Private Horace Henry Woods
Unit : 19th Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force
POW No. : 5118
Served : North Africa, Greece (captured).
Camps : Stalag VIIIB / 344
Horace Woods was born on the 16th September 1916 and died on the 27th August 1959. The following is a transcript of the diary that he kept whilst in captivity.
1 January 1942
(Horrie was taken prisoner in Crete).
14 January 1942
Left Crete on Italian transport in a fairly big convoy.
16 January 1942
Arrived at Port Piria in Athens and were taken to a larger.
17 January 1942
Issued with our first Red Cross parcel. Red Cross representative came and told us we could have whatever we ordered. We were all lousy and in a pretty poor state.
21 January 1942
Took ill with my tummy. Guess the shock of a bit of good food was too great for the system.
23 January 1942
Left in a Greek transport for Salonika.
26 January 1942
Arrived in Salonika from Athens. Went straight to larger hospital and met Bud P(restly) there. Given Red Cross parcel. Weather very cold, snow everywhere.
29 January 1942
Went to German hospital in Salonika.
3 April 1942
Discharged from German hospital suddenly. (He was caught storing food with the hope of escaping) Went to larger hospital. Issued with NZ bulk, Red Cross.
17 April 1942
Left Salonika by train enroute for Germany. Issued with Red Cross Parcel & Bulk.
24 April 1942
Arrived at Landsdorf Germany. Went to Stalag VIII B. Met Howard (Holmes) who had job in tailors.
27 April 1942
Left Landsdorf by train with working party of eight at 6.30am and arrived at Strambert at 7.30am Eastern Sudaterland.
28 April 1942
Started work in stone quarry. Getting paid 70 Ph (phennings) per day. Snowing and very cold.
9 July 1942
Received my first mail, four letters from mum written 14th August 1942, 1st December 1942, 20th June, February 11th.
10 July 1942
Issued with parcel from Red Cross.
14 July 1942
Letter from Ada.
17 July 1942
Received letters from Ada, Mum and cousin Elsie written 19th January 1942, February 3rd. Red Cross parcel.
19 July 1942
Wrote to Ada.
23 July 1942
Letter from Ada posted 20th April.
24 July 1942
Received Red Cross Parcel and 50 cigarettes.
25 July 1942
New guard on job. Greg Bolicks left us.
26 July 1942
Wrote a card to mum and one to Elsie.
27 July 1942
Working with civilians on piece work. 9 waggons a day.
28 July 1942
Start work in the morning at 6.30 and finish at 11am.
30 July 1942
Letter from cousin Maudie.
31 July 1942
Red Cross Bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
2 August 1942
Weather nice and sunny. Wrote to Barb and Kelly.
3 August 1942
Still on piece work with civvies.
5 August 1942
Were paid 18 Marks 90 Phennings.
7 August 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes.
8 August 1942
Wrote to Mum and Maudie.
14 August 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigy.
16 August 1942
Wrote to Wal and Faith.
17 August 1942
German authorities have put a stop to our mail on account of German prisoners not getting mail in Australia.
19 August 1942
Very hot the last few days. Still working with civilian on piece work.
21 August 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes.
22 August 1942
Received our monthly issue of cigarettes from Lansdorf,100.
23 August 1942
No issue of letter cards so unable to write.
24 August 1942
Given a mug of beer when we finished work by the Boss of quarry.
25 August 1942
Were shown a morning picture in billet. Not bad.
26 August 1942
Having hot days and (close) muggy nights.
27 August 1942
German police caught some of the lads helping themselves to apples.
28 August 1942
Issued with Red Cross bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
29 August 1942
Received a letter from elsie dated June 28th.
30 August 1942
Wrote a card too mum and one to Ken.
31 August 1942
Two new chaps and a new guard joined our party.
2 September 1942
Paid 18 Marks 20 p.
3 September 1942
Pisch, one of the bosses at the quarry shot himself.
4 September 1942
Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes.
5 September 1942
Saw pisch funeral go passed.
6 September 1942
Wrote to Elsie.
7 September 1942
Still working on piece work with civilians. New guard is OK.
8 September 1942
Received a letter from Auntie Bobby and Uncle Will. Have sent parcel. Letter from Barb and Kelly.
9 September 1942
Change in weather, a very wet day.
11 September 1942
Received Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes.
12 September 1942
Did my usual weekly washing and clean up.
13 September 1942
Wrote card to Barb and Kelly and one to Auntie Bobby and Uncle Will.
16 September 1942
Celebrated my birthday quietly. Had a ginger pudding from parcel for tea.
18 September 1942
Issued with a part of Red Cross parcel and some bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
19 September 1942
My turn on duty and washed of (?) room and etc out when returned from work.
20 September 1942
Wrote to mum.
24 September 1942
Jack Brett and Winston (?) went back to Stalag on the sick list. Frank Pimely had his hand run over by skiff. Had thumb and finger amputated. Went to hospital at Toop(?).
26 September 1942
Issued with small bulk issue and 35 cigarettes. Went to Hotel Jurak and got some beer and a few apples.
27 September 1942
A miserable overcast day.
28 September 1942
Able to buy a few apples at canteen.
29 September 1942
Wrote to Ada. Had small bulk issue.
1 October 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes.
3 October 1942
Were able to buy a few apples. Were paid 18.2 marks.
4 October 1942
Wrote to mum. Got ready to be taken for a walk but at the last minute were told it was forbidden.
5 October 1942
Issued with packet of biscuits from Red Cross.
6 October 1942
Taylor went back to Stalag.
7 October 1942
Issued with sausages and 1lb tin butter from Red Cross.
8 October 1942
Received six letters. One from mum 4th May, four from Ada dated May 15th, June 12th, June 27th and July 24th.
9 October 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcels and 50 cigarettes.
11 October 1942
Had to go to work and load 70 ton stone. Wrote a card to mum and one to Ada.
12 October 1942
Had first frost. Not very heavy.
14 October 1942
Received letter from Elsie.
15 October 1942
Crushed my finger on a stone on first wagon, so had rest of day off work.
16 October 1942
Had day off work with bad finger. Red Cross bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
17 October 1942
100 French cigarettes and 5 packets of saccharine arrived from Lansdorf.
18 October 1942
Wrote a card to mum and one to Wal and Faith. Had first light fall of snow.
21 October 1942
Had day off and went to doctor with a cold. Were given another day off work.
22 October 1942
Issued with Red Cross bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
23 October 1942
Received two letters from mum written July 20th and 31st. One from Ada written August 6th.
24 October 1942
Received personal parcel from the Fishers. Had 1lb chocolate in it.
25 October 1942
Wrote a card to mum. One to Auntie Fanny and Uncle Will.
29 October 1942
Issued with bulk Red Cross issue and 50 cigarettes.
31 October 1942
On duty and scrubbed out
1 November 1942
Wrote to mum.
2 November 1942
Fred Earl joined our party. A NZ Supply Column sergeant
4 November 1942
Rained and we refused to work but had to go out in the afternoon.
5 November 1942
Were paid 16.2 marks. Bulk issue and 50 cigarettes.
6 November 1942
Received 100 canteen cigarettes. French.
7 November 1942
Issued with Red Cross parcel. Spend much of my spare time playing bridge now.
8 November 1942
Wrote a card to Elsie and one to Maudie.
9 November 1942
Weather very wet.
11 November 1942
A fall of snow during night.
12 November 1942
Bulk issue and 50 cigarettes. Snow and frost.
13 November 1942
Weather overcast snow and frost.
14 November 1942
Snow and frost.
15 November 1942
Wrote to Ada.
16 November 1942
Went to the dentist to have a tooth filled. A Ckeck (Czechoslovakian) dentist and very good.
18 November 1942
Received parcel 400 cigarettes from NZ patriotic fund.
19 November 1942
Bulk issued (Mut V.) Went back to dentist and had a little more drilling done.
20 November 1942
Went back to work in the afternoon and will have Monday off. Received four letters from Ada, Barb, Mum and cousin George.
21 November 1942
Received 100 canteen cigarettes – French. Snowed heavy during the night.
22 November 1942
A card to Mum and one to Cousin George.
23 November 1942
Received photo from Ada sent in May.
26 November 1942
Small bulk issue plus 24 cigarettes.
28 November 1942
More Red Cross parcels arrived by train. Had issue of one and 34 cigarettes.
29 November 1942
No issue of letter cards.
30 November 1942
Weather cold snow and frost.
3 December 1942
Issued with 50 cigarettes.
5 December 1942
Received letter from Mum and Xmas cards from Maudie and Cecil. Issued with parcel from Red Cross.
6 December 1942
Wrote to Mum.
7 December 1942
Sent a Xmas card to Mum.
9 December 1942
Letter from Ada written 16th Sept.
10 December 1942
11 December 1942
Weather turned warm and snow has thawn.
12 December 1942
R C parcel.
13 December 1942
Wrote a card to Wal and one to Barb and Kelly.
15 December 1942
Received the disappointing news only to be issued of half a RC parcel a week and 25 cigarettes.
17 December 1942
Weather continues to be reasonable warm. A little rain.
19 December 1942
My turn on duty and scrubbed room out. Some of the boys went to hotel and got a barrel of beer for Xmas.
20 December 1942
Wrote to Mum. Everyone browned off. Result I guess no parcel issued.
21 December 1942
Good news today. Received clothing parcel from Mum. Just a bit of dobry. 100 French cigarettes.
22 December 1942
Received four letters from W.J. Murray August 20th. Barb September 13th and two from Auntie Bobbie and Uncle Will.
23 December 1942
Received card from Howard. News that we are to have a parcel for Xmas and New Year.
24 December 1942
Issued with Xmas parcel. Had a bit of a sing-song and beer but was not much of a success. Our thoughts were too far away. Had a great feed from kitchen, a white loaf each and cakes.
25 December 1942
Had a smoke. Concert in the evening. Was a great success.
26 December 1942
Spent most of the day sleeping. Had a wist drive in the evening and a sing song.
27 December 1942
Wrote to Howard and Mum. Knowledge contest in evening. Sent mums’ card Air Mail. 10 Pl.
29 December 1942
Jew boys sent us up half lb tea each.
30 December 1942
Issued with RC parcel and 50 cigarettes. Gave our chocolates to the Jew boys.
31 December 1942
Had a smoke concert in the evening and saw the New Year in. After Twelve Gestapo came and told the guard that we had to be quiet.
1 January 1943
Had a holiday. General contest in the evening.
3 January 1943
Wrote to W.J. Murray airmail. Plenty of snow about.
6 January 1943
14 more chaps joined our party.
11 January 1943
Plenty of snow and very cold.
20 January 1943
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 25 cigarettes.
25 January 1943
Printed letter to mum on contraband articles in parcels sent.
28 January 1943
Received 200 cigarettes from NZ Patriotic.
29 January 1943
Received 100 French cigarettes from Landsdorf.
30 January 1943
Had a wist drive in the evening.
31 January 1943
Weather has turned warmer and most of the snow has thawed.
1 February 1943
Red Cross parcel.
4 February 1943
Joe and Paddy went back to Stalag.
6 February 1943
Had a keg of beer and a sing song.
7 February 1943
A little more snow. So very little lying about now.
8 February 1943
Hopeful news in all letters received in larger.
13 February 1943
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes and are to receive same every week from now on. Went for a little walk in the evening.
14 February 1943
Started work at 12 o’clock. Piece work. 10 waggons 3 men. Good going, takes us about 2.5 hours to finish.
15 February 1943
Weather is very nice now.
16 February 1943
Received parcel 200 cigarettes from NZ Red Cross.
20 February 1943
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes. Had a race meeting in the evening and a keg of beer. All profits went to the tooth fund. Not a very successful evening for me, I lost 20 marks.
21 February 1943
A beautiful day, sunny and nice and fresh. Had a bit of trouble with Rdo Fuhrer. Ended up in a search and clothing check but he cooled down.
22 February 1943
Still working on afternoon shift and a good lunch.
25 February 1943
Pop Shelwin and Don Howe went back to Stalag. Don to have an operation on his knee. Had a collection of cigarettes and felt for them.
26 February 1943
A Check girl was nabbed for speaking to one of our chaps after work.
27 February 1943
Issue of Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes. Had the day off as we loaded extra skips during the week. O yea.
28 February 1943
Eight men had to go to work to load stone. We drew names out of the hat and I was one to go. Started at 6 am and were back at 9am. If we don’t get a day off we will go crook and have one. Civilians had to work.
1 March 1943
Still work on the afternoon shift and very good. Always finished in 2.5 hours.
4 March 1943
New issue of parcels came. All Canadian and very good.
6 March 1943
Issued with Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes. Had a whist drive in the evening, I won first prize for ladies. 50 cigarettes.
7 March 1943
Very cold a little snow during the night. The Check girl who spoke to one of us was fined 100 marks, so us prisoners chipped in and paid the fine. Later we were advised there was no fine so we were given the money back.
10 March 1943
Joe Bridgeman and Jack Brett returned to the party with Alan, Frank and Doby.
23 March 1943
Escaped from larger with Allen, Frank, Doby and Reg and started off for Switzerland ….
24 March-5 April 1943
…after a couple of days Frank, Doby and I went on by ourselves. We travelled three nights on train and walked between times. The weather turned wet and very cold. After two weeks we found going pretty tough. We went into a small town 22 kilometers out of Bruno (Brno (Brunn), Czechoslovakia) and were caught by the police there on April 6th.
6 April 1943
Were taken to Bruno that night chained together and handed over to the Gestapo. Were interrogated and searched and put into a room.
7 April 1943
I adventured a little near to the window and was shot at by the guard.
8-14 April 1943
After a few days locked up we were taken to a civilian prison. The three of us in one cell. From there we were taken and interrogated by the crime experts through a girl interpreter. Their English was very poor. From there we were taken to a military prison and were not treated too bad.
15 April 1943
Were taken from our prison and were allowed a shave. Taken by tram to the railway station of Bruno where we left at 7am for Landsdorf where we arrived at 8.30pm. After a search where I had a collection of coins and negatives taken off me and then we went into the reception barrack at Stalag VIIIB. We were given some bread and biscuits and we were hungry.
16 April 1943
Issued with a Red Cross parcel and cigarettes and boy did we enjoy it. We stayed in this barrack until we went up before a German Officer for sentence and were given 7 days but we told him that we had already done 8 days in prison in Bruno, He seemed in a happy mood and said we need not do any more. Were shifted into barrack 9B and owing to the shortage of beds had to sleep on the floor.
18 April 1943
Went to a good concert put up by the R.A.F.
23 April 1943
Good Friday. Went to church. Two good services.
25 April 1943
Over Easter football tournaments were held. Both soccer and rugby. NZ team and NZ Maories got to the final and the Maoris had a narrow victory and were presented with a shield. Saw some good soccer games with many of Englands leading professionals playing. British Empire Rugby team played British Isles. Empire had an easy win. Empire team was all NZ's bar 2 Aussies. Went to an Arts exhibition. A wonderful collection of drawings and painting by POW. Band was in attendance. Also went to a very good musical show.
29 April 1943
Saw a good soccer match in evening. Half Red Cross parcel per man.
2 May 1943
Went to Holy Communion in morning, an Aussie Padre. Went to a football match in afternoon. Finals of inter barrack games.
3 May 1943
Went to the tailors shop and interviewed the head sharag with Howard and was told to start work in the morning.
4 May 1943
started work in the tailors. Howard does the work while I play around.
5 May 1943
Had a check parade in the morning and did not get to work till 9am.
8 May 1943
Had a check parade and were locked up all day. Rained in the afternoon.
9 May 1943
Went to church in the morning. Holy Communion. A nice sunny day and we lazed in the sun most of the day. Went and listened to some dance music and singing in the evening.
10 May 1943
Had my photo taken by the Jerries.
11 May 1943
Went to see the German Krieg Officer and were interrogated re our escape. Spirits etc had been taken from the billet but we were cleared.
12 May 1943
Saw a play in the evening.
13 May 1943
Shifted from 9B barrack to 36A with Howard.
15 May 1943
Gates of compound were locked and did not go to work till late and were back early. Had a check parade.
16 May 1943
All gates locked and no church services or anything to be held. Were paraded at 7 o'clock and were searched by the Jerry squaddies and had to stay on parade ground till 4 pm while civilians searched our barracks. Was not a very thorough search but very annoying.
17-20 May 1943
All compound gates were kept shut.
23 May 1943
Was inoculated in the morning. TAB. Went to a church service and Holy C. after. Went to a soccer match in evening. England v Scotland. Was a draw 2 goals each.
26 May 1943
Had a game of rugby in the evening.
29 May 1943
Went to hospital in afternoon with Don to see Bill Smytie who had just come in off our working party. Last week I received my first NZ Red Cross parcel. Very good parcel but contained no milk or biscuits. In the evening went to a lecture on Asiatic Russia by C.L.M. Saby an Aussie journalist who had travelled through China and Russia prior to the war.
30 May 1943
Went to church in the morning with Frank and in the afternoon saw Canada play Ireland at soccer. Ireland the winners 3 goals to nil. In the evening I played rugby for Hiaton (?) against the Hurries, ended in a draw 3 all.
1 June 1943
Went to a play in the evening called "Decko" and very good. We still have a weekly Red Cross issue and a parcel a week and 50 cigarettes or bulk to that equivalent. We received NZ cigarettes this week for the first time.
6 June 1943
Church in the morning and spent the rest of the day out in the sun. Saw Ireland play England at soccer. An easy win for the latter.
9 June 1943
Had a concert in our barrack room in the evening.
11 June 1943
Went to see play "Decko" in the evening again.
12 June 1943
Went to church in morning and after to the sports. A big athletic carnival is being held. Running, putting the shot, jumping etc.
13 June 1943
A beautiful day. No work in camp to day and a continuation of the sports carnival proved very successful. An Indian was the best athlete of the meeting and was presented with a trophy and a necklace of Lager marks before a boxing tournament that was held in the evening to finish the day off. We witnessed some good fights and I enjoyed a seat on the side line. I went to a communion service in the morning.
14 June 1943
Went to a lecture in the evening by a chap Williamson on a flight from England to Australia accompanied with a musical programme, both very good.
16 June 1943
Still working in the tailors shop and have learnt how to sew on buttons.
18 June 1943
Went to a play in the evening called "Square Crooks" and very good.
19 June 1943
Watched a softball game between two Canadian teams in the afternoon.
20 June-11 July
Life goes on much the same in camp but pretty browned off with life here. Were taken for a walk out of camp one afternoon and it was very nice out in the fields with all the crops well advanced. Went to a play called "Little Nell". Not bad. Rumours in the camp, one still persistent. The B.E.F. land in France every other day and on alternate days in Greece or some other place, but I suppose they will in reality one day. German wireless gave out last night we had landed in Sicily.
15 July 1943
Two chaps who were to go to a civilian prison went missing and consequence was several hours on parade, check parade etc.. with a last effort the Jerries bought a company of squaddies in and searched the Red Cross store without finding their pray.
17 July 1943
Went to a lecture on the land of Fatuma accompanied with dance music by the L.M.M. (?). Very good.
18 July 1943
Went to church and saw a game of soft ball between two Canadian teams in the afternoon.
19 July 1943
Having some very nice weather now, went and saw the play "Little Nell" again with Frank. Bob started in the tailors shop, news of Sicily having fallen seems very persistent. Also that the Russians are doing OK. Saw a few games of football and cricket during the week.
25 July 1943
Went to church and after a spot of sun bathing saw some running events. Elimination contest for a sports contest to be held soon.
26 July 1943
Started on a weeks holiday and the weather continues to be just the best. Went to holy communion in morning and did a spot of sun bathing with Frank, Cyril and Harry. About 11 o'clock was told to pack my gear and move over to 25 barrack as I was going back to Stramberg.
27 July 1943
Up early went over and said goodbye to Howard. Moved off to station where we caught a train at 8.30am and after a pleasant days journey arrived at Stramberg about 6.30pm where after much hand shaking I got settled down in the same room as I had before.
28 July 1943
Went to work at 6.30am and started on a (?) and did 6 skips. Found my hands very soft after four months with no work.
29 July 1943
Went on langsame (?) work and 3 of us worked in canal and filled 3 skips for the day.
30 July 1943
Worked on same job and in the evening had a game of soccer.
31 July 1943
Worked only half day and had our weekly issue of R.C. packet and 50 cigarettes.
1 August 1943
Went to football ground in the morning and had a game of soccer.
2 August 1943
Started work on the big face and have to load 66.5% of what the civvies load. Twelve of us work there and it is not too bad.
3 August 1943
Weather continues to be very hot.
4 August 1943
A new consignment of Canadian parcels arrive. It is quite a change from here from Landsdorf. Bags of grub and a bit of alright.
7 August 1943
Usual issue of parcels and 50 cigarettes. Had an extra issue of cigarettes and sugar during the week.
8 August 1943
Enjoyed a nice lazy day in bed and eating in between times.
9 August 1943
Weather has changed and is a little unsettled.
10 August 1943
Weather is very unsettled. Rain on and off and much cooler.
11 August 1943
Had an air raid warning in the afternoon but we did not see any planes.
14 August 1943
Had a Canadian parcel and 50 cigarettes.
15 August 1943
Major Huddlestone a NZ Padre visited us along with Commander Grieves a navel surgeon. Had a church service and Holy Communion. The doctor examined a few of the chaps who ailments. We heard all the latest news from Landsdorf. 2,400 prisoners had arrived in from Italy. A few NZ amongst them.
16 August 1943
Weather has cleared up and a very nice sunny day.
17 August 1943
Continued working on the big face and we sure loose a bit of sweat there.
20 August 1943
Usual issue of Red Cross parcels and 50 cigarettes.
21 August 1943
The weather very hot. The woman finished up in the kitchen and our chaps take over in the morning.
22 August 1943
Was already for another homeward bound but were unfortunate and two of the lads were caught after getting one door open. The rest of us managed to get back to bed. As luck had it we got off unnoticed. Ray and Tom went off to the bunker.
28 August 1943
Issue of Canadian parcel and 50 cigarettes. Weather is unsettled a few showers and overcast.
30 August 1943
Jim made his get away before roll call. We all went on Ragie (ray-zhee nf. management, state monopoly, production) as not enough wagons to load.
31 August 1943
Some of us went back on Akkord (a-korrt nm. agreed price, contract, arrangement) but most still on ragie.
3 September 1943
Hurt my back while working. Went to the doctor and got a day off.
4 September 1943
Had a nice day in bed mostly and heard that troops had landed in Italy.
5 September 1943
Went for a walk through Stramberg to a football ground where the lads had a game of football.
10 September 1943
John and Doug got away. All news is good. The guards found them missing about 3 in the morning and the B- had us out on roll call.
12 September 1943
Went to football in morning. The boys in the kitchen give us a very good Sunday dinner now. Best since being a prisoner.
13 September 1943
Three chaps went back to stalag. Brings our party down to 30. Had a bad finger and went to the doctors and were put on light work. Finger septic.
15 September 1943
Put on weighing coal for civvies and got into a bit of trouble as I gave them all to good a measure. Were taken off later.
16 September 1943
Forgot all about it being my birthday until the evening. Still on light work but finger doing ok. Seventeen Gestapo and police searched our billet. Only found a map but pinched some cigarettes off one chap. Weighed 84.5kg.
18 September 1943
Still on light work. Issued with usual RC Parcel Canadian and fifty cigarettes.
19 September 1943
Went to football in the morning. A nice walk in through the village.
20 September 1943
Had to go back loading stone. 100 French boys from Lamsdorf.
21 September 1943
Rained very heavy during night and was very muddy working. Went to the Kommando at the cement factory to get some parcels and saw Chick Chambers there.
23 September 1943
Went to the dentist to have a tooth filled.
25 September 1943
Issued Canadian parcel and 50 cigs.
26 September 1943
Had a nice quite day.
27 September 1943
Shortage of wagons at work so got away with only a little work. Weather is very unsettled showery and chilly.
29 September 1943
Nine new chaps came to the party. Four Canadians, four Jews and one Englishman.
2 October 1943
Usual issue of Red Cross parcels and fifty cigarettes.
3 October 1943
Played football in the evening.
6 October 1943
Weather continues to keep fairly well but the nights are getting cold.
9 October 1943
Went to a hotel in Stramberg and bought some beer.
10 October 1943
Had a hectic night with the Kdo Fuher and I was reported saying some naughty words to him. Had a game of housie for a while but the B- put the lights out. Issued with Scottish Red Cross parcel and cigs. Visited other Kdo. Some played football and I had afternoon tea.
11 October 1943
Had pictures here. Other Kdo came up and had supper and quite a good evening.
12 October 1943
All went on Langsam arbiet (slow work) until Kdo Fuher is shifted. Are promised that he will be.
13 October 1943
I had to stay in the afternoon and were interrogated by German Officer re calling the Kdo Fuhrer many names. Made a statement and thus have to wait results.
16 October 1943
Usual issue of Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes. Continued on langsam work. Kdo Fuhrer is a changed man.
17 October 1943
Had a nice quiet day, stayed in bed most of time. On the 16th we had our first light fall of snow. Frosts began a few days prior to that.
18 October 1943
Carried on with langsam arbiet. Has been a big shortage of railway wagons of late.
20 October 1943
Weather has turned mild again. Nice sunny days.
23 October 1943
Usual issue of Red Cross parcels and cigs. Went to station to collect a new consignment of parcels. The chap who lives under our billet died leaving wife and big family (ch ?).
26 October 1943
Funeral of Herr Barr.
27 October 1943
Very foggy days and cold.
31 October 1943
Usual issue of parcels and cigs. Believe 5000 chaps have been repatriated.
1 November 1943
Weather nice days and frosty nights. Smeed (?) came back to party last Sunday. Still very crowded in Lamsdorf.
4 November 1943
Arose from my bed in the morning and was already for work and was told to pack my kit and be ready to catch the train in quarter of an hour as I was going to do 5 days in the bunker for my escapade with Fashy (?). Was only allowed to take some of my gear as I was coming back to Kamando. Caught train at Stramberg at 8 o'clock for Jagerdorf where I arrived at half past one with my escort. Numbers of police were very noticeable everywhere and the civilian population looked very war weary. Was put straight into a cell with another NZ'er. Tom Cecily brother, so had quite a bit in common to talk about. Five other Englishmen and three Germans are also doing time in the cells. Very lucky in having a bit of bread with me as I was given nothing that night. Starting snowing and was very cold. Had no straw sack to sleep on and the boards were a little hard but I slept pretty well.
5 November 1943
Cecily and one other chappy were taken away but three Serb's were bought in for escaping. Was given my first ration of bread 800 grams at 5 o'clock, one days ration. One lot of guards here are pretty good and let us out of the cells a fair bit. Was taken to see a German Officer. He read out my charge and seemed a little amused. Slapped me on the shoulder and just said I shouldn't do that sort of thing.
6 November 1943
The other Englishman was taken away except one and he and I were put in one cell. Some Russians were bought in for escaping. One could speak a little English. It was very interesting talking to the Russians, Serb's and the Jerries who admitted they had no chance of winning now.
7 November 1943
Very cold in the cells but have been allowed to make some hot drinks and also a tin of porridge I had. Also have some books to read so things are not going so bad.
8 November 1943
My "Guten Tag" to-day. The fourth day in Straf you have a good day. Thus some coffee in the morning, soup or something for lunch and a little marg or something to put on your bread at night. Also a straw sack to sleep on. Some more Russians were brought in that were sick and going for treatment. They were very poorly clothed. We spend about an hour every day polishing our boots to pass the time away.
9 November 1943
My last day here at last. Got shaved and etc… a guard came for me and about half past one and started back to Stramburg where I arrived about six o'clock. The weather is very cold but riding in trains is not very pleasant as all windows are shut and heaters are on, so a very heavy atmosphere prevails in the carriages. On arrival at Stramberg were given a Red Cross parcel. My dinner had been saved for me so I sure had a feed but some how I could not see to eat much. Asked Tashy if I could have the day off work tomorrow but would not agree to that the old B – B -.
10 November 1943
Went to work and stayed out all day and did very little and went down and had a hot shower with some of the boys who had been loading coal before I came home.
11 November 1943
Carried on with langsame arbiet.
12 November 1943
Snow and very cold. I spent a good bit of time going and sitting in the briddies (?) by a fire but caught by a guard and roused out.
13 November 1943
Weather still cold but snow thawing. Did a bit of tidying up round workshops at work. Half day of work and issue of Red Cross parcel and cigarettes. Yesterday Len Sayere (?) got hit in the back by a stone and I helped carry him to the Larger on a stretcher. He seemed to be pretty bad shape. Doctor saw him but no ambulance came for him till to-day. He was taken to Trappau Hospital.
15 November 1943
Very heavy snow last night. I went on afternoon shift. Supposed to do 6 waggons each but swindled them for quite a bit.
16 November 1943
Weather very foggy and about 9 inches of snow on the ground. It is not unduly cold though.
20 November 1943
Issued with weekly Red Cross parcel and 50 cigarettes. On the afternoon shift we leave the Larger here at about 11 o'clock and finish work by 3 o'clock.
21 November 1943
Spent most of day in bed. Not feeling the best. Touch of flu. Snow is thawing a little.
22 November 1943
Went to see German doctor. Have a bit of a Fever and were given two days off work. Aspirins and hot tea. French cigarettes up from Lamsdorf. Issue is only 75 a month now.
23 November 1943
Enjoyed a nice day in bed. Cold, foggy and slushy outside.
24 November 1943
Enjoyed another nice day in bed. Weather still miserable but snow is thawing fast. Being reading Cronins books and Deeping (?). Very good indeed.
25 November 1943
Went back to see German doctor, still have a fever. 37.5 Marked down as unfit for work. So what o' for a few more days in the kip.
26 November 1943
Nearly all snow has thawed now and weather is brighter. Spent most of day in bed, but are not feeling too bad.
27 November 1943
Had bulk issue of Red Cross. All argentine and very good. 50 cigs.
28 November 1943
Very nice day. Heavy frost during night. Went to cement factory in morning. The boys played them at football and won 3 nil. Went for a walk in the afternoon round Nesslesdorf. Quite a nice little town. Are feeling fit again now. Are told that Gobells has gone to England to attend a conference, so everybody is full of talk.
29 November 1943
Was only a rumour about Gobells.
30 November 1943
Heavy frost continues and a little snow.
1 December 1943
Still work on the afternoon shift and it is alright this cold weather.
5 December 1943
Snow during the night and turned very cold. Went to the cement factory in morning and had a talk with some new chaps there that had come from Italy.
6 December 1943
Were paid our wages. Have now been given a rise and receive 1RM.20P per day, but when we go sick we have to pay 1RM.20P for our keep. That is for a few Katoffels and Ketofbel supper(?). Last month I had a week off crook and five days in the jug.
7 December 1943
Weather continues to be cold. Light snow and heavy frosts. Is now forbidden to visit other Abts. Kdo's.
8 December 1943
McDill and Hossen went back to Stalag work. I sent a loaf of bread in for Howard and Frank.
11 December 1943
Had bulk issue of Red Cross food "Argentine" and fifty cigarettes. Good issue!
12 December 1943
Weather still cold, light snow and frosts.
13 December 1943
Working on the afternoon shift is just alright these cold mornings.
14 December 1943
Are told we must load 12 Ton stone or six wagons. If we don't the whole party will be shifted. The chaps not fit for heavy work have to see the doctor.
15 December 1943
Five chaps saw the doctor and four got Lamsdorf. Charlie, Josifow, Fred G and Lippy.
16 December 1943
The above chaps went back to Lamsdorf and eleven more are coming here.
18 December 1943
Issue of Canadian parcel and 50 cigarettes, weather is sunny but very fresh. Good for working. A little snow about here but plenty on the hills.
19 December 1943
A nice sunny day but very fresh.
20 December 1943
Still work on afternoon shift and only do five wagons, snows on and off but thaw sets in between times.
23 December 1943
Issue of half a milk parcel per man. No mail or parcels as yet forthcoming.
24 December 1943
Issued with our Xmas parcel and 100 cigarettes. Had a sing song in the evening. I was barman and had some snaps given to me and sure had a spark up. A few of the chaps from the cement factory were up. Singing and dancing went on till a pretty late hour.
25 December 1943
Was awoken at 9 o'clock and given a cup of tea in bed. Arose soon after and officiated as a waiter for the breakfast meal which we all clubbed in together with and had bacon and eggs and porridge. All from our parcels of course. Got into bed to have 40 winks before dinner when Aubry got me up and we were talking till mid-day when a good meal was put before us by the cooks. In the evening we had a concert and I once again acted as barman. But also have a bit of a cold and a bad throat. I said a piece of recitation and acted in a small sketch during the evening and thus had my photo taken three times by the German guards who were present. Finished up a very good evening.
26 December 1943
A little weary so spent the best part of the day in bed, have had plenty of snow for Xmas but give me the summer.
27 December 1943
Arbiet wieder (again) and it did not go down to well. Still have a cold.
28 December 1943
My cold not too good so went to Nesslesdorf and saw the doctor and got the usual aspirins and hot tea and only one day off work.
29 December 1943
Went to work again. Slushy snow.
30 December 1943
Went to a couple of hotels in Stramberg to get some beer with others for our New Years eve. Called into the post office on the way back and got mail and parcels. Seven letters for my noble self. What rejoicing! Went to work on returning.
31 December 1943
Went to work at 9.30 am and finished 1.30 pm. A nice day the sun shining on the snow making things look very bright.
1 January 1944
Tea and porridge in bed. Frozen outside with a little snow on top. Went for a walk with Sid to the post but kein brief (no letters). Went for a walk in the afternoon through Stramberg and around Nessledorf. Skating was in progress on the football ground. A very nice outing.
2 January 1944
Had a quite day to recuperate from the New Year celebrations. Heavy snow.
3 January 1944
Started work again. Still on the afternoon shift.
6 January 1944
Twelve chaps arrived here from another Abts. Kdo that had been turned over to Russians. Four chaps came from Stalag including Brownie. Two of these chaps were captured in Italy in September. Three Kiwis among the new chaps. Our party strength is now 45 strong.
7 January 1944
Went for a walk to the post before going to work but nothing up.
8 January 1944
Went to Nesslesdorf in morning with Ron who went to doctors. Were able to buy a few things. Received parcel from home and just before going to work mail came up. Four letters for my self so we kept waiting while we read our letters.
9 January 1944
A little snow during the night but is now thawing. Just had a quiet day.
10 January 1944
Took a beer barrel ack to the hotel and the bar maid played us a few tunes on the piano and just a bit of alright.
11 January 1944
Were told by German Patrol officer that there was to be an exchange of some 30,000 prisoners of war about April or May.
15 January 1944
Issue of weekly Red Cross bulk and fifty cigarettes. Had a wist drive in the evening.
16 January 1944
Went for a walk in the afternoon through Sentfimen (?) and up to the Cheko (?) where it is forbidden to pass.
17 January 1944
Still work on the afternoon shift. Do our five skips. Play monopoly in the evenings a good bit now.
18 January 1944
Weather has turned much milder. Not very much snow about but very slushy. Evenings are drawing out.
21 January 1944
Went for a walk up to the post and were up.
22 January 1944
Bulk issue of parcel and tobacco issue. Went to get some beer in the morning and again when I came back from work. Were given a nice tune on the piano again. Had a whist drive in the evening. Started off good but finished up also ran (?).
23 January 1944
Just had a lazy day. Sun is shinning and not very much snow about.
24 January 1944
Lofty went back to Stalag with hopes of been repatriated. I moved to room upstairs.
25 January 1944
Weather is very mild for this time. Days mostly overcast and a little rain at times.
26 January 1944
New consignment of parcels came half N.Z. and half Canadian Just a bit of alright.
27 January 1944
Went for a walk up to the post 28 January 1944 Started making rings out of old tooth brushes and had a very busy day.
29 January 1944
Up early and worked on rings. Went to hotel after work and got some beer. Had a few beers up there and a tune on the piano
30 January 1944
Up at 6.30 and lit the fire for the cooks (?) so they could have ***** (?). Had nice bowl of porridge for breakfast. Worked on rings for most of day.
31 January - 06 February 1944
Not much of interest happened. Weather very good for this time of year. Issue of Canadian and NZ parcel and 50 NZ cigarettes. A chap at the quarry had his head run over which resulted in his heart stop beating.
7 February 1944
Much talk of **** being given to 15 British POW, Russians coming here fast.
11 February 1944
Started to snow **** heavy.
12 February 1944
Snowing very heavy. Went to work **** snow, so came back to larger and issue with a parcel and bulk and fifty cigarettes.
13 February 1944
Still snowing very heavy. Got up early and helped Mac make porridge and tea for the larger.
14 February 1944
All of us had to go to work in the morning and were snow shoveling all day. Still snowing and very cold.
15 February 1944
Went out in the afternoon to do our work. Conditions very bad. Still snowing on and off. Letter from company and they say we have to load the stone that we did not load on Saturday.
16 February 1944
Conditions still very bad for work. Bugged ** B-s for a wagon.
17 February 1944
Still snowing and blowing. Hard work getting our stone out. Only able to bug them for half wagon each.
18 February 1944
Conditions very bad at work, snowing heavy and blowing. Only loaded 4 waggons between two of us. Said we had to stay to clean a spring but some of us just went away and got away with it.
19 February 1944
All out in the morning to shovel snow. Dodged the guards and did very little work. The B-s made us all go out in the afternoon and do some loading. They will sure have a day off rechoring (?). went to hotel after work and got a barrel of beer.
20 February 1944
Still snowing a little on and off. Got a nice hot bath and had a lazy day.
21 February 1944
Still snowing and very cold. Very hard work pushing skips and finished very late.
22 February 1944
Browned off with the Jerries so went ****, went to the doctors in the morning but he was out so went up again in the afternoon and spun a good tale to him and got three days off work.
23 February 1944
Still snowing a little. Spent the day reading and making rings. Have some to make for the chaps at the cement factory.
24 February 1944
Did a few little jobs for my self and had a nice bath. Snow has stopped and the sun was out for a while.
25 February 1944
Went to work in the afternoon. Nice sunny day. Had an air raid warning and the guard made us all go into the tunnel. Al civvies stopped work. We did a skip less for the time we spent there. But the B- made us go back and do it.
26 February 1944
16 degrees below at night but sun shinning and a nice day. Thawing out and was not bad working. Went to hotel for beer after work. Played in a dart tournament in the evening.
27 February 1944
Nice day again. Went for a walk to the post but nothing up. Had a game of monopoly in the evening.
28 February 1944
Five chaps went to doctor and got Lamsdorf.
29 February 1944
Still work on skips, five a day and finish.
1 March 1944
Much talk about exchange of prisoners. Certainly time someone done something about it.
2 March 1944
Weather is improving. Snow thawing fast.
4 March 1944
Usual weekly Red Cross issue. New Zealand and Canadian parcels and 50 cigarettes.
5 March 1944
Heavy frost at night, overcast day and turned windy. Got up early and lit the fire for the cooks and had a hot bath. Still make rings when in the mood for it.
6 March 1944
Snowing and blowing very hard. No stone loading in quarry. Five of us unloaded a twenty ton wagon of coke and fire-arm.
7 March 1944
Still plenty of snow. First shift cleared the lines of snow. We did our akkord (contract) in the afternoon.
10 March 1944
Ten new chaps came from Stalag. Two Aussies and one Maori.
11 March 1944
Usual issue of R.C. parcels and cigarettes. Went up to hotel and got a barrel of beer.
12 March 1944
Snowed very heavy during night but started to thaw later on during the day.
13 March 1944
Snowed very heavy. First shift did their work but we said we would make ours up when weather was better and came back to larger.
14 March 1944
Weather better but snowing on and off. Did six wagons.
15-17 March 1944
Had a little snow every day but was fine between times.
18 March 1944
Usual Red Cross issue of parcel and 50 cigarettes. Went to hotel and got a barrel of beer snowed all night.
19 March 1944
Up fairly early. A change for me. Had a bath. Went for a walk after lunch to Freiberg, a town 12 km away. A very nice outing.
20 March 1944
21 March 1944
Snowed all day. Very heavily in the evening.
22 March 1944
Fine in morning and snowed later.
23 March 1944
Snowed again. Cyril went to Menchandorf for parcels.
24 March 1944
Snowed again. Went out but weather very bad. Said we would make up our skips another day and came straight back to lager. Blizzard started.
25 March 1944
Blizzard blowing and snowing heavy. Did not go to work.
26 March 1944
Fine snow later. Went to walk to Sauwsdorf. Letters up.
27 March 1944
Snowing heavily. Went to work in the morning but did not work. Had a lot of fun with help posten (guard).
28 March 1944
Fine to start and snowed later. Went on Rigie and loaded **** (wesbrr?) in the afternoon.
29 March 1944
Very cold. Frosty snowed most of day.
30 March 1944
Fine lovely day. Little snow later on.
31 March 1944
Fine. Back on Akord. Went to Nessledorf.
1 April 1944
Weather fine snowed in evening. Went to Katush for beer.
2 April 1944
Weather not bad. Snow thawing. Cooked breakfast for the room. Went for a walk to Lawersdorf in afternoon and had a royal time in the guest house there.
3 April 1944
Clocks went on one hour. 15 degree frost.
4 April 1944
Finished work in good time. Glorious day so went for walk to Reisl*** (?) and enjoyed a few beers in the guest house. Enjoyed eggs for tea and returned.
5 April 1944
Weather fine and warm.
6 April 1944
Mums birthday. Rained most of day.
7 April 1944
Good Friday but had to go to work.
8 April 1944
Weather fine. We were all invited to go to concert at cement fabrik (factory) but word came through at the last minute that it was forbidden. German B--.
9 April 1944
Beautiful day. Had our photos taken in the morning. Went for walk to Lawersdorf in afternoon.
10 April 1944
HOLIDAY! Went and watched the lads play football in the morning. Walked to Sawerdorf in afternoon.
11 April 1944
Back to work weather fine.
12-14 April 1944
Glorious day. Far too good to be working for these Jerry B---.
15 April 1944
Went for beer after work.
16 April 1944
Did a little sun bathing in the morning. Walked to Sawersdorf in afternoon.
17 April 1944
Have had many air raid warnings of late, mostly at night. Have got used to them now and just sleep through them. Have bombed towns in the protectorate but have not dropped any eggs around here.
18 April 1944
Weather light rain.
19 April 1944
Went up to the village after work and ordered a barrel of beer.
20 April 1944
Swastikas flying on all German houses, old Adolfs birthday.
21 April 1944
till work on the second shift. Good going now and are after three hours away from the billet.
22 April 1944
23 April 1944
Went to Nesslesdorf after work with Stan, Mac and Cyril and did some shopping. Went and watched the lads play football in the evening.
24 April 1944
Lovely weather. Went for a walk in the afternoon around Nesslesdorf and back to Stramberg. Saw finish of football match, Stramberg v's Nusslesdorf. Good crowed watched there.
25 April 1944
Sid went to Lamsdorf.
27 April 1944
A stone fell on my fingers. Went to the doctor and got two days off work.
28 April 1944
Made a ring and had a lazy time.
29 April 1944
Patrol around larger at night. Jerry seems to have a scare on.
30 April 1944
Went for beer. Had wist drive in evening.
1 May 1944
Holiday. Confined to larger. Had a race meeting in the evening I ran the lot in partnership with Cyril. Cleared 69 RM and a few hundred cigarettes.
Went to work, also went for a barrel of beer. Have a bit of a cold.
4 May 1944
Johnny McGough arrived back here. Fine but very cold wind.
6 May 1944
Went to top hotel for beer, pay up received 23 RM.
7 May 1944
Rainy. Went to football in the evening north play South. I won 40 cigarettes on it.
1 June 1944
At last the weather is beautiful. Have been very busy of late preparing for another do, all is now set. Gestapo and police searched our billets yesterday but all was in order.
3 June 1944
German Flack units having big manoeuvres about here.
4 June 1944
Weather overcast little rain.
5 June 1944
Escaped and had a good nights travel.
6 June 1944
overcast little rain. Slept in the bush.
7 June 1944
Had rained for most of day.
8 June 1944
9 June 1944
******* ******* ******.
10 June 1944
Saturday. Rained. The weather is just plain rotten. Cleared up in the afternoon.
11 June 1944
Fine all last night. Overcast and a little rain during day. Coming on fairly heavy in afternoon.
12 June 1944
Monday. Weather cleared up last night. Glorious sunny day. Plenty of mosquitoes here. Found that we were near a river and boarder of Slonakia. Ran straight into German guard who was patrolling there and were taken to Dunkif** and searched by German Officers. Were then handed over to police who took particulars about us and finally put us in the lock up about midnight.
13 June 1944
Tuesday. Spent a very quiet day in cell. Were given a bowl of soup and bread at dinner time. Are not hungry though as we have plenty of grub with us still.
14 June 1944
Very hot in cell. Had our soup and bread and were **** **** for a little sunshine. At 4pm two German guards came and collected us and we travelled by train to Wein (Vienna). Had a ride through the town on a tram to another station where we had to wait for two hours. Many troops going by train and bags of pretty girls there. Boarded another train at 8 o’clock and travelled to Kram** and arrived at Stalag XVIIB about 1 o’clock in the morning and were put in the bunker there.
15 June 1944
Slept on the bare boards and no blankets last night. Talked to a Yankie (?) who was doing time there for escaping. Were taken to a barrack and searched along with *** ***. Taken to a **** had our hair shorn off and shower and then put in ****** compound which was full of ***** ***** Belgians, Poles, **** etc. Bill and I the only two English here. Treated us very well though. About 50,000 prisoners attached to this larger. Only very few English. Spoke with some of our chaps who were caught on Laros Island (?). *** of De Ganhato (?) free *(?) French here who were only caught two months ago and very good to us.
16 June 1944
The English Red Cross Rep came and gave us a parcel each and 50 cigarettes and books. Very interesting talking with all these men of nations. My German is really useful here. Bill speaks a little French so we got along OK. Nice sunny day. The biggest trill I have had for a long time. Swags of our bombers passed by and bombed Vienna. They sure looked good.
17 June 1944
Sat. rainy. Were taken to the German camp bader (?) and were interrogated re our escape. Very dirty and muddy here.
18 June 1944
Sun. had a big concert and a few bouts of boxing. **** **** with **** Britians are thought ***** of by these chaps. An Italian chappy always comes and washes our dishes for us and is quite a good batman.
19 June 1944
Raining very heavy. Had a talk with the English Padre here. He had only just found out we were here. Seems a good chappy.
20 June 1944
Still raining. I had ** a Russian women doctor in the next barrack to me. Her husband is also a doctor **** ***** **** ***** Russian wounded and sick.
21 June 1944
Still raining on and off. Issued with English parcels and cigarettes. Last Monday we were all taken for a bath and delousing again.
22 June 1944
Thursday. Sunny. Expecting Swiss commission here so everyone busy getting cleaned up. Was not Swiss commission that came but about 20 German officers.
23 June 1944
Friday. Saw the Padre and he is seeing if he can get us out on Sunday for church service.
24 June 1944
Sat. Had to go and help dig a pipe up over near the delouser. While doing this we dug up some old Belgium Tin Helmets. Padre told us he could not get us out but would be able to visit us. A new Padre arrived in camp.
25 June 1944
Sunday. Lovely sunny day. Padre came with a German Interpreter and gave Bill and I a service in the back of our barrack. A very nice break. Concert in our barrack after lunch and I did two rounds with an Italian but he was easy meat.
26 June 1944
Glorious day and our boys were above and dropped their eggs on a petrol dump 30 kilometers ** and did a lot of damage. Our planes sure looked good. Saw a little flack go up but not much. A few German fighters were flying about our camp.
27 June 1944
Were taken for a bath and delousing again. Did a bit of washing and in the afternoon Bill and I were given two days travelling rations and were told we would go to another barrack after *pple and move off at 6 o'clock next morning. After roll call we said good bye to the many friends that we had made there and were then taken and placed in the cell.
28 June 1944
Spent last night on the bare boards but that is no trouble to us now. Up at 4.30am, moved off at 6 am. Walked to trains, from there we enjoyed a delightful journey to Vienna with the company of an English Padre who we met on the train. Also enjoyed a nice bacon sandwich of his. The 99 kilometres journey along the Blue Danube was glorious. Travelled round Vienna in trams till we found the right station for us to depart. Were given soup and bread by the German Red Cross before leaving by train again. Going out we saw the extensive bomb damage done by our boys that we had seen go over a few days before, just a bit of alright. Arrived at Preraui (??) 8 o'clock and were given soup and bread again by Red Cross, German. Another train to Oderberg and arrived there at 1 o'clock. Soup and coffee again and had to wait there for three hours. German troops are travelling everywhere.
29 June 1944
Left Oderberg for Hyderbeck and arrived there at 8am. A nice sunny day again. Received coffee at Hyderbeck and departed for Opppelen. Soup again. Left Oppelen for lambsdorf where we arrived about 1pm. Searched and they took my pullover off me, then taken to Straff Compound. A good reception there, tea and plenty to eat. A few NZ'ers in here. One, Gibson who was in the 19th but got off Crete and was later caught in the desert. Brownie gave me a swag of fags and sent food. Also saw Doc and others. Just a bit of OK.
30 June 1944
Rained most of day. Many old acquaintances came to the wire to say "hello". Just missed seeing Frank, he went on a working party at 11 o'clock. Issued of half a Canadian parcel. Conditions in this barrack very good.
1 July 1944
Sat. a nice day, issued with 25 cigarettes.
2 July 1944
Weather is nice and enjoyed a spot of sunbathing. Are still in Straff barrack.
2 July 1944
3 July 1944
Fine and sunny. Were taken in morning and interrogated again re our escape. Went down again in the afternoon and saw the Gerichtsoffizen (court) and I got 14 days and Bill 7 Days. Five of which will be taken off for the time we have already been locked up. Some boys done an Aussie R.S.M. over in this barrack. An old grudge from Crete.
4 July 1944
Tuesday. Glorious weather were taken for a hot shower in the afternoon.
5 July 1944
Taken to clothing store to get some kit but they have very little there. Had another hot shower while down there. Had a game of Deck coquets in evening. Thomas arrived here from an escape.
6 July 1944
7 July 1944
Glorious day spent most of it sun bathing. Germans searched our barracks for tunnel. Had a talk with Brownie. Issue of half Canadian parcel.
8 July 1944
Another beautiful day did a bit of washing. Had air raid warning and had to remain in our barracks. These warnings are very frequent now, and they bombed not far from here the other day.
9 July 1944
Weather continues to remain good. An Australian Padre came and gave us a short service and very good. We play coquets a good bit now.
10 July 1944
Bill off to bunker. Guess I go tomorrow. A fair bit of rain during the day. Told Bill he has seven days to do.
11 July 1944
Tuesday. Taken for a shower at 7am and told I was going to the bunker at 3.30pm. issued with half parcel and cigs and sure had a good feed. Taken to the lock up with two others at 3.30pm Aussie Padre was visiting there when I was put in. we had a chat and he later sent a bible over for me. Had a good nights sleep on the boards.
12 July 1944
Wednesday. Were given a drink of tea and roused out to work digging air raid shelters. We took it very easy and did OK. Potato & Barley & piece of bread for lunch. A piece of bread and drink on returning. Then bed a perfect ending to a day in a prisoners life.
13 July 1944
Taken vat to work again. Tea for breakfast, pea soup for dinner. A piece of bread and tea at night, a little of rain during the day and turned colder.
14 July 1944
Weather nice and not over hot. Managed to sneak a Falmin (?) into my cell to sleep on.
15 July 1944
Overcast played round the Air raid shelter in the morning. At 3am were roused out to go to Lamsdorf station to loan a wagon. Spuds Barley and bread.
16 July 1944
Rained a little during day. Taken out for one hour exercise in morning. A cup of tea for breakfast - Piss. Barley & spuds for dinner as per usual. Nearly all the spuds rotten. A piece of bread for tea. No tea on account of Air Raid warning. A very long day. When hungry and no one to talk to makes the going a bit tough, but we can take it, have started to read the bible through and are not getting on so bad.
17 July 1944
Out to work on some job. Received a little extra bread today. Bill finished his seven days today and went out. Brownie brought some fags along to me when out. Rained a little during day. Am feeling top hole (?), only three days to go.
18 July 1944
Heavy rain in the morning. Remained in cell till 1pm and then went out to work. Ken and Sid got some brew and some soup to us and a little angle had visited my cell while away. Were advised that my Great C(oat) and jackets had arrived from Stramberg by gutter zug (Goods Train) and were given a palaies to sleep on but I was nearly eaten by fleas.
19 July 1944
A little rain. Some work. Some lousy grub. Looking forward to freedom and Red Cross tomorrow.
20 July 1944
Weather fine. Shifted to another cell with Taffy. We had a good chat and a read. At 3.30pm I was taken out to barrack 24B. A good bit of running around to get fixed up and meeting many chaps, had tea with Bill & combine(?). Given a Red Cross parcel and 50 smokes.
21 July 1944
Are mucking in with Tom. He is in the next barrack. Received half Red Cross parcel and 25 cigarettes. Met Ray Thomas and many others and had a very enjoyable day running about the camp.
22 July 1944
Were taken to Stabs Arty and I pitched him a good tale and were graded 3. Brownie gave me some lettuce. Went to a show in the evening with Tom and saw "Journeys End" very good.
23 July 1944
Went to church and communion at 9.30am. A South African Padre. Rained very heavy in morning.
24 July 1944
I am really enjoying my self running around the camp meeting so many old cobbers. Brownie is very good and sends me plenty of vegs. I muck in with Tom and Jack and we do OK. Went to Holy Communion.
25 July 1944
Tuesday. Went to Holy communion and met Hopkins R and had a good old tak about NZ. He gave me some books and a pair of socks. Made enquiries about my gear at Stramberg.
26 July 1944
Went to Holy Communion and Tom and I walked about visiting most of the day.
27 July 1944
Went to pray meeting. Had a brew with Johnny and go some stuff for him who is still in Straff.
28 July 1944
Friday. Went to prayer meeting. Tom and I go **** Alan & Ron every night and we got all the latest **** there.
29 July 1944
Went to holy communion. Am still meeting bags of chaps and doing plenty of chin wagging.
30 July 1944
Sunday. Went to holy communion in morning.
1 August 1944
Had a big win on the heads. Bought myself some gym shoes & shorts & started on the physical training and very tough. Went to evensong.
2 August 1944
P.T. at 8am we enjoy a hot shower after it. Got a new pair of boots my muscles are very sore but I am sticking to it.
3 August 1944
Raining heavy and no PT. Went to communion. Enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with Nagpo. After tea Tom Dave () and I had a walk round as usual. I am feeling very stiff with the training. Six weeks Straff told its tale on me I guess ut will soon be a box of birds again.
4 August 1944
Friday. Issue of half English parcels and starting of big.
8 August 1944
Carnival boxing tournament, parade and big sports day. All very good. An air raid yesterday, our planes fly over camp and we heard bags of bombs. Later heard a plane crash and a parachutists came down. Great excitement in camp, I try to attend **** one church services a day, Also had a job last week sweeping the church out. Continuing with P.T. and what with visiting and playing hostess to hoards of friends. I have a busy time of it and manage to keep in the best of spirits. Issue of bulk issue today and cigs.
9 August 1944
Thursday. Went to a lecture in the evening by Padre Hope*.
10 August 1944
Went with Tom in the evening to a farmers meeting.
11 August 1944
I go to PT twice a day now and am getting along OK. Had my name in for wrestling sessions. Try to w** in a church service but they all seem to be on at the same time. Frank came in, he is out of Straff for a night and had tea with me.
XXXX August 1944
Went to a show in the evening McBeth Tragedy. I did not like it and came out at half time and saw the finish of Wales v’s Scotland. Very good football.
17 August 1944
Went to church. H.C. at 7.45 am. Ken was making some porridge and coffee when I returned. O boy it is glorious weather and countless numbers of our bomber planes about. It sure gives you a good feeling to see them. Just as long as they don't come over head. Church in the evening.
18 August 1944
Good weather. **** **** and I carry on with my P.T.
29 August 1944
Raining. Bulk issue.
1 September 1944
Twice daily when not otherwise engaged. Went to farmers meeting Competition from the **** and very good.
2 September 1944
Sunday. Weather has turned colder at nights but nice during the day. Went to early church but owing to both padres being ill, was no H.C. service. Went to camp service at 10am. Went to lecture in evening on "Britain tomorrow". There sure are a lot of problems for us to overcome. Very good.
4 September 1944
P.T. with Tom in the morning. Nice days. Evening, further lecture on :Britain Tomorrow”. Went with John D. All with education. V.good. came back and had a drink of coffee.
5 September 1944
Glorious day. PT in morning. Aussie v's England in cricket, good. Repals went today, I said my goodbyes yesterday. England won the cricket. Went to lecture in the evening "England Tomorrow".
6 September 1944
Wednesday. PT from 8 to 9. Agricultural at school till 10.30am joined the classes today. Agr arable, Dairy, Stock & modern farm machinery. Were given a book to take notes on each subject. PT in evening and were weighed, went 76.3kg stripped.
7 September 1944
Thursday. PT school. Drew a book with Tom from library on bee-keeping. Lecture in the evening. Health problem "Britain Tomorrow". Major Twain and another speaker and very good indeed.
8 September 1944
Friday. PT in tent. School arable and pasture. Tom and read books on bee-keeping. Had cup of tea with Tom. Lecture in the evening, economics-Britain Tomorrow. Fair.
9 September 1944
Saturday. Sunny, fresh cold at nights. PT morning and then did the rounds of the Stalag with John and Roy.
10 September 1944
Went to camp service and H.C. had a chat with Padre Hapking after who had been crook for a few days.
11 September 1944
Jack was taken off parade and was to be taken to Straff job. He later made a get away. Did not go to PT, but went to school after with Tom. Attended the finish of the series of lectures "Britain tomorrow" entitled "The churches attitude towards it." The Padres on the platform R.C. C of E & Cong. Very good.
12 September 1944
Did PT in tent and then to school. Started another class. Agricultural machinery. Issue of half Canadian parcel and cigs. Orders that from 16 September the issue will be only half parcel per week. A good birthday present A WHAT!
13 September 1944
Cold nights and sunny day. Were kept in on parade for about 25 hours. Someone missing. Reported sick. Horea (?) boil on my bum. Went to school and saw the doctor after. Had a dressing put on and stayed in bed most of day.
14 September 1944
Thursday. Went to school with Tom. Saw the doctor again and he told me he would put me in the Revien soon. He could look after my boil better. So after getting deloused & etc I was admitted to Revien. Two other NZ’ers in my ward. One from Wellington and one from Auckland. Our NZ cricket team beat England the other day so we walked around with our heads up now. Ha Ha. Captain Lake saw me and said he would lance my boil in the morning.
21-30 September 1944
Parcels issued have continued at the rate of one per week but no cigarette issue. Met Jack Frog one night and Ray Sam and he came along for a brew and a talk of old times in Whakatane. Saw a couple of shows at the theatre "whats New" and another. Have continued my classes at school with one on poultry farming. Went to an interesting lecture by Padre Hopkins on morning and evening prayers. Some good international cricket have been played. Mail and personal parcels are very scarce but we all live in high hopes. Jerry found a tunnel while I was in the Riviers and a Jerry plane crashed outside the wire. Good international Rugby games. NZ beat Wales. Ian Appelton is in the next barrack so we much in. went to Farmers group meeting lecture on Trade requirements of Smithfield by Keith Kitty and very good.
1 October 1944
Nice sunny day, frost at night. Went to H.C. Walked around Stalag with John (Appleton) and visited Shorty at the Riviera. Went to evensong. After, a service by the choir.
2 October 1944
Wet cold and miserable in stalag here. Went to school. Started another class. Veterinary surgery. Went to see “Whats ***” again in the evening and very good.
3 October 1944
Still wet and cold. Did my classes at school. Enjoyed a nice hot shower in the afternoon. Ian went to Lazerti on visit.
4-14 October 1944
Weather has been pretty fair. A fair bit of rain and nights are much colder. Have had some good Air Raids, was in the huts and bright exhibition one night when a stick of bombs landed outside our camp. Bags of excitement. Plenty of good rugby has been played. NZ beat England. Series of test matches being played. A chappy was shot going over the wire. Went to farmers meeting discussion on model farm at arts and crafts. Sure had an amazing evening. Shorty came **** Riveria also Don so five of us mucking in now. **d in from Stramberg. I am tempted to go back with him. Our bombers have flown right over our camp in day time. Sure is grand to see them. Still attend several agricultural classes at school and go to P.T. sometimes.
15 October 1944
Went to HO at 7.45 and spent the rest of the morning waiting in the queue to collect my parcel. Went to church at night but the service was interrupted by a air raid warning. Ron and Jim were with me. Went for a walk with Jim till the lights came on again.
16 October 1944
Did a few classes at school and after a few rounds around the stalag with John Firey and Tony. Went for a walk with Ian and Shorty in the evening.
17 October 1944
Classes at school as usual. Watched the rugby as usual.
20 October 1944
Raining. Received my parcel. They are been issued at one a day between seven now. Two chaps in camp attempted suicide. Swiss commission (?) is here and Jack, Dick Gus Jack K have passed. Went to farmers group meeting. Marketing of tomatoes and other veg was discussed.
21 October 1944
Saturday. Overcast a little cold. Series of international football games (rugby). The best game of the season was played. NZ defeated Springbok.
22 October 1944
Went to early H.C. Had a good walk round during the day and went to evensong with Ian.
23 October 1944
Monday. Went to classes at school. Saw a game of football. Weather very overcast and misty.
24 October 1944
Tuesday. Jim got me out of bed as he has been doing of late and I enjoyed a hot shower before roll call. Went to school. Ian came back with me for a drink. Saw doctor about warts on my thumb and he will fix them up. Went to a show in the evening with a party and very good. Received half a Red Cross Parcel. Parcels are to be issued at the rate of half a parcel per week starting on Friday.
25 October 1944
Very overcast. T**** the match. Classes at school. Jim & Ron went to #42. Went down to see doctor to take a wart off but had to wait till next Wednesday. Saw a good game of rugby Tucs v Rovers. Had a walk around the Stalag with Tom & Co. Got my two shirts from Bert who put collars in them for me. Went to a lecture on gold mining and talk about South Africa.
26 October 1944
Thursday. Very misty. Sun was out for a while but no heat in it. Cold day. Went to classes at school then did my washing but cannot get it dry. Jerry B-. walked around with John and coy. Went to evensong and talk on prayers by Padre Welshman. When walking around with Ian stumbled into a concert in the RAF compound.
27 October 1944
Friday. Overcast misty and damned cold. Classes at school. The other day a chap got shot in the compound. Tried to run away from the guard. Went to farmers group meeting in the evening. Marketing ****.
28 October 1944
Overcast cold and little rain. Issue of half a parcel very good. NZ beat **** in rugby 10-5. Went to show in the evening.
29 October 1944
Miserable weather. Went to HC at 7.45am and evensong.
30 October 1944
Weather still overcast rain now and again. Cold and wet under foot. Went to classes at school.
31 October 1944
Weather (*****). Classes at school. Have another boil on my arm. Played housie with Ian & Don but we lost 70 cigarettes between us.
1 November 1944
Wednesday. Weather still overcast and miserable. Went to classes at school and spent most of the day in kip. My arm pretty painful. Went to a lecture on quantity survey in the evening.
2 November 1944
Weather just the same. Arm not much better. Went to school and church in the evening. Lecture by Padre Hoppkins on prayer.
3 November 1944
Weather still overcast, cold and miserable No wonder the Jerrys want to fight to get out of this God forsaken country. Went to classes in the morning and then to bed. My arm is rotten. Went to farming meeting with Ian in the evening. Soil erosion, interesting.
4 November 1944
Weather just the same. My arm much better today. Went to a lecture on the pacific with a variety show after and very good.
5 November 1944
Sunday. Went to HC. The sun came out today and it was sure good to see it. Three games of rugby were played. ANZACs vs the rest. We won two. The senior game sure was good went to evensong at 6pm.
6 November 1944
Nice day again. Went to classes at school. Boil is improving fast.
7 November 1944
Overcast cold again. Went to school. Musical show in the evening and very good.
8 November 1944
Weather wet cold and things not much chop. Played bridge. May go out working with the gang. Went to church in the evening. After heard a lecture on Flat street (?) very good.
9 November 1944
Weather wet and cold. Things sure moved on today. Got shifted with Ian to go out in working party. Did a round of goodbyes to the boys John Tom & etc. - sure are good pals.
10 November 1944
First sleet. Very cold & slushy. Told we are not going till tomorrow. Had hot shower. Saw Jack and give him two rings to take home to mum. Saw all the lads again. Doc is keeping my chit for the spare kit store. Had an evening with John and Tony. Saw a good book on what happened in Crete. Said goodbye to Shorty and Don.
11 November 1944
Snowed fairly heavy during the night. Up early and we made a brew Ian and I and eat some nice sandwiches which Don had made up for us. Left at 7am. Usual procedure of searches and finally caught train at station. Changed trains at Neasse and again at Deutch Wette. Arrived Hunsdorf about midday. An Aussie CSM met us at the station. Called into another KG (?) 401 for RC parcel and then walked to Lamsdorf and arrived at E166 about 1pm and had a nice bowl of soup. Good settlic (?) in and a game of bridge in the evening.
12 November 1944
Nice sunny day and most of snow disappeared. Seems a pretty good crowd of chaps here. Had a good lunch and after had a good game of soccer. After tea Smudger Smith told us about his experiences - when gold mining in Western Australia.
13 November 1944
Monday. Snowed during the night. Off to work at 6.45am working on a saw cutting stones for tomb-stones. I have the job of standing by and putting the water on the saw. Very easy work but noisy and gets a little monotonous. Work 10 hours daily. A little of that is cut off getting away early.
14 November 1944
Snow again at night. Worked on some job. Finished cutting one stone and then you had to wash them and set another up ready. Ian gets back to larger earlier than I and has my tea ready for me. Just a bit of alright.
15 November 1944
Still getting a little snow but not over cold. Doing the same work. The grub here is about the best Jerry grub I have had.
16 November 1944
Thursday. Heavy snow during night and pretty cold. Sure am lucky having an inside job.
17 November 1944
Friday. Bags of snow getting run into my new job. No hard work about it.
18 November 1944
Snow is thawing and sun was out for a while. Finished work at midday. Did a few odds and ends and played bridge with Ian and two others in the evening.
19 November 1944
Sunday. Nice sunny day. Snow thawing fast. Pressed my Greatcoat and odds and ends, a nice lazy day. Great joy, mail up. Ian got 20 and I 6.
20 November 1944
Cold. Have another boil coming on my neck and the days work was not very pleasant. Saw many of our planes over. Others say the boys that work outside have heard bombings.
21 November 1944
Tuesday. Stayed in camp my boil pretty sore. Ian gave me breakfast in bed. I have tea ready for him when he comes in at night.
22 November 1944
We are going through pretty grim days at present. No RC parcels. I stayed in with my boils and I am cold in the billet. Jerries give us sweet F.A. fuel these days.
23 November 1944
Thursday. Sunny day but dam cold. Went to doctor with boil. Said it was an abscess and I stay in until it is better.
24 November 1944
Just a lazy day in the billet. Drinking Jerry ersatz coffee is not much chop. Although the Jerry food here is as good as they give.
25 November 1944
Sun out but cold. Still in Larger. Light copper and bathed shaved in the morning. Ian in at 12 noon. Played bridge in evening.
26 November 1944
Reading most of day and wrote cards home. Have very little fuel to keep the larger warm and what with Jerry rations times are a bit lean, but we manage to get along. We can take it.
27 November 1944
Monday. Started work again. Sunny day very heavy frost at night.
28 November 1944
Heavy frost but not a bad day. Same job sawing stone. Pretty monotonous. Roll on the boat.
29 November 1944
Wednesday. Little snow during night. Ian and I managed to get a little extra so its not so bad.
30 November 1944
Thursday. Heavy frost a little sun during day. Two chaps went back to Lamsdorf and three new chaps came out. Say things are pretty grim in there with no parcels.
1 December 1944
Frost at night and overcast during day.
2 December 1944
Saturday. Frost sunny day. Issued with 100 cigs and 1lb butter and 1lb marg and 1 M&V for two. Have a big lift. Saw bags of our planes when coming home from work at midday and heard bombing. Played bridge in the evening.
3 December 1944
Sunday. Cold. Overcast, a little snow. My pyjama trousers went missing off the line during the night. Had a wist drive in the evening. Ian and I won 12 marks for lucky number.
4 December 1944
Monday. Rain cold. Same work on the saw, one consolation its nice to be working inside out of the cold.
5 December 1944
Tuesday. Little snow in the evening. Still no definite news about when we will receive Red Cross parcels again. We certainly live in hopes.
6 December 1944
Wednesday. Weather a little warmer. Ian heard our planes and bombings. They are over these parts a fair bit now.
7 December 1944
Thursday. A little snow during the night. An Aussie came back to this party and say 200 of our chaps were killed during bombing at Blackhamins (?). Hope Howard is OK.
8 December 1944
Friday. Snow during the night. Ian and I manage to get a few extras for the tummy.
9 December 1944
Saturday. Snowed in morning but fine in the afternoon. Were putting new stoves in at work. I attended the fire most of morning and tried to see how much coal I could burn. Had a nice bath in afternoon and general clean up. Miss my daily bath that I could get at Stramberg.
10 December 1944
Heavy frost during the night. Damned cold in the larger. No fuel to have the fire going all day. Pinched a little wood during the day. Bill P gave us a little talk in the evening on B. Clom (?) and very interesting.
11 December 1944
Monday. Very cold and I keep my little fire stoked up at work and only get a few black looks from Jerry.
12 December 1944
Tuesday. Cold wind. A few of our planes flying about and dropped a few bombs in the next village to us. Quite exciting. Ian had a day off.
13 December 1944
Wednesday. Much milder. Had a little rain. Overcast. Last night we arrived back from work with the good news that there was R.C. at Landhubel. We received a ton of bully between four today. Must wait for a chit from Lamsdorf before we receive an issue. W/O B.W. Spence 224781.
14 December 1944
Slushy snow. Froze hard in the evening. Still waiting for an issue of R/C.
15 December 1944
Friday. Snowed heavy last night and continued most of the day. Very cold.
16 December 1944
Saturday. Bags of snow around and very cold. Working outside in the morning putting some bags in a shed and had damnest cold feet. Yesterday afternoon five new chaps join us and Don was amongst them. Bathed and cleaned up etc in the afternoon and did a little cooking. Still no parcels but are told that they have arrived in Lamsdorf.
17 December 1944
Sunday. Glorious day. Sun shining in the snow which is frozen. Hundreds upon hundreds of yankee planes were above escorted WITH FIGHTERS. We could see where their target was and there was sure a bit of thunder. They make you hold your breath when above one.
18 December 1944
Monday. Another glorious day. The planes were over like yesterday and we spent our dinner hour watching them. Sure makes you feel good to see them.
19 December 1944
Tuesday. Still plenty of snow about and frozen. Overcast and low ceiling and the boys above were overhead again and flying much lower today. We heard some of the pills they dropped.
20 December 1944
Frozen and overcast. Did not see anything of the boys in blue today. The chit to go and collect R.C. parcels came today so that will help the Xmas along.
21 December 1944
Thursday. Froze very hard during night. Sun out in the day but no thaw. Some of the boys heard our planes in the morning, RC. Bulk issue up from Adlesdorf. Are we glad to see it. No Xmas parcels as yet. We were issued with fifty fags so had a good smoke.
22 December 1944
Friday. Frozen hard 8 degrees below (German reading). Can see the sun but is very hazy. Issue of bulk when we came back from work and very good. Don has a bad chill and is not to good.
23 December 1944
Saturday. Very cold at night. Sun out in the day but no thaw. Got a blast from the foreman at work because I sit by the fire too much. Jerry B.
24 December 1944
Sunday. Planes and bombing were herd. Very cheesed off these days.
25 December 1944
Had breakfast from kitchen. Egg powder from bulk fried. Had quite a good dinner from kitchen. We fed fairly well today. They had dancing and a few items in the evening. Ian and I played goal keepers in a soccer game.
26 December 1944
Tuesday. Did not get out of bed until midday and bags of our planes were over and bombed not very far from here.
27 December 1944
Wednesday. Started work again. Everything frozen up and took a while to get the saws etc going.
28 December 1944
Thursday. Heavy frost sun out but no thaw.
29 December 1944
Friday. Heavy frost and last night started snowing. Snowed all day.
30 December 1944
Saturday. Bags of snow about but a nice day. Last night were issued with a Canadian parcel and 25 cigs. Planes have been about the last few days but I did not see them, worked as usual in the morning and bathed and cleaned up etc in the afternoon. Bridge in the evening.
31 December 1944
Sunday. Heavy snow. Stayed in bed till nearly midday. Don gave Ian and I breakfast in bed. Had a concert here in the evening and I saw the new year in. had sing etc after. I sang a song recital and haka to help things along. Roll on the boat this year. Have been more browned off for the past two months more than any other part of my prison life. We all felt so certain we would be away from this damnable place before this.
1 January 1945
Monday. Bags of snow. In good spirit and want for a bit of freedom this year. Had porridge from the cook house for breakfast and the cooks turned on a good feed for dinner. Ian and I lit the copper bathed and did washing in the morning.
2 January 1945
Off to work in the snow. Same old work on saw. Nothing of interest.
3 January 1945
Wednesday. Plenty of snow. Good news that some Red Cross parcels coming up. That’s our main interest these days; is to get enough to eat and something to smoke.
4 January 1945
Thursday. More snow. Mother earth is well covered over now. The little bits of news we get here. Things don’t seem to be going as they should for us. Very much strained feeling in the camp here re Red Cross issue. We don’t seem to be getting a fair deal. Enquiries etc being made.
5 January 1945
Friday. Snowing. The Red Cross parcels arrived and issue is third parcel to a man and 20 cigarettes. Certainly something fishy.
6 January 1945
Snowing. Five years today we sailed from old NZ. Certainly a grim anniversary but a good time coming. I steal coal and wood from work to get a bath etc with it.
7 January 1945
Sunday. Still a little snow falling. Had a game of bridge last night. Just a lazy day. Will certainly be great when a chap can do something useful again.
8-9 January 1945
Still working on the saw and glad to be inside - plenty of snow and frost 10 January 1945 Wednesday. Snowing very heavy. Ian and I decided to have a day in so Don gave us a cup of tea in bed before we went to work.
11-12 January 1945
Still plenty of snow.
13 January 1945
Very cold. Work in the morning and Hec had a book a bath up for us when we returned to larger. Don received a RC parcel so that helped us out a little. Played bridge in the evening.
14 January 1945
Damned cold in the larger. Did a bit of sewing when I got warm enough
15-16 January 1945
Monday. Very cold wind. Freezing still.
17 January 1945
Very cold wind goes right through one. Heard a bit of good news re Uncle Joe. He cant come too fast.
18 January 1945
Cold but no wind. Ian stayed in. Has a cold. We all seem cheesed off. Not much to look forward to when no parcels. Last Monday four chaps went back to Lamsdorf.
19 January 1945
Friday. Very cold wind blowing again and is still freezing.
20 January 1945
Saturday. Cold but no wind. Went to work and had a good warm around the fire and then all of us had to go down the road shoveling and damned cold. No parcels, no mail, a grim weekend. Played bridge in the evening.
21 January 1945
Sunday. Very cold. Ian gave me my coffee and loaf in bed where I stayed till midday. No parcels or mail so things are not over bright. Played bridge in the evening but Hec and I got cleaned up.
22 January 1945
Monday. Very cold and bags of snow about. GREAT NEWS!! Old Joe is pushing towards us.
23 January 1945
Tuesday. Cold but the snow is hard. Old Joe is coming on and we can hear the guns. Great excitement - sure sounds great.
24 January 1945
Wednesday. Still freezing. Old Joe is still doing his stuff. We have no connections with Lamsdorf. Rumoured the Ruskes are there. Great excitement.
25 January 1945
Still freezing. Joe is not far away. Loads of evacuees coming through this village. Gee it is a great feeling to think we might be free in a few days. Third of a Red Cross parcel per man and 75 cigarettes came up.
26 January 1945
Friday. Snowing and very cold. We can hear old Joes guns.
27 January 1945
Saturday. Very cold and loads of snow. Nobody to go to work. Have to stay in and clean the larger up. We are all a little excited and getting everything in order for a quick move.
28 January 1945
Sunday. Very cold 12 degrees below. We can still hear the guns.
29 January 1945
Monday. Damned cold 15 below, were told it was 23 below during nights.
30 January 1945
Tuesday. Not quite so cold today but the news is grand and that helps us not to think about being hungry.
31 January 1945
Wednesday. We are continuing on with our work as per usual. Numbers of our chaps have been seen on the road not far from here and we guess our turn is not far away as we can hear pretty heavy gun fire now. Issued with 4 cigarettes per man - that is the last.
1 February 1945
Thursday. Much warmer and snow and ice has started to thaw. Very nice I must say. Numbers of POW passed through this village today. Our chaps, Russians, Serbs (?). some had been on the road for ten days. Say Joe is travelling as fast as them. Any sick **** that cant carry on are in the villages but **** get a bit of feed.
2 February 1945
Friday. Snow is still thawing. We have four days rations of bread in the larger but no news about moving yet.
3 February 1945
Saturday. Snow is still thawing and is much warmer now. The guns are banging away "GOOD O". All a bit hungry and nothing to smoke but as long as old Joe keeps coming that matters not. Played bridge in the evening.
4 February 1945
Sunday. Still thawing and the guns are having big licks. Stayed in bed until mid-day with a good book. Ian gave me toast and coffee in bed.
5 February 1945
Monday. Still thawing and you can see the earth in most places now. The boys with the guns are still having a lot of fun. News is grand but it is all to slow.
6 February 1945
Tuesday. A little rain and reasonably mild. The sound of the guns is the only good thing we hear these days now that we get no mail or parcels but we can take it. Just read a book of moderately unusual type "This above all" Eric Knight Part II.
7 February 1945
Wednesday. Frost during the night and very slippery on the roads. Mild and thaw during the day. The sound of the front which is only 40km away is something terrific today. The civvies here have notice ****** to leaving when they like.
8 February 1945
Thursday. Hope Babs having a good birthday and having a bit of cake for me. Gee I could certainly make short work of some B cake these days. Ole Joe is still doing his best to get here and we only hope we will not be evacuated, a little rain today and is still thawing. About 12 above.
9 February 1945
Friday. Still thawing and still hear the guns but they seem a little further away, I am still working on the saw. Cutting stones. Not much worry attached to it but damned monotonous and noisy.
10 February 1945
Saturday. Turned colder. Frost. Got up to go to work but several of the firms not working and I was one of the lucky ones. Ians off working and Dons off crook. Got bathed and cleaned up. Played bridge in evening.
11 February 1945
Sunday. Little snow during the night. Joe has been pushed back a bit in this sector but we believe things are ok elsewhere. I went and had a walk around with some of the chaps. Played soccer in the afternoon. Everybody browned off and all a bit hungry. I do a lot of reading these days. Still no news of Red Cross or mail.
12 February 1945
Monday. A little snow during the night and has turned much colder. Still working on the saw.
13 February 1945
Tuesday. Snowed during the night but thawed during the day heavy gun fire or bombing at intervals during the day. A swag of police who have been billeted in this village for a few days (from *aKarkrau). All left today.
14 February 1945
Wednesday. Rainy warmer. Ian went to Freiwaulder. Turned out nice and sunny at noon. Ian never got back till evening and sure looked miserable. Poor fellow had **** **** ***** all day.
15 February 1945
Thursday. Rainy. We still hear the guns but not so close.
16 February 1945
Friday. Frost. Still on the saw. Have another big cut in our rations so things are not too bright believe our camp might shift now.
17 February 1945
Saturday. Frost at night and a nice day. Went to work in the morning sorting out some coal and stowing it away. Boss came across with a bit of grub for us. Guns are sure rumbling away today and much closer.
18 February 1945
Sunday. Frost and very cold in larger. Guns sound very close. The windows rattle at times with the destination. Roll on old Joe he cant come too fast.
19 February 1945
Monday. Frost very cold in larger at night. Have very little fuel. Nice sunny day. Still work on the saw.
20 February 1945
Tuesday. Frost at night but glorious day. When going to work the glass reads zero and at midday 13 degrees above. We only hear the guns now and then and at a distance. We believe old Joe has gone right passed us. Still no parcels or mail forthcoming. We are all pulling in our belts a bit now.
21 February 1945
Wednesday. Frost at night but another glorious day. That is weather only for us guys - but we don't mind as long as they finish this damned war. Bags of Air raid warnings go off and on for sometime now but working inside with the rowdy saws I very seldom hear them.
22 February 1945
Thursday. Snow during the night. Overcast during the day. We are all still waiting for something big to happen on the western front.
23 February 1945
Friday. Rain turned to a little sleet in the evening. We certainly hope this damned war will finish or some food parcels mail and etc. will turn up.
24 February 1945
Saturday. Rainy. Finished working on the saw and did a bit of cleaning up Most of the steam run factories are closing down and cleaning their boilers and etc out. Have nearly finished all their coal and can not get any more. Heard that Turkey are in the war. Lets hope they get on and finish it now.
25 February 1945
Sunday, cloudy and fresh. We had three soups today one at 10 -1 -5. Very nice. A good bit of air activity and can hear much artillery fire. Roll on Joe.
26 February 1945
Monday. Showery and overcast. Just doing odd jobs at work and we have quite a bit of rumbling now and again. Had a good read of some letters that I have kept yesterday and were right back home.
27 February 1945
Tuesday. Showery and overcast. Just doing odd jobs at work and I certainly do damned little.
28 February 1945
Wednesday. Overcast and fairly mild. Working on the boiler in the morning and loading dirt in the afternoon. Russian prisoners taking it away. Dropped a **** with some ****.
1 March 1945
Overcast but colder. Still cleaning the steam boiler. Quite a number of our chaps on the road yesterday. Guess we will not belong now. Another cut in rations. We will sure be grey hounds soon. Bits of news we get is sure good. Don is having a bad time with his stomach – was taken home from work in the afternoon. Might go to Lagarreth (?).
2 March 1945
Snowed during the night and on and off during the day. Very cold wind also. Loading wagons of dirt most of the day but had a good bit of time off by the fire and finished a good book "Chantemorle". We do not hear of much doing on any of the fronts these days. A fair bit of air activity around this area although we seldom see them but hear them and the bombing.
3 March 1945
Saturday. Snowed fairly heavy during all day and damned cold. No work today so stayed in bed till pretty late. Everyone is very browned off. There is not much to look forward to these days but guess there is sure a good time coming. Played bridge in the evening but very cold. We have very little fuel.
4 March 1945
Sunday. A little snow during the morning and very cold during the night. Had a game of 500 in the evening. Had a look at my photos and read a few old letters. It always makes a chap feel good. Certainly would be grand to receive some news from home.
5 March 1945
Monday. Snow extremely cold during the night. Very cold wind and snow during the day. Still working on the boiler and loaded a bit of dirt. A bit of good news our chaps doing a bit on the west. Don got our cart for when we move.
6 March 1945
Tuesday. Heavy frost at night. Overcast in morning but sun came out later and not a bad day,. Had a few words with the boss here. I sort of get under their skin. Turned very cold and snow again in the evening.
6 March 1945
Wednesday. Very heavy snow during the night and in the morning but the sun came out nice and bright before midday. About 3.00pm were told to return to our larger as we were moving off and great excitement. Four chaps that had escaped off the train when Lamsdorf was been evacuated and cae to our larger. Got bathed packed up and ready to move in the morning.
7 March 1945
Thursday. Froze during the night and plenty of snow. Moved off at nine o'clock and horse drawn wagon took our kit to Dandbubil (?) station where we boarded a train at 11am. Snowing heavy and damned cold. Passed through Friwalda (?) and changed trains at Blunda. Very heavy snow through the hills, about 3 feet deep. Carried on through the Protectorate to Prag where we were given a drink of coffee and had a wash and a bit of sleep in a RC room.
8 March 1945
Friday. Left Praug about 9am through Pilzen where we saw results of bombing and some had aiming on the Skoda works. Not so much snow now and weather is getting better the further we travel west.
9 March 1945
Saturday. Arrived at Wailo (?) and walked through the town to Stalag 138 but they had no room for us there and said we were to move on to Hammelberg. We were given third of American RC parcel before leaving which sure raised our spirits. Walked back to the station when an air raid warning went but saw no planes. Were given soup by German RC and then boarded a train again. There are 29 of us in the party and have few guards. Civvies are put out of the train to make room for us. We travelled to Nurnburg and what a mess everything was just a wreck. Caught another train and went to Farth and stayed a while in an air raid shelter. Then decided to take us back to Nurnburg where we slept in an air raid shelter.
10 March 1945
Sunday. Weather is much better here, no snow. Caught a train to Wurzburg. Cold travelling windows in the train are broken. Wreckage from the bombing is evident everywhere. Something one will never forget. Caught another train to Hammelberg. Jerry soldiers on station were heard to say they should do us in. No wonder I guess with all this mess about. Arrived at Hammelburg late at night and had a good walk to Stalag 13 and when after a lot of running around we were put in a room and got a little sleep.
11 March 1945
Monday. Cold at night but a nice day. A big Stalag here. A lot of old Lamsdorf fellows here also Yanks and other squaddies of all nations. Was talking to a Yank who was taken prisoner only two and half months ago. We were searched and re-registered and finally put in a barrack on the floor. No issue of blankets or sweet F.A. no Red Cross here we are told. Yanks look very poor on it. Camp is situated in a nice place on a hill and plenty of nice fresh air here if nothing else. News is grand and I feel pretty good.
13 March 1945
Tuesday. Cold at night but nice sunny day. Air raid warnings go very often here and we hear bags of bombing. I stayed in kip till midday when we received soup. Has been a stink up re our rations here and we are getting two soups a day now. 7 to a loy (?) one day and eight the next.
14 March 1945
Wednesday. Cold at night but a nice day. Ian and I volunteered to go on a wood party. Supposed to go at 8am but hanged around most of the day waiting for guards. Eventually went out in the afternoon and had a nice walk out into the woods. We are pretty weak on it. I am feeling a bit dizzy at times. Great excitement when on returning were issued with a half of American invalid parcel which contained 180 cigarettes and a good parcel. We hear heavy firing all day which must be the western front. Roll on.
15 March 1945
Thursday. Glorious day. Many air raid warnings and we believe an air bourne army was landed not far from here and all the thunder we hear is their front line. Had a bath in a bucket of cold water and got my washing done.
16 March 1945
Friday. Glorious day. The weather makes you feel good. To think only a week ago we were up to our necks on snow so we appreciate the change. Went to larger number 5 and saw Don and Fred.
17 March 1945
Saturday. Overcast little rain and cold. Heavy bombing last night. Today an overhead warning went and lasted for over three hours. We could hear the planes all the time but visibility is very poor today. Read most of morning. Have a very interesting book on NZ. A veterinary work.
18 March 1945
Sunday. Overcast and chilly. Bags of bombing and air activity. Went to C of E service at 5 pm and Holy Communion. A Yankee Padre and I enjoyed the service immensely. Straffing by our fighter planes near by was in progress during the service.
19 March 1945
Monday. Overcast and chilly. Volunteered to go out on wood party but was too late getting up to the gate but went for a hot shower later and it was sure a bit of alright. Very heavy bombing and much air activity all and all.
20 March 1945
Tuesday. Overcast and chilly. Went out on work party hoeing spinnage and a few greens for tea went alright. Jerry and co went out to a Kdo (?). . air raid sirens are continually going and see quite a number of our fighter planes.
21 March 1945
Wednesday. Overcast most of day but sun came out later. Went out to gardening in the morning but never even dirtied my hoe but got enough greens for a few feeds. Did a bit of mending in the afternoon. Many air raids and we hear the artillery from the front continuously.
22 March 1945
Thursday. Glorious day – cold at night. Much noise during the early hours of the morning. Went out to do a bit of gardening and sure did OK for veg. Still hear them blasting away the front and roll on. Great joy – Red Cross trucks came from Geneva and we are being issued with a half parcel and 25 cigs today we hope. Received the parcel and big eats.
23 March 1945
Friday. Glorious day. Went out to gardening job. Had to walk three kilometers to work and back to larger for lunch. Digging a garden in a deserted village we hear the guns at the front continuously now. Much more contented in mind now working outside and with a better crowd of chaps. Both Ian and I are picking up in condition again. We are very crowded in larger and sleeping on floor which is not much chop but guess we can take it till our boys arrive here.
24 March 1945
Saturday. Glorious day. Lovely sunny day and cool nights. Only worked to midday. That is we were out that long but I am sure an expert at dodging arberit now. Had a front seat view of our fighters straffing and they sure looked good. Did washing in a bucket both of us. We can only get to showers once in a while now and I sure miss them. Soap position is sure critical now. Swiss Red Cross rep visited larger and they promised to do their best for us.
26 March 1945
Sunday. Another glorious sunny day. Did not get up till late. Enjoyed my first sun bathing of the season. Drew a ticket to go to a picture show but when the time came we were chased into the barracks and double guards were put on and we were told no reason why. An all clear siren went but were only out for a little while and were chased in again. Jerry certainly has a scare on.
27 March 1945
Monday. Overcast. Went out gardening in morning. Enormous amount of air activity and artillery fire. Only went out in the afternoon to bring our tools home and did a bit of alright for eats. Had a grandstand view of the bombing of Egmunden and saw a swag of heavies and fighters. Jerry still has scare. Double guards and etc.
28 March 1945
Tuesday. Overcast and cloudy. Alert warning on. Were told no work so did not arise till late. Then saw many RX wagons followed by Jerry squaddies on the run. Told to pack and be ready to move. Great excitement. Old Paton not far away. Evacuated Stalag late in the afternoon. Gee it was hard running away from him. Were quite near the front line when pulling out and saw a plane shot down. Crew bailed out OK. Most of Stalag were issued with parcels but we were not. Old tab we would get them on the road. Finished up by getting a tin of M & V and half tin of marg and 40 cigs. German people very good (very much surprised) gave us bags of grub. Marched all night. Going tough.
29 March 1945
Wednesday. Overcast. Marched up till about 8am. Passed Swissfurt and were housed up in barns in a village. Ian and I got along OK with heavy packs, but going certainly tough. Many could not take it. It was heart breaking hearing the guns getting further away but never mind guess Old Patton will get us this time as we do not March fast - though did over 30km during night. We have bags of German guards with us, but are very lenient these days. Were billeted in farm buildings and I sure enjoyed a drink of milk from the old farmer. All the people think the end is near. Did OK for grub. 30 March 1945 Thursday. Cloudy and rainy and fairly cold. Started marching about 8 o'clock and did about 15km going through the out skirts of Swinefurt. Going pretty tough. Were billeted in a farm building during night in village. Soon went to sleep - damned tired.
30 March 1945
Friday. Overcast and rainy. Had a good kip and coffee in the morning and burly soup later. All people seem very friendly and guards continue to be good. I don’t know whether it is that they realize the end is so near or not. Started marching in the afternoon. We now march in line of route and heavily guarded each side of road. Did about 10km. A light rain most of time and were again billeted in farm buildings. A Russian KGB (?) and Polish woman working here and just OK. Soup up but usual bad organization and we missed out of this part.
31 March 1945
Cloudy and light rain. Got busy and cooked spuds. Not doing too bad. The guns seem much closer again. Roll on, were issued with half tin M & V and half tin of marg.
31 March 1945
Friday. Only marched 8km and put up again in farm barns. Many evacuees from Swinefurt here and not much extras. Sure isn’t much of away to spend good Friday.
1 April 1945
Saturday. Marched all day and did 28km and were billeted again in farm barns. Quite a tough day. Saw our fighter planes straff a town just after we had passed through it. We were put in same barn as Yanks and they sure are in a bad way.
2 April 1945
Sunday. Cloudy but nice day. Cold last night. Not moving today. Picked a lock and did OK for veg. The hens laid well here. The farmer a mean blighter but he paid for it. We were allowed to walk around the village in the day. The war must certainly be nearly finished - no one bothered us much. We were allowed to trade with civvies and sure did OK. Had a drink of beer in hotel also. Gee things a little different to what they use to be in this life. No issue of bread from Jerries today.
3 April 1945
Monday. Cloudy and a little windy. On the road again and did 16km. Ian and I had pretty heavy packs with spuds and bread but made the grade OK. Billeted in another farm building. A Yank fighter came over hedge hopping. Every village we go through the people gather in crowds to have a good look at us. 9 to a loaf of bread today (2kl loaf). Managed to get a few extras from civvies. Had a good walk around the town. The civvie who owns this farm has just done three months bunker for speaking out of turn.
4 April 1945
Tuesday. Overcast and had some heavy showers when on the road. Started marching about 7.30am and did 23 km. The last stages were a little tough. Were issued with 12 to a loaf today and one soup. Made a complaint but captain said what can he do? He cant get any more. Billeted in a small farm and farmer was very good. Cooked potatoes and gave us coffee to drink. Picked up a Yank colonel here who had escaped. Heard a lot of gun fire during night and a few air raid alarms here. Glad to get into my bed very tired. Managed to get in a bucket bath.
5 April 1945
Wednesday. Overcast cloudy and heavy rain during night. Bags of troops and civvies passing through the village during the night. Many foreign workers in this village. French Italians and many Polish women. On the road early and did 20 km. Summer time started yesterday. Our planes straffed a village we had just passed through. A great sight but we had a few anxious moments but we all waved at them as they circled overhead and they left us untouched. Pulled into a village that was full of Jerry troops and we took over the barn they were sleeping in. They all admit the end is near and some very fed up with it all.
6 April 1945
Thursday. Mums birthday. Overcast - little rain. No march today. Protest went in regards rations. Had walk around village. Found out I could still milk OK and sure had a good drink. Over a hundred Yanks joined us. One only a prisoner 3 days and a NZ 18 months ago. Our planes flying about all day. No opposition.
7 April 1945
Friday. Heavy rain during night. Stayed in kip till about eight and were told to get ready to march. Cold. Much straffing going on near. Did about 23 km and going was sure tough. The grub we got from Jerry is sweet F.A. Pulled into a small farm and kipped up and had poultry for tea and a good feed of leeks. A number of Polish prisoners joined us on the march.
8 April 1945
Saturday. Overcast and cold. Wet under foot. On the road about eight but had to hang round for good while as seemed to be a query as to where we go. Passed through Louf. Been bombed and many wounded Jerries about. Carried on to Leinberg where we put in a farm again. Pretty tight here and did not get much.
9 April 945
Sunday. Glorious day. No march. Stacks upon stacks of our bombers and fighters about - a great sight. So near to free men and yet so far. Managed to get washing done and bath. Issued last night with one fifth of English parcel and 8 cigs - a big help.
10 April 1945
Monday. Glorious sunny day. No march. Did fairly good trade and not doing so bad. Search in the evening re the farmer missing six bags of potatoes, rabbits and etc but finished up OK. Had a good tea - got to bed late but bombing and much transport moving. Did not get much rest. A bomb landed near enough to shake the barn badly.
11 April 1945
Tuesday. Glorious day. On the road again and did 16km. Very hot marching. Pulled up into a place called Berg. "And what a Berg". Pulled up on small farm in barn but people very poor. Guards much stricter but did OK. I had a bath in a fresh water creek and sure was good. Got to bed at dark and enjoyed a good sleep.
12 April 1945
Wednesday. Glorious day sunny and hot. On the road early and did 36km. Our German ration today was a cup of mint tea before leaving. A ladle of semolina at 9 o'clock pm. Bread issue of 9 to a 2 kilo loaf came up to late to be given out. Really a hard day and much complaining but I managed along OK and its nice to know a chap can still take it. We passed through Neumarkt during the day and saw much good work of our bombers. We were all out of this town when waves of heavy bombers came over and gave it the works. Had a grand view of it. It looked great but I feel sorry for any person underneath those planes. We were billeted on a farm again. People seem friendly enough to us and give us what they can.
13 April 1945
Thursday. Raining a little. No march and had a good sleep in. Got round the village and did just OK. Today eggs milk and flour. A prisoners dream. Just seemed to be walking round and eating all day.
13 April 1945
Overcast and a little rain. I have missed a day somewhere so two days 13th. On the road but only did 15m. Bad going hilly and wagons in front held us up. Pulled into a farm at Aberdorf and put up. Told no march in morning.
14 April 1945
Overcast but warm. Slept in till nearly 9am and were then told to be ready for the road by 9.30am. Can hear the guns again and saw three American double fuselage planes. Went about 32km. Passed through Regenberg. Were told going to Stalag there but we just went on and pulled up to a farm village Pua**od.
15 April 1945
Overcast but warm. No march and good days cooking. Roll on the end to this damned war. Had a bath. An Englishman died. He had been refused admission to two hospitals – said they were full up. Some guy left a hen half plucked around and big rucktions.
16 April 1945
Glorious day sunny and warm on the road but only did about 8km. Went across country and through bush. Pulled into Somerstadt and were again billeted in farm barn. Sure seeing a few Jerry farms. All very primitive and bad sanitary arrangements. Waves upon waves of our bombers and fighters went over and sure gave some joint a hammering. Lots of tinsel paper came down over us.
17 April 1945
Tuesday. Glorious day and very hot walking. Only did 15km. Passed a sign post which read 97km from Nurnberg and 96km from Munchen and 9km from Newtald () on Donau. Came up to the Danube and walked along it for a while and later pulled up into a farm and soon got my hand in doing a bit of milking. People on the farm seem very good and gave us swag of potatoes.
18 April 1945
Wednesday. Glorious day but came overcast later in the afternoon. No march. Farmer here gave us all some flour and more potatoes so are not feeling over hungry. A guard took us for a swim in the GREAT BLUE DANUBE. Very swift and cold but gee it was wonderful. Very heavy bombing last night and not far off the barn we were sleeping in shook something terrible. Got out of bed - the planes were flying over but could not see them. Waves upon waves of bombers passed over during the day and only fighters around later, we got quite a few patties and potato cakes cooked for when we take to the road. C*** Sullivan went to niustadt (?) to inquire about RC for us but no luck.
19 April 1945
Thursday. Overcast and a little cooler. No march. Numbers of our planes about. Our fighters were that low that we could distinguish the markings on the wings. Went for walk round with Jock but not much business. Village is full of Jerries. The Frau (Woman, wife) here gave us more spuds and put some fat in our soup - a big help. Gobbels spoke but we could not get a **** account of what he had to say. We hear Germany is now cut in half. Roll on.
20 April 1945
Friday. Glorious day. Adolfs birthday and our bombers and fighters sure gave him a present. They came over in countless hundreds and bombed and straffed all around us and did good work. The old farmers wife gave us another issue of flour and spuds. Very nice. No march and we are told the front is 25 to 30 miles from us. Had a nice sun bath. Told to be ready to move at any minute during night. Germans said they were obliged to make us British and USA troops on account of Geneva. Said they were leaving Russian French and etc behind. Just a lot of hooy I think.
21 April 1945
Saturday. Overcast and a little rain. On the road again and did about 18km. crossed the Danube. The bridge was mined and ready to blow up. Pulled into a pretty big farm and did OK for poultry and etc. Saw quite a bit of the Boys in Blue again. Certainly blowing this place to hell without opposition now.
22 April 1945
Sunday. Cold wet squally weather. On the road. Stopped about midday and we were all cold wet and damned miserable. When the great news we were receiving a RC issue, we recovered. Half English parcel and 25 cigs. What a difference it made to us. Things did not seem so bad. Saw our fighter planes diving onto a plane and as usual high volumes of smoke came up. Aka k was firing at them. The first time we have seen opposition for some time. Carried on with march and were met by some English Officers and told they had a cup of tea for us in the next village. When arriving in this village which was full of British Officers which were also on the road. Were given tea and cigarettes. Many NZ officers including Bricky Budd. One Div Com officer was very good to Ian and I and treated us well with smokes and etc. Told us how they were straffed on the road two days ago by our planes and 9 of them killed and 40 wounded. We continued on a little further and were billeted on in a farm barn after receiving an American invalid parcel per man from a Red Cross wagon. What a day and what eats. It was great seeing those officers and their confirmation that it "wont be long now". News is certainly grand.
23 April 1945
Monday. Very cold and overcast but got into the cowshed and had a hot bath. Spent most of the day brewing up and eating. Certainly is grand to have something tasty to eat. Italian POW working the farm here.
24 April 1945
Tuesday. Very heavy frost during night but not a bad day. Busy washing clothes and etc and still the crews big licks. No march. Doing quite OK for trade here and sure living OK at the moment.
25 April 1945
Wednesday. ANZAC Day. Cold night but nice day. No march. See many of our planes. Swags of bombers pass over they don’t seem to have any place to take us to. We are all placed into groups of fifty now.
26 April 1945
Thursday. Nice and sunny first then had a thunder storm and cleared up after. Washed my slacks and had cold legs running around in shorts all day. Still no news of moving all last night heavy artillery was firing and close enough to vibrate the buildings here.
27 April 1945
Friday. Cloudy sun in between and rain in evening. No march. Are painting X and POW on the bans that we are billeted in so the Yanks wont shell us. We hear their artillery pretty near now but not so many planes about. Issue of one English parcel and quarter of Invalid parcel, soup and 25 cigs. Just doing OK in grub line.
28 April 1945
Saturday. Raining all day and very muddy about the farm were told the war was finished, it had not quite sunk in when we were told that. The guy who had formed the new party had been shot. (Mussolini and his mistress shot by Italian partisans). Has been no let up on the firing on the front here and they are pretty close now. Did a bit of sun bathing. Had a visit from a Yank from Colorado and he sure gave us a laugh – his experiences on ranches. In the morning we had the pleasure of seeing Jerry troops on the run. They staggered along and sure seemed in a hurry. We could hear our tanks and could not believe my eyes when one shot in view and sMarchtly followed by others. Boy oh boy it was hard to believe but it went home when they waved to us and on their way. We ran up to them. Perhaps one of the happiest moments in my life and shook hands with the good old Yanks, we have heard their guns and Joes guns all the time for the passed five months and at last they reached us. One Yank gave me a huge box of cigars,. Returned to bed late but too excited to sleep.
29 April 1945
Sunday. Showery and chilly. Our guards were disarmed in the night and we were asked for volunteers to do guard duty. I went on from 3 to 5 am and damned cold. Bags of nice hot tea and 0 boy do we feel good. Great to have a rifle in your hands instead of being rounded about with one. Had a couple of hours sleep and Ian had a good breakfast ready. Had a walk around and got my self a new rifle. Many more tanks and infantry came through and all very good. Gave us quite a bit of stuff.
30 April 1945
Sunny later a little snow and then rain. Had a good walk round after loot. Swags of Hiny prisons coming through – a great joke. Sighted some armed Jerries and we went after them but lost them in the woods. In afternoon we walked to Mainberg. Met a Yank and billeted in a house with him. Nice clean sheets and bags of woman to wait on us. O boy are we happy. Sent cable to mum last night. We registered with the Yanks in evening and were told we might move off tomorrow.
1 May 1945
Tuesday. Rainy and overcast - fine in between times. Enjoyed a few hours sleep in the lush bed last night and the ladies of the house had tea ready for us early and we were down town to see about transport. Did a bit of looting first and just did OK. Rigger drivers (?) bought us to Regenberg and the town is sure bashed about. Many other ex POW here. Had to fill in forms again. Went for a walk to town with Jock and were invited to tea with some Yanks and were sure given a good time. They are good hearted guys.
2 May 1945
Wednesday. Cold and wet. Spent day roaming around seeing what we would pick up and not doing bad. We are in a group of 25 ready to move off by plane.
3 May 1945
Thursday. Weather fair. Some sixty planes left here today with ex POW. Had a look around the drome and were round the town again. Certainly grand to be free.
4 May 1945
Friday. Showery. We had to stand by ready for the next stage of our journey home. Were waiting all day but only seven planes came in had a very interesting talk with a Yankee doctor. We received USA army sea rations, two tins in the morning and again at night, very good grub.
5 May 1945
Saturday. Weather wet and cold. Bad flying weather. No planes came in. Did quite a bit of exploring round about. Ian Jock and I put up in a house at night just out of town and people were very good to us.
6 May 1945
Sunday. Weather showery. Increase in rations. Receiving 6 tins daily now. A British MO had given orders not to give us too much at first. That is why we only received the four tins daily. Planes started coming in about midday so had to hang around. Its forbidden for us to go looting in the town now. German civilians all coming back now. Had a great laugh watching some Hiny prisoners arbeiting. Did a bit more investigating after lunch. Slept in a hineys house. Nice clean sheets and waited on like a lord. Just OK.
7 May 1945
Monday. Nice bright sunny day and were told we would be on our way. Went to the airdrome and swags of planes came and dumped petrol. A lot took wounded away and our wait there was in vain. Had a walk around the hospital on the drome and we certainly should not complain when you see the way some of the guys were knocked about. Are told now the war here is finished now but it does not seem to make any difference when you are still in the area and you see nothing but ruin. Listened to a radio and heard that the war was finished and tomorrow was victory day. No rations came up this evening. What a way to spend the finish of the war. Managed to get a little grub though and slept in the old Messersllmet factory.
8 May 1945
Tuesday. Glorious day. Planes started to arrive on drome and we moved down there and were taken off by a twin engined American plane and flow to Nuins(?) in France. Journey took two and half hours. Saw the ruin caused by the war all the way. Germany is sure in a mess. On arrival at Muins(?) met John Dill and Bill and both very pleased to see boarded trucks and went through the town to a camp. French gave us a great welcome. The mademoiselles sure look alright. A Yank officer gave us the low down said we would be here a couple of days and flown to England in four engine jobs. It is sinking home now that the war is finished. The Yanks had a war of their own last night celebrating it. The yanks sure fed us well. Went to a cinema in the evening (Judy Garland) and a walk after and slept in open as all tents were full.
9 May 1945
Wednesday. A glorious day. Up early and a good breakfast. Were taken in Yank trucks about 30 miles to a drome and about midday we boarded a Lancaster 4 engine bomber (24 ina Plane). All Canadian crew and off to England. Were given a packet of sweets and PK on boarding. I had a good look at France and a great view coming over the channel and what a mess the French coast was inj. Sighted England. Landed near Reading. Were dusted and Waaps waited on us and several tea and cakes then off to Wotton-on ? an English camp. Lovely bath and clean up and went to a cinema in the evening.
10 May 1945
Thursday. A little rain but nice in between times. Were paid clothed and etc and moved off by truck at two for Alysbury. Boarded train there to London. Truck through London to Margate. Gee London sure is great and country looks wonderful all about, Everybody treats us so great. Sent cable to mum. Were given food on arriving Margate and were put up in Hotel Northcote and just doing OK. Ian and I went for a walk after tea. Been a little bombing here but not a patch on the mess Germany is in.
When they sound the last all clear
We've got our troubles and we’ve got our cares
But as long as we keep smiling through-
There come a day when the clouds roll away
And the sun will be shining a new
When they sound the last all clear
How happy my darling will be, when they turn up the lights
And the dark lonely nights are only a memory
Never more will we be apart, always together sweet heart
For the peace bells will ring and the whole world will sing
When they sound the last all clear
Anon - From HH Woods POW diary
My thanks to Don Woods for this account.
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