Cyril Blackmore – diary

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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 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.

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