind a great deal provided the return to England is not too long delayed. We parade at 07.00hrs so pray to god nothing occurs to stop any of our plane party leaving at the right time. Allowed to take 45 lbs of kit. Move off tomorrow postponed to 10.30hrs, parade at 09.30hrs and take Red Cross rations for 24 hours. More American white bread issued. Have delouse spray.
3rd May. Raining. Parade at 09.30hrs outside Block and move off out of camp at 10.00hrs and reach embarkation point at 10.15hrs. Leave on U.S. 6-wheeler trucks and at terrific speed driven to Landshut. Have puncture. A very driver changes it in 10 minutes. White flags on all of houses. These have to be flown until civilians are told they can take them down to show that they have surrendered. Billeted in flats at Landshut. Area around bridge and station very knocked about. 3rd Army. Planes arrive in afternoon and take away 300 Americans, leaving 1000 Americans and 700 Indians. Pray we shall go tomorrow. American Army K rations.
4th May. If enough planes arrive we shall leave this afternoon. No sign of any planes by tea- time so looks doubtful if we shall get away tomorrow even. Pray we do go tomorrow though as after one has waited so long every hour of release is precious and cannot understand why no planes turned up today.
5th May. Weather still very bad so don't expect any planes today unfortunately. 1/6 parcel arrives from Moosburg and bread arrives from Americans, fresh German civilian stuff. No information available but American air force officer says that flying conditions are very bad in the West and that is the reason for the delay. Thus another day goes by and no nearer home. My main hope and prayer now is that I shall be home for Whitsun, although it looks very doubtful.
6th May. Better weather but still no information or sign of anything happening.
7th May. Order to leave for aerodrome at 10.00hrs. Moosburg camp visited by General yesterday and 2 U.S. Senators. Many complaints - Result: camp cleared by 04.30hrs this morning and sent in batches of 5000 to various destinations. We arrive at aerodrome at 10.15hrs, 5000 of Moosburg there as well as the 1000 Yanks and 700 Indians who are in front of us. Air Vice Marshal there and says planes coming back from Czecko-Slovakia will stop here and take us away, at least 200 expected. From 11.30hrs to 15.30hrs 70 arrive and we wanted five more to get away. Unfortunately they did not turn up so very disconsolately we went back to Landshut for the night, praying that we shall get away all right tomorrow and not lose our priority by going back to Landshut.
The Long Trek by 2nd Lt. Basil Reginald Wood, Princess Louise's Kensington Regt (an alternate version of the first days of his imprisonment)
St Valery en Caux, 12th June 1940.
At 11 o/c German tanks arrived in field where our (A) Coy, D Coy and several other Coys were and we were told to march over hill. Salmon, myself, Jack (Levington) , Charles (Mountford) and Ham (Hammond) led the two Coys and we started our long trek. The sun was just breaking out and it soon became very hot! German privates saluted us as we marched over the fields. It was a tremendous sight, column after column stretching for miles of British and French prisoners of war. We passed a French battery of guns with several French lying dead around them. After 2 hours Salmon said he had to rest and we were now gradually getting mixed up with other Regiments so the four of us just decided to keep together. About this time an RAF bomber flew over us and was fired on with no effect by the A.T. gun which also acts as light A.A. Pom-Pom gun.We were now getting very tired although we had only gone for about 3 hrs. I was carrying my greatcoat and had my small pack on my back. Passing through a deserted village we managed to scrounge some bottles of wine which quenched our thirst for a time. At 4 o/c we stopped at a village and had a rest of half an hour and we all ate our emergency rations. This was the first food we had had since yesterday evening. We then marched on and on but still we did not come to our journey`s end. We were in front now saving what water we could from the few houses still inhabited and were following a German car. He gave me a loaf of bread which I was very glad of and eventually tired, weary and hungry we arrived at a farm house at Manneville, having marched 34 miles that day on an emergency ration only and having had no sleep the previous night & also marched 8 miles. We sat down on the damp grass at 10 o/c, devoured the bread and then fell fast asleep. How glad I was I had not discarded my coat although it had been an awful weight.
The next morning awoke at 6 o/c feeling very stiff and having had no shave for two days I did my best in a dirty cattle pool filled with stagnant water. We were then bundled into lorries packed tight and rushed off. We went through several villages and towns, especially Formerie which was razed to the ground, and just the other side the truck stopped after 50 miles and we were led into a large field packed already with French officers and soldiers and guarded by two M.Gs. Brig Burney of 153 Brigade was with us then and we lay down in the field. I opened a tin of corned beef and Jack a tin of herrings which we shared. I then swopped some cigarettes for chocolate with a French officer. After a time Brig Burney said that food was promised about 4 o/c so we all went to sleep. At 4 o/c we each received a cupful of pea soup. Soon afterwards Major (Johnny) Dodge turned up wearing only a pair of trousers and a greatcoat and slippers. He said he had met Sir (Major Chimay) on the beach whilst looking for the boats and he told him to look after his belongings whilst he stripped and swam out to the boats about 4 miles away. When he got within ½ mile of a destroyer they all veered off and he had to swim back to the shore, but when he got back he found Sir had vanished. After wandering about the beach towards Havre he was eventually captured. We slept that night in the field and had several showers of rain but we were now past caring. During the night also RAF machines dropped flares and bombed the aerodrome outside Formerie. The next morning, the 14th, we received a cup of thin weak coffee, more like coloured water, and told we were leaving at 1 o/c. At 12 o/c we had given to us another cupful of pea soup .We left Formerie at 1 o/c and marched in fives and obtained water on the way from the few inhabited houses. On the way I scrounged a small bowl as I had nothing at all to eat out of except a small tin mug. We passed through many villages mostly bombed to blazes with the smell of decay and burning in the air, and dead bodies and cattle lying in ditches. We arrived, having marched 15 miles, at about 7 o/c and received a hunk of stale bread and a piece of horsemeat which, being the only food we had had since leaving , went down very well. We slept under bits of wood open on all sides and it poured with rain. Consequently we all got very wet. The next morning we got up to loud cries of Auf and after having the same weak coffee we were divided up for transport by trucks. Unfortunately I was separated from the other three but thought I should meet them again at the next camp. However our truck went to the wrong camp and the fifty of us were deposited there in a large open field. We saw the other trucks go past to the next camp and were told we should be taken on there when transport was available later in the day. I sat next to Padre Charles King of the 7th Norfolks whose home was in Devon in Newton Abbott and Johnny Dodge was there too. We were given a cupful of soya bean soup and that was all so I ate my tin of sardines. We were told later we should have to stay there the night and at 7 o/c we were given another mug of soya bean soup, so feeling so very hungry I ate half of the other emergency ration I had. The Padre or I managed to get some straw which certainly helped to keep the cold out a little. The next morning we received a further cup of weak coffee and it started to pour with rain so they took us into 3 deserted houses on the road to wait for transport. There I had a good wash and shave and also scrounged a towel. Ham and wheat was found in a barn outside the houses and Padre John King baked some Devonshire flapjacks which went down very well. After another cupful of soya bean soup, we were told trucks would be coming soon and then a long column of men arrived and I had a talk with several of them and (Sgt. Major) Minski told me he had seen Mike at a camp further back. The trucks arrived and we left for Domart passing through Annency on the way which, except for a hotel and two houses, was completely razed to the ground, and eventually we arrived at Domart. Here the camp was a large field where we had to sleep in the open again and I met Mike again and also Salmon. We swopped tales of our experience and he seemed to have been fed better at the start than I had been. We got no more food that day so all we had to exist on was the one cupful of soya soup, so I decided to open my last stock of food which was the tin of corned beef, and we split it in half and eagerly devoured it. It was Sunday night and we attended a prayer meeting and afterwards slept in Mike`s blanket which he had picked up on the way, discarded by one of the troops (who must have regretted later all the stuff they threw away), and covered by my greatcoat. The next day, the 17th, we were told we were going to Doullens where we should get the train and we had biscuits and a piece of cheese and coffee issued to us; quite the best food we had been issued with. We set off on our march and on the way at halts ate grains of corn, mangel- wurzels, swedes and turnips all raw and how marvellous they tasted. This march was very tiring, it was 21 miles and very hot and it was so hilly and water was very scarce, but I drank water which I should never have drunk under any such circumstances before. Doullens appeared at last. It had been bombed like most of the other big French towns and we were led into grounds of old monastery where tents were pitched and it looked as if we were to be treated as something like officers for a change. The only trouble was the French officers came in too and we were already fed up with the way they straggled along on the march. Mike and I managed to get in a tent with other British officers fortunately and we then made a stew of the rest of our raw mangel -wurzels, turnips and swedes. At 5 o/c we were issued with bread (1/5 loaf) and some soup, then had a wash and shave and the German sentry said he would take cards and try and get them posted, so I addressed a field postcard to Dad saying I was quite well and had been taken prisoner, and hoped it would eventually reach England. The next morning, the 19th, we had a hunk of bread, some coffee and left for St Pol, 16 ½ miles, and we were now reaching the area of France which was inhabited again. In one large town we were able to buy small pieces of bread as we passed through but here again the French officers spoiled everything by rushing into shops and refusing to come out although there was very little to buy.
Just before we reached St Pol we went into the main camp and handed in all our knives, forks etc. Lighters were taken from us by the guards. We were then given a cup of bean soup, piece of meat and a packet of biscuits, and we then marched on another two miles until we came to the racecourse where tents were again pitched in the paddock. Here we had to write down our name, number and rank. Mike and I then found a place in a tent and went and had a wash all over in the open out of a tin and then washed our clothes which dried quickly in the sun. We found then, under the grandstand, a tin of English ration biscuits and after having as much as we could devour, we told the others. We then saw people selling food at the camp entrance and we managed to buy 2 lbs of butter for 10 frs and also had some slabs of bread given to us. We went back to the tent and finally piled the butter onto the slices of bread and had the most filling and tasty meal since we had been captured. At 8 o/c we were issued with coffee and the German officer who was in charge of the camp gave me a cigarette. The following morning we left at 5 o/c after being given a cup of coffee and packet of biscuits for Bethune, a distance of 18 Ό miles. All along the way the villages and towns were inhabited and we were given bread, cups of coffee and cigarettes by the inhabitants but it was not until we got half way at a town called Davion that we really appreciated how good and kind the French women were. We were led into a field by our guards who were very pleased with us as we were leading the French officers that day and kept our fives the whole time. All around the field were women loaded with shopping baskets, and when we had rested they came up with sandwiches of meat and lettuce, bread and butter, jam, coffee and milk and I was given a whole tin of sardines and a packet of cigarettes. I also gave my name and address to the Red Cross hoping it would reach home. After half an hour we went on our way again but we still collected on our way from inhabitants lining the street bread, chocolate, strawberries, and a glass of beer, the first I had had since leaving Foucament. Eventually very tired we arrived at Bethune which had been considerably bombed and shelled and we were marched into the sports stadium there, quite the worst place we had been to yet. The grounds were filled with troops and the officers had the grandstand. We were given the soup and 1/5 loaf of bread which had to do us all day and so Mike and I ate some of the biscuits in the evening which we had found at St Pol. There was an absolute lack of washing accommodation there so had to go unwashed and unshaved. We obtained there a pair of pants and shirt from an old D.J.D. dump. We finished off the last of the whisky which I had in my bottle that night as it was so cold. The following day we set off at 6 o/c with only a cup of the usual coloured water called coffee to march 21 miles to Seclin, so again we ate a few of our biscuits but again on the way we were given bread, cakes, coffee and milk and I managed to buy some cigarettes on the way. We were now marching through the mining districts of France. We were still getting very annoyed with the French officers who were leading again today and were all over the road, seizing everything, and doing their best to see that we got none of the food. Fortunately however the French women always kept something back for us and we did just as well as they did. A little further on at Busay we managed to buy two tins of sardines. We arrived at last at Seclin and were led into a large school, but as the French officers had seized the interior accommodation all the British officers had to sleep outside under a veranda on concrete covered with a little straw. Here we were given soup and a piece of bread and that was all for the day, so we ate that night sardines and some more of our reserve of biscuits. Washing accommodation here was again very bad and I used the inside of my tin hat as a washing basin. Later on in the evening I asked a young French girl over the wall to buy me some chocolate and biscuits, as bread was rationed, but she could not as all the shops round about were sold out. The next morning, the 21st, we again left with nothing given to us except the usual coffee to march to Tournai in Belgium, 17 ½ miles, where we were told we would definitely board the train. It was another very hot day and we marched 3 hours before we had a halt at a place called Sin where again the local population turned out with coffee, bread, milk and I managed to get a girl to go and buy me some chocolate in the village. We then marched on and crossed the frontier into Belgium and here we noticed the great difference; no-one gave us anything and no buckets of water were even laid out for us to fill our water bottles. The roads were now all cobbled and very uncomfortable to walk on and we were all very glad when Tournai came in sight. We were marched into the local jail there and, funny as it seems, it was the most comfortable place we had been in. Mike and I shared a cell and although the floor was stone it was well covered with straw and there were also cold showers available which we at once made the utmost use of. We received some bean soup and 1/6 loaf of bread which was very good and after lunch I managed to buy through the bars of the jail door some butter, chocolate, gringoire, gingerbread, sardines and four bottles of beer. We ate the chocolate during the afternoon and at 6 o/c we had rice and soused raw herring and another 1/6 loaf of bread given to us so we had a very good feed with that and what we had purchased and we also swopped half our butter (1 lb) for some more bread and sardines. We spent also the next day there and had the usual breakfast of weak coffee except we could now have biscuits and sardines. We also bought cherries, chocolate, more butter and also a khaki shirt, sardines and six bottles of beer. We had issued for lunch soup and 1/6 loaf of bread and during the afternoon we washed our clothes. At 6 o/c we were issued with soup again and 1/6 loaf of bread. The next day, Sunday 23rd , we marched to Renaix, 15 ½ miles, a very long and tiring march, but here the Belgians started to show their hospitality and we were given bread, butter, coffee and beer and chocolate again when passing through various towns and villages. We arrived at Renaix at about 2 o/c. Our billet this time was a disused factory, very dirty, and we slept on shelves in tiers. On arrival there we were given Ό loaf and some lard and here my heel began hurting so I had it strapped up. Washing accommodation was again very poor but we managed to do it alright, but could not supplement the little food we were (handed cheque to Belgian Red Cross) carrying (which we bought at Tournai). In the evening we were issued with some potato soup. We left the next morning at 6 o/c with only a cup of coffee, but Mike and I shared a tin of sardines and ate some of our biscuits. We then marched for 22 miles in slightly hilly country now but still over cobbles and we again had slices of bread and mugs of coffee given to us by the inhabitants of towns and villages. We arrived at the silk factory at Ninove which was our camp at 3 o/c and received Ό loaf of bread and 2 ozs of sausage. The factory was a big place and ample room but there was no straw on the stone floor which did not make it too pleasant. We were able to buy various things over the low garden wall of the caretaker`s house and we purchased some jam, cheese, cherries, all three being particularly welcome as we had not tasted any jam or fresh fruit for ages, the only trouble was one had to stay by the wall the whole time in order to snap up the things as they arrived. We had some potato soup and bread given to us that evening but we had a good spread of what we had purchased. We stayed the following day at Ninove also and had issued to us coffee for breakfast, Ό loaf and soup for lunch, Ό loaf and coffee at 6 o/c. We also purchased some more jam and also chocolate, cherries, cheese and sardines, and Johnnie Dodge was allowed to go out under escort and buy some shoes and he also bought some chocolate for us. We left the following morning at 5.30 with only coffee issued to us, but we had saved some bread which we ate, also some sardines. Outside the gate I bought some more chocolate. Our next destination was Aalst, only 9 Ό miles away, and half way the Belgian Red Cross issued us with soup and hot potatoes. I gave another cheque there of £1 hoping that it would eventually reach home with the message on the back. Aalst was quite the worst place we had been to in a way as the guards there were very bullying. It was a Belgian barracks and we slept on the wooden floors very crowded. We could only buy here chocolate of which we bought about 30 bars corresponding to our 2oz bars and also two tins of pate de fois gras paste. We were issued at 4 o/c with Ό loaf of bread , 2 ozs sausage and some coffee and that was it for the rest of the day and we had to be inside our building by 9 o/c. There was also a barbers shop there and I managed to buy some Gillette blades and a box of gingerbread from the barber. We were given the next morning at 6 o/c (27th) some coffee and a slice of bread and then marched off 20 miles to St Nickolas. On the way we got a man to cycle off and buy us some cheese and a boy also went and bought us 20 tins of sardines for 20 Frs, quite the best bargain we had had yet. I also bought a loaf of bread off a man and some chocolate and cigarettes. When we had a halt we bought a couple of bottles of lemonade each off a cart. The Unteroffizier in charge of us was very decent. He spoke English and let us give orders to people on bikes as long as we marched in lines and did not behave like the French officers who were rushing into shops the whole time, so he just took the stuff off them and distributed it down the column. As we marched through St Nickolas we saw the magnificent church in the square and again the inhabitants rushed out of the shops giving us beer, cigars and cigarettes. We arrived at the barracks at St Nickolas at 3 o/c and waited 2 hours to register there full particulars of ourselves, but just as it got down to us the forms ran out so we went inside the building and found a place upstairs which was quite good and the straw fairly clean. We then saw there was a shop in the barrack square where we could buy large custard pies, cakes, bottles of lemonade, macaroons and chocolate, and ate a custard pie each straight off. The rest we took up to our room to eat at supper and to store for use in the future. We were issued at 6 o/c with 1/3 loaf, lard and coffee, and with 2 custard pies each, 2 cakes, 2 macaroons and some cheese and sardines we bought on the way we had the best meal we had had since Tournai jail. The following morning we duly registered after having the usual coffee and stayed there the rest of the day. We both had a haircut in the barbers shop there and bought a mirror and a hair brush and in the morning had a good wash and washed our clothes. We also bought a couple of ice creams each and the same food we had bought yesterday and six more tins of sardines from a man who came in and 20 cigars. We were issued at lunch time with soup and in the evening with 1/3 loaf and a little butter. The food issued here was the best we had had since Tournai. The next morning, the 29th, we set off at 6.30 for Holland where we were to get barges on the Scheldt to take us up the Rhine. We were given 1/3 loaf and some coffee before we left. After marching through some forests in which were two or three beautiful cafes we crossed the Dutch frontier and were immediately impressed by the beauty of the houses and the general cleanliness everywhere. Holland is of course extremely flat but every field is cultivated and the different shades of crops growing made everything look very pretty. Passing a factory where the girls ran out and gave us meat sandwiches, cheese and milk. We arrived at Huilst at about 10.15 and the Red Cross there gave us two meat sandwiches and a bowl of soup and we then boarded the train which was rather like a glorified tram car. Its capacity was 40 but we had to have 70 in them. Intentionally however Mike and I managed to secure a seat outside ,where the conductor would normally stand, with the G.I. Col Swinburn of the Division. The train moved off and ran through the streets of two or three Dutch towns and the population tried to throw us things in at the windows. After about an hour we arrived at Walsoorden where we saw the barges moored mid-stream and we could see also the coast some distance away. We were given a loaf of the hardest and stalest bread ever provided, three potatoes and some soup which had to last us until we came off the barge again. We were then led along the side of the river and told we should not be moving until about 5 o/c and could swim if we wanted to.
We ate the soup and potatoes and then went and bathed in the Scheldt which was perfectly lovely and then sat and sunbathed ourselves. At 5 o/c we boarded the Dutch motor vessel or barge Queen Emma. All the French and British officers were put on board it and there was hardly enough room to stand up let alone sit down and we were to be in this for two days at least!! Fortunately the British officers were given part of the top deck, so as long as it did not rain and was not too cold we would be alright. The boat left at 6 o/c in lovely sunshine and the view at the outset was beautiful. Mike and I had pitched our belongings along the side of the ship and we watched the view. We went up the Scheldt , through various locks seeing all the little Dutch islands joined by small bridges and some of the girls in the national costume. We eventually tied up at Emmericht for the night so we had some of the loaf and sandwiches we were carrying and also some bars of chocolate. We settled down for the night as best we could but hoards of French kept on treading over us and the night was passed very uncomfortably. The boat set off again the next morning, Sunday June 30th, and we were issued with some bread and honey to go on the bread which covered about two slices of bread. We then entered the river Maas passing a few ports on the way, and all the bridges over the river had been blown up. The houses and scenery were absolutely delightful and young Dutchmen with their girls were in canoes on the river in bathing costumes making us very envious. At 11 o/c we stopped at Dordrecht where the inhabitants gave us two meat sandwiches each and a very nice German officer spoke to us from a barge. A young Dutchman and his fiancι brought their canoe close to the barge and played gramophone records to us. The French were being an awful nuisance now trying to keep on filling up their water bottles. The sun was now boiling hot and we had some more bread and some of our sardines for lunch. How glad we were we had laid in such a big stock of tinned food and chocolate. At 7 o/c that night we tied up at Wesel am Rhein and the inhabitants turned out to see us, the first German population we had seen. Their faces were absolutely set and they did not look a happy people. Their faces were drawn tight and swastikas were hanging everywhere to celebrate the victory over France, who had at last signed an armistice. Some German airforce chaps gave us some cigarettes. We then left Wesel and moved a little further up-stream for the night. Early the next morning, July 1st, we moved back to Wesel and marched off the boat where our steel helmets were taken away from us, having carried them so far. Still they had been particularly useful in many ways not only as head-gear, pillows, but as washing bowls. We were then marched under a very strong guard through the streets of Wesel and it was noteworthy what little notice the people took of us, merely curiosity. We passed shops mostly empty of show things in the windows. We were led into a large park under the shade of some trees and were issued with 1/3 loaf, cheese and coffee. When we had consumed this we were marched off into a place where we could wash and shave and we were very glad at it as there had been no washing accommodation on the boat. At 4 o/c we were formed up and issued with another loaf and cheese and marched to the railway station where we boarded a train`s 3rd class compartments and left for our next destination. We had quite a pretty journey at first through fields and cultivated land and every village and every house was bedecked with flags. We then arrived in the Ruhr district with the mines working at full pressure and passed through Bochum and Sterkrade. We ate some of our bread and cheese supplemented with some sardines and chocolate and eventually went to sleep as best we could. We were woken up soon afterwards by the sound of air-raid sirens and heard bombs being dropped and the air was filled with searchlights. The RAF were bombing Cologne. At 2 o/c, July 2nd,we pulled up at Hemer station and bundled out of the train although we had been told we should stay in the train all night. We were marched to the barracks at Hemer which were still in the construction stage having been started just before the war started and being finished now by Polish prisoners. We were led into a block there and slept in straw for the rest of the night. The following morning we were issued with coffee but ate some more of our sardines and a packet of biscuits, the last but one we had left of the store we made at St Pol on June 18th. That morning we were all searched but by the time it came to Mike and myself`s turn the Germans were fed up and did not search us. We were then led over into another block and told we should be there for two or three days. It was a very depressing place, the straw not too clean and no nice scenery to look at and very little space in which to walk. We were issued at 11 o/c that morning with a bowl of potato soup and if the Polish prisoner giving it knew you were English he gave you a double helping. We had nothing more given to us until 6 o/c that night when we received 1/5th loaf and a small piece of cheese and we could not supplement our rations as we had eaten the last of our chocolate and only had left 1 packet of biscuits and 3 tins of sardines and a tin of pate de fois gras which we had bought at Aalst on June 26th, so we used to lie down in the straw from 12 o/c until 5 o/c and try to go to sleep. The next morning, July 3rd, we had the usual coffee and Mike and I ate the rest of the bread we had saved from last night`s meal and a tin of sardines. We also met Jack, Charles and Ham again who were in another block. At 11 o/c we had potato soup again and at 6 o/c 1/5 loaf and some treacle. We also heard rumours of the terms of the French armistice, ie German occupation of northern France for 10 years, Brittany as a separate state , Alsace-Lorraine returned to Germany and the French fleet surrendered. The air-raid warning went again that night and we could hear bombs dropping in the distance. July 4th, coffee for breakfast supplemented by ½ yesterday`s bread and sardines. Tomato and potato soup at 11 o/c , 1/5 loaf and a piece of raw bacon fat which sounds perfectly dreadful but in our state of hunger was marvellous. Friday, July 5th, coffee supplemented by ½ of yesterday`s bread and sardines. Potato soup at 11 o/c , 1/5 loaf, 2 ozs sausage. During the day we washed our clothes. Saturday, July 6th, coffee supplemented by our last packet of biscuits and last tin of sardines. Potato soup at 11 o/c and we were then told we were leaving at 3.30 for our final destination. We were issued with 1/5 loaf and 2 ozs sausage for our tea which we kept until we got into the train. This time the doors were locked and the train left about 5 o/c and went through some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. We climbed up and up through forests, along rivers and through tunnels. We ate half our bread issue and all the sausage and kept the other half bread to eat with our last tin of pate de fois gras for breakfast. We spent the night in the train and the next morning we wondered when we were going to get some more food. We heard rumours that we were getting fed at Munich but we passed through without stopping and then again at Nuremburg where we saw the arena there but again the train did not stop. Towns we passed through besides these were Letmanthe, Altenhunden, Kreuztal. From Nuremburg we climbed again up through more wonderful scenery and stopped at last at 4 o/c at Regensburg, though other people were eating at a cafe on the station there was no food for us and we were all now practically frantic with hunger. Although we had suffered great pangs of hunger and misery it was nothing when compared to this and after stopping at Muhldorf at 9 o/c we arrived at Laufen station on the fringe of the Austrian alps at 1.30, July 8th. We were then marched off for about 10 minutes until we came to an old bishop`s palace which was Oflag VII C and marched into the large garage there where we were at last given some food, 1/5 loaf of bread and it soon vanished. How we wished it was more. We then laid down in the straw to sleep. We were woken at 6 o/c the next morning , issued with some coffee, the best we had had since we were captured and ½ a loaf to last until receiving a bowl, mug, knife, fork and spoon and a prison number (1283). We then all had to have our hair cut short and then lined up in the garage for interrogation in order of rank. At 11 o/c we were issued with meat soup and 3 potatoes, the soup having two minute scraps of meat in it, and at 4.30 with maggi soup with three potatoes, much like Bovril. As they had not reached us by 5 o/c they stopped and we had to spend another night in the garage. Some men came in dressed in red trousers to clean up; told us they were members of the 9 Brigade who were caught at Oslo coming home.
Prisoners of War involved in the provision of entertainment (plays, music, etc) at Laufen, Posen, Biberach, Dossel-Warburg and Eichstatt in Germany/Poland
Jim Adcock, Alan J. Aldridge, J.D. Alger, D. Alison, Charles Allen, Peter Ambery, Major Anderson, Eric Arden, Timothy Bailey, Anthony Baines, Bobby Barr, Arthur Barradell-Smith, Private Bateman, George Bennett, Claude Beville, Andrew Biggar, N. Bonner, B. Brewster, A. Brown, Michael Burrough, John Calthrop, Tommy Carmichael, Jim Cleaver, Roy Clegg, Roger Cleverly, Brodie Cochrane, Cliffy Cohen, J. Courtney, Henry Coombe-Tennant, Rae Cowie, Sam Crouch, Dan Cunningham, Kenneth Dee, Geoffrey Denne, John Dixon, Harry Dros, David Drummond, Lieutenant-Colonel Everard, Geoffrey Farrow, V. Ferens, Wallace Finlayson, Chick Fowler, Peter Fraser, Malcolm Fry, Hebbie Gall, Galloway, Michael Goodliffe, Adam Gordon, Ronald Gowans, Raymond Grace, Freddy Gray, Barrie Grayson, Tony Green, J. Griffin, William Gubbins, Harrison, Sam Hart, Bertie Harwood, Philip Haynes, Victor Hellaby, Syd Helm, Norman Henderson, Bill Herewini, Jack Higgon, David Hobbs, Henry Hokianga, Tony Hopetoun, Stephen Howard, Joe Hume, Ian Hunter, J. Hussey, N. Hyde, Peter Ingram, Jardine-Patterson, J. Johnson, Tony Johnson, Tom Jones, George Kerr, Kitchen, Michael Langham, Jack Lawrence, H.J. Levington, John Lightfoot, Desmond Llewelyn, Bobby Loder, John Long, John Luther, Jack MacLeod, Manson, Clyd Marsham, Philip Martel, Private Russell McFarlane, Jack McGrath, Brian McIrvine, Jock McKenzie, Paul Milnes, Peter Monaco, Peter Muller, Tim Mumby, Noel Murray, Henry Ngata, Archie Noell, Nolan, Tony Olive, Dan Oliver, Tarzan Palmer, G. Parkinson, Jack Paul, John Peacock, J. Pearson, Brian Porter, George Powell, Donald Price, Mike Quartermaine, Tenga Rangi, Rawlings, Reverend David Read, Stanley Reeve-Tucker, Don Ritchie, J. Roberts, Francis Romney, Joe Royston, Becker Saunders, Scollay, J. Scoular, H. Scrimgeour, Pat Sherrard, De Burgh Sidley, Slater, J. Smith, Tony Southall, Peter Spearing, H.C. Spencer, John Stansfield, Frank Stewart, Bill Surtees, Alec Sutton, J. Tanner, G. Taylor, Rob Thom, Sam Turner, Harry Usher, J. Wills, Henry Wilson, Lawrence Wilson, Leigh Windsor, Jimmy Wiremu, George Wood, John Wood, Reg Wood, Richard Wood, Victor Wood, John Woodley, P. Wyene, Michael Yates, Douglas Young, Scotty Young.
Shows seen by Lieutenant Reg Wood
Oflag VII C, Laufen, from 7th July 1940
Orchestral Concert, 10th October 1940
"Round the World in Song and Dance", 2nd November 1940
"Escape", a play, 11th November 1940
"Chez Victor", a review, 27th November 1940
"McLaddin", a pantomime, 26th December 1940
Orchestral Concert, 19th January 1941
"Hewers of Coal" and "Second Degree", two one act plays, 6th February 1941
"Cobbles", a Concert Party by J. Lightfoot, 12th February 1941
"Another Little Drink", by Peter Cheney, 3rd March 1941
Stalag XXI, Fort 8, Posen, from 6th March 1941
"Sir, She Said", a musical comedy, 2nd April 1941
"The Ghost Train", a play, 25th May 1941
Oflag VB, Biberach, from 11th June 1941
"Sir, She Said", a musical comedy, 18th July 1941
"Leave it to Psmith", by P. G. Wodehouse, 4th August 1941
"Claptrap", 15th August 1941
"Lights of London", variety, 25th August 1941
"The Ghost Train", a play, 25th August 1941
Orchestral Concert, 6th September 1941
Maori's Review, 12th September 1941
"Stop Gap", variety, 28th September 1941
Oflag VIB, Dossel-Warburg, from 11th October 1941
"Kick-Off", variety, 18th October 1941
"Sir, She Said", a musical comedy, 25th October 1941
Dance Band Show, 4th November 1941
Symphony Concert, 24th November 1941
"Behind the Scenes", 2nd December 1941
"Citronella", a pantomime, 26th December 1941
"Black Eye", a play, 10th January 1942
Symphony Concert, 5th February 1942
"Miss Eaton Suggests", 24th March 1942
"Pot-au-Feu", a review, 15th May 1942
Symphony Concert, 28th May 1942
"George and Margaret", a play 5th June 1942
"Rhapsody in Blue", light orchestral concert, 20th June 1942
"Pliers Please", variety, 1st July 1942
"First Legion", a play, 20th July 1942
Oflag VIIB, Eichstatt, from, 13th September 1942
"Stop Gap", review, 28th November 1942
"Babes Up", a pantomime, 26th December 1942
"Post Mortem", a play by Noel Coward, 19th January 1943
"Stop Gap", review, 1st February 1943
"Pasquinade", a review, 15th February 1943
"Count Albany" and "The Man of Destiny", 8th March 1943
"Stop Gap", review, 24th March 1943
"Lets Go Gay", a review, 12th April 1943
"Case of the Frightened Lady", a play by E. Wallace, 14th May 1943
"Stop Gap", review, 28th May 1943
Dance Band Show, 19th July 1943
"Pow Wow" concert parties (series of 5), 18th August to 24th September 1943
Orchestral Concert, 13th October 1943
"Gaslight", a play by Patrick Hamilton, 11th November 1943
"Stop Gap", review, 25th November 1943
"Dossing Dulcie", a pantomime, 29th December 1943
"I Killed the Count", a play by Alec Coppel, 20th January 1944
Music Festival of 6 programmes, 18th February to 26th March 1944
"Hamlet", 12th April 1944
"New Faces", review by Orderlies, 27th April 1944
"Once in a Lifetime", 9th May 1944
"Second Wind", a review, 25th August 1944
"Second Wind", a new edition, 9th September 1944
Orchestral Concert, 21st September 1944
"The Proposal" and "Hands across the Sea", 11th October 1944
"Coffysteria", a show by Orderlies, 23rd October 1944
Choral and Orchestral Concert, 26th October 1944
Promenade Concerts, weekend series, 4th November 1944
"French without Tears", a play by T. Rattigan, 17th November 1944
"Lo-Gang", Eric Andrew's band, 1st December 1944
"Comedy of Errors", a pantomime, 28th December 1944
My thanks to Dr Allan Spence for this account. Copyright: Mrs Marjory Wood.
Return to POW Stories Menu