Eric Sanger's prisoner of war logbook

MSangerEW125630-151104-01.pdf

Title

Eric Sanger's prisoner of war logbook
Wartime log

Description

Contains drawings, names and addresses of other prisoners, dairy of events on being shot down, his crew and diagram of Lancaster, poems, stories of life in camp, Lists of prisoners in his hut, aircraft they flew and when and where shot down. Diagram of Slatalg Luft 3, daily diaries of long walk and liberation/repatriation, German warning notice, barter prices for food and other items.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Contributor

Anne-Marie Watson

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.

Format

Forty page handwritten notebook with cover

Language

Identifier

MSangerEW125630-151104-01

Transcription

A WARTIME

LOG

[Page break]

[Blank page]

A WARTIME LOG

FOR

BRITISH PRISONERS

“The Moving Finger writes: and having writ
Moved on: nor all thy Piety or Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it”

Rubiyat of Omar Khayham.

Gift from

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

37 Quai Wilson

GENEVA SWITZERLAND

[Page break]

[Blank page]

Stalag Luft 3.

[Cartoon of a Duck in flying helmet behind bars] POW 202

“I Wanted Wings”

[Page break]

H. Williamson (“Willie”)
Chesterville,
Ont.
“Spit” (Swoop over France Feb. ’43)

A Mackay (“Wimpy”)
6 Apex St Naremburn
North Sydney
Australia

Or C/O C S R Coy Ltd
Fiji Islands

[Underlined] Swordfish [/underlined]
Glan Evans
DOLYCOED
GORSEWON
SWANSEA
GLAM
Sea off Le Havre. Dec ‘42

Grant McRae [Underlined] “Lanc” [/underlined]
231 Kensington Ave.
Westmont Que.
Canada
Suttgart July ‘44

F Burnett
55 Lamorna Grove
Stanmore, Middlesex
Lanc 7 Sqdn
Russelheim Aug ‘44

RF Chalk
630 Lauder Ave
Toronto Ont
Canada
[Underlined] (Halifax) [/underlined]
Brunswick Aug ‘44

D C Hetherton, [Underlined] 55 Sqdn [/underlined]
Paul Winn & Co Ld
32, Bishopsgate
London, EC2
Tern (Italy) April 44
(Baltimore)

Jack J. Walker (Halifax)
11, Zetland Terrace
Saltburn-by-Sea
Yorkshire

A J McInnes (Lanc 83 Sq)
11 Watt St,
Box Hill
Victoria
Australia
Magdeburg Jan 44

[Page break]

[Boxed] 65/11 [/boxed]

[Deleted] T J Austin. [/deleted]

7 Sqdn [Underlined] Stirling [/underlined]
J N Harris
12 Hewitt Ave.
Toronto
LL.1064
HAMBURG July 42

[Underlined] 10 Sqdn Halifax [/underlined] ESSEN June ‘42
Richard M Speer,
515 King Edward Ave.,
Ottawa,
CANADA.

F W McKay P.R.V.
28 Burnett St
Dunedin
New Zealand
[underlined] (Mosquito) [/underlined]
Engine troub
Belgium Oct 42

AB. Anderson Carrick Rd.
Ayr.
P.R.U.
[Underlined] “Spitfire” [/underlined]
Kristiansand Norway Jan 43

[Underined] 408 Sqdn [/underlined] “Gus” Walker
Mortimer
Woodstock N.B.
Canada
(Lanc) Schweinfurt Feb ‘44

F J AUSTIN:
58, High St.,
North Berwick
East Lothian
[Underlined] AND [/underlined]
128, Rosefield Rd,
Smethwick,
Staffs.
149 [underlined] “Stirling” [/underlined]
LUBECK July ‘42

Ron Lunney
19 Hillside Gdns
London E 17
7 Sqdn [Underlined] Stirling [/underlined]
Stuttgart April 43

MR Laloge
Pauce Coupé
B.C.
Canada
Halifax 408 Sqdn

Dan Tomms
51, Harrogate St.,
Barrow-in-Furness
Lancs.
(SWORDFISH)
In sea off Le Havre Dec ‘42

[Page break]

JOURNEYING ON THE CONTINENT IN WAR

25th FEBRUARY 1943. 2230 HRS. B.S.T. Shot down over Nuremburg. Port wing afire.

26th Feb. 0830 hrs B.S.T. Captured in village and locked up. Later interviewed by local policeman

1400hrs. Taken by car to Police Station in Nuremberg Rest of crew arrive later.

800 hs. Taken under armed escort in lorry to Luftwaffe aerodrome. Put in cells

27th Feb Entrained for DULAG Arrived mid-day. Put in cells

4th March. Enter compound

9th March Arrive SCHUBIN XXIB

7th April Arrive SAGAN LUFT II

28th January 1945 Leave SAGAN

4th Feb. 1945 Arrive LUCKENWALDE 3A

[Page break]

[Diagram of a Lancaster showing crew positions]

[Underlined] CREW OF LANCASTER “W” – WILLY SHOT DOWN NUREMBURG 2230 HRS – 25th FEB, 1943 [/underlined]

[UNDERLINED] BOMB AIMER F/O E.W. SANGER. RAF. [/underlined]

[Underlined] SKIPPER F/O J.A. MITCHELL. RAF [/underlined] (KILLED)

[Underlined] FLIGHT-ENGINEER SGT. DOBSON. RAF. [/underlined]

[Underlined] NAVIGATOR SGT. G. QUINEY. RAF. [/underlined]

[Underlined] WIRELESS/OPERATOR SGT. W. CUTLER. RAF. [/underlined]

[Underlined] MID-UPPER GUNNER SGT. LAWSON. RAF. [/underlined]

[Underlined] REAR-GUNNER P/O. V.C. SHERRING. RAF [/underlined] (KILLED)

[Page break]

[Underlined] LYING IN THE DARK [/underlined] (N COWARD)

(1) Lie in the dark and listen –
It’s clear tonight so they’re flying high –
Hundreds of them – thousands perhaps
Riding the icy, moonlit sky.
Men, machinery, bombs & maps,
Altimeters and guns and charts –
Coffee, sandwiches and fleece-lined boots,
Bones and muscles and minds and hearts.
English saplings with English roots
Deep in the earth they’ve left behind,
Lie in the dark and listen!

(2) Lie in the dark and listen –
They’re going over in waves & waves
High above villages, hills and streams
Country Churches and little graves
And little citizens’ worried dreams.
Very soon they’ll be over the sea
And far below them will be the bays
And cliffs and sands where they used to be
Taken for summer holidays –
Lie in the dark and let them go
Theirs is a world we will never know –
Lie in the dark and listen.

(3) Lie in the dark and listen –
City magnates and steel contractors,
Factory workers and politicians,
Soft, hysterical little actors.
Ballet dancers – reserved musicians,
Safe in your warm civilian beds,
Count your profits – count your sheep
Lie in the dark and let them go.
There’s one debt you’ll forever owe
Lie in the dark and listen!

[Page break]

[Underlined] MISCELLANEOUS, Pages 2-52. GERMAN PRESS CUTTINGS [/underlined]

[Underlined] P. 54 [/underlined] Journeying on the Continent.

[Underlined] APPENDIX TO P. 54 – [/underlined] SNAPS. CREW LIST. “STOOGE DAY” CAMP FERRET – LANCASTER – “GOON BOX” “MY PIT” –

CONTENTS

P.1 “LYING IN THE DARK” N. COWARD
55 “RACKETS” by F.J. AUSTIN [circled] 55 [/circled] RAFVR
60 “SPORTING BLUES” S. D. TIMMS 60 RNVR
65 DESIGNS FOR MODERN KITCHEN. Self 65
67 VIEW OF EAST CAMP. S.L.3. Self 67
68-9 }
+83 } ROOM MATES + CAMP ACQUAINTANCES. 68-9 + 83
70 SUGGESTIONS FOR A TOUR OF ENGLAND. 70
71 THE GREAT TREK FROM SAGAN 71 + 75
72 THE KRIEGIE BLUES – Self!!! 72
77 COPY OF GERMAN POSTER – ESCAPE 77
79 SONG OF STALAG 79
80 “THE PRISONERS” A POEM – S/LDR E. SIDNEY-SMITH 80
81 BARTER PRICES AT STALAG 3A 81

[Page break]

[Blank page]

[Page break]

OST-LAGER S.L.3.

[Diagram of huts in a compound]

[Page break]

BLOCK 65. ROOM 11

F J AUSTIN (C/O MISS W.A. AUSTIN. KING’S NORTON IN B’HAM PHONE BOOK)
58, HIGH. STREET
N. BERWICK
SCOTLAND

+
128, ROSEFIELD RD
BIRMINGHAM
(OBSERVER)

STIRLING. [underlined] 149. Sq [/underlined]
LUBECK
July 1942 (Flak)

A B ANDERSON (PILOT)
41, CARRICK RD.
AYR

SPITFIRE, P.R.U
KRISTIANSAND
January 43(F.)

F.H. BURNETT (FLIGHT ENGINEER)
55, LAMORNA GROVE
STANMORE, MDSX
EDGWARE 3939

LANCASTER. [underlined] 7 Sq [/underlined]
RUSSELHEIM
AUGUST 1944 (F.)

R G CHALK (W/OP)
630, LAUDER AV
TORONTO
CANADA

HALIFAX. 434 Sq
BRUNSWICK
AUGUST 1944 (F)

J.N. HARRIS (HANK) (PILOT)
12, HEWITT AV.
TORONTO
CANADA

STIRLING (7 Sq)
HAMBURG
JULY 1942 (Flak)

R.H. LUNNEY (OBS.)
19, HILLSIDE GDS
LONDON. E 17

STIRLING 7 Sq.
STUTTGART
April 1943 (F.)

D C HETHERTON (OBS)
C/O PAUL WINN-CO LTD
32, BISHOPSGATE
LONDON. E.C.2

BALTIMORE 55 Sq
TERNI (ITALY)
April 1944
(Blew up)

[Page break]

G.S. McRAE (B/AIMER)
231, KENSINGTON AVE.
WESTMOUNT, QUEBEC
CANADA

LANCASTER 619 Sqd
STUTTGART
July 1944 (F)

R N SPEER (A/G)
515, KING EDWARD AV.
OTTAWA,
CANADA

HALIFAX 10 Sqdn
ESSEN (Flak)
June 1942

GUS WALKER (MORTIMER) (W/OP)
MEDUCTIC
WOODSTOCK. NB
CANADA

LANCASTER. 408
SCHWEINFURT
February 44
(Fighter)

JACK WALKER (PILOT)
1, ZETLAND TERR,
SALTBURN-BY-SEA
YORKS

HALIFAX. 10 SqN
LEIPZIG
Feb. ’44 (F)

ALAN. F. McIINES (OBS.)
1, WATT STREET
BOX HILL, VICTORIA
AUSTRALIA.

LANCASTER. 83 Sqd
MAGDEBURG
JAN. 1944 9Fight)

ERIC H BODMAN
LA TRAPPE VINERIES Village de Putron
ST MARTIN’S GUERNSEY

Or C/O Henry Fraser Esq., Lochton, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland

HALIFAX 78 Sqdn
MAINZ (Flak)
August 1942

EDWARD RANCE (Flip)
C/O LADY THOMAS
57 PLYMOUTH RD
PENARTH, GLAM
OR LONDON PHONE BOOK

BEAUFORT (217)
BAY OF BISCAY
August 41

[Page break]

Suggestions for a “Tour” of England

I)

The Angel Grantham
The George – Glastonbury
Shakespeare – Stratford-on-Avon
New Inn – Gloucester
Feathers – Ludlow
Lygon Arms- Broadway
Beaufort Arms – Chepstow
White Hart – Salisbury
Royal – Falmouth
Bedford – Brighton
Savoy or Ritz – London
Kings Head – Rochester (Ted Chapman)

II)

The Ship – Mere
The Talbot – Mere
The Bull – Watton-at-Stone
The Blackbirds – Hertford
The Plough? – Hertford
The Saracens Head – Ashford
The Maid of Kent – Ashford

[Page break]

THE “GREAT TREK” FROM STALAG LUFT 3

1945

28th January. Left [underlined] SAGAN [/underlined] 0900 hrs with sledges loaded with all transportable belongings + food. Rough day – being the first.

Arrived [underlined] HALBAU [/underlined] 1800 hrs
Billetted in R.C. Church No heat, no water 17 Kms

29th. January Moved to school in Halbau

30th January Left [underlined] HALBAU [/underlined] 0600 Hrs
Destination [underlined] PRIEBUS. [/underlined]
Arrived [underlined] LIPPA [/underlined] 1600 hrs. 20 Kms
Billetted in Church
Very cold night

31st January Left [underlined] LIPPA [/underlined] 0600 hrs
Via [underlined] PRIEBUS [/underlined]
Arrived [underlined] MUSKAU [/underlined] 1800 hrs 30 Kms
Billetted in Glass Factory
Warm. Had first decent wash in HOT water, and shave. Dried our clothes

1st February Spent whole day + night resting up Collected 1 1/2 R.C. parcels between 6 “bods”. Hank Harris rackets some Beer.

(Continued P.75) 67 Kms

[Page break]

Stalag 3A Luckenwalde

He lay on his bed, hungry and miserable and as he lay there, into his mind came and passed with monotonous regularity, visions of succulent repasts – till his mouth watered, his belly rumbled and his soul writhed

Before his vision appeared and disappeared roast chicken, brussels sprouts, floury baked potatoes, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, steak and onions, bacon and eggs – an endless panorama of rich appetising food.

His mind rebelled at such exquisite torture, and he endeavoured to change the subject. Across the way on an opposite bed another “Kriegie” was munching away at a slice of bread. The resulting track of though led his mind to ruminate upon the inadequate and

[Page break]

deplorable German rations on which he had to exist. Five slices of sour bread and margarine per day, a small quantity of watery unflavoured soup and - five potatoes boiled in their jackets. A really excellent feast!!

At once he was back again to another old thread of the confused maze of thought at the back of his mind. Red Cross Parcels!! Would they ever arrive? He doubted the fact very much He thought of all the parcels left behind at Sagan, the food tins strewn in the snow – the food he was forced to leave behind on the road when his sled failed him on the first day of the march. Once again, the torture

[Page break]

became too great. No use thinking back – it is bad for morale and makes things worse. Now his mind jumps forward to the limit of his reserves. Home. With all its comforts and its food. Huge rock cakes, heavy with fruit, made by his mother’s skilful hands, rolls and fresh butter, strawberry jam, stacks of small cakes, tarts and scones. Poached eggs on toast, strong, sweet, steaming hot tea!! Oh God, how long before I’m there?

Overcome with the thoughts which his empty belly forces to his mind, he groans, takes up a pencil and writes down this rigmarole, while he waits

[Page break]

for his supper of - five potatoes.

13/2/45

[Underlined] 26-2-45 – Potato Ration reduced from 400 – 360 gms!! [/underlined]

[Underlined] “THE GREAT TREK” continued [/underlined] 67 Kms

2nd February Left [underlined] MUSKAU [/underlined] 1200 hrs
Arrived [underlined] GRAUDIN [/underlined] 1800
Slept in Barn. Plenty of
Straw. Sleds no good. 18 Kms

3rd February Left GRAUDIN 0900 hrs
Arrived SPREMBURG 1400 10 Kms
Soup at Army barracks
March to station and entrained in goods wagon – 40 men per wagon. 1730 hrs.
Left SPREMBURG 2130.

4th February Arrived Falkenberg at dawn. Train stops & shunts for hours
Eventually arrive at LUCKENWALDE 1615 hrs. 100 Kms
Reach STALAG 3A at 1800 hr
SHOWER, SEARCH & BED 0200 hrs. [underlined] 195 Kms [/underlined]

[Page break]

[Blank page]

[Page break]

[Underlined] WARNING POSTER EXHIBITED IN ALL P.O.W. CAMPS AFTER THE SHOOTING OF 50 BRITISH AND ALLIED OFFICERS IN APRIL 1944 [/underlined]

[Underlined] TO ALL PRISONERS OF WAR [/underlined]

[Underlined] THE ESCAPE FROM PRISON CAMPS IS NO LONGER A SPORT. [/underlined]

Germany has always kept to the Hague Convention and only punished recaptured P.O.Ws with minor disciplinary punishment. Germany will maintain these principles of international law. But England has, besides fighting at the front in an honest manner, instituted an illegal warfare in non-combat zones in the form of gangster commandos, terror bandits and sabotage troops even up to the frontiers of Germany. They say in a captured, secret and confidential English Military Pamphlet

[Underlined] THE HAND-BOOK OF MODERN IRREGULAR WARFARE. [/underlined]

“The days when we should practice the rules of sportsmanship are over. For the time being every soldier must be a potential gangster and must be prepared to adopt these methods whenever necessary.

“The sphere of operations should always include the enemy’s own country, any occupied territory, and in certain circumstances such neutral countries as he is using as a source of supply”

(cont)

[Page break]

ENGLAND HAS WITH THESE INSTRUCTIONS OPENED UP A NON-MILITARY FORM OF GANGSTER WARFARE

Germany is determined to safeguard her homeland and especially her war industry and provincial centres for fighting fronts. Therefore it has become necessary to create strictly forbidden zones, called death zones, in which all unauthorised trespassers will be immediately shot on sight.

Escaping P.O.W’s entering such death zones, will certainly lose their lives. They are therefore in constant danger of being mistaken for enemy agents or sabotage troops.

[underlined] Urgent warning is given against making future escapes [/underlined]

In plain English. Stay in the camp where you will be safe!! Breaking out of it is now a damned dangerous act.

[Underlined] The chances of preserving your life are almost nil! [/underlined]

All police and military guards are given the most strict orders to shoot on sight suspected persons.

[Underlined] ESCAPING FROM PRISON CAMPS CEASES TO BE A SPORT!! [/underlined]

[Page break]

[Drawings]

SING A SONG OF STALAG
DAYS WITHOUT END
BAGS & BAGS OF KRIEGIES
ALL “AROUND THE BEND”
WHEN THE GATES ARE OPENED
THE GOVERNMENT WILL SING
IF THAT’S THE CREAM OF BRITAIN’S YOUTH
OH DEATH! WHERE IS THY STING?

[Drawings]

[Page break]

[Underlined] “The Prisoners” [/underlined] E Sydney-Smith

“We are the ones who flew – “failed to return,”
And deathwards, half the long dark journey made,
For us no everlasting lamp shall burn
Nor hero’s wreath on any tomb be laid.
Yet, short of death, we fell not back to life,
But down the still dark abyss in between
To idly sit and hear the nations’ strife
And sometimes woo the sleep that might have been.
We are not always sad, for each one clings
To memory, and the dreams of what he thinks
He left and still shall find, the far, dear things,
The shades that come in dreams and burst our links.

But if the years’ slow stream shall flow too wide,
We may return, to find that we have died.”

[Page break]

22/2/45

BARTER PRICES FIXED AT LUCKENWALDE

FOOD CIGS.

GERMAN BREAD PER LOAF [deleted] 20 [/deleted] 40
GERMAN FLOUR PER KILO 20
BRATLING POWDER (SOUP) 10
SACHARINE (100 TABLETS) 5
PEAS DRIED PER KILO 10
PORRIDGE OATS PER KILO 20
BARLEY PER KILO 20
MARGARINE PER 1/2 KILO 35
SUGAR PER 2lb. 15
MEAT (IN TINS) PER KILO 60
FRESH MEAT PER KILO 40

RED CROSS AMERICAN CHEESE 1/2 lb 20
AMERICAN COFFEE 2 oz 30
CANADIAN COFFEE 8 oz 40
KLIM 40
SPAM, CORNED BEEF 40
MEAT & VEG 30
SALMON 20
SARDINES 10
CANADIAN TEA 4 oz 30

(continued)

[Page break]

CIGS

RED CROSS AMERICAN JAM 6 oz 10
RED CROSS CANADIAN JAM 1lb 30
MARGARINE 1lb 40
“D” BARS 4oz 20
MILK CHOC 4oz 25
COCOA 1/4 lb 20
PRUNES 1lb 20
RAISINS 1lb 20
PÂTÉ 15

[Page break]

NAME & ADDRESS

Edward Chapman
Hope Lodge
Macclesfield Road
Buxton, Derbyshire

OR GEO G. SANDEMAN SONS & CO LTD.
20 ST SWITHIN’S LANE, E.C.4.

A/SR Launch 143
Cap’d 12 1/2 miles S of Dover
8th May 1941

TIMMY TITHER
411, WATEERY LANE
SUTTON OAK
ST HELENS
LANCS

WELLINGTON III
ENGINE TROUBLE DITCHED 40 mls W. BORKUM
27-7-42

John Orpe Pakeman Jnr.
County Surveyor’s Dept
County Hall
CHICHESTER
Sussex

Halifax
Night Fighter
Dachsundhausen
Δ Frankfurt
20.12.43

Stephen Douglas Read
16 Compton Park Rd,
Mannamead,
Plymouth,
Devon.

Wellington III
Night Fighter 110
Arnhem.
Δ Osnabrück
10 Aug 42

[Page break]

EVENTS PRIOR TO RELEASE

21st APRIL 1945 – Germans leave Stalag 3A and General RUGE (Norway) assumes command, and Camp Defence Scheme comes into operation. Citizens of LUCKENWALDE evacuated by police order. German general threatens to fire on the camp where 8 rifles taken from his men were returned. Rifles returned. Russian artillery shell the town. Only 1000 Volksturm & Hitler Youth reported defending town.

22nd April At 0300 hrs Mayor of Luckenwalde offered to surrender the town to the camp authorities. 0600 hrs Russian tanks arrive in camp & infantry seen in the woods. 1000hrs tanks & armoured cars arrive in camp. Luckenwalde occupied by Russian troops by 1100 hrs Little resistance. Germans loot shops in the town. Russian P.O.W’s leave Camp fired on by German civilians. 4 killed

[Page break]

23rd APRIL. German soldiers surrender to the camp. A little air activity FW 190 fires at the kitchen. No casualties. Russians send 12 [indecipherable word] into camp.

24 APIRIL Reported 4 German divisions in the area. Being mopped up by 1 Russian division.
General Ruge returns from visit to Marshal Konief’s HQ. Reported that we shall go home westwards and not via Odessa.
Luckenwalde quiet.

26/27th April Uneventful day Russian operational troops move out and are replaced by occupational types.

27th April SEE TYPEWRITTEN SHEETS IN BACK COVER

28th April Russian Repatriates board arrived with 50 lorries of Food and Clothing.

29th April First unescorted walk outside camp Visited German village saw Russian squad searching for

[Page break]

Germans

30th April Quite a battle going on near the camp. 3 German soldiers shot near West gate. War seems to be getting nearer.

1st May Battle still going on. Shell landed in Sports Field!! Intended move to Adolf Hitler Lager – 6 miles away, to improve our living conditions.

2nd May Adolf Hitler Lager (now renamed Josef Stalin Lager or “Joe’s Place”) swamped by crowds of refugees. Place looted and spoilt.

3rd May Skeleton staff who went to Lager return owing to being unable to cope with loads of refugees – some of them armed. Move now definitely off

4th May American Press Correspondent arrives says that Allies are unaware of our being liberated Capt. Beatty flies to see Gen. Gesenover to get us out of here
More tanks arrive and

[Page break]

we are informed that we are to be evacuated to-morrow. – the Russians permitting

5th May. The great day arrives. About noon ambulances arrive and, Russian permission having been finally obtained, the sick are evacuated. Rumours of large convoys to take the rest of us home and bring food.
The officer I/C Ambulances inform us that a huge convoy is expected to-morrow (Sunday) and it is hoped to evacuate Americans, British & Norwegians by to-morrow evening
Three lorries arrive with Bread and Army Rations. Russians also bring in five loads of food. Hopes of moving to-morrow are high, but after so many disappointments, Kriegies won’t be convinced till the lorries arrive and we embark

[Page break]

Intended route is Schoenberg – 240 miles to Haldesheim and then flying to England. I hope it is true this time!! 90 trucks of food from Russia arrive to-night. A little late

6th May. Still waiting for the lorries. 22 arrive, but Russians refuse to allow evacuation to proceed Say they have no orders.

7th May W/C Collard resigns as Senior Allied Officer, and sends written protest to Russian Commandant

[Underlined] W/C COLLARD’S LETTER [/underlined]

FROM Senior British Officer

TO Russian Commandant for Repatriation

May 7th 1945

In order to avoid misunderstanding I am putting into writing the principle statement which I made at our conference last night

[Page break]

The situation of the British at this camp is now as follows

From 22nd April, I, at the request of the Russian authorities have been responsible for the administration and security of the whole camp of 16 000 mixed nationalities. The work of this camp during this time has been carried out mainly by British and American officers and men. It should, however, be appreciated that, owing to Russian orders [deleted] req [/deleted] re confinement to camp etc we have had to continue to all intents and purposes as prisoners. That these orders were a military necessity is of course clear but nevertheless the result has been the lowering of the spirit of all ranks. It is important to understand and make allowances for the mental attitude of prisoners of war who have been liberated but are still denied their freedom.

The food situation up to yesterday

[Page break]

was precarious, and the daily ration even though assisted by American supplies, is still grossly inadequate. It is realised that the Russian authorities overcame great difficulties in providing food at all under harassing circumstances: but it will also be agreed that the supply organisation of this camp performed most of the work. Furthermore, the camp has become even more overcrowded owing to the influx of Italian refugees. The problems of sanitation are considerable and the general health is threatened.

In spite of all this, the Russian orders were obeyed and control maintained up to 5th May On that day an American officer, representing Supreme Allied H.Q. arrived with instructions to evacuate Americans and British in that order. His credentials were not accepted by the Russian authorities here, who stated that they could

[Page break]

not allow such an evacuation to proceed since they had no orders on the subject An ambulance convoy which also arrived on this day was permitted to evacuate all American and a few British sick.

Yesterday the American representative from Supreme Allied HQ returned with a convoy to carry out his orders. Captain Tchekerov, acting as deputy for Capt Medvedev who was sick, refused to allow him to proceed with his duties. Later, [inserted] when [/inserted] an attempt was made to proceed with the evacuation, armed force was used against American troops to prevent their leaving the camp.

No doubt this whole affair is due to a misunderstanding but the situation created is extremely serious In spite of continual assurances that we were to be repatriated with the least possible delay, we now see the Russians actively

[Page break]

preventing such repatriation. It is impossible for me to explain or justify, such action in the eyes of my officers and men. I warned Capt. Medvedev on May 4th. that such a situation was likely to arise, and that, if it did, I could not be responsible for the consequences.

Last night I was informed, for the first time that the chief obstacle to our repatriation was that the registration was not complete. I have repeatedly offered to undertake the whole task of registration, I could have completed it by now if my offer had been accepted. In any case, I cannot believe that the Russians intend that vital interests should be threatened for the sake of a mere formality

As the Senior British [inserted] officer [/inserted] here, I am responsible, above all else, for the welfare of my officers and men

[Page break]

This welfare is seriously endangered by the present situation I therefore demand that the position may be clarified without delay, and that our repatriation may be proceeded with immediately

Failing this, I must ask to be enabled to communicate with my Government

Finally I must point out that the present situation as Senior Allied Officer untenable. I therefore resign that position, and from now must be regarded as responsible only for the British.

“Unconditional surrender on all fronts.”

Rumours of 200 lorries have arrived to evacuate the Americans & British and refuse to leave until it is performed. Russian General expected every minute Arrived late – no details.

[Page break]

8th May [underlined] “V” Day [/underlined]

American lorries are sent away empty.

2 Russian Colonels arrive and start repatriation talks.

NB Unofficial evacuation has been taking place ever since Yanks first arrived owing to chaps walking off on their own to Allied lines & getting aboard the lorries without official permission. Estimated 500 officers & 1,000 O R’s have left.

[Underlined] 9th May [/underlined] 100 lorries arrive from Russia and late at night the Norwegians leave.

[Underlined] 10th May. [/underlined] Repatriation now lies in the hands of Allied Commission, so camps resigns itself to a long wait!

[Underlined] 11-19th May [/underlined] Uneventful Boredom!! Only high spots were move to better Quarters,

[Page break]

and the marriage of 3 officers to women refugees!!

[Underlined] 19th May [/underlined] – Evening announcement of impending move next day received with hope blended with scepticism.

[Underlined] 20th May [/underlined] We leave Buchenwald in Russian lorries Cross the Elbe at Coswick & enter American lorries.

Arrive at HALLE late evening.

[Underlined] 25th May [/underlined] Leave HALLE + fly in American D.C.3 to BRUSSELS Reception centre and given marvellous welcome by Canadian Staff.

[Underlined] 26th May [/underlined] Fly in LANCASTER to Oakley. Spend night at BICESTER

[Underlined] 27th May [/underlined] – By train to COSFORD

[Page break]

[Drawing of a prison guard] [Underlined] A CAMP FERRET [/underlined]

[Page break]

[Underlined] Lancaster I [/underlined]

[Drawing of a Lancaster flying]

[Page break]

[Drawing of a guard post]

THE POSTEN IS A LONELY MAN

HE HAS A LITTLE BOX..

[Page break]

[Drawing of bunks and furniture in a hut]

MY “PIT” (SAGAN)

Citation

E W Sanger, “Eric Sanger's prisoner of war logbook,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 31, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/26611.

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