Tom Whitehead's Wartime log for British prisoners

BWhiteheadTWhiteheadTv1.pdf

Title

Tom Whitehead's Wartime log for British prisoners

Description

Belonging to Sergeant Tom Whitehead, B.P.O.W. 1051, Stalag Luft 6. Contains newspaper cutting with news of Tom Whitehead as prisoner of war. Main dates of events and locations from shoot down to liberation. Includes a poem 'Joe', cartoon, diet sheet, words by Churchill as prisoner of war, list of his postings to RAF Stations, outline map of New Zealand, camp money, poem 'captain of the boat wot takes us home', photographs, newspaper cutting on Sergeant E Molyneux, addresses in England, newspaper cutting concerning Squadron Leader Leonard Trent Victoria Cross. Continues with diary of events from 6 March 1945 to 8 April 1945 gives details of camp and conditions with reduced rations at Stalag 357, Goes on to describe march to Hamburg including being strafed by own allied aircraft.

Creator

Date

1943
1944
1945

Language

Format

Cover and 35 double page handwritten booklet

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Contributor

Identifier

BWhiteheadTWhiteheadTv1

Transcription

A WARTIME

LOG

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Is Now Prisoner

Mr. and Mrs. J. Whitehead of Jaum Fields Farm, Littlemoss, who [missing words] after. He also states he is in good health. Sgt. Whitehead volunteered for the [missing words] received word some time ago that their son, Sergt. Air Gunr. Tom Whitehead R.A.F. was missing, received a letter from their son yesterday morning stating that he was a prisoner of war in Germany and being well looked [missing words] R.A.F. in October, 1941. On leaving school he was employed at Messrs. Baxendales Furnishing Co. but later he took up farm work with Mr. Thacker, of Ashton.

[Photograph of man in uniform] Sgt. T. Whitehead

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[Boxed] A WARTIME LOG

FOR

BRITISH PRISONERS

Gift from

THE WAR PRISONERS’ AID OF THE Y.M.C.A.

37, Quai Wilson

GENEVA – SWITZERLAND [/boxed]

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[Boxed] THIS BOOK BELONGS TO

SGT TOM WHITEHEAD

B.P.O.W. 1051

STALAG LUFT SIX

YMCA symbol [/boxed]

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[Boxed] CONTENTS Page

WHARE I went AND LAFT … 1

JOE 4

DIUT ON RETUNS – 9

DINNER – 11

WORDS BY Winston Churchill. 14

LAND OF MILK AND HONEY – 42

CAMP MONEY – 51

THE CAPTAIN UV THE BOAT WOT TAKES US HOME – 52

[Deleted] EXNG [/deleted] English lad Names – 55

CANADA - 59

NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIA 63

DER JAG. MARCH 5. 70.

MARCH 6. 76

MARCH 7. 8. 9. 77, 78, 79

GOOD FRIDAY – 86.

APRIL 6th 90. [/boxed]

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1

SHOT DOWN DUISBURG ARIL 8th 1943,

ARRIVED DULAG LUFT FRANKFURT APRIL 11th 1943,

LEFT DULAG LUFT FRANKFURT APRIL 20th 1943

ARRIVED STALAG LUFT 1 BARTH APRIL 24th 1943.

LEFT STALAG LUFT 1 BARTH OCT 27th 1943.

ARRIVED STALAG LUFT 6 HEYDEKRUG NOV 1st 43

LEFT STALAG LUFT 6 HEYDEKRUG JULY 16th 1944

ARRIVED STALAG 357 THORN JULY 17th 1944

LEFT STALAG 357 THORN AUG 9th 1944

ARRIVED FALLINGBOSTEL AUG 11th 1944

MARCHED FROM STALAG 357 APRIL 6 1945

[Underlined] LIBERATED [/underlined] APRIL 18 1945

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4

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“JOE” 5

On – on, the army rolled on,
Dawn – dawn, beautiful dawn,
Revealing – revealing, always revealing,
Healing – healing, deaths wounds healing.

Country – country, desolate country,
Torn – torn, conquerers crossing,
Gleefull – gleefull, yet ever manly,
Waves – waves, bodies are tossing.

Advance – advance, measured advance,
Close in – close in, give no chance.
Slash them – slash them, closer lash them,
Border – border, smashed in order.

The bug – the bug, the soil we hug,
Gunfire – gunfire, aircraft climbing higher,
Take & town – for the crown,
Red earth – red earth, once was brown.

Leningrad, Stalingrad, tremendous struggle,
Then swinging forward to german soil,
Millions of dead – in single – in mass,
Berlin in sight – so ends this toil.

On – on, Joe comes on,
This we build our hopes upon,
Freedom by soviet men,
To see our distant home again.

Thorn – Poland, 1944.

Butch

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6

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7

[Cartoon of a bird in an aircraft]

E.J. MARTIN

STALAG 357.

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8

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Diet on Return 9

Diet recommended by M.O.

This is not necessary to be adhered to, but is to act as a guide.

7 a.m.

Coffee and milk – no sugar. Toast white bread

[Underlined] Breakfast [/underlined]

Porridge or other cereals with milk and sugar. (1 pint.)

Eggs, boiled poached or scrambled. Brown bread and butter.

Marmalade, jam, beverage as prefd.

[Underlined] 10 to 11 AM. [/underlined]

Custard or milk pudding. Ovaltine – cake or biscuits.

[Underlined] Lunch [/underlined]

Fish boiled or stewed. or cold meat – veg salad. tomatoes if available – brown bread.

Custard or milk pudding – beverage as preferred.

[Underlined] 3 to 4 pm [/underlined]

Milk or Ovaltine etc. biscuits cake and fruit

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10

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11

[Underlined] Dinner [/underlined]

2 to 3 Potatoes boiled. 2 to 3 ozs meat grilled [deleted] or [/deleted] boiled veg including onions

[Underlined] Dessert [/underlined] Coffee brown bread, butter

[Underlined] Supper [/underlined] Cocoa biscuits and cheese.

Also as much fruit and chocolate as can be obtained fried food is not recommended for the first fortnight. It should be understood that food should not be taken in undue quantities or gorged. The times stated should not be strictly adhered to but the time between food should be as long as possible

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14

It is a melancho compassion. You must obey his orders. Await his pleasure, possess your soul in patience. The days are very long the hours crawl by like paralyzed [sic] centipedes.

Moreover the whole atmosphere of prison, even the most easy and well run and regulated prison is odious.

Companions squabble over trifles, and get the least possible pleasures out of each others company, you feel a constant humiliation at being penned in by railings, and barbed wire, watched by armed men, and webbed about by a trough of regulations.

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15

THESE WORDS WERE WRITTEN BY

Winston Churchill

POW

British East Africa

1899.

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18

[Underlined] R.A.F. STATIONS [/underlined]

since 1941

R.A.F. PADGATE

10 S R.C BLACKPOOL

402 SQD WARMWELL DORSET

ACRC. LONDON

14 ITW BRIDLINGTON YORK

1 A.A.S MANBY. LINCS

11 OTU BASSINGBOURN

11 OTU WESCOTT OXON

428 SQDN DALTON YORKS

1 GRS DRIFFIELD YORKS

428 SQDN DALTON YORKS

[Underlined] GERMANY [/underlined]

SHOT DOWN 8-4-43

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19

[Underlined] LANDED BACK 24 APRIL 45 [/underlined]

WING BUCKS.

6 PRC COSFORD

109 PRC WITTERING NORTHANTS

24 MU STOKE HEATH SHROP.

8 S-TT WEETON LANCS

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42

[Map of North Island, New Zealand]

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43

[Map of South Island, New Zealand]

The Land of Milk and Honey.

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50

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51

VALUE

15 MARKS – 1 POUND.

[Two examples of currency]

CAMP MONEY

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52

[Underlined] THE CAPTAIN UV THE BOAT WOT TAKES US HOME [/underlined]

By PTE JOHN BURKE POW

Though I’ve never been no scholar
With no luvly stiff white collar
I’ve made me mind up – ere I go
A po-em – Sum’ll like it – others hate it
But I’m going to dedicate it
To the captain uv the boat wot takes us home

Now I’ve dreamt about this bloke
Like you often dreams o’ folk
Perfect strangers yet yer feels you know em
An’ the moment that I eyes im
Then I bet I recognise im
As the captain uv the boat wot takes us ‘ome

P’raps ees andsome like an actor
P’raps is dial would stop a tractor
P’raps e ‘asn’t got a air upon is dome
But the moment that I meets im
That’s ow I’m gonna greet im
The captain uv the boat wot takes us ome

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53

E might be gay and full o cheer
I might say “Sonny now yer ere lets cruise around
Where would you like to roam”
If he does I’ll tell him straight
Yer the captain yer the mate
Don’t mess about this ship to take me ome

I’ll obey his slighted wishes
Scrub his deck and wash ‘is dishes
As long as e steers across the foam
An at last when we sight shore
Then I’ll shake the blooming pore
Uv the captain uv the boat wot takes us ome.

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54

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[Photograph of mountain scenery]

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[Photograph of a bridge]

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Missing from Air Operations

Councillor and Mrs. G. L. Molyneux, of of 93, Newmarket – road, Waterloo, have been informed by the Air Ministry that their only son, Sergeant Keith Molyneux, is missing as a result of air operations. A keen sportsman, Sgt. Molyneux was well known for his interest in football which started when he was attending Christ Church School, Waterloo. There he played with the school team and was later chosen as a member of the Ashton Boys’ team on several occasions. He holds many cups and medals and had a trial with Bolton Wanderers. As a member of Christ Church Scouts, under (Mr. F. Leech as Scoutmaster) he attended many camps with the company. He was employed by Messrs. Stones, Ltd., Dukinfield, and in October, 1941, he joined the R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve. He has made many operational flights over Germany. He was also a keen attendant at Taunton Sunday School where he made many friends.

Councillor and Mrs. Molyneux have received many messages of sympathy and reassurance from their son’s friends and also from the chaplain of his station. The Rev. A. D. Johnson conducted a short prayer at their home for Sgt. Molyneux’s safety.

[Photograph of an airman] Sgt. K. Molyneux]

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55

[Vertically on page] England

C Price
The Homestead
College Lane
Woking Surrey

H. R Willis
42 Tedmarsh St
Reading Berks

T Darvill
28 Oxford Rd
Sidcup Kent

W. Frost
22B The Riddings
South Yardley
Birmingham 26.

G Semper
Midway
Ring Rd
Shadwell
Leeds

F Hocken
8 Agar Terrace
Bodmin
Cornwall

F Boyd
81 Bexley Lane
Sidcup

F Norris
3, Marathon Drive
Douglas,
Isle-of-Man

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56

E.J. MARTIN
57, SHREWSBURY RD
LONDON N.W. 10.

W A Leslie
58 Leadenhall St
Everton
Liverpool. 5

R Betteridge
101 Elsan Rd
Elsan Gosport
Hampshire

J D Palmer
15 Easter Hill Place
Tolcross
Glasgow

S. H Greaves
12 Carmelite Terrace
Kings Lynn
Norfolk

F DOWLMAN
1 PARK ST
WIGAN

D Baker
102 High St
Thame
Oxon

F Calvert
Lordsfield Cottages
Whittlebury
Towcester
Northants

[Deleted] R HOLLOWAY
47 CASSLAND RD
SOUTH HACKNEY
LONDON [deleted]

C Wayte
170 Portland Rd
Hucknall
Notts

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57

[Boxed] W NICHOLSON
2 MARBLE HILL PARK
TWICKENHAM
MIDDLESEX
[/boxed]

E Buckley
16 Birch Ave,
Hurstead
Rochdale
Lancs

Vernon (Taff) Gale
18 FREEMAN AVENUE
HAMPDEN PARK
NR EASTBORNE
SUSSEX.

G. S. Gold (Gaffer)
31, Murray Grove
London. N. 1.

Bob
30 Devonshire Rd
Palmers Green
London. N.

Jock Lee
30 Church St
Hemel Hempstead
Herts.

R Sluckey
83. Glens Road
Guildford
Surrey.

[Boxed] WAGSTAFF
BURNHAM RD
REDDISH
CHES [/boxed]

RG Saunders,
52 Boundary St,
Hulme,
Manchester.

[Boxed] 14503008
L/C Bootle K
MORTORS B SQD
15 Scottish [deleted] Div [/deleted] Recce Rgt
R.A.C.
B=L=A [/boxed]

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Bren Gallagher
C/o 81 Rosehill Terrace
Brighton (B 5051)

Phil Doherty
21 Fernside Ave
Winton
Bournemouth

M Megan
63 Burlington St
A-V-L

JOAN KNIGHT
63 LADBROOKE RD
ASHTON

[Boxed] J. R.
9 COY 7 Hut
THE DALE
CHESTER [/boxed]

[Boxed] J. INNES
15 SMITH. ST.
SPRATTON
NORTHAMPTON [/boxed]

[Boxed] M CLARKSON
BIRCH LANE
DUKINFIELD [/boxed]

Thelma Freeman
Highlands Rd
Lichfield
Fareham
Hants

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59

[Diagonally across page] [Underlined] Canada [/underlined]

S. H. Allison
90 Kolfrey Ave
Toronto

H. N. Richards,
49 Maple Ave,
Oakville,
Ontario.

R. M. Buckham
28 Glen Manor Drive
Toronto Ont

Mr I McPhee
Sautt St. Marie
Ont. Canada.

Zeke

AD. WHILE IN ENG.

Hyde Park.

A Whitteron
519 William David St
Maisonneuve
Montreal

J. D. Fraser
Suite 7. Stephenson Blk.
Saskatoon, Sask.

N. W. Radin
R.R.2#
Clovendale,
B.C.

Murray Pratt
937 North Drive
Ft Garry Wpg
Canada

Miss M Warburton
176 Wellesley Cres
Toronto

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62

V.C. Said “I Bomb – Whatever Happens”

BEFORE leaving for a daylight attack on Amsterdam power station in May, 1943, Sq-Ldr. Leonard Henry Trent, D.F.C., No. 487 (R.N.A.F.) Squadron Bomber Command told his deputy he was going over the target whatever happened.

Fifteen or 20 MEs dived incessantly on the Venturas – six of which were destroyed in four minutes. Two more soon went down in flames.

Finally Sq.-Ldr. Trent dropped his bombs on the target. The one remaining plane following him was shot down, his own plane was hit and broke up, and he and his navigator were made prisoners.

The V.C. is today awarded to Sq.-Ldr. Trent.

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63

[Diagonally across page] New Zealand & Australia

W. K Mawson
47 Albany St
Christchurch
N.Z

E. G. Brown
915 Albany Rd
Victoria Park
Perth Aust

JACK SMITH
C/O CHRIS BROWN
GLADSTONE RD
GISBORNE
NEW ZEALAND.

Dick McLaren
Auckland
North Island
NZ.

F Mandelson
26 Selwyn Ave
Napier
N.Z.

J. D. Sharp
81 Richmond St
Petone
Wellington N.Z.

Doug Shears
Timaru
N. Z.

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Der Tag March 5

Today March 5 1945 Starts the period of reduced german rations, and to commemorate this great day here is a summary of the past and a diary for the future. The camp is stalag 357 situated at Fallingbostel near Hannover in N.W. Germany. The district is heavily wooded and damp and the rain fall is ten times as bad as that ever experienced by the residents of Manchester. There are 8000 inmates at this so called holiday resort or “Morgue” whichever we call it approx 50% army and R.A.F. and the administration is rotten with disorganisation. The barracks are of brick each one containing 72 men in two-tier bunk. There has never been a [deleted] wood [/deleted] coal issue for the stoves, the only thing we get

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is a very small wood issue, the fires are inadequate, consequently the roof drips every minute of the day. The lighting system is that we call deadly oil lamps would do credit to these deutsch electricians, and during an air raid the lights go off at the main, and due to the fact that our comrades seem to have a rendezvous over here each evening we are invariably forced to retire to our beds in pitch darkness every evening about seven o’clock.

Now for a review of the main situation. There is very little mail coming into the camp, I have not seen any this year. The last cigarette parcel I received was on Christmas eve, when I recd. 200 Senior Service from Margaret, it was a very nice Christmas present.

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The last time I had a clothing parcel was the first week of February 1944 just 13 months ago, quite a while. Cigarettes are practically non-existent in the camp, and one never sees a dog end on the floor. Things in the smoke direction are grim, and make the camp unhappy on the whole.

The question of food in a very tricky one, until we came to this camp we always had a full Red Cross parcel per week, which was not too bad, a man could exist on it, plus the german rations, and feel fairly happy, play football occasionally, and keep fairly fit. Since we came here we have had approx 1/2 rations with a few gaps, but now the last

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month we have been without Red Cross parcels, living on our small reserves and “jerry” rations. These reserves being completely used up we are now “belting” on german rations. We were getting along on the most miserable existence when yesterday came the great blow out. Dr. Goebells [sic] announced the new cut in German rations. Our potatoes have been cut in half giving us about half a pound per day, our bread has been cut, as also every other commodity we are issued with. The prospects of us lasting the summer out on these rations looks very remote, nevertheless we shall see.

Now for the story of the beds the first sunday this year a german came into the biillet in

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the early morning saying that we all had to take our mattress’s outside where the german officer would inspect them and replace all the damaged and worn ones. This we knew to be a load of bullsh- as we say in the R.A.F. so he was promptly told what to do with his mattress check. On parade the truth became known, the German High Command had issued an order that we should lose all our tables, chairs and mattresses as a reprisal for the ill-treatment of german P.OW.s in camp 306 somewhere in Egypt. We were kept on the sports field all morning, by the usual business – like guards or “postens” as they say in german, whilst every other

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german took away our matress’es, tables, and forms. We were very annoyed at the time, and resolved to do the best we could we just put two mens bed boards on to one bed, and slept two in a pit from then to this day. I can assure my readers that since that day I have never lost a wink of sleep, and seeing that we have practically no food at all, why use a table, the only mistake we made was not burning the table before our hosts’ took them. Looking back on the whole thing we can laugh at their childishness.

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MARCH 6

Today the weather was not too bad – very damp and everyone was thoroughly cheesed off. I spent the whole day in bed, reading the finishing chapters of the “poisoned pen”.

Breakfast consisted of a cup of deutsch ersatz coffee, then a cup of Red & tea without sugar or milk at ten oclock, a pint of soup at dinner time consisting of swede and potatoes with another cup of tea, another cup of tea at 3 oclock and the soup and tea again at 4 oclock. All these were brought to my bed by Bobby who did the job admirably. At five oclock I was compelled to get up out of the pit so that we could be counted like a flock of sheep by our hosts. Supper at half past six consisted of still another cup of char with the days issue of bread, i.e. two slices of fairly thick toast

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and margarine, then to finish the day we climbed onto the bed, made it and at seven oclock, lo and behold the sirens went once again, compelling us to retire to our beds to imagine the great big meals we could be eating is only we were in blighty.

The highlight of the day came when it was announced that early this morning someone, nationality unknown, raided the cook house, pulling off a nice haul, which will entitle him to live comfortably for several days or perhaps weeks, good show we say so long as he doesn’t get caught.

March 7. Just the same as yesterday, only instead of spending the day in bed, I just wasted the whole miserable day while Bob hugged the blankets. I looked

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after the combines interests, and gave him his swede and potato soup. One sack of parcels arrived but our luck was out as usual.

[Underlined] March 8. [/underlined] Another damp day, so I stayed in the pit, had a read, and shivered in general all through the day. Roll call was in the billit [sic] at night so I was able to stay in bed until supper time, or half past six. Then I got up had my two slices of toast and tea, and just had time to shake the blankets when the sirens went, and out went the lights. Seem to be getting more accustomed to the rations now although our stomachs are yelling out for work all day long. By the way it is rumoured that there may be still a further cut in the

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rations, we ask what will they do next.

[Underlined] MARCH 9 [/underlined] A great day in the life of a kreigy, shower day. We had the first hot shower today since the 6th of January, it was very nice but not enough to get properly clean, only the top few layers of dirt came off. I guess it may be the last hot showers here. Todays German rations were two lots of potato and swede soup, a small piece of fresh cheese just enough for 1 slice of bread, about a 1/4 pound of Molasses (instead of jam) and we were able to get 2 1/2 slices of toast each which will be devoured for supper. No use trying to save any for breakfast. The spring sunshine came out for the first time and the birds could be heard singing, a very welcome sign. “Roll on Monty” is the wish of us all

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March 10. The weather is damp again and I stayed in bed all day. The menu was the same – two soups pretty weak ones at that, and 214 grammes of bread, issued with next weeks sugar ration, about 8 ounces, and next weeks meat that is just enough sausage for 1 meal, and a pretty small meal at that. I should say they’re fairly meagre.

Two prisoners have just arrived here, in a bad condition after having been marched all the way from Thorn in Poland without any food. They were on their way to Hamburg, but couldn’t just make the pace, so came into our hospital.

[Underlined] March 11 [/underlined] Sunday marks the end of the first week of the reduced rations, and with it came the news of still another cut. The lunch time soup was excellent, it could compare with a home made Pea

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soup. It was the only decent soup of the week, but it was worth waiting for! Evening we had the german [deleted] equal [/deleted] equivalent of rice pudding, it was just boiled barley, it is not such a bad substitute for rice, we just put sugar with it and it is very nice when one is hungry.

Here is the list of the weeks rations

14 pints of vegetable soup
1700 grammes of bread
1/4 lb sugar
160 grammes of margarine
1 meal of sausage meat
1/2 lb molasses.

A German officer has just left for Lubec to attempt to obtain Red Cross food for us. We have all got our fingers crossed.

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During the past few days six tents have been erected on the sports field, so it looks as if we can expect new “kriegies” in the near future. Yesterday bobby acquired two dog ends, and I caught him and “Goldie” rolling them in a sheet of the bible, it was the only paper available, and public opinion doesn’t matter here.

[Underlined] March 14 [/underlined] Today big things have happened, the weather is lovely, and the german officer has arrived back from Lubec brining with him 200 American food parcels, and enough cigarettes to issue each man with six each. I wish I could explain what it feels like to be without a smoke for two months any how the feeling towards one another has altered 100%

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The food was divided 20 to a parcel, it was only a small portion, but very acceptable, with a promise of more to come in the near future. It seems disgusting to think that food comes all the way from America to Lubec and then it is kept there through lack of transport, and here we are only 60 miles away living on rations that would not keep a decent sized dog alive. We are looking forward to the future now, a little more hopefull [sic]. Bobby had a letter yesterday, first one for four months, lucky devil. We changed 4 ozs of tea today for 3 lbs of bread, we no sooner had the bread, than the marg was on the table, and Bob, Zeke and Goldie and myself “killed it”

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The word kills is one of the most common expressions, when we get our rations, we very seldom allow anything to lay around, we just get them and bang its gone. It makes no difference what it is, it all goes the same way, we cannot even save a slice of bread for breakfast. Our motto is eat when you can and never mind the future, the same with cigarettes. Bobby has just been promoted to Warrant Officer, so I expect mine will be coming through shortly.

It is now MARCH 21 The first day of spring is lovely, the sun is quite strong, and with a bit of imagination it feels good to be in spring. There is no food in the camp and we are really getting weak, this food

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is good enough to keep us alive, and that is about all. We are hungry and its no joke, and without a smoke it is really grim. We are backing on Monty to do his stuff now. There is still no chance of getting food from Lubec, only 60 miles away our camp has got 22,000 food parcels there and its impossible to get transport the last few miles. The boys we left behind at Ledicrug have just arrived here after marching from a camp at Tichan near Danzig. They have had a terrible time which can only be told by the boys themselves. Most have suffered from bayonet wounds, some serious, others not so bad.

[Underlined] MARCH 27 [/underlined]

Our Camp Leader, yesterday

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managed to persuade the hosts to transport him to Lubec in a lorry and at night our popular “Dixie Deans” one of the most famous camp leaders in Germany drove back into the camp with enough cigarettes for 48 per man, a great deal. He always has been popular, and needless to say he has been in some very awkward positions. After all this time we can once again smoke. It seems funny to see a chap smoke a cigarette and go dizzy, but its true. The best bit of the day is that is will only be a couple of days and we shall have some food here, two waggons having already left Lubec.

GOOD FRIDAY.

Today has been the happiest day of our lives, firstly we are counting the days to the end, and then

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secondly the food has arrived this morning. We have got to a stage where, a slow stroll round the camp at night, a distance of less that a mile is as much as any man on the camp can manage, it is pitiful to see the chaps trying to drag their weary bodies round the camp.

The parcels are new Canadian Red Cross ones, and it makes us englishmen feel ashamed of our own British Red + when we compare the parcels, the english ones are a disgrace to send out to us. They are the same weight but the british stuff is such poor quality the meat roll being the worst I have ever been expected to eat.

Here is a list of the Contents of a canadian parcel

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1 – 16oz tin Klim milk powder
1 12 oz Bully
2 – 12 oz Spam meat roll
1 8 oz Best Butter
1 4 oz Cheese
2 tins dehydrated apples (4 pints sauce)
1/2 lb sugar
6 oz Coffee
5 oz best Milk Chocolate
8 oz Quick Quaker Oats
1 large pkt biscuits
1 lb raisins
1 lb best strawberry jam

Each man recd 1/2 each and we are looking forward to the end of the war quite happily, with a little more strength in our bodies. We give it three days now.

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Last night an aircraft kept up a regular patrol near the camp and then dropped a lovely cookie near the camp, and were we happy. A few of the boys had mail from home yesterday, lucky chaps, needless to say it was at least six months old.

The food has all gone now, the day is April 3 we got stuck in and everyone can feel the benefit even though it was only a good days food. The cigs have run out but as things are in the area these days we are happy, and looking forward to seeing the white cliffs of Dover very shortly.

We are all planning the great leave now, and what a time we are going to have.

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[Underlined] APRIL 6 [/underlined] Early this morning we got the news that we are to move at 8 PM however we are not too pleased to hear that we march to “some joint”, even the germans don’t know where it is. All the Red Cross invalid parcels are distributed and we all got stuck in, “none for the road” we all say. We made a lovely big porridge for the four of us, 1 tin condensed milk, 1/2 lb oats, 1 tin creamed rice, and a pint jelly, lots of sugar, and what a meal. The four of us each had 1 cup of Ovaltine out of a tin so you can guess the strength of that one. We ate up all our food which was a lot, and well, we know that the vitamins would do us well. The Red + food that we have had this last few days has already done us good and we feel stronger, by far now. By the time we got out of the camp we felt a bit cheesed. I left nearly all my kit behind taking with me, two good blankets and a small box 12” x 8”

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with my possessions in it. Our travelling rations were 1 loaf and 2 1/4 lb marg. Our guards seem to be all old men with all their kit so were happy. The camp was soon left behind and we headed east at a slow pace, dusk came and we were still marching, then darkness came. By this time the guards were getting tired some of them even couldn’t go any further, so they dropped out one by one, it can be imagined what things were like, we were going through very wooded country, and believe me the boys were really jumping out. We eventually reached a main road, a little scared cause there were lots of intruder aircraft knocking around bombing and machine gunning, when all of a sudden down came a Mosquito cannons and all, lucky for us it was late when we were spotted so he did a tight turn to come up the road at us and hit a tree and crashed about fifty yards from where we were on the ditch. It was a good job he did crash or we would have been killed

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by one of our own aircraft. Two bodies were pulled out the next day. All we said was, “Well, they shouldn’t have joined.” About a mile from the incident we were billetted for the night in a barn. This was what we were really in need of, so we just put straw on the floor and out with our blankets and slept. The next morning I was up early with Zeke, and we went after food, we got it how I shall not say here. By the way yesterday was bobs’ third wedding anniversary, all in the country. All the day we spent in eating and in one day we have eaten more than we would on camp rations in a fortnight, and for the first time in ages we felt full. So ends our second day.

[Underlined] APRIL 8 [/underlined] We left the barn at ten oclcok marking 7 Kilos’ to a wood where we were told we would sleep the night, we had another feed

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and got our bed ready, damp leaves for a mattress and the heavens for a ceiling. We had very little sleep. I might say, the aircraft were busy all night and we really welcomed the dawn. We had tea and roast potatoes and toast for breakfast then set out on the road once more.

[Underlined] APRIL 8 [/underlined]

As so it goes on we are kept on the march by day and all the food we get is a few potatoes at night, and if we get a chance to slip our guard we knock off eggs or anything handy.

This life went on until the 16 of April, a lot of the boys were ill about 50% escaped and on the 16 April along with five pals I stayed with a party of sick fellows.

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We were not really short of food ourselves, and for the last few days we had two unarmed guards for 150 prisoners. During the last two days we collected at least seven machine gun attacks from our own typhoons so you can imagine our feelings when the 11 th Armoured division came to the rescue on the 18 of April at five oclock in the afternoon on the outskirts of Luneburg. Just short of Hamburg.

[Underlined] Thats the end. [/underlined]

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Collection

Citation

T Whitehead, “Tom Whitehead's Wartime log for British prisoners,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 16, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17109.

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