Sergeant Seneca Lent McMullen

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3320/73

 

Name: H 19165 Sgt. McMullen, Seneca Lent.

Unit: Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 2nd Canadian Division.

Captured: 19th August 1942.

Escaped: 9th June 1944.

Left: Stockholm, 18th July 1944.

Arrived: Leuchars, 19th July 1944.

Date of Birth: 30th March 1917.

Army Service: Since 7th September 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Paymaster.

Private Address: Londonderry, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at DIEPPE on 19 Aug 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

VERNEUIL (N.W. EUROPE 1:250,000, Sheet 7, R 0039) from shortly after capture till 28 Aug 42.

 

STALAG VIII B (LAMSDORF) (GERMANY 1:100,000, Sheet 117, 6900) from 1 Sep 42. I went into hospital with dysentery on 6 Sep, remaining till 23 Oct, when I was put into Block 6. On 7 Mar 43 I changed identities with a Private and went out on a working party.

 

Working party at BEDZIN (Sheet 118, 8177). Here I worked in a coal mine. On 30 Apr 43 I made an attempted escape. I was recaptured on 5 May.

 

STALAG VIII B (LAMSDORF) from 6 May till 20 Jul 43.

 

Working party at GLATZ (Sheet 116, 0590). At GLATZ I made an attempted escape on 26 Nov 43. I was recaptured on 27 Nov and sent back to GLATZ, remaining there till 19 Dec.

 

STALAG VIII A (GORLITZ) (Sheet 102, 9968), from 19 Dec 43. On 5 Jan 44 I declared my true identity.

 

STALAG VIII B (LAMSDORF), from 5 Jan till about 18 Feb 44.

 

STALAG II D (STARGARD) (Sheet 38, 0312), from about 18 Feb 44. On 28 May I again changed identities with a Private and was sent on a working party.

 

Working party at TESCHENDORF (Sheet 39, 3033), from 28 May 44 till escape on 9 Jun. I escaped with Pte. NELSON (S/P.G.(G) 2056), who had also changed his identity at STARGARD.

 

3. Camp conditions:

 

(a) Stalag VIII B (LAMSDORF):

 

I had my hands tied for 12 hours daily, with a break of one hour at noon for soup, from 23 Oct 42 till 2 Dec 42. The ropes were then replaced by handcuffs and chains, which I wore until I changed my identity on 7 Mar 43.

 

I was punished in early Nov 42 for having loosened the ropes around my wrists. The punishment was that I had to stand with my nose and toes touching a wall for two hours. My hands were tied behind my back during this time.

 

A week later I received eight hours of the same punishment with a break of 15 minutes for soup. I was punished because I had visited another compound, contrary to orders. During this time I was standing against the wall, I was twice struck across the shoulders with a bayonet because I was not actually touching the wall.

 

It was usual to see at least a dozen men at a time being punished in this way during Oct and Nov 43. Despite the hardships, morale in the Camp was very high.

 

(b) Stalag II D (STARGARD):

 

The Russian P/W at this Camp were ill-nourished and subjected to severe beatings. An average of three or four died each day as a result of malnutrition and ill-treatment. The treatment of British P/W was reasonable. Morale amongst the Canadian, French, Serbian, and Polish P/W was very high. Italian P/W were very despondent.

 

4. Attempted Escapes:

 

(a) On 30 Apr 43 Sgt. ADAMS, Royal Regiment of Canada, Pte. GLEDHILL, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada and I climbed over the fence of the enclosure of the working camp at BEDZIN (Sheet 118, 8177). Sgt. ADAMS and I had changed our identities with Privates at STALAG VIII B in order to get on the working party at BEDZIN. We walked across country after our escape. We skirted BEDZIN to the South, and on the night of 2 May we got on a goods train East of BEDZIN. We passed through SAMKOWIZE (9183) and at daylight hid in some woods until the following evening (3 May). We got on another goods train and continued towards WARSAW for a distance of approximately 20 kms. We hid in a wood until the following evening, when we again got on a train, but were discovered by a railway employee. We succeeded in getting away. Later that night we got on to another goods train and travelled a short distance. At daylight on 5 May a Polish railway employee entered the compartment where we were. He informed us that he was a member of the Polish underground movement. He brought us bread and water. He also gave each of us 300 zlotty. He said that he would help us to get to TURKEY as railway workers, and advised us not to attempt to get to DANZIG alone, as we had intended. At this time we were still in uniform. He told us to remain in the railway compartment, the train being in a siding, until that evening, but shortly after he left us an engine moved the coach in which we were for a distance of approximately five or six kms., where it was left in a siding. About 1100 hrs a gendarme entered the coach and discovered us. We were searched and taken to the police station, but after a few hours we were moved to a Russian camp in the neighbourhood and put into a cell, where we remained until the following day (6 May). On this day we were taken to STALAG VIII B (LAMSDORF). We were punished with 14 days' solitary confinement, with bread and water. We maintained our false identities, and upon release from cells we were put into the Arbeits compound.

 

(b) On 20 Jul 43 I was sent to GLATZ (Sheet 116, 0590) on a working party. On 26 Nov I left the camp by climbing over the fence at night. I got on a goods train travelling towards VIENNA and was discovered by a railway employee about 1100 hrs next day. I was handed over to the police and taken back to GLATZ. I was punished with seven days' solitary confinement.

 

5. Escape:

 

On 9 Jun 44, Cpl. NELSON and I escaped from the house where our working party was accommodated at TESCHENDORF (Sheet 39, 3033). We got into the enclosure after dark by loosening the bars across a window. We then cut through the enclosure fence, which was patrolled by sentries. We walked along the main road to FREIENWALDE (Sheet 38, 2225) where we arrived at 0600 hrs on 10 Jun. As we had a wait of two hours for a train to STARGARD, we decided to hide in a wood on the outskirts of the town. At 0745 hrs we started walking to the railway station, and on the way we were stopped by a policeman. He had noticed that our boots were wet, and he wanted to know who we were and where we had been. We showed him our false identity papers, which indicated that we were Swedes working in GERMANY, and told him that we had just come through the woods from the farm where we were working, and also that we were going to STARGARD (Sheet 38, 0312) for a day's holiday. He appeared to be satisfied, and I asked him what time the train departed for STARGARD. He told me, and we continued on our way to the station, where we arrived without further incident. I bought two single (third class) tickets to STARGARD and we got on a train a few minutes later, arriving in STARGARD about 0930 hrs. We walked around the town for about half an hour and then went back to the station, where I purchased two tickets (third class) for STETTIN. We then went into the waiting room and we remained there until the arrival of the STETTIN train at 1100 hrs. We got on the train and had our identity papers examined by an Army Feldwebel shortly afterwards. He appeared to examine the papers of men of military age. He asked for our authority to travel, and we showed him our travel permits. He then enquired whether any other occupant of the carriage could speak Swedish, but no-one was able to do so. He then left us.

 

The train on which we were travelling did not go into STETTIN, but by-passed it. I discovered this after a time. We got off the train at a small station (place unknown), where I purchased two tickets to STETTIN. The train arrived within a few minutes, and we travelled (third class) to STETTIN, where we arrived at 1430 hrs.

 

On arrival at STETTIN we had to show our Ausweise at the station barrier. We passed through without trouble and walked around the town for about 15 minutes, and then returned to the station, where I purchased two tickets (third class) to PASEWALK (Sheet 37, 3331). We then went into the station cafe and I bought some beer. We waited in the cafe until 1615 hrs, when we got on the train for PASEWALK and arrived there at 1730 hrs. We walked into a park in the town and sat there until 1830 hrs, when we went back to the station and I purchased two tickets (third class) to SWINEMÜNDE (Sheet 22, 5176).

 

The train for SWINEMÜNDE left about 1900 hrs, and we arrived in SWINEMÜNDE at 2130 hrs. We walked to the western outskirts of the town and hid in a wood until 0800 hrs on 11 Jun. We then walked into the town and wandered around until 1100 hrs, when we met a French P/W who directed me to an address which I had. We followed his directions and arrived at a place where we were given food and shelter until 14 Jun. During these three days we made daily journeys to the water-front in search of a suitable ship for SWEDEN. On 14 Jun we went on board a ship, and arrived in TRELLEBORG near MALMO, SWEDEN, on 1 Jul.

 

 

Corporal Gustav Adolph Nelson

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3320/72

 

Name: M 27156 Cpl. Nelson, Gustav Adolph.

Unit: 14th Army Tank Battalion, Calgary Regiment, 2nd Canadian Division.

Captured: 19th August 1942.

Escaped: 9th June 1944.

Left: Stockholm, 18th July 1944.

Arrived: Leuchars, 19th July 1944.

Date of Birth: 20th December 1920.

Army Service: Since 4th March 1941.

Peacetime Profession: Truck Driver.

Private Address: R.R.3. Eckville, Alberta, Canada.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at DIEPPE on 19 Aug 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

Reception camp at VERNEUIL (FRANCE) (N.W. EUROPE 1:250,000, Sheet 7, R 0039) from immediately after capture till 28 Aug 42.

 

STALAG VIII B (LAMSDORF) (GERMANY 1:100,000, Sheet 117, 6900) from 1 Sep 42. I was in Block 2 for about a week and was then transferred to Block 6, where I remained till about 18 Feb 44.

 

STALAG II D (STARGARD) (Sheet 38, 0312), from 18 Feb 44 till 28 May 44. On 28 May I changed identities with a Private in order to be sent on a working party.

 

Working party at TESCHENDORF (Sheet 39, 2933) from 28 May 44 till 9 Jun 44, when I escaped with Sgt. McMULLEN (S/P.G.(G) 2055).

 

3. Conditions at Stalag VIII B:

 

I had my hands tied with rope for 12 hours daily with a break of one hour at mid-day, from 8 Oct until 2 Dec 42, when the ropes were replaced by handcuffs and chains. The handcuffs and chains were removed on 22 Nov 43. All prisoners taken at DIEPPE were treated in this way for the same period, with the exception of medical orderlies, hospital cases, and those engaged in the compound administration. At the time of our being tied up in Oct most of us were suffering from dysentery. Medical orderlies had to be in attendance, as our hands were not untied. This treatment lasted for about three weeks.

 

For approximately five months, Oct 42 to Feb 43, we were not allowed to go near our beds, nor to sing or whistle during the daily punishment period. Armed guards were in the barrack rooms to enforce these conditions. During this period any misdemeanour was punished with from two to eight hours' standing against a wall with nose and toes touching it. Hands were tied behind the back. During this period we were not permitted to come into contact with P/W from any of the other compounds.

 

From 8 Oct till 29 Oct 43 we were not permitted to have any Red Cross food. For the next three weeks we were allowed to have a little Red Cross bulk food included in the German issue of soup. From 22 Nov 43 onwards we were allowed to have Red Cross parcels. Despite the conditions in the camp, morale was very high.

 

4. Attempted Escape:

 

In Jul 43 a group of us began to construct a tunnel from the compound as LAMSDORF to beyond the main fence. It was completed at the beginning of Aug and was used by approximately 45 men, who went out two at a time over a period of about three months. The entrance and exit had been cleverly camouflaged. Up to the time I left the camp in Feb 44 only two of these 45 men had been reported to be recaptured.

 

A New Zealand Lt.-Colonel (name unknown) and C.S.M. MACLEAN were two of those who escaped by means of this tunnel. I do not know the names of any of the others. One of the recaptured men was Pte. Robert BROWNING, Essex Scottish Regiment of Canada.

 

5. Escape:

 

Details of my escape are as related by Sgt. McMULLEN in his report.

 

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