6.0 LAMSDORF POW CAMP STALAG VIIIB
Before leaving Lamsdorf station for the camp we were given a short break out of the truck – we raided a turnip patch which was very nice. The march to the camp wasn’t far, but far enough for the condition we were in. Lined up outside the gates and given another security search of our personal gear – all of my Yugoslav clothes were taken off me also my note book (diary) which the guard said had to be censored – just inside the gate, those of us who had money changed it for Lagergold – we were taken along to our barracks and picked our beds. Noel and I got together – lunch was a good thick tasty stew and later on a bread issue- fifth of a loaf per man – margarine and jam and drink of tea – also received an International Red Cross parcel – one between four men, also 37 cigarettes each. We had a good tuck in – the parcel containing all sorts – sweets, fish, meat , cocoa, tea, jam, powdered milk, custard powder etc., drew another blanket and a mess tin – went to bed tired out – our first day in our new camp was over. We got the lowdown on working jobs, clothes issue, parcels etc, from some of the older hands – most of the DUNKIRK boys are here, also RAF boys who have been shot down. We heard some good news from a RAF pilot who had had dinner in England on Tuesday, prisoner Wednesday- and dined in Lamsdorf POW camp on Thursday.
Friday Oct 10th
Tea for breakfast, spuds at 11 – stew 11.30 – bread, margarine and jam and cheese in afternoon – tea at 5-also another Red Cross parcel which Noel and I shared having won the toss – Scottish parcel and it was real good. I didn’t sleep the whole night – probably after the effects of the train trip or excitement of new camp- and it’s – to us after Salonika and Crete – luxuries. We are divided into sections of 20 men –Sergeant in charge and drawing and issuing of rations is run fairly and smoothly – some boys were issued with razors. Heard the camp jazz orchestra practising – real hot. I believe it contains members from some of the leading bands in England – we are not allowed to leave our compound yet as we haven’t been deloused.at the first chance I get I will certainly give the band the once over.
Saturday Oct 11th
Beautiful sleep last night = no Red Cross issue today – boys disappointed ever since we have been here it has been raining. We are making the most of our parcels – we have ovens going in the huts – fuel is a bit short at present but we manage to do some cooking. Noel and I cooked a tasty dish – mashed our spuds and mixed up pour M&V with a grating of cheese on top – usual issues of stew, tea, bread, etc.
Sunday Oct 12th
Didn’t sleep so well last night – sleet this morning and very cold – medical foot inspection. Red Cross issue – the other two boys in our four collected today. The most important thing we were given a letter card to write home – Noel and I had a real Sunday feed today – we mashed our spuds, chopped up a gherkin issue, dissolved some Bovril and chopped up fine cheese on top – also a custard made of custard powder and powered milk – the oven wasn’t yet hot enough but boy they tasted good – also received an issue of 10 cigarettes per man.
Monday Oct 13th
Usual food issues. Noel and I cooked our spuds and vegies from lunch – also our porridge which came out very well – very cold.
Thursday Oct 14th
Duty section today – unlucky in no double ups. Red Cross issue held over until tomorrow – names called out for delousing in the morning – took our clothing card tonight – cigarette issue – we made a cheese dish, also a bread ,butter and treacle pudding with milk powder dissolved in it – it was marvellous
Wed. Oct 15th
Deloused in the morning and a hot shower – left our barracks in afternoon with all our gear – inspected by doctors as fit – marched to new barracks where we are to be outfitted with warm clothes and later to be drafted out on a permanent job – no Red Cross issue for us again today as we haven’t had time to collect it.
Thursday Oct 16th
Busy day – received our clothing issue –warm underwear – new boots – clogs – sox – battle dress trousers – on duty party today – plenty of double ups – received Red Cross parcel – one per man. Noel and I share ours to give each other a variety – wok parties made up.
Friday Oct 17
Usual food rations – parties made up
Saturday Oct 18th
Duty section again – good double up of spuds and stew – raining – called out for a party of 12 men to leave next week.
Sunday Oct 19th
In permanent duty party – made a hash of spuds, veges and peas and M&V – wrote two cards home today –very cold – did a lot of sewing.
Monday Oct 2th
Orders to leave camp in the morning for new job – drew ticket for concert – jolly good.
Tuesday Oct 21st
Up at 3.30am and packed – handed in our blankets and mess tins – drew two Red Cross parcels and 100 fags – marched along tot he guard room where we were searched then off to the station – put into cattle trucks – 40 men to a truck – after a lot of shunting up and down the line we eventually arrive through BRESLAV and then to SCMOLZ where we marched to PETERSWEILER* arriving at the sugar beet factory at 10pm – new barracks and a hot stew waiting for us. *Working Party E303
Wed Oct 22nd
Up at 5am – porridge for breakfast- and quite good. Landed a job at station loading schnitzel ( beef) into wagon – rotten dusty and heavy job – good stew for tea.
Thursday Oct 23rd
New job today washing and taking samples of sugar beet and loading it onto a wagon- work comes in spasms and very heavy lifting.
Friday Oct 24th
Same job as yesterday – getting more used to it now.
Sat Oct 25th to Monday Nov 3rd
Knocked off early Sat afternoon – no work on our job on Sunday – slept in morning and did sewing in afternoon – wrote letter card home to Doreen – work all the week – snowed in the night , also one morning – beet carts being held up owing to the weather – makes our job easy. One of our boys hit a Jerry – swung in self defence and was put in lockup – still there. Three more boys went back to Lamsdorf today – making fourteen all told now.
Nov 4th – Nov 23rd ( Sunday )
We have had a very busy time –the sugar beet coming in in large quantities – working sometimes up to seven at night – one night we walked out at 7 – nothing said – working all day Saturday and Sunday morning -although today we have the full day off .Red Cross parcels and cigarettes coming as usual. Pay day yesterday – I received 16 ½ marks for 11 days work. We heard that the Russians had bombed Breslau causing a bit of damage and killing about 7 people – according to what we hear from some of the Jerries the blockade has effected quite a lot of their foodstuffs – some of the boys have received letters from home already . We expect ours about Xmas. The Aussie sergeant-major in charge of us was sent back to camp and we have a Tommy sergeant in charge –a very decent fellow.
Monday 24th Nov – Sunday Jan 4 -1942
Plenty of work. Sugar beet season in full swing – then a full 30 men were sent to another job – the gas works. We have received three pays no and have been able to buy odds and ends from Schmidt and Brislau. We heard the bad news that Japan and America were at war. Xmas dinner was spuds, piece of meat and custard. A very quiet time New Years Eve. We had to make our own fun – snow fights and water fights inside our barracks causing a riot. At twelve we all sang Auld Lang Syne and Community songs. Heavy fall of snow over Xmas. Now the beet is finished and another batch of men are to be sent away – we have new guards relieving the old ones and the story is that they are going to the Russian front. I received a letter on Dec 14th from Doreen and I was excited.
Monday Jan 5th to Sunday Jan 25
Not so busy now – works closed down – maintenance of machinery. Packs have run out and we are patiently waiting for more to arrive – have taken the belt in a bit . a couple of guards took a party of us for a walk around the district one Sunday – saw the German autobahn road – passed through some small villages built in the quaint style of Europe –water pipes all frozen up. Plenty of rumours going around about the war – especially Japan.