The Log

MElliottJD19200425-210211-01.pdf

Title

The Log

Description

Experiences of the prisoners of war in the Belaria camp of Stalag Luft 3 by Squadron Leader Bryce Cousens. It contains stories, poems and illustrations.

Creator

Date

1947

Language

Format

202 printed sheets

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

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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

MElliottJD19200425-210211-01

Transcription

THE LOG
STALAG LUFT III
BELARIA SAGAN
Editor :
SQUADRON LEADER BRYCE COUSENS, R.A.F.
1939 1945
Illustrations and Marginal Sketches :
FLYING OFFICER TERENCE ENTRACT, R.A.F.V.R.
Chief Additional Contributors:
SQUADRON LEADER J. PRESTRIDGE, R.A.F.V.R. (F/O. PEPYS)
FLIGHT LIEUEENANT ROGER DE WEVER, ROYAL BELGIAN AIR FORCE (MILITARY SUPPLEMENTS)

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R.A.F. OFFICER PRISONERS OF WAR ASSEMBLING FOR COUNTING ON A WINTER MORNING.

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FOREWORD

This book was originally to be printed and distributed shortly after our return from Germany in the summer of 2945. It was impossible to do so owning to paper shortages and other difficulties of which most subscribers will be aware. I am sorry there has been this delay but hope, nevertheless, that you will be pleased to receive your copy and that it will revive memories of some of the happier moments in a life that now seem far distant and much less unpleasant in retrospect.

You will notice that there are very few copies of the “LOG” in the book, owing to the fact that I divided the copy during the 1945 march and the other half was lost by the Officer who kindly offered to carry it to Luckenwalde. I have endeavoured to fill the gap by a short account of the march, from Sagan to Luckenwalde, and trust you will agree with my summary of that experience.

To those who were not Prisoners of War I hasten to explain that this book has not been published because of any supposed literary or historical merit but purely as a tangible souvenir to remind us of some of the joys, hopes, sorrows or disappointments which made up our days in Stalag Luft III: as such it may interest you.

I am sure that I shall be expressing the feelings of all my companions at Belaria in dedicating this book to the memory of those fifty-one brother officers murdered by the Germans after escaping in 1944. A facsimile of the front page of the “LOG” on that occasion, together with the Memorial Sheet, is published on the following pages.

BRYCE COUSENS
“THE EDITOR”
August 1947.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 19th April, 1944

In Memoriam
THE CAMP WILL HAVE BEEN SHOCKED TO HEAR OF THE DEATH OF *FORTY-ONE OF OUR COMRADES WHO DIED RECENTLY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY. AS A MARK OF OUR ESTEEM, AFFECTION AND RESPECT, IT HAS BEEN DECIDED THAT ALL ENTERTAINMENTS WILL CEASE UNTIL A MEMORIAL SERVICE HAS BEEN HELD.
THIS SERVICE WILL TAKE THE FORM OF A PARADE SERVICE FOR THE ENTIRE CAMP AND WILL BE HELD ON THE SPORTS GROUND IMMEDIATELY AFTER MORNING APPELL ON THURSDAY, 13TH APRIL; OR, IF WET, AFTER THE FIRST FINE APPELL SUBSEQUENTLY.

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
SENIOR BRITISH OFFICER

*This tragic figure was subsequently learnt to be fifty-one. – ED.

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Memorial Service
TO THOSE OFFICERS SHOT AFTER ESCAPING FROM STALAG LUFT III,
MARCH, 1944
HYMN
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home.
Beneath the shadow of thy throne,
They saints have dwelt secure,
Sufficient in thine arm alone
And our defence is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Our earth received her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.
A thousand ages in thy sight,
Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night,
Before the rising sun.
Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all it’s sons away,
They fly forgotten as a dream,
Dies at the opening day.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home.

PRAYER – PSALM 23
The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing,
He shall feed me in green pastures and lead me forth besides the water of comfort.
He shall convert my soul; and bring me forth in the paths or righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff comfort me
Thou shalt prepare a table before me, against them that troubles me; thou hast anointed
My head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
But thy loving kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Glory be to the Father…….

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PRAYER
Minister: May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Congregation: Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord : and let light perpetual shine upon them.

PRAYERS
THE LESSON
ADDRESS
HYMN
God of our father, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
LEST WE FORGET, LEST WE FORGET.
The tumult and the shouting dies,
The captain and the kings depart,
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
An ancient and contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
LEAT WE FORGET, LEST WE FORGET.
If, drunk with sight if power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not thee in awe,
Such boasting as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the law,
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
LEST WE FORGET, LEST WE FORGET.
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word
Thy mercy on they people, Lord:
THE GRACE
LAST POST
REVEILLE
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
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THE LOG
BELARIA 22nd, May, 1944
NUMBER SEVENTEEN
EDITORIAL
An interesting week – two new purges and the consequent news from home. Things over there would not appear to have changed much in the last year, except that such commodities as oranges, lemons, Americans and eggs are more plentiful then they were. In the camp there has been little of note except the great popularity of the new sports field. This will undoubtedly increase as the weather improves.
The Service Education Scheme has also proved very –popular – in fact over seven hundred and fifty names have been taken on the rolls of the seven subjects offered. The Senior British Officer will open the series today (22nd) with a lecture on the “History of the Royal Air Force.” All those who have enrolled are invited. The promoters of the scheme regret that they cannot invite the whole camp to such an interesting lecture but the space in the wash house next to the Chapel is not large enough. Incidentally, this building is now out of bounds as a wash house at all hours. Will you please assist by observing this rule?

We are all looking forward to “Arsenic and Old Lace” and one who was privileged to see the dress rehearsal has promised us first-class entertainment. An immense amount of work has been put into the production and a novelty is introduced in that the producer and the Cast provided their own back room boys for design and construction of the set.
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DAY BY DAY
Monday 22nd May
1830 hours –“Arsenic and Old Lace” Theatre.
Tuesday, 23rd May
Wednesday, 24th May } 1830 “Arsenic and Old Lace” Camp Theatre
Thursday, 25th May
Friday, 26th May

Sunday 28th May, (Whit Sunday)
0930 hours – Holy Communion, Chapel.
1115 hours – Morning Service, Theatre.
Hymns : “Our Blest Redeemer”
“Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost”
“Come, Holy Ghost our Souls Inspire”
1825 hours – Evening Service, Chapel.
1930 hours – “The 1936-38 British Antarctic Expedition” by Corporal M. Walker.

A letter recently received states that Professor Felix Ehrenhaft, of New York claims to have established the existence of currents of magnetism flowing like electricity. Other researchers however, are dubious if his claims; as he had previously claimed to have proved the existence of charges smaller than the electron, a discovered which turned out to be invalid.

GREEN FINGERS

A further supply of English seeds arrived last week from Sagan. They consist, mainly, of types of vegetable seeds already distributed. All the cucumber, celery, parsley, dwarf beans and radish have been issued through block gardening officers to whom anyone requiring more seed should apply.
CUMCUMBER (Ridge). The principal requirements for cucumber are an abundance of organic matter with moderate moisture. In dry weather they must be kept well watered, or they will be attacked by Red Spider. The seed should be planted in groups of three, about 18 inches apart. If convenient, it

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is better to raise them indoors; sowing now and transplanting outside in June. Seed should not be planted in the open till the end of May.
PARSLEY. Seed can be planted outside immediately. The ground must be deeply dug. Parsley makes and excellent boarder to the vegetable plot. Seeds must be sown very thinly and covered with ½ inch of soil.
DWARF BEAN. Sow singly, 6 inches apart, covering with two inches of soil. This bean likes moist soil in a sheltered place. The fair period of germination is about 10 days.
We are trying to get a supply of string for tying up peas, if we success it will be distributed to blocks.

A letter received here and dated 26th March says that all next of kin have been advised that Air Mail to P.O.W. will be stopped w.e.f. 1st April, 1944.

The cheese ration has been reduced, at home from four to two ounces.

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CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Now that’s what Colonel Lovelace said
When Cromwell in a rage,

Committed him to prison for
A rather lengthy stay.
He, to his sweet Althea wrote
That it was quite O.K.

He didn’t mind as long as he
Was master of his soul
And left alone with ink and pen,
Her virtues to extol.

It would be nice if we could have
Friend Lovelace with us now,
A “Kriegsgefangener” today,
He’d change his tune. And how!

If Tommy-guns, barb-wires and guards
Are not an implication
That we are in prison, they’re
A DAMN FINE IMITATION!

BEHIND THE SCENES
Many hours of hard work have been out in on the “Arsenic and Old Lace” Set, and the final results should be delightful to the audience as it as it has been to the back room boys. However, you will be able to judge for yourselves as the play starts a five nights run tonight. As a play, it is easy to understand why it has enjoyed such as very long run in London and New York. Finally, as a point of interest, the monstrous character in the play, which was played by Boris Karloff for a year or so in New York is now played by the somewhat faded movie director Erich Von Stronheim.
The band will play during intervals. The overture, which is arranged by Leonard Whiteley, is snappy if a little bizarre.

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The band are also working on rehearsals with the revue music, all of which are new compositions. The title of the revue is taken from one of F/O Ryders numbers – “Give us the Air” – F/Lt. Hill and W/O Lawrence are now satisfied that the chorus are in absolute precision and that reinforcement work on the foundations will be quite unnecessary.



The Prisoner of War Fund shop in Cirencester, Glos, took over £900 0s. 0d. in December of last year.
Members of the Canadian Forces, whose medical category is C3 or below are being discharged. No compensation or gratuity is being paid.



Colonel Knox, U.S. Navy Secretary, who died recently, left an estate valued at 2,000,000 dollars.
V.B.

THE DIARY OF P/O PEPYS, P.O.W. XV.II.
Tuesday, 15th May. A.D. 1644

BELARIA

Can at last out pen to paper as the alcoholic vapours have left me: never before in this life was I so troubled, but not I alone, for I can clearly recollect a short man with twinkling eyes and round face who, as Adjutant, did hold the right hand of My Lord the Group Captain and trip a pretty measure, perchance by accident; see how the madness spreads for the Editor of the LOG, a gaunt man, well versed in navigation, did roll erratically to his room, and many more besides. ‘Tis whispered even that my Lord Parselle and Tuck did sleep uneasy. But enough that it did signal the German fears that our invasion was nigh upon them; still, it has not come yet, though hope runs high. This day seems suspicious by its multum in parvo; our guarded opening play by a search in Parselle Place, followed quickly by the cessation of water supply for the morning. But this did not bother many, as we all queued, like women at a table sale, for our parole cards, which will simplify the

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manner of entering the sports field; though the spectators are few and they are ordered to watch the play and not the Reich maidens without. After noon I did watch one wretched guard, on the road, who was charging his musket, and even as he did so it exploded in his hands, the shot travelling fast towards Sagan. But how astonished he looked and quite embarrassed by his exhibition.

Thursday, 18th May

Oh! dismal day, nearly continuous rain and grey skies kept us confined to our quarters. The only happy ones amongst us were the ten newcomers, who arrived last night. They brought little news, though one, at least, left England only a few days ago; in fact, he was so new that he asked an elderly prisoner where the Gentleman’s Lavatory was – to receive the suave reply: “There’s no Gentleman’s Lavatory here – We all use the Abort.”
Tonight we hear that Casino is on our hands – And so to bed, pleased that the Brown jobs have got their finger out.



Prime Minster de Valera opened his election campaign last Saturday in in [sic] Co. Clare. He declared that the neutrality question had nothing to so with the poll, which should decide purely internal issues, General Richard Mulcahy, Leader of the Opposition, echoed de Valera’s words in his opening speech in Cork, saying that the result of the election was purely domestic consequence. K.Z.



Last Friday the Stockholm Police confiscated 134 kilogrammes of gold, it was found in a house in the city. The origin of this gold has not, as yet, been announced. D. Ang.



“….. despite the Badoglio betrayal which was the cause of all our reverses, from Stalingrad to Tarnopol…” (From an article buy D. Ley) D. Ang.

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England has directed an appeal to Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Finland to withdraw from Germany’s war and to make their contributions to the coming Allied victory. B.B.Z.



By the provisions of the “Statute for the Safeguarding of Marriages, Families and Motherhood,” the penalty of abortion has been reinforced, with the effect that the death sentence is now applicable in certain cases. Heinrich Schulz has already been sentences and executed under this order, B.B.Z



A Squadron Leader has suffered at the fangs of the “Lodgers” in Block I. We are reliably informed, however, that there is no cause for serious alarm. It was a very senior bug.

BAND AND MUSIC NOTES

After the success of the bands, “new music” for “Hay Fever,” we are following the same lines for the interval music for “Arsenic and Old Lace.” We are delighted by the ovation we received after playing the old timers in a new style and shall, therefore, continue in that style.

Two days ago the bass fiddle was completely wrecked; it has been seen lying on a shelf in the band room. This is a loss that deals the orchestra a hard blow; and, whilst it is assumed that the occurrence was an accident, we deplore the necessity for having to store such instruments in an insecure spot. This was entirely due to the threat of the casual onlooker who has no business in the theatre but insists on playing every instrument in sight. Several instruments have been damaged in this manner and feeling in the band is running high. * Made in 1844!



The largest head seen in the district of Armstrong has recently fallen to the gun of Herbert Bannister, who brought down a 48 point deer, (Armstrong is in B.C.).
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IN THE LIBRARY NOW
ANTIC HAY. By Aldous Huxley.

Mr. Huxley’s novels are a mixture of the laboratory and lecturer’s dais. He takes a collection of characters, experiments with them and then uses them to expound his theories on life.

Antic Hay has no plot to speak of, it is a loosely connected series of incidents which show a number of people under various circumstances, their reactions are closely studied and analysed. They are artificial characters living on a world which is a laboratory approximation to reality. Their conversation is intelligent and witty; they discuss a number of subjects and propound Mr. Huxley’s theories in delightful polished dialogue.

A charming display of wit and erudition, with a quiet vein of satire running through it; intended to convey, apparently a suggestion of the utter futility of life.

…Written in the 1860’s :-

“The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge presents his compliments to the Directors of the Eastern Countries Railway and begs to inform them the he has learnt with regret that it is the intention of the Eastern Counties Railway to run excursion trains to Cambridge on the Lord’s Day with the object of attracting foreigners and undesirable characters to the University of Cambridge on that sacred day,

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge wishes to point out to the Director of the Eastern Counties Railway that such a proceeding would be as displeasing to Almighty God as it would be to the Vice-Chancellor or the University of Cambridge.”

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SPORTS NOTES

SPORTS’ EQUIPMENT. (Soccer). We have sufficient shirts, boots and jerseys to equip two teams, but it quite obvious that if the equipment is used for every match, it will not last very long, therefore only those playing in the First League or other equally important matched will be issued with this equipment. Second League players will be issued with soccer boots only and will play, as at present in whites or colours.

If more kit arrives this arrangement will be modified. We have a reasonable stock of soccer balls in spite of the wear and tear on the small pitch.

(Rugby). Balls are the main problem and the soft shoes a secondary, but important . As regards the balls, apart from the two shapeless ones in use at the moment, we have a new practice ball and one “puntabout”. As a last resort I have four new American footballs. Urgent demands have gone on for standard rugger balls and I hope that some will arrive in the near future.

The shorts and coloured shirts will be worn in all important games and boots will be supplied for the forwards and full-backs.

(Hockey). The 36 hockey sticks which arrived recently are of very poor quality and it is necessary to keep the number of games down to the present figure in order to keep the game going as long as possible, There will be three games every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and four per day for the rest of the week. No sticks will be issued for unorganised practice, I hope that hockey enthusiasts will appreciate and understand the position. These are the first sticks to appear in 2 ½ years and may well be the last. Equipment is on order and, before long, we may be able to have full games on the sports field.

(Baseball). We have a good supply of balls at the moment, three baseball bats and twenty softball bats, We are very short of mitts and gloves, but can expect no help from Carlswalde, who are equally short,

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Baseball uniforms are coming through now, compromising shirts, trousers and shoes and we are first on the list for the next consignment,

We have a good stock of volley balls and teniquoit rings, but are short of basket balls. No fencing masks have arrived yet, so instruction in still impossible.

The inter-block soccer league starts on Monday 22nd – weather permitting. Block 3 has combined with Block 4, and 1st and 2nd League teams will be fielded by the combination and all other blocks. Various games of general interest will be arranged. An international series – Officers v. N.C.O.’s, etc., etc.- and it is hoped that many more spectators will be on the touchline by the time the series begins.

After a number of practice games of Rugger, it was decided to open the season with a Block Knockout Competition. The fist games have already been played with the following results:-
1st
Block 1 v. 2 – 6-0
Block 3 v. 5 – 3-3 (re-play).
Block 6 v. 4 – 3-3 (re-play).

2ND
Block 6 v. 3 – 12-0.
Block 2 v. 1 and 4 8-0.

It is very gratifying to see the enthusiasm displayed by all players and the rugger season has really opened with a swing. It is hoped that this interest will be maintained and that the field and weather will permit a series of international games in addition to the Block or Club fixtures,. A 7-a-side tournament will be arranged later in the season.

Oberfeldwebel Hentschel, until recently Major Rudel’s air gunner, has been killed in Russia. V.B.

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COUNT YOUR COUPONS
He met her at a party and instinctively he knew
That she was acquiescent and adorable,
He manages to persuade her, before the party broke
That for him to drive her home was not deplorable[delight,
He made a slight reconnaissance and found to his
Topographically her contours were caressable,
But, as the mileage mounted, imagine his dismay-
Geographically the wench was not accessible!

The Rt. Hon. Mr. Fraser, Prime Minter of New Zealand, recently declared “Although China, at the moment, represents no great factor in world power, she is destined to become a great nation.” V.B.

Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United Stated, speaking recently at Denver, said : “India’s progress has reached a point where only one obstacle remains in the way if the total independence offered by England, The attainment of this goal has been delayed, not because of English reluctance to delegate their power, but because an agreement between the Hindus, Moslems, Princes and other Indian groups has not yet been reached.” V.B.



Severe frosts, which set in recently, are reported to have destroyed 50-90 per cent. Of this year’s fruit harvest in England V.B.

STAGE AND SCREEN NEWS

Gary Cooper has been visiting Australia to entertain the troops; he also made several broadcast while there.
Deanna Durbin’s latest picture “the Butler’s Sister,” is said to be very entertaining.
A new film “My Friend Flicka,” in technicolour with a youthful star, concerns the friendship of a young boy and his worse. Although it sounds to have all the makings of a nauseating story it is said to be good. The shots include some fine scenic views of Oregon Country.
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Glen Miller and his band were in the Marines as entertainers. One night they played a swing version of “Star Spangled Banner.” Glen Miller and his band are in the army now.

Irving Berlin’s London Show “This is the Army” has been filmed. The cast of the film version includes George Murphy and Irving Berlin.



United States Forces Military Police in England wear white uniforms and belts. We are told that they are universally known as “Snowdrops.”



Wing Commander Gibson is engages in making speeches up and down the country for various good causes. It is said that he is to be nominated for a constituency.

The following translation is taken from the paper Das Reich of Sunday, 21st May, 1944:-
“After the failure of the Soviets to break though towards Galatz, they have now regrouped their forces preparatory to a big offensive at three points. At the same time 3 ½ million Americans and Englishmen are ready to embark, partly with new weapons, on the long planned invasion. On the bridgeheads at Nettuno the re-inforced allies are ready for an offensive similar to the one which has begun at Cassino.
Stalin has publicly insisted that these operations be synchronised; this can occur in two different ways:-
(1) The starting of these concentric thrusts on the same date; considerable technical difficulties stand in the way of such an undertaking.
(2) Or these operations can occur successively; the question arises whether the attack at Cassino is the first thrust in this plan, which would be followed by similar blows in the East.
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The plan is that these two simultaneous thrusts should draw large numbers of tropes from the west wall, in order to simplify the attack there. It is anticipated that there will be two major attacks the first in the area between Jassy and Tarnopol, the second on the European West Coast in the proximity of England. This does not mean that possibilities in Italy, the Balkans, or the South Coast of France should be overlooked. Nor should the mention of Norway and Western Sweden, in Allied propaganda, be cast aside.

The Anglo-American air forces have prepared these two points; firstly, the bombing in South East Europe is calculated to seriously affect the supplies to our troops fighting Tito’s forces and the Russian forces on the Southern portion of the East front and to cut the East-W Gest traffic. Secondly, the bombing of certain coastal areas in Belgium and N. France is intended to keep the German West front in a state of siege and, literally, throttle any internal troop movements. The bandits in the Balkans are pressing towards Serbia with an obvious aim and the bandit army in France has the task of holding down substantial forces if our troops.

The political offensive against the Axis and its allies is designed to beat breached into the Ventral European defensive systems. The political pressure against the neutrals is intended to stop the supply of materials to the Germans.

The state of weather, moon and tide will give the signal for the enemy invasion machine to burst forth, unless the whole invasion propaganda is a bluff, in which caser, of course, it will rebound on the enemy.

However, the enemy plan contains certain definite mistakes; neither the bombing of raw material and industrial centres, nor successes on the neutral front can seriously affect the German defensive power, in view of the Central European policy of building up huge reserves of these commodities. Over a long period this object might be achieves but the attack has not, as yet, been carried on long enough.
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Intensive attacks on the Western, Northern and Central European railway cannot, in the long run, success in seriously affecting the movement of troops or supplies, because relatively short sketches of railway line are involved and these temporary gaps can be bridged by other of transport; and such damage can be quickly repaired.

Over and above all this – sufficient reserves are available in the centre of the theatre of operations, to give the Higher Command all possible support in the event of a concentric or general attack.

Lastly, a synchronised attack on the continent might, possibly, show better than ever before, the political tension in the Allied Camp – This is true of the Anglo-American-Russian discussions about claims on Norwegian and Swedish territory and also the divergence of views over the Spanish question and, especially, over the Balkans.
And, in addition to all these factors Germany has not yet shot her last bolt on land or sea.” Das Reich.

EMPIRE DAY RUGGER
BRITISH 0 : DOMINIONS 3.
The solidarity of the Empire was displayed to Silesia on May 24th, when representatives of the Dominions (and “far-flung outposts”) played a hard game of Rugby against the Mother Country in even harder foreign soil.
Conditions were not ideal for players or spectators, due to the well-baked soil and the prevalence of a strong cross-wind.
The game got underway with the Dominions winning the toss and electing to play with the wind. The British forwards, using their weight, established superiority over the Dominions and, for the first quarter of an hour, controlled the ball well in the tight and loose. Several resultant three-quarter movements were broken by the Dominions’ stubborn defence, particularly on the wings.

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Neither side was in danger during the first half, except for two threatening drives started by Walshe, British centre three-quarter, which did not develop. A penalty was taken dangerously near the British goal, but Lissett’s kick failed to rise. The first half ended with the Dominion forwards establishing their superiority in the tight scrums, getting the ball back well.

Play was resumed with the dominions on the offensive, both sides producing several very good movements, The British attempted to drop goal from a mark by Bell, forward, which rebounded from the post; a concerted forward and centre movement was only defeated when the ball passed the “dead ball “ line, with Strong, British half-back, in hot, but unsuccessful pursuit. The Dominions made several breaks through instigated by Lissett, centre three- quarter, which failed on the wing; a dangerous forward movement in the British goal ended in a five yards scrum.

A penalty awarded against the British in front of their goal was successfully kicked by Lissett to produce the only score in a very well fought game.

The hooking of Gericke, the defensive play of MacDonald, and hard work of Lissett in the Dominions team were counted by the safe handling of the ball by Strong, the tackling of Hamilton, substituting on the wing, and the British centres.

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The “Trap”, or entrance to a tunnel, after discovery by the Germans.

DOWN A TUNNEL.
Photographs were discovered among German records.

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[Newspaper images]
Deutsche Allgemeine Beitung Berlin, Mittwoch 7. Juni 1944
Die Invasion hat begonnen
Abwehr und Kampf in vollen Gange

VOLKISCHER BEOBACHTER, Berlin, Mittwoch 7, Juni 1944
Nach Längerem Zögern dem Drägen der Sowjets nachgegeben
Die Schlacht im Western hat begonnen

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THE LOG

BELARIA 12th June, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY
EDITORIAL
PRESENT indications point to a successful conclusion of hostilities within a short time and tend to focus our attention on the secondary, but none the less important, considerations of post-war re-establishment if service personnel.

It will obviously be necessary to maintain large land, sea and air forces for a long period after the final armistice is signed. Such forces, however, will be composed of a relatively small proportion of the numbers now actively engaged and in all probability will be reduced to a practical minimum, in political concurrence with the demands on long suffering tax-payers.

The problem of the readjustment of the civilian employees of war industries will be coincidental with the problem raises by the absorption, into civilian employment, of the demobilised soldiery. Millions of new jobs must be found to accommodate these people. The question has not been overlooked by several governments of the Allied Powers, nor have they been shelved while the necessary attention is devoted to the essential business of winning the war. It would appear that our governments have borne in mind, to some degree, the experience gained after the armistice in 1918.

It is a matter of great interest to consider the various means that may be employed. We are able to visualise to some extent the broad basis on which the problems have been approached, although this information is far from complete.

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The primary consideration must be that of assuring everyone a livelihood during the period of social re-adjustment. To achieve this it will be necessary to prevent the demobilisation of personnel who cannot, for the moment, be absorbed into economically satisfactory employment,

There are several factors which have received attention in the industrial sphere, It has been realised that the changeover from war industry to the manufacture of consumer goods must be well in hand before the termination of hostilities, Definite steps have been taken to ensure that this will be the case, and- while it is a matter more directly affecting, those employed in war industry – it should have a most salutary effect on the problem of providing suitable employment for ex-service personnel.

Further, it is confidently anticipated that the increased industrial developments resulting directly from war-time technical advances in aircraft production, plastics and radio communication – to mention only a few of the more obvious possibilities – will provide opportunities for re-employment on a large scale.

It is interesting to note that inter-allied co-operation after the war will not be limited to the military sphere, this would seem to contrast with the generally gloomy views as to trade conditions after the war, and recognition of the fact that Great Britain must have adequate share of the world trade is more than a step in the right direction. It seems to substantiate the prognostication that there will be, among the Allied powers, a definite planned economy directed towards effective stabilization of foreign trade and exchange on a mutually beneficial basis.

The various other plans and consideration, such as educational schemes planned on effective functional lines, agricultural assistance provisions and subsidized emigration to less thickly populated areas, are all directed towards achieving satisfactory rehabilitation with I minimum of disruption.

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CHURCH SERVICE, Sunday, June 8th, 1944
(2nd Sunday after Trinity)
0930 hours- Holy Communion, Chapel.
1115 hours – O.D. Service, Theatre. (Conducted by F/O Cribb)
1815 hours – Evening Service, Theatre.
Hymns : “Holy Father, cheer our way”
“God that madest earth and Heaven”
“The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended”

THE FOOD SITUATION AT BELARIA

It is extremely probable that internal rail communications in Germany will be considerably affected by current events and many officers will have wondered whether this will affect the Red Cross food parcel supply. We sent a reporter to interview the parcels officer and his views are published hereunder:-
Q. How long will the present stock of parcels at Belaria last?
A. About nine weeks at the present strength of the camp.
Q. Have you any news of the 14,000 parcels ordered direct from Geneva?
A. we have now been informed that this shipment has, in error, been unloaded at Sagan and is now in their store. In view of this we have written to Geneva asking for a replacement to be sent here direct.
Q. Will Sagan supply us if we run short?
A. They have been asked to do so until our supplies arrive, we have not yet had their answer, but I have no doubt that the will comply.
Q. In view of possible difficulties with rail transport ans also with local cartage from Sagan, do you recommend that messes try to build up a stock of non-perishable foodstuffs?
A. Yes, by all means.

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The Victoria Cross has been awarded To:-
CAPTAIN PHILIP SIDNEY
F-Lt ? HILL
F-Sgt. ? AARON

We regret that we are unable to supply the names of the R.A.F. holders or details of the citations. Captain Sidney was awarded his V.C. for serviced at Anzio.
Distinguishes Flying Crosses have been awarded to :-
F/Lt. Lazenby, F/O Middleton, F/O. Buckonridge, S-Ldr. Marshall, F/O. Hill. Group Captain N. Pickard, D.S.O. and 2 bars, D.F.C., is reported missing.

THE DIARY OF P/O PEPYS, P.O.W.
Monday, 5th June, A.D. 1944
BELARIA

During the Appelle this morning did see the guards in the Vorlager wearing their gasmasks, a premonitory symptom, for to be mindful of an invasion is one this, but to be expectant of gas is an odious matter. At this time we did learn of the foreclosure of the sports field, some rumoured for the building of heated showers and a swimming place, but it was all a falsity, for nothing was further from our minds of the builders. I learnt that one of the new “purge” which did arrive yesterday approached my Lord Tuck, whist my Lord was in is undress uniform and said “I say, old boy, were you a fighter type?” The crisis is now past and our physician says that they are both doing well – though knowing our physician, he may have has his bridge opponents in mind, or his is rapacious where cards are concerned – oft playing two games at once. What news this day, for we learn of the making over of ROME to us, a capital moved in the right direction. Tomorrow is the official birthday of our Sovereign Lord the King and we will parade in honour; so this night a great cleansing of our brasses and boots.

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Tuesday, 6th June
This morning it did rain and our parade for the King was cancelled – all our cleansing in vain – But the news did not damp our spirits, for to-day we did learn that our soldiers are, even now, fighting on this continent and progressing towards is. They were put ashore early this morning on the coast of France and now the battle rages; for this is the determinate struggle and our patience will soon be rewarded. We can now dare to hope to be home for this Christmas, as an old and senior officer, inured to false hopes, whispered to me. Even our Adjutant’s eye did gleam and I believe he has been asking new prisoners for details of the trains to London town. HOPE AND FACT MAY DIFFER BUT HOME IS IN SIGHT. And so to bed, in a room full of rumours and preparations for the morrow’s parade.

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GREEN FINGERS

Some of the tomato plants were found to be broken at the growing point. If you received any in this condition they should be left to push out a lateral from one the axils of the leaves and this shoot should them be trained upwards and treated as they normal stem. If all the laterals have already been removed no shoot will appear and the plant is useless and should be discarded as it will no produce leaves and, possibly, one small bunch of under-sized fruit. The SPINACH is running to seed very quickly. There is no way of avoiding this in out soil. Crinkled leaves mean that your plant has been attacked by blackfly.

PARSNIP will benefit from a dressing of soot, fresh manure (if you know a horse) should be avoided.
All vegetable seeds have now been issued.

Only with greatest of difficulty was Churchill dissuaded from following the invasion troops to France; so affirmed Admiral Ramsay, who directed naval operations. Only when he has been convinced that his personal protection would impose a great added burden on the invasion forces, would he give up the project. Since the first landings it has been almost impossible to induce him to rest, even for a few hours. B.B.Z.



One or two of the more enterprising London newspapers have chartered private aircraft to fly their latest editions across the Channel to the troops in France. B.B.Z.



In the East we have been forced to the painful recourse of evacuating wide areas won by the blood of German and German Allied soldiers. But this was necessary for two reasons; firstly, to hold up the politico-military drive on Italy and secondly, and more importantly, to be assured – in keeping with the military tenets of Napoleon and Moltke – of adequate strength on the decisive theatre of war. V.B.
C

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According to an announcement by the ministry of War and Transport 588,000 persons have been killed or injured in the street accidents since the beginning of the war. This figure exceeds the total English ware losses during the same period. B.B.Z.



The Revue – “Give Us Air” – opens on Tuesday and will run for five nights. This show will be followed by the presentation of “French Without Tears.”

THE ATTACKON WESTERN FRANCE
The following items of news and information on the above subject are taken from articles printed in the German papers during the week:-

Neutral reports have stated that the date of the invasion was decided upon as long as August, 943; when Roosevelt and Churchill met at Quebec.

The American Major General J.F. Miller has been reduced to the rank of Lieut. Colonel and sent back to the United States. At a cocktail party he revealed the approximate date of the invasion by remarking: “I give you my word of honour that the invasion will take place before the 13th of June.”

The only German naval forces opposing the British concentration were speedboats. The British forces totalled at least 280 ships of all kinds, among them 6 battleships, cruisers, destroyers, armoured cruisers, landing boats, etc. The Warspite, Nelson, Ramillies and Rodney were named among the British battleships and the Nevada, Texas and Arkansas among the American. A German bomber attacking the naval forces reported that: “the scene is lit up, at times ,as bright as day. Captain T. shouts in astonishment to his observer, “You can throw them out where y like, you’ll hit a ship anywhere.”

The parachute troops, who were landed in Normandy, included a group of Red Indians who called themselves the “Dirty Thirteen” and are trained specially for demolition work. They have the traditional red and black wat paint on their

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Faces and their heads are shaven smooth. Also included were life size dolls, loaded with explosive, which were thrown out by parachute East of the Orne.

Early reports of simultaneous landing between Calais and Dunkirk proved to be false. The invasion fleet which was seen to be approaching this area proved to be a diversion.

A British press photographer is reported to have spent half an hour on the Orne bridgehead on Tuesday, and to have said, among other things: “I was at the Anzio landing too, but that was nothing to this hell. The Germans had a cleverly worked out system of machine gun nests and held their fire until the first Allied soldiers had landed; then they loosed a hurricane of steel and fire upon the swarm on the beach. At the same time the artillery fired on the boats on their way to the shore.”
From D.A.Z.: “The German people has received the news of the start of the invasion with calm, almost with a sense of relief. It will continue to bear the burden even if the present front is followed by others and even if Churchill should call to his aid the war sabotage in the Occupied Territories, as proclaimed two years ago.”

“AT LAST:” is the only phrased to sum up the feelings of the man in the street in England, on hearing the news. There were no demonstrations, no declarations of optimism. People felt too tense and serious. Neutral correspondent remarked: “Everyone knows what is in front of him: too many have relations and friends among the men who are off to France to have anything left over for enthusiasm or for rejoicing over victory in advance” The churches were open for prayer. Kind George broadcast to the English people and the Empire, urging them to pray. English publicity was sober. Churchill’s speech in the House was made without any dramatic effects. The few other speakers said very little. Mr. Gallagher, the Communist M.P. who has persistently demanded the second front, wanted to address a vote of thanks to Churchill but his feelings were too much for him; he was overcome by tears, and, breaking off in the middle of a sentence, sank back to his seat.

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The British Broadcasting Company found itself compelled to re-broadcast German announcements, to keep the British public abreast of the situation. It was not until 9 o’clock (a.m. or p.m. ? Ed.) that any official news from British sources was forthcoming.


From THE O.K.W. COMMUNIQUE FOR 6.6.44

In the course of last night the enemy began his long prepared and long anticipated attack on Western Europe. After an initial heavy bombardment of out coastal defences, the enemy landed air-borne troops at several points on the N. French coast, between Cherbourg and Le Harve, at the same time carrying out sea-borne landings supported by strong naval units. Bitter fighting is in progress in the coastal sectors under attack.

THIRTEEN TO THE DOZEN (1st in the series)
CAPTAIN LEVY
I’m walking around this here compound minding my own business when up comes one of them guys called Economists. He tells me this that when we get home a government guy is coming to you to assess all your possessions, (That means everything that a guy’s got). This guy is going to let you know how much cash your possessions are worth. Then he takes only thirty per cent. of it from you and pays the war debts just as quick like winking an eye. Now let me warn you, be careful of what you pack in the old kit-bag and I also suggest that we should submit an application now for a nudist camp preferable the mix type for exkriegies. Because the less you have the less you have to pay. But I feel sorry for those chaos this got them Rolex timers instead of paying £10 like they thought. “It’s going to be £13,” I says this economist guy, “they can’t do that to me.” Then he says, “That or else inflations. “ So I keep quiet and think to myself, And this is what, says my brain box. Pay it, it’s a good thing. Now first thing, a good full glass of beer with a rich snow scene on top of each mug for 4d. instead of 1s., also 10 smokes for 6d. instead of

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1s. 6d. But if youse [sic] guys that’s packing your kitbags to go home in six weeks bring to much possessions you’re going to pay lots like a Rolex watch guys, therefore get less beer. A second thought maybe inflation would be a good thing because we all have to join the nudist camp even Hedy Lamarr.

The day of the utility suit is past. It is no longer compulsory and one can now order suits with the usual number of packets, trouser turnups, etc.



Sir Montague Norman has resigned his position as Governor of the Bank of England.



“LILAC DOMINO” has been revived at the Haymarket Theatre.

SHOOT YOUR LINE

If you’re just a brand new “kriegie”
And you’re feeling kind of dazed,
When an “old boy” tells a story
Never show that you’re amazed,
It’s a line.
When he tries a bit of baiting
Just to see if you will rise,
Keep right on with what you’re doing,
Show no traces of surprise,
It’s a line.
Don’t go asking foolish questions
(You’ll be wised up soon enough)
‘Cause you’ll get sarcastic answers
Which are known as “heavy stuff,”
It’s a line.
Should you hear someone suggesting
That you “haven’t got a clue,”
Don’t let on you even heard him
N ever let it bother you
It’s a line.
One day you will find a “new boy”
And when your turn has come,
Don’t stand around and gape at him,
But extricate your thumb,
Shoot your line.

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BASIL BEETON’S CORNER

4 Cups Semolina. 1Pkt. Can. Raisins.
2 Spoons Sugar ½ Tin Oleomargarine.
Work margarine into semolina very thoroughly. Add 4 or 5 spoons of cold water, until mixture is a workable dough. Take care not to get mixture too wet, add raisins and mix thoroughly.
Roll dough into sausage shape and place in a greased baking dish, cover with greased paper, bake slowly for 435-60 minutes.
Cut into slices and serve with hot ginger syrup sauce (1/3 water).

OUR STOVE

It wasn’t as though I wanted to make a stove, I didn’t even suggest the idea. The other chaps suddenly remembered all sorts of gravely important matters which demanded immediate attention; being a new kriegie I was scarcely in a position to question them. Before disappearing on their vital errands, however, the proffered much advise. Which incinerators to get the tins from, where to dig up the clay, how to acquire the bricks whose scissors to borrow for he tin-cutting and so forth. They started to drift back again, just as I cut myself for the fourth time. That was after I’d collected everything including a few pointed remarks from the Squadron Leader whose bricks seemed to be his dearest possession. Not that I was suspicious, mark you; but it did seem funny that all their important engagements were so well timed.

I thought that I was doing pretty well but evidently, in their eyes, my efforts were pathetic. They looked significantly at each other, with sorrowful shaking of their heads and the air of glum disapproval was very discouraging.

Admittedly they started to help, though couldn’t help noticing that their efforts were mostly verbal, and involved nothing of a messy, dangerous or tedious mature. I scarcely liked to point out that we couldn’t afford to break to many bricks, or to spoil the tins I’d cut, but when, inadvertently they

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knocked down the one wall I’d built, I was moved to suggest that they applied the benefits of their experience and finish the job themselves. His caused some umbrage and led to pointed remarks and muttered references to “Needless Sarcasm,” “only trying to help,” “New Kriegies,” “Clueless types” etc., etc.

The strained atmosphere had worn off by the time I had finished the job. Enough, anyway, to enable them to kindly enlighten me as to what was wrong with the stove; what I should have done instead; why it would never burn properly and how I would learn these things, with experience.
By late brew time they were actually boasting about their stove to our visitors, describing its virtues and how they built it; I must day that they were good enough to say I had assisted them.

REFERENCE LIBRARY

We have been asked to announces that books on technical subjects are in the technical reference library and are retained so that officers wishing to study specific subjects may be able to refer to the appropriate text books at any time. Only the officers teaching under the educational scheme or those studying for a particular examination are permitted to withdraw books, and only on the recommendations of the Education Officer. It is to be regretted that two books removed without authority, are still missing from the library.



From the Illustrierte Zeitung, April, 1944:-
Written by the German Philosopher LAGARDE in 1881:-
“A conflict with Russia will free land between the East of Poland and the Black Sea, for German settlers.
It is unbearable that history should always go to the West, whilst excellent land is lying fallow in the East; which the Sarmations, who are a burden on Europe, could acquire by a simple migration; while

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room can be found for the Germans – now vanishing into America – by throwing the Muscovites back from our doorstep.”



“There is nothing new under the sun.”



On the occasion of the fist German success against the invader, Hitler received a telegram of congratulations from the Japanese Prime Minister TOJO. P.Z.

THE BELARIA CRAWL
In a brief interview with the principal and their envoy plenipotentiary some illuminating information was obtained. It appears that the “crawl” was on settle of a wager over the probable date of the invasion; May 31st having been the “deadline.” Our readers are reminded that the preservation of dignity was the first consideration of the protagonists and their staff who made the arrangements.
The Envoy Plenipotentiary, in reply to a question assured us that feelings of the utmost cordiality existed between the principals. The winner remarked that, delighted as he would have been to lose this wager, he was of the opinion that we should se the invasion before the end of the month. The crawler endorsed this opinion and added, as a last remark before dashing off on all fours, “ALL IS LOST, SAVE HONOUR; I HAVE BEEN DOUBLECROSSED BY EISENHOWER:”

On the sound of the alert by the Master Herald, the crawler assumed the prescribed position, preceded by the Master at Arms, flanked by the Guard of Honour and followed by the Winner, the Master Buckler, the Envoy Plenipotentiary and the representatives of the Fourth Estate. Another fanfare was sounded, there was a tense hush, then a crash of cymbals the signal to start, from the Master Starter. The large crowd roared and the long awaited Belaria Crawl was under way. The crawler made good time over the first lap, 5 mins. 31 1/5 secs. At the first dormer her was greeted by the Master

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Victualler and was suitably refreshed by courtesy of the winner. The Fourth Estate was suitably and properly victualled.

The required procedure was carried out on the second and third laps, with due regard fort dignity and ceremonial. The home stretch was crawled to the strains of “Blaze Away,” the principal sustaining a smooth gait and easy rolling action; he finished the feat to the acclamations of the onlookers, having done the last lap in 4mins. 16 1/5 sec., making a total crawling time of 21 mins. 36 1/5 sec. – a record likely to stand for some time. The crawlers’ final remark was brief but to the point: “I AM SURE,” he said, “THAT IF THERE HAD BEEN 15 MORE DAYS IN MAY, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT STORY.”

The Residential Physician, Dr. Everard Monteuuis, the carried out an examination in chambers and advised the crawler to take things easy for a long time and to have an immediate and complete change of air.

The serving of refreshments, supplied to all participants by courtesy of the crawler, marked the conclusion of a most satisfactory event. Everyone now looks forward to the repeat performance, with embellishments, scheduled for next October.
DUM VIVIMUS VIVAMUS

THE ROCKET RACKET

The alleged menace of the (hitherto) secret weapon has been fully exploited in the German Press and we quote a few extracts:-

“According to the British Embassy in Stockholm, the English capital had the longest air-raid of the war on Thursday night and Friday morning (16th and 17th), new German explosives have been used. The Londoners spent sixteen hours in shelters

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And underground stations… The Home Secretary was forced to make an appeasing statement, in which he tried to minimise the damage caused… The London Press calls this “unaimed Bomber” new German trick, which will not have the desired effect…An observer, who claims to have seen one of the pilotless aircraft, stated that it looked almost like a toy and moved at a low altitude with flames shooting out of its tail.” (D.A.Z).

“The eye-witness reports, although they differ on many points, agree that the shells are filled with high-explosive and explode a few seconds after they hit the ground. The mysterious aircraft, they also said, developed a fabulous speed, they flew in groups of two or three, occasionally singly, at a height of 3,000 feet, others just at roof level.. An analysis of the different accounts results in the following composite picture:-
The shells develop a tremendous speed.
All had a bright light at their tail end.
Behind the shells a sparkling tail develops,
This – according to British suppositions – originates from exhaust gases.” (D.A.Z.)
“According to the Svenka Dagleblatt it is not only difficult, but also dangerous for the British Fighters to engage the ‘Robot’ aircraft. The latter are much faster than was originally believed and when the British fighter approached too near, it may happen that he destroys himself at the same time as the ‘Robot.’” (B.Z.)
“The Daily Herald says ‘it is clear that we have no means to fight these rocket bombs.’” (B.Z.)

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[Image MURDERR INCORPORTATED]

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
The fact that the play is mentioned in the Editorial Mr. Pepys’ diary, and the letter on page 40, would appear to render a lengthy notice redundant. The production was well up to the high standard we have some to expect of F/Lt. Hall. Other producers would do well to note the small touched such as the dust on the shoes of Dr *Epstein after the interment in the cellar and roving eyes of Grandfather above the cellar door.

Your critic has recently seen the play in London and the outstanding difference between the

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production were portrayals of Mortimer and Jonathan. The latter was, on the professional stage, a subtly sinister person and, as such, was much more effective than the overgrown “school bully” effect presented here; the former-Mortimer-as portrayed on our stage, was a burlesque of Nauton Wayne’s playing of the part, even to the make-up. This was probably deliberate and, in view of the lack of professional talent, may have been wise. The audiences will have judged for themselves.

The Aunts, Abby and Martha, were delightful and stood out well above the rest of the cast; this does not imply that they lacked support. The minor parts were filled, mostly, with new talent, and it is obvious that, with experience, we shall have the makings of a really good selection of players which to cast.
*(ED.NOTE: The mistake is not mine, for Ep. Please read Ein.).



We have been asked to publish a reminder to all those rehearsing for forthcoming productions. Please be punctual. Delay in starting rehearsals plays “merry hell” with the schedule.



3,000 allied prisoners-of-war were present quartered at Stalag Luft I, Barth. It is reported that this number includes 600 R.A.F. personnel. A recent letter from the Senior Allied Officer at Barth acknowledges with thanks Reich Marks and other gifts from Stag Luft III. The S.A.O. states that they are short of necessary equipment for repairing boots, clothing, etc., but the food position has improved slightly.



It is interesting to note that “Arsenic and Old Lace,” written by two Americans, Moss Hart and Kaufmann, has been running for 18 months in London and 3 ½ years in New York, Boris Karloff played the part of Jonathon in the New York version.

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[newspaper images]

VOLKISCHER BEOBACHTER
Berlin, Sonnerbend, 17 Juni 1944
It neuen Sprengkörpen größten Kalibers
Gegen London und Südengland

GERMAN NEWSPAPEWR HEADLINE WHEN V1 WAS FIRST USED.

[Image]

A GENERAL VIEW OF THE CAMP AT BELARIA.

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THE LOG

BELARIA 19th June, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY-ONE
EDITORIAL

It is obvious that the joint planning of post-war industry and trade with a view to providing maximum re-employment is only one of the many problems which have confronted the governments of the Allied powers in their efforts to prepare for the forthcoming demobilisation.
Governments assistance in the education and technical training of ex-service personnel has already provided form to a standard where they may have re-absorbed into civilian life properly equipped to face the future with confidence born of knowledge and ability rather than optimism. In some cases this assistance will take the form of bursaries and scholarships; in others it will take the form of free educational facilities plus adequate living allowances. Alternatively, and almost certainly, there will be substantial payment in the form of rehabilitation subsistence allowances or gratuities sufficient to finance the period of instruction.

Modern warfare demands that we have a lengthy and vigorous training for its successful prosecution; the modern industrial and commercial world, too, will find room for those who can prove themselves skilled and competent. It is an unavoidable and unpleasant circumstance that the exigencies of war should require the services of a whole generation of young men, just as they arrive at the crucial point of their education or training, and that they must be asked to sacrifice these all important formative years. There seems to be, in official circles, a

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Growing appreciation of this sacrifice and its extent; in some cases definite steps are being taken to offset or compensate for the resultant disadvantages.

It only remains to point out that those members of the services who do not intend to remain on the permanent strength and who do not have essential background or training, will do well to consider seriously ways and means of fitting themselves for future employment. Wherever possible, savings from pay and gratuities, should be regarded as capital and be reserved for this purpose.

In addition to the plans already discussed, extensive preparations have been made for providing assistance for those wishing to take up or resume farming. Naturally the countries most interested in these plans for setting up returned men as farmers and ranchers are those Dominions and Colonies which have large available areas of land suitable for agriculture. This does not mean that ex-servicemen from other countries will be excluded from participation. Although no definite statement has been forthcoming, it seems certain that they will be encouraged and assisted in any plans they may have for emigrating, as potential farmers, to these dominions. Prospective farmers, with previous experience, will find no difficulty in obtaining adequate financial assistance from the state. Those lacking this experience will be able to obtain it under the most favourable conditions, with the assurance of further assistance when the training period has been completed.

It is reassuring to note that everything possible is being done to avoid the tragic errors of the ex-solider settlement schemes introduced after the last war; when men, absolutely unsuited for farming were allotted holdings of land and then left to fend for themselves.

The new plans aimed at achieving permanent and economically successful re-establishment of the returned Service men; in such a manner that they are assured of a reasonable opportunity to become independent, satisfied member of the community.

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TO ALL AT BELARIA

I am glad to take the opportunity, kindly given me, of introducing myself through the LOG.
I have come here to be a Camp Chaplain along with Padre Powell, whim I had the pleasure of knowing at Oflag IX A/Z.

I am Church of Scotland and Parish Minister of St. Andrews. The Services I conduct will be according to the Presbyterian form. I hope that these services (similar to those which F/O Cribb bas been conducting) will continue to be welcomed by members of all denominations to whom they are familiar through custom and so dear by association.

There is no room, however, for denominational separateness and I look forward to sharing the Services and other Ministerial work of the Camp with Padre Powell, and desire to be of use in whatever directions I can. W.E.K.RANKIN.



FUKUDA, a member of the Japanese Army Headquarter Intelligence Staff, recently gave a lecture on the Japanese offensive operations in Honan. He stated that the object of this offensive was not so much the subjugation of Chunking as the prevention of the American intention to use Chinese bombing bases for the attack on Japan. D.A.Z.



General Eisenhower, Marshall, Arnold and King of the United States Forces, have paid a visit to Normandy during the last few days. D.A.Z.

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“GIVE US THE AIR”

Your critic attended the third night of this revue and came away from the theatre completely baffled as to the objects of the author-producer. The music, some original and some, new arrangements of old themes, was excellent. The band were on the top of their form and a delight to listen to.

The script was well larded with stock jokes of the “Waterworks Engineer” type and with broad digs at some of the personnel of the camp. I was left with the impression that “Anything for a Laugh” has been the guiding principle of the author. If this was his intention, he succeeded beyond all doubt, the audience laughed heartily at many of the jokes – possibly without remembering that they had been doing so for many many years. The humour (?) was, at times, very broad, noticeably in the Brain (T)rust sketch, and a little originality and subtlety would have been welcome.

The chorus were a popular troupe and their well-drilled performances pointed to may hours of unremitting labour on the part of the de ballet Professor Woad’s performance, too, was the high-spot of an otherwise sticky sketch.

The honours of the evening go to the author-producer, for all the hard work he must have put into the production; to the composer of the music which we enjoyed so much; to the band who put it over so well, and to W/O Wagstaffe, for his pleasant renderings of songs with little appeal and less meaning. The settings were well designed and executed; particularly the opening set and the “Boogie Woogie” background.



The One-Act okay completion takes place during this week. Details will be announced.

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THE DIARY OF P/O PEPYS, P.O.W. XXI.
IIth June, A.D. 1944
A Long sleep, this morning being Lord’s Day. After church did see the Senior Naval Officers who was much relieved that the new arrivals of yesterday did not include any Naval officer more senior than himself. His crew is increasing and there should be sufficient to man the boats if it is a wet autumn. Our cook tells me that as he was collecting flowers in the sports field a postern did approach and ask if he was going to make tea from the; he could not have been well informed, for we have three pounds of real tea upon our shelves.

Monday, 12th June
Once again our family increases, for we have drawn the lowest card and, a large body of men having arrived for Heydekrug, we must have two more quarters. Twelve in a room is a swarm and we live likes bees in a hive; as there are no beds for the newcomers they must sleep on the tables and benches, with their belongs tucked into every corner. This evening did ensue a worthy sight; there is one of our number who insists on violating the air with the screech of his practice on the bagpipes, during the day out ears are tormented by the melancholy shrieks and squeals of the pipes, which, I learn, turns Scottish men fighting mad. Driven to desperation, out brave Senior Belgian Officer led the Legion of Tuck Tenements in the opposition against the strident cacophony. But they must needs retreat, for the would-be piper, an Antipodean to boot, blew so hard as to drive them away. Now out gallant Allies, so adapt at sabotage, are concocting a satisfactory end to this bag of wind.
Wednesday, 14th June
Last, night I did see the new revue at the theatre, this was a new brand of amusement for us and many like it much; for the chorus was very attractive and the music, which was home-grown was excellent in composition and execution. A dull day again. And so to bed, wondering why there was no German communique to cheer our spirits.

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QUIET PERIOD
“Oh, hello there, come on in. How’s everything going? I haven’t seen you for ages – you must be studying to be a hermit.”
“What’s that? Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Come on over here and sit down beside me.”
“Oh, you knocked three or four times. Now isn’t that funny. I never even noticed.”
“What’s that? Oh, no, I’m not getting deaf. At least, I don’t think so. S[peak a little louder. People seem to mumble so much these days.”
“Do you know everybody here? What? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Oh, yes – a bit noisy, but you get used to that.”
“That fellow over there? Oh, he’s just doing a bit o tin-bashing. Yes, he’s quite good at it. Makes all kinds of things.
“What did you say? A blacksmith in civvy life? Oh no, I think he was a book keeper. Oh, I see it now. You were joking. Ha, ha. You always were a wit weren’t you?”
“That dark chap? Just learning? Oh, no, he’s been playing the violin for at least two months. He’s just practising scales now.”
“What’s that you say? Sounds like a cat on a tin roof?> Well, I guess it’s a matter of taste.”
“Those four? Well, you see, they’re playing kin. Not din, old boy, kin –K-I-N. A game some Belgians brought from the Congo.”
“What did you say? Should have left it there – But, really, old boy, it’s a lot of fun.”
“What? Why do they make so much noise? Oh, that’s all part of the game, you see- Pardon – You think chess would be better. I don’t quite follow you.”
“Him? What? Oh, he’s just showing how he used to attack. What’s that you say? The noise? Well, that’s just his way of imitating a Merlin. Yes. He’s really very interesting. You should hear him do an air-raid siren. Perhaps he will if you ask him.”

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“Pardon? What did you say? Can he imitate an Oyster? How do you mean?”
“What? You won’t stay for tea? But I thought you said you…”
“Well, really, old man, there’s no need to shout about it – Well, I know it says “Quiet Period,” but…”
“What? A madhouse did you say….”
“Well, really, old boy…..!!”

POLITICAL EDUCATION
We frequently hear the suggestion that many of the world present difficulties are due to a lack of political education among the masses of people of the leading nations. There is a widely held view that if the general public were competently instructed in political and administrative affairs, it would be less susceptible to specious propaganda and less prone to such manifestations of mass hysteria as have marked history since the last war, and that a politically intelligent electorate would make the taks of modern government more simple.

Political education, obviously, cannot be taught in the same manner as mathematics or English literature. The needs if an expanding, changing civilisation and the steady evolution of the administration apparatus call for some sort of curriculum which would have to be adaptable to current development. Equally obvious is the necessity for safeguards to prevent any scheme of political evolution becoming a political instrument of the regime in power.

It is interesting to speculate upon possible means of providing a curriculum of political education for, as an instance, our secondary schools. A curriculum might be prepared by a special committee, headed by a permanent official of the Board of Education, The members of this committee would be representative of all shades and colours of political opinion; the courses of study which they would prepare would assure that every student, on attaining

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Matriculation standard, would have a thorough grasp of both the machinery of administration as it exists and of the aims and objective of all the leading political groups.

Education, along these lines, might go far towards reducing the incidence of prejudice and emotion upon modern problems of statecraft and ensure a rational approach to the nation’s affairs.

BAND AD MUSIC NOTES
A meeting of entertainment officers was held at Sagan during last week as a result Belaria was allotted several new musical instruments. These include a new piano, our outstanding need, and a new bass fiddle, the present one being in a very sorry state. Other instruments include a set of drums, 3 saxophones, 1 trumpet, 3 clarinets and miscellaneous effects. The instruments will complete every section of the band with new instruments.
The interval music for the forthcoming show – FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS - will be played by the Tango section, directed by Flying Officer Ryder.

FLIGHT SERGEANT CLOVER, R.A.F.
Those kriegies who know S/Ldr. Cranswick, D.S.O., D.F.C., may be interested to hear that both he and Flt. Sgt. Clover are now screened.

This gallant N.C.O. is particularly fine Alsatian dog belonging to the Squadron Leader, they have just retired from operations after ninety-six trips by the latter and one by the Flight Sergeant. They joined the squadron together and Clover participated keenly to be a born airdog, never batting an eyelid in the tightest turn.

It was decided to take him on an operational flight; oxygen raised rather a problem but Clover insisted that he could cope and proves it by sleeping soundly at all altitudes above 15,000 feet. The aircraft returned safely to its base, but unfortunately, was forced to make a belly landing. The crew

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escaped unhurt but despite this it proved to be Clover’s first and last ‘op.’ A.M.F. case? Not on your life. Just Flight Commander’s orders.

Clover maintains a log-book which is handed in for signature with those of other aircrew at the end of each month and all his trips have been properly authorised by the Flight Commander. The ‘Duty’ column in the log-book contains some rather unorthodox entries such a: “Getting cheesed as second Wop – moving to second engineer’s position.” etc.

When not operating himself, Clover maintained a keen interest in the safety of his crew; on operational nights he would watch take-off with a critical eye from their dispersal point, whence he refused to budge until the long awaited drone raised his head. Soon aircraft were landing in quick succession remaining unidentified by ground crews until they were nearly in the respective dispersals. By some sixth sense, denied to mere humans, Clover knew immediately Cranswick had touched down and passed on the news by barking loudly and excitedly wagging his tail. This happened not once or twice but on every trip and he was never found to be incorrect.
We wonder whether he has been commissioned yet, it must be great fun for him shooting his operational line to less ambitious types of his kind and we don’t doubt it has been worth many a pint of its canine equivalent in the Sergeant’s Mess of the O.T.U. at which he and his master now serve.

THE ATTACK ON THE WESTERN FRONT
The first reports were confused and often contradictory but following main outlines have emerged. The actual invasion consisted of four main episodes:-
(a) Heavy bombardment from the air.
(b) Parachute landings.
(c) Reinforcements of parachutists by transport aircraft and gliders.
(d) Coastal landings under the protection of naval artillery.

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The landings were spread along the coast from Le Havre to Cap’de la Hague; there were, in addition, numerous airborne attacks all over the peninsula of Cotentin. These resolved themselves into two main areas, the British positions north of Bayeux and the Americans north of Carenton and up the east coast of Cotentin. A second large series of landing occurred on the evening and night of Tuesday, 6th; a noticeable feature of these landings was the vast number of gliders and transport aircraft used; a third followed on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday, 8th. The British forces pushed South and, on Thursday, had taken Bayeux. They had a bulge East of Orne, but it was here and at Caen that the main German resistance was encountered, no further progress has been reported from this region. N Saturday, 10th the British and Americans joined up at Isigny. Since then there have been three main thrusts:-

The Americans pushed West and took Carenton on Monday, 2th. Since then their main attack has gone North-West supported by further attacks and heavy artillery from the navy on the North-East corner of Cotentin, on Thursday, 15th; their main advance reached a point between Valognes and Montebourg.

The main British attack has gone along the roads radiating South, South-East and South-West from Bayeux and on Wednesday, 14th, fighting was reported South of Tilly and Balleroy and as far as Caumont, about 30 kms. inland.

The Americans on the British West flank have advanced South-East from Carenton and have crossed the Bayeux-St. Lo road.

The allies have been supported by a continuous naval and air bombardment. The Germans report that a big battle is impending.

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[Image – THE CAST OF ROPE]

BEHIND THE SCENES
The entertainments officers of all six camps met at Sagan during last week and were informed that further meetings of this sort are forbidden by the German authorities.

We have succeeded in securing another piano, anyone wishing to practise should see Flying Officer Whiteley.

The electric gramophone is still in the Vorlager, we hope to get it in =when some new classical records are available

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The film projector, plus films (titles unknown), will start a tour of all camps during the week. Dates of showing are not yet decided for this camp.



The Rushcliff Commission has recommended that high rates of pay should be made to the members of the Queen Alexandra Nursing Service. The present rates are about £350 per annum for an experienced and certified nursing sister.

CHURCH SERVICES FOR 25TH JUNE, 1944
3rd Sunday after Trinity.
0930 hours – Holy Communion, Chapel.
1115 hours – Camp Service (C. of E.) Theatre.
Hymn: “Christ, whose glory fills the skies.”
“Thy Kingdom come, O God.”
“Rejoice, the Lord is king.”
Preacher: Rev. C.P. Powell).
1815 hours – Evening Prayers, Chapel.



You are reminded that there is a meeting of the Belaria Branch of the Northern Heights Model Club every Wednesday at 1630 hours in the Fiction Library.



The German A.R.P. Association has published an explanatory statement about the ever-recurring assertion that terror-bombers spray the target-towns with phosphorus. It appears that target marking bombs have given the deceptive impression of raining phosphorous. Distant and close observation leads to the erroneous impression that phosphorous is being sprayed. Sometimes fires or direct hits cause the bombload to explode and the liquid burning mass is the resultant spectacle. Similar result is produced when a phosphorus bomb gets stuck in the ground and throws its contents upwards, the burning mass is violently ejected to a height of sixty feet or more and comes down in the firm of a flaming spray. In no case will an actual rain of liquid phosphorous be observed. D.A.Z.

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General Montgomery crossed the Channel by destroyer on the 8th June, his tactical H.Q. are now established somewhere in Normandy. D.A.Z



Darnars, Secretary General for the Maintenance of Order and Chief of the Militia, has been appointed Secretary of State for the Interior but will retain his previous duties. D.A.Z.



The French themselves know that the recent air-raids on French cities were for the purpose of destroying possible French Industrial competition after the war. P.Z.



During the period of rationing 26th June to 23rd July, the quota of 100 grammes of animal fats will be omitted. The deficiency will be made up by an increase of the butter, margarine and salad oil ration. B.B.Z.



The official British News Service reports from Allied Headquarters that the situation in France is regarded there with “cautious optimism.” B.B.Z.



British War Correspondents report that, on the fall of Bayeux, invasion troops were greeted by the jubilant populace with garlands of roses and apple blossom. The streets of the town were said to be covered with a carpet of flowers. On their entry into the town the soldiers were stopped by the joyful inhabitants and regaled with ham and red burgundy. P.Z


The Rt. Hon. Herbert Morrison has stated that England has spent £19,000,000,000, on the war. V.B.

HOBSON’S CHOICE
32 year old Mata Schindler, of Suszenback, Silesia, has been employed by a farmer since 1933 as an assistant in the house and also to help with farm work. The latter part of her duties ceased to appeal to her and she decided to give up the

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position. Her employer could not, however, find a replacement and she, Mata, was compelled to stay on in the job. Despite this order Miss Schindler got the idea of burning down the farm buildings and she set light to sheds containing equipment, cattle etc. By good fortune the wind changed so that the farmhouse and a mill with reserve of grain were saved. The culprit appeared before the court in Leignitz and was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment to be followed by 8 years’ “Loss of Honour.” It was only the fact that she was considered to be slightly mental that prevented the court from enforcing the Death Penalty, which would have been normal in such a case. V.B.



German Reparation bonds have increased in value on the London Stock exchange, since the Invasion, while shipping shares have gone down. Shares in French Railway Companies have increased in value from £15 to £75. D.A.Z.



Although the enemy, who has been steadily concentrating his forces has been attacking at many different points, these offensive and defensive actions serve, at bottom, the purpose of testing the relative strength on all fronts so that focal points for greater operations can be found D.A.Z.


LITTLE TALKS – I.
(With apologies to A.P. Herbert)
“Hello, old man.”
“Hello there, where have you been all these ages.”
“Oh! I don’t know…. It’s been weeks since I saw you.”
“Yes, it is …. You know it’s damned funny how two people living in the same camp can go for weeks without so much clapping eyes on each other.”
“That’s funny, I was talking to a man only yesterday about that. He had some mad scheme about ‘boarding out’ and ‘kriegie holidays’ and ..”

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..
“Kriegie holidays!.... sounds alright. What was the big idea?”
“Oh! It was a system of boarding out one man from each mess to some other mess for a week… quite well worked out, on the whole… but I had to tell him you’d never get everyone to agree.”
“You know, that’s not a bad idea – can you remember how it works?”
“Well I can give you a rough outline, but you’d really have to see the man to get the lowdown. It went something like this…Each Mess would set aside one bed as a holiday bed and it would be occupied, for a week, by a mess visitor who would not do any work in the mess during this stay. Of course, it would be a different visitor every week.”
“But what would happen to Joe? I mean the man who gave up his bed for the visitors.”
“That’s easy! He would be out visiting himself for the first week and when he came back, one of the others in the mess would go for his holidays, leaving his bed empty for the first fellow or Joe as you call him.”
“Oh! I see… it’s quite simple really – it’s a wonder it hasn’t been thought of before.”
“It has, I think. I heard that in one camp, squadron leaders would move from mess to mess a month at a time. It’s much the same.”
“It would be a good thing, you know. Have you noticed how new kriegies seem to bring new life to a mess? There’s always such a lot of new things to talk about.”
“Yes, that’s true – but I think the big thing would be a complete change for the visitor, one week out of every eight.”
“Yes, I get awfully tired of the same old faces, week after week. There’s one aspect that would be rather difficult. Wouldn’t it be a bind for the adjutant, never knowing where anyone was?”

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“Well of course, if the scheme came into practice, there would be an officer i/c Holidays, who would keep check on all the names and messes and make out lists from week to week; the numbers in the blocks would always be the same.”
“Look, old boy, I’ve got to go now, will you come over and natter to the mess about this to-morrow? I like the idea – come to tea.”
“Thanks a lot. I’d like to come. About four?”
“Yes, that’ll be grand – cheerio old boy!”
“Cheerio!”



Sunday long-distance day trains have been so poorly patronised for some time that in view of the heavy burdens places on the German Railways at the moment, their continuance seems inadvisable. Consequently all fast express trains, on Sundays, will be cancelled on the railway systems of Germany, the Protectorate and General Government area. The locomotives and railway personnel this released will shortly be diverted to essential good traffic. B.B.Z



Officers, Warrant Officers and N.C.O.’s who are attending classes in the Service Education Scheme are asked to note that a new programme of lectures has between posted in the usual place. This will take effect from 19th June, 1944.

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“APPELL” OR ROLL CALL, WHEN, TWICE DAILY, WE WERE COUNTED BY THE GERMAN OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE CAMP.

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SET-BUILDING AND ORCHESTRA PRACTICE IN THE THEATRE.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 10th July, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY FIVE
EDITORIAL

The foreclosure of the theatre has brought the building and the entertainment staff into the front line of Camp politics. There is a large section of the community who consider that the theatre should now be administered by a committee which should supersede the autocracy at present in power. The feeling is a great tribute to the success of theatrical developments under the existing control; implying, as it does, that the whole matter is now too large and complex for one man to handle.

The LOG agrees with the opinion which advocates the institution of a committee and feels that this is a good opportunity to present its views on the subject. While recrimination is fruitless it is hoped that our suggestions for the future may prove helpful to those who will decide the policy.

We are informed that there should be no difficulty in replacing the floor horizontally, other than the replacement number of the piles upon it rests; this change would be a great boon to the general public because it would make the building suitable for such general activities as boxing, fencing, gymnasium, reading room and library, to mention only a few of the possibilities. It is realised that these activated would have to be fitted in with rehearsals and band practice, making it desirable that the membership of the committee should consist of an equal number of (theatrical) laymen and professionals.

There may be a feeling, particularly among the entertainments staff, that the LOG should not

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interfere in such matters; we can reply that these pages are only public expression of camp opinion and, as such, should deal with and discuss any non-officail matters affecting the general welfare. It should be remembered that the value of the theatre to members of the audience is, at present limited to two hours of amusement every 15 to 20 days, and, delightful though this may be, there are many who feel that the building is not being fully exploited for “THE GREATEST GOOD OF THE GREATEST NUMBER.”

We are sure that the people to whom these remarks apply will rise above petty annoyance and view the whole matter from a detached point of view. This expression of opinion is not designed or intended to detract in any way from our gratitude for the joy and amusement which they have, repeatedly, given us – we are sure that they will continue to do so. When the original plans for the theatre were accepted we had no idea that the camp would ever be so overcrowded; the present upheaval would seem to be a good opportunity to adapt ourselves to the new conditions.



Martin Glinberger, from Hohenwart, was recently inducted into the Landwacht for temporary emergency service. He arrived late at his first appell and also left before the order to dismiss had been given, so that it was necessary to send home a second notification, which he ignored.
He was similarly absent from a large scale muster doe a search for escaped prisoners-of-war and from a parade for allocation of guard duties. The Amtsgericht charged with his case very properly consideration a prison sentence justifiable and awarded him three months detentions. D.A.Z.



The harem has now been abolished in Iran. The new marriage law allows a maximum of two wives to every man, and only this is the consent of the first wife is forthcoming for the husband’s marrying again. K.Z.

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A BIRDS-EYE VIEW OF THE GREATEST MILITARY UNDERTAKING IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND
“I couldn’t understand it at all. It was raining and visibility was very poor. Then I saw that it wasn’t land at all, but a vast fleet of landing barges, literally thousands of them, They were packed so close together it looked just like solid land; I realised that the Invasion was on but I couldn’t stop to watch – I was on the way to bomb a coastal battery in France, I saw them again on the return trip and, as I crossed the English coast, I saw thousands of English aircraft heading South, while over England there were lights flickering in every direction as glider trains were being manoeuvres into position for the great attack.”

In these words one of the recent arrivals summed up his impressions. He added that the whole operation was started in extremely poor weather conditions and the low cloud hampered air operations to a great extent. Bomber crews were instructed to fly beneath the cloud base I the target was not visible from the predetermined bombing height. Numerous aerodromes and marshalling yards were bombed from heights between 1,000 and 2,000 feet, despite these tactics the losses from flak were negligible.

On the Sunday following the invasion Mr. Churchill said that the Light of London would be shining again for Christmas, 1944 and in a final message to the troops General Montgomery stated that they were entering the final battle against Germany, for all time, and declared that he had every confidence that the wear in Europe will be brought to a victorious conclusion by the autumn of this year.

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created by a 2,000 pound aerial bomb. Their speed is thought to vary between 350 and 450 miles per hour and many have been shot down by flak and night-fighters. London is her usual calm and phlegmatic self and carries on as usual. In England the weapon is regarded more as an instrument of propaganda for the German Home Front than as a major factor in the campaign.

In a recent statement Mr. Churchill said that prisoners-of-war in Germany would be repatriated to England within three weeks of the cessation of hostilities.

The war in the Pacific is progressing favourable. The Americans are establishing numerous air bases on the Chinese mainland and it is reported that two heavy raids have been made by B.29’s upon Japan. It is confidently predicted that this activity will increase during the next few months.
His MAJESTY THE KING made a personal visit of inspection to the Normandy bridgehead several days after the Invasion.

General (Field Marshall) Smuts and Mr. Churchill have also been seen in the battle area in France.
A large contingent of English girls who have married members of the Canadian Forces in England have left for Canada to get to know the country and prepare homes for their returning husbands.
The Americans have set up a special organisation in London to arrange for and assist with the affairs of the thousands of English girls who have married Americans.



“Young Canadian girls only report for military service because in this way they can travel overseas and thus not let their best prospects out of their sight, reports the News Chronical of Ottawa. The Canadian girls are very much disturbed because 16,000 of their by friends have already married overseas, particularly in England.

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These facts make them afraid that even the greatest love may not withstand the test of several years’ separation, coupled simultaneously with keen competition.” D. Angr.



D.F.C.’s. have been awarded to :- F/Lt. C. Pearce. F/O. R. Rogers.

RETREAT

CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH, ON, ON… how tired the men are, yet we go on… why is it the other eight way up in front don’t look so tired as we do… they couldn’t so…perhaps with my thumbs under the straps the pack will be easier… no, I’ve tried that before… hot isn’t the word for this… better on the grass perhaps… look back again, they may be …Karen and the children must get back for them.. wish I was a kid and could have a good blubber … oh, it’s hot… helmet’s tighter … funny how I’ve got through two years of retreat without being caught .. wonder if I shall get home … oh darling, I must, I must.. a pilsner, a month’s pay for just one of’em now … pity to disturb these flowers with these bloody boots … still no on behind, but … oh, hell, why are they scattering in front – a tank – a Tiger? NO! – it’s THEM – yes, it’s them – run, run back again … but I can’t … down, flat, dust, flowers, choking …Karen, Karen, where are you?... where?...you …you…



Three years ago in Australia, two Avro Ansons collided in mid-air. Everyone bailed out except LAC Fuller, a trainee pilot of the lower aircraft. The two aircraft were locked together, but the pilot by using the controls of his own aircraft and the engines of the other which were still running managed to make a safe belly-landing.
Sequel: F/Lt. Fuller, D.F.C., was killed recently while riding a push bike.

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Beatrix Potter, the well known English author and illustrator of the famous children’s books, “Jeremy Fisher,” “Squirrel Nutkin,” “Pete Rabbit,” etc., died recently.



Stephen Leacock, Canadian professor of economics and popular humorous writer died a short time again.

THE DIARY OF P/O PEPYS, P.O.W. XXV
Monday, 3rd July. A.D. 1944
Another Monday, how the weeks do fly, for it was this day last week that we lost our theatre, the wash-house, aborts and classrooms, too. After some days we regained our wash-house and aborts, for if they had been taken apart as was our theatre, it would have been an odorous as well as odious prospect for us. Did this morning peep into the theatre and did see the shambles of the last week; some say it will remain so until the war’s end which may be true unless they quickly return it to us; this interference is not so well appreciated outside the camp. In spite of these disturbances and disruptions we are adaptable, even yestermorn our padres held an al fresco service, where the few rain drops only damped the organ. This evening two inhabitants of Tuck Tenements, that verminous Augean stable of the compound, did make a protest by choosing to sleep out of doors; but our guards, perturbed lest take cold, took them to the cooler – a seemingly illogical proceeding – however, due to the recent arrests and storage of our Red Cross food, the cells were full; so our two conscientious objectors were returned to their tenement, there being no gain to either side.

Thursday, 6th July
Today there was no search of our quarters, as there has been these last two mornings and some books arrived to while away our few remaining hours. I did learn that we shall be losing our Reference Libraries, for though the size of our compound is further reduced the numbers increase,

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So the libraries must move to other quarters. Came one to ask if I should prefer that we play cricket for three months, instead of football, to which I readily agreed. Tho’ I do not play either it would at least be good for a spectator, if we are to see the last match of the season at Lord’s. And so to bed, the O.K.W. communique reporting a steady closing of our friends upon all sides.

BREAKFAT ; 1015 hours :-
One Tin Salmon
One Tin Sardine
Biscuits (Canadian) and butter
Coffee

LUNCHEON: 1200 hours:-
½ Tin Bully Beef
Biscuits, butter and marmalade
Coffee

1400 hours:-
½ Tin Bully Beef
Biscuits, butter and marmalade
Coffee

1600 and 1800 hours: (each)
½ Tin York Roll
Biscuits, butter and Marmalade
Coffee

200 hours:-
Biscuits, butter and marmalade
Cheese
Coffee
Dry prunes, raisins and chocolate at frequent intervals.
This was the menu for the officer who, to clinch and argument, attempted to eat a full Canadian food parcel in 12 hours. The conditions stated that evacuation, other than by normal methods, disqualified the principal. The parcel contains some 14,000 calories and the normal kriegie’s daily diet provides at most 2,500 calories. It is of interest to mote that a lumber jack consumes, in one day, meals with a calorific value of 7,000. Apparently the butter was the most difficult item, to get down;

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It is reported that the officer ate a hearty breakfast the next morning and is now none the worse for his “bash.”

We are informed, by old kriegies, that this feat has been attempted many times, but this is first successful one. The point that is t can be done has now been proven and it is hoped that no further food will be wasted in this way.



General Montgomery is now in command of all British and American troops in France.

THE BOOMERANG CLUB
The inaugural meeting of the Belaria Boomerang Club took place during last week. It was attended by 34 Australians who selected the title of the club and proceeded to elect officers.

Various titles were suggested, “Abbo Club,” “Wallaby Club,” and “Kangaroo Club” being among these which were rejected. A chairman and secretary were appointed and additional posts of entertainment, sports and education officers were filled. The “Social and Entertainment Officer “ will, in addition to his other duties, welcome and assist any new Australian prisoners who may arrive.
The membership of the club is open to any Australian at Belaria and its avowed objects are to look after the sporting, educational and social activities of Australians in the camp.

Meetings will be held fortnightly and will include a short talk of general interest. The first of these talks will be given by F/O Carmody, who will discuss the achievements of the R.A.A.F. cricket team in England

….

The present personnel of the camp is 728 officers and N.C.O.’s. The figure is made up as follows:-
British Isles (Including Brit. Nats.) 449
Canadian “ “ “ “ 184
Australian “””” 40
New Zealand “”” 28
South African “”” 27
And three rabbits of uncertain parentage.

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Joe Lewis, who is still in England, has stated that he is not going to defend his title. His present engagements are confined to entertainments for the Troops.



Five-day Test matches are to be abolished. County cricket will be restricted to 2-day matches



The question of demobilisation has been discusses in the House and we are informed that the following conclusions were published :-

Servicemen are to be discharged in the following order –
1st Preference : Married Men
2nd “ Men with their own businesses.
3rd “ Prisoners of War.
4th “ Length of Service.



The Daily Worker is in circulation again in the United Kingdom, its reporters are not, however, allowed within the fighting zone.



The Duchess of Gloucester has cancelled all her engagements.




Douglas Fairbanks, Junr., has been awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry in the Mediterranean theatre. He has recently visited Corsica.



Mr. Winston Churchill recently asked the House for a vote of confidence. The voting of 360 – 4 in favour of the motion will ensure that the Education Bill is passed by the Commons. The school leaving age of 16 has been one of the moat controversial points of the debated on this Bill. One of the speakers in this series of debated found it necessary to remark that : “Of Course the Public Schools are open to all classes.”

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THEY’RE SAYING IT IN GERMANY
Dr. Walter Trautmann in the Pariser Zeitung:-
“The enemies in the East and West will not take the fences built in front of them. For a year and a half the Reich has been taking blow after blow, without being diverted from the preparations for the decision which is now at hand. We have reached the point when the last cards in this unequalled conflict are played and the far-sighted German policy will bear fruit.. So take your course
Destiny…We are sure of this – that History will judge that we Germans have done more than our duty towards the land of the setting sun.”



The Borsen Zeitung: “Although our armies, in the frame of the difficult retreating movements, have taken up the approximate position when we the advance in 1941 started battles have had the important result of weakening the Soviet Armed Forces, so decisively, that it is only with a crushing numerical superiority that they are able to take up the fight with the German and their Allies.



From Hitler’s funeral oration over General Oberst Dietl :-
“May his example pervade and inspire many German officers and Generals; may they learn how to be hard as well as, occasionally, gracious; how to be ruthless in their demands as well as considerate for the soldiers and their trouble. May they above all, learn how to radiate confidence under all circumstances; especially in periods of crisis – in order to exalt every single man - and how to repudiate every single thought that a battle backed by the fanaticism of a whole nation, would end otherwise than in victory, no matter how the situation might be at the moment.



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From a speech by Hitler at a reception held last week:
“One day Victory will compensate us all for what every single man has had to sacrifice; the troubles he has had to bear and the blood he and his family have had to pay.”



Der Angriff reports that the English defence is so helpless before the attacks of the weapon VI that the King has “given private instructions to his subjects, which ignore the Royal Air Force, the A.A. and the Balloon Barrage. He declared, plainly and simply, ‘I believe the only possibility of protection, if one sees the thing flying at one, is to throw oneself on the ground, and, in a crouching position, to await developments.’”



The Vice-President of the U.S.A., Wallace, during the recent visit to Chungking, prophesied that the Sino-Japanese war would end within the next twelve months. Das R.



“And so the task of carrying on the offensive devolved mainly on the U-boats, with their familiar great success, which, since the middle of 1943, were temporarily checked by technical defences. With our available means it was impossible to come up against the enemy’s overwhelming sea-power, which finally enabled him to send considerable striking forces to England, North Africa and S. Italy – and this defines the present naval situation. It may be asked:” Where are the battleships and the U-boats now?; as to the latter, the closely watched Channel area, unfavourable for operations under water, offers but limited possibilities and it is much more profitable for them to engage the enemy on the open sea-routes and at the Western Exit; thus forcing him to take maximum security measures and rendering his supply problem acute.

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The bulk of the U-boats are still being modified. To engage the few heavy units against the superior forces concentrated in the Channel would mean their immediate loss without corresponding gain. They are more important elsewhere.”
(From an article about naval aspects of the Invasion, written by the German Rea Admiral Gadow).



The bane “V.I, “ in which “V” stands for “VERGELTUNG” (retaliation) is an indication that the weapon is but the first of a series of retaliatory weapons, with which the enemy will have to reckon in the near future. D.A.Z.

DIVINE SERVICES for Sunday, 6th July 16th.
(Fourth Sunday after Trinity)
0930 hours – Holy Communion, Chapel.
1115 hours – Camp Service, C. of E.
Hymns: “Immortal, Invisible, God only wise”
“Lead, kindly Light”
“Love Divine, all Loves excelling”
Preachers : Rev. W.E.K. Rankin.
1815 hours – Evening Prayers, C. of E.
Hymns: “All praise to Thee, my God this night”
“Father of Peace and God of Love”
Address: Rev. W.E.K. Rankin.

Last month’s total of 2,363 incoming letter hits a new level. 70 per cent. of these letters were from the Dominions. A few early April letters have arrived from the U.K., and it appears that, earlier in this year, our letters were taking about 2 ½ months

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to reach their destinations. The S.B.O. in the East Camp has made very strong protests to the mail department and an improvement is hoped for.
The “Express” forms are taking just as long as the normal mail.
475 Reichmarks was paid to the Germans for air mail charges in June.



The Swedish athlete, Gunder Haegg, has beaten one of his own world records by covering two miles in 8 mins. 46.4 secs.



The Daily Mail reports that land workers in South East England have been issued with steel helmets to protect them from continual fall of A.A. barrage shrapnel. D.A.Z.

LITTLE TALKS
(with apologies to A.P.H.)
“Fifteen two … fifteen four and two’s eight…”
“God! You’re driving me mad with that blasted game.”
“Sorry, old boy… I didn’t quite catch what you said?”
“Oh! Nothing, I’m sorry…I’ve got blackout blues. Don’t take any notice of me.”
“We’ve finished now, what are black-out blues?”
“Don’t you know?... doesn’t it ever worry you?... this 10 to 12 shoulder to shoulder shut in, swearing, sweating, sardine tine of a barrack house. It’s the same every night: and what can you do? You come in at ten o’clock and sit down to supper – you get up from supper, you pick up a book, you put it down again…noise!! …noise!...noise! The House of Stone was nothing to this…ten till twelve from now till the cows come home.”

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“Yes, I know, but it’s the same everywhere. All over the world, in War and Peace, people curse these two hours. They are the lowest ebb of life’s disappointment…think of London… business has ceased and entertainments are dragging to a close.. too late for dinner and too early for the night clubs… trains and buses crowded with people who are wishing that they were at home without the bother of getting there, most of them thinking of the horrors of the morrow…I read a good description of it somewhere…or maybe it was a play.”
“thinking of other people being miserable doesn’t make me particularly happy.”
“I’m coming to that…First of all, you’ve got to realise that being in prison camp isn’t the only cause of your particular ‘low’ although I’d be the last to deny that this place is pretty bloody. The, when you’ve managed to isolate the causes, you can start thinking about the counter-measures… I don’t like to shoot the “old kriegies” line, but how do you think we got through the winter. You may not have to face that problem but you can tackle your present difficulties easily.”
“And what does the Oracle suggest?”
“Well you’ve got to accept the fact there will always be noise and if it disturbs your reading, you must find something to do where the noises makes no difference. There are lots of different ways… I knew a fellow who used to spend each evening in a different mess and worked round the rooms in rotation, another fellow made a list of all the things he had to do next year, John makes model aircraft and Jimmy fills up his log book. I play cards myself…It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you make it a routine, Treat is as something which must be done, like washing up and so on. Form a ten to twelve habit and you’ll find the time passes… but you must excuse me …I must get my bed before the lights go out.”

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BEHIND THE SCENES

The situation in theatreland is causing a lot of speculation and rumour, these latter vary from the people who say it will open this week to those who contend that it will not open again as a theatre at all. “FRENCH WOTHOUT TEARS” will be presented as soon as possible, if it does open again. The new instruments, with the exception of the piano, have arrived and the band is enthusiastically rehearsing the new music which arrived simultaneously.

The visit of the Y.M.C.A. representative was of little interest, the only business being the placing of orders to meet our future requirements.



A haystack was burnt in Piccadilly recently, during a large harvest workers’ rally.

[Image- Spring time for Henry]

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PORTS NOTES
The Germans show no sign of commencing their building operations on the Sports field so it may be worth while laying down a running track; if there are enough keen athletes to justify the trouble, as meeting will be held in about six weeks’ time. As soon as the track is completed the field will, doubtless, be put out of bounds for construction work, this is a risk that cannot be avoided. The football season closes on Tuesday and work will be started on a cricket pitch; we have no roller but attempts are being made to hire one.

Net practice is a problem as we have so few balls, tennis balls (soaked in water) will have to suffice.
Preparation of the pitch will start on Wednesday and it is hoped that enthusiasts will give their full support.

[Image –Famous Last words 3.]

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ROUND AND ABOUT

One of our reporters strolled around the camp last week, it was the first time he’s ever done it with his eyes open (we didn’t mean to tell you his name) and some of his observations were amusing.
He spent the last two days, since his epic walk, trying to find the moral portrayed by seven kriegies leaning over the walls of the rabbit’s play pen and laughing like help at their efforts to escape. He also made a note that, although the temperature has risen, the efforts at keeping the swill bin areas clean seem to have decreased, while the abort sported a large number of open and unoccupied seats. This will lead to inevitable trouble unless everybody will really co-operate.

Since the theatre was ripped apart, we have been wallowing in reprisals, even worshipping and washing being subjected to the jack boot. We are an adaptable community, however, and the news and weather took the edge off these incidents, helping is to realise that such futile behaviour had no ultimate consequence.

One other point upon which a note was made, is it possible to divert a little of our gardening energy and enthusiasm to clear the paths and other wasted acres of the weeds, thistles, dandelions etc., which abound there.

At this point in his observations the reporter passed the sports field wire and buttonholing an interpreter, he became so absorbed in listening in to Canada’s national sport that he forgot his assignment. If we can wake him up in time we’ll send him out again this week and report his opinions in the next issue.



The orchestra will be giving an open-air concert next Wednesday.

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[Image Glimpses into the future. 1.]

[Image – Glimpses into the future.2.]

This and the following pages contain some of the weekly “ENTRACT” cartoons from copies of the “LOG” not republished.

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[Image – Glimpses into the future No.3]

[Image – Glimpses into the future 5]

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[Image - Popular misconceptions (at home ) 1]

[Image – Popular misconceptions (in Camp) 2]

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[Image – Popular misconceptions (at home) 3]

[Image – Popular misconceptions (at home) 7]

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THE LOG
BELARIA 4th September, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY-NINE
EDITORIAL
WE are told that the war is not in its sixth year and that we should take Editorial notice of the fact. What is one to say about it? It would be easy to moralise or wax sentimental, or even, perhaps, to talk about the tots who are wondering, like the child of our cartoon what the word “Peace” means. It could be great theme and – for that very reason – your Editor refuses to tackle it. Our contemporaries like the Times and Manchester Guardian will doubtless carry leasers on the subject which you will be able to read when you have returned and con no longer get your LOG. It would seem that our ample stocks of food and cigarettes, etc., are causing embarrassment to our custodians and that the amount we may keep in our rooms is to be limited. The only logical reason we can find for this action is that the Germans which to be in the position to withhold all or some of our food and tobacco should they ever wish to force our hand.
The office boys is reflecting out feelings when he explains to visitors that he is not in his usual state of torpor because every time he wales up another few towns are written off in France and it is such a bother catching up, we only hope that the troops don’t ever come to feel the same thing. Our military adviser has authorised us to say that it is his considered opinion that we are unlikely to be here next September, unless you are considering a tour of Silesia under the auspices of Strength through Joy – and, , if you must have Joy – well, charity, after all, begins at home.

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THE LAST PHASE

An article under the title “The Secrets of the last Phase of the War” was published in the D.A>Z. of 30th August. Owing to its length we are only able to publish extracts:-

“In six months, at the most, we shall all realise what few now know – that this last phase of the war, which commenced on 16th June, 1944, has a secret – and that the last three months have a character very different from that which we believe. This period is the most dramatic that is was a matter of seconds and millimetres and that is must have been possible to calculate why Germany won. It is fantastic… as fact look very much otherwise for us now. Kharkov fell, Stalingrad fell, etc., … and the Russians still came on …Kiev fell.. they are in front of Warsaw, Cracow and East Prussia… Divisions were thrown against them and had to withdraw… Regiments disappeared … Supplied vanished in the Russian more… there is a shortage of guns and tanks… something must stop them… but they still advance. In Italy… Rome falls .. the English are on the march… bringing up their crazy masses of guns and aircraft, and now they are in Florence.

On the 6th June… The Invasion … with its raging inferno of bombs and shells .. the counter attacks collapse and increasingly the bombers roll over Germany and Lay our towns in ruins … A frightful picture … but the picture is false, if we did not know this then Churchill could teach us, as it looks very different to him too. In six months everyone will know this. We came very close to forcing a decision in 1940, it failed due to Soviet Russia…joining forces with capitalism ... England breathed again… “General Time” began to work… Now we know why we are making the final effort and it is not beyond our strength. We have never given up in a critical position. The last price we have to pay will be paid, with every method and all out strength.
VICTORY IS REALLY VERY NEAR.

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“OUR OWN LITTLE SHELLS”

“All I want to do when I get back is to crawl into my own shell and lead my own life within my own small circle. To hell with the British Empire.” So spoke an officer friend of mine, a man of considerable experience, on the circuit a few days ago.

One (being English) wonders how many Englishmen subscribed to this point of view and how many will devote much thought to the business of governing the country after the glad return.

Here, in a prison camp, are to be found many people who will talk, intelligently and otherwise, about England, her political shortcomings, her economic problems, and her social evils. Some with rare feel, even vitriolic; others with a curious sense of detachment, as though reluctant to realise that such problems exist and are theirs to solve.

It is difficult to judge whether the unusual conditions under which we now live tend to focus extra attentions on these questions, or whether it is that world events of recent years have awakened a new sense of civil responsibility in the minds of hitherto regardless citizens.

On our return to England and the resumption of normal life, many subjects of thought and discussion which loom large on our present horizons will assume minute proportions against the distractions of re-discovered freedom and, in many cases, the bustle of return to civilian careers. How many minds will be diverted this from the pressing problems of the nation? With the grim and bitter example before us of personal indifference to national and world events of the pre-war years, resulting in the greatest of catastrophes, can we afford not to display the keenest of interest in the affairs of Britain and the world at large?

It is to be hoped that, in the very near future, the pressing need for enlightenment and instruction and stimulation in the art of civil administration, both local and national, will be met by revised

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curricula in all of our schools. Meanwhile, a gap remains to be filled. It is abundantly clear that our generation must fill it.
Should we crawl into our own little shells?

ALLES IST VERBOTEN

These extracts from the D.A.Z. will give readers some idea of the restrictions which were recently introduced. It is emphasised that these are only a few from a most impressive list:-
All theatres, variety shows, cabarets and dramatic schools etc., to be closed.
All circuses to be reduced to the minimum necessary to keep animals alive.
All orchestras, music schools, etc., to be disbanded or closed forthwith. The only exceptions to this ruling are some of the leading combinations who will be used for broadcasting.
Creative Art – All exhibitions, competitions, academies and private art schools to be closed forthwith.
”The daily press to be limited to a few four page “rational” dailies who may only publish one edition per day. The Illustrierte Beobachter and the Berlin Illustrierte are to be the only magazines. All non-technical publications and writings are prohibited, with the exception of school books and standard political works.
All the “Strength through Joy” (ENSA type) entertainments for the Forces are to be stopped, with the sole exception of radio and film programmes.
The Minister of Public Instructions has introduced restrictions in education to enable tens of thousands of boys and girls whose comrades have long been working for the war effort to be freed for this effort.
A single basic ration card, to cover all the essentials, has been introduced. This will save 200,000,000 cards in every six-monthly rationing period.
Working hours in public administrative offices, etc., to be standardised at a weekly minimum of sixty hours.

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General stoppage of all leave, with the exception of men over 65 and women over 50 years of age.
The introduction of a new” Order of Security of the total War Effort.” Whereby the law can proceed with the utmost severity against those who carelessly or intentionally, sabotage the war effort, Imprisonment or fines can be imposed, with penal servitude or death, in severe cases.

Recent arrivals report that a memorial service for the fifty R.A.F. officer= prisoners-of-war who were shot by the Germans was held at the famous London church, St. Martin’s-in-the –Fields.



Bicycles must be very scarce at home. A man who bought a second-hand bicycle for £1 in 1937 has just sold it for £7 10s. 0d.



The Australian Government is now controlling the price of second-hand cars throughout the country.



The New Zealand Government has discharged a number of men who have over four year’s war service. In some cases these men were recalled from the Middle East.



Scottish shipyards are reported to be in full production, and even to be putting in full overtime.



A film biography of Gentleman Jim Corbett has been made, with Errol Flynn in the title role.

The film version of “Dear Octopus” has been showing in South Africa.



English and South African churches held daily services during the early days of the invasion.

There are very few new books in the Fiction Library shelves at the moment, and there is little prospect of getting more from home. We therefore appeal to you to donate any personal books with which you have finished.

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TEST MATCH
13th August, 1944
The hour’s postponement of this early awaited game was scarcely enough to allow our ire to subside at the sight of dozens of frolicsome Germans cavorting heavily on the carefully prepared wicket. However, no great damage was done and the many spectators settled down in the warm sunshine with great hopes of some interesting cricket. They were not disappointed.

England won the toss and elected to field, the bowling being opened by Wainwright from the Sagan end. Australia’s opening pair, Grimbly and G. Smith, seemed well at home right from the start and out on 24 runs before Grimbly’s wicket fell to Wainwrights’s consistently good-length bowling. Grimbly’s effortless 20 showed us some fine strikes, while Smith scored a useful 11 before Kelshall send his ball flying. Kelshall was replaces by Norrie, but by now, with Hogg and Carmody obviously on top of bowling, Australia seemed set fort at least 200 runs. However, the unexpected dismissal of the latter, l.b.w. from what appeared to be ab easy ball, closely followed by Hogg who scooped another back into the bowler’s hand, gave matters a different aspect. Particularly so when the Kangaroo’s tail didn’t even quiver, and with the rapid fall of the last seven wickets the went only from 107 for 3 to 126 all out, of which Carmody scored a polished an forceful 62 and Hogg a well-needed 17. England’s fieldling included some remarkable pick-ups and was irreproachable throughout. Norrie’s bowling took 5 wickets for 25, while Wainwright bowled valiantly through the who innings, capturing 3 wickets for 60.

England’s inning was a tale of dogged effort in the face of very accurate and difficult bowling. The opening pair, Strong and Rice, clearly were ill at ease, and before lunch the latter feel to Keen, brining Kelshall in to bat. Pearson’s spins puzzled him at first, but he made himself at home and scored 57 in a very polished innings before being

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bowled in the moist simple of fashion by Pearson. Carmody replaced Keen at the Sagan end, and later Todd, with his curious action and vicious spins. Both held the batsmen down, though Goodall scored a stylish and badly-needed 12 for England before being caught by G. Smith off Pearson. At this point England’s chances looked very good, but wickets fell quickly for very few hard-won runs, leading to the climax when England’s last batsman went to the crease needing to make but 4 runs to win. Barely had these been wrested from the bowler hen Hogg caught Turner of Pearson, leaving England winning the winner by one solitary run. Among others, Strong’s opening 15 and Pease’s 12 were invaluable.

Australia’s bowlers, of whom Pearson was most successful, with 8 wickets for 70, kept the English batsmen worried from the start to finish, and has their field been up to standard of England’s the result would have been very different. As it was, England deserved her victory, and the spectators enjoyed the first-class cricket played, as well as the tense finish.
May we have more!

BEHIND THE SCENES
Reconstruction work in the theatre was completed well ahead of schedule, but unfortunately sickness of some of the musicians prevented the band giving an early performance. Consequently “Someone at the Door,” a comedy in three acts, produced by W/O Lawrence, open on the 28th.
Following this is a programme which includes radio plays =, band shows, straight plays, films and “music hours,” providing entertainment until the end of October.
A second One Act Play competition is being run, this time open to all, and it is hoped the actors and producers, new and old, will make this at least as successful as the last competition.

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[Image – Belaria Theatre Dressing Room – 1944]

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“IN FRANCE 280 TERROISTS WERE KILLED...”
It was in August of 1939 that I started a mountaineering holiday in the Haute Savoie district of France. A holiday during which I was to learn of the contempt with which the French of those parts held the enemy; a holiday which was to terminate so suddenly with the news of the German advance through Poland.

And now all I have left of those days are the memories. Memories of old friends and the grandeur of the scenery. Jean, who was the fat postman of St. Gervais; Renee, the student at the Grenoble University; and Georges, my drunken friend of the Chasseurs Alpins. Those rugged peaks, a natural frontier between France and Italy, and those deep, narrow valleys, so cool in the evening.

War dared to intrude into those parts and the world deserted them. It was then that “the Maquis” was formed. They called themselves “the Maquis” because in Corsica the maquis is that undergrowth which covers the interior of the island, very wild and secretive.

They obtained arms and ammunition and became so powerful that, when the Germans refused to release the 80 hostages taken in Grenoble, at the expiration of the time limit proposed, the army barracks on that town were blown to pieces. 200 Germans were killed.

They were hunted down, trapped, dispersed, and still they reformed, an eternal flame of liberty in that corner of France. Jean must now be carrying messages for them. Renee has probably nursed their sick; and the drunken Georges will certainly leas a group of saboteurs. And those rugged mountain – what hiding places they conceal; those dark valleys – what natural ambuscades.
It is now August of 1944, an August which sees the Germans going through Poland again – this time in a different direction.
And so, these evenings when we stand in from of the communique, pencil in one hand and cigarette

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packet in the other, excitedly noting down the great Russian drive and the Allied attacks, let us remember the debt we owe when we read “ …. And in France, 280 Terrorists were killed.”

SPORTS’ NOTES
ATHLETICS. The running track should be finished by Wednesday, and a plan showing distances, etc., will be shown on the sports notice board. A jumping pit will be constructed for high and long jump practice. An effort will be made to arrange a training period before morning appel, and in addition, if there is sufficient interest, a further hour each day.
FENCING. Masks have not yet arrived so an expert “tin-basher” is busy working on the Mark 1. Until a set is available, only preliminary instruction will be possible. Will all those desiring instruction give their names to F/Lt. G. Sproates, (hospital) who will arrange classes. The names of those with previous experience are also required.

BASEBALL. A second diamond is to be tried out in the bottom left-hand corner of the sports field, and if the outfield is not too complicated games will be played on both diamonds at the same time.

A young woman has been brought to justice in Aix-La-Chapelle for falsely describing herself as a mother, and thereby obtaining extra ration coupons. A friend of hers had swapped these coupons with her for cigarette. Both girls received appreciable prison sentences.

??????? BRT. VERSENKT
The English Merchant Navy must admit that it has lost the war – this is clearly proved by an article from the pen of the British Naval expert Sit Archibald Hurd in the London monthly Nineteenth Century and After. Hurd state point blank: “Germany has succeeded in overthrowing England from her proud position on the seas” The English Merchant Navy suffered the heaviest losses – hundreds of big

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liners, oil tankers, et., were lost. About 28,000 experienced officers and men of the Merchant Navy have lost their lives. In this war the British Merchant Navy has been crippled. D. Ang.



According to a report from the American Periodical News Weekly, the inflexible and proud attitude of German Prisoners- of -War in England and America is causing concern in Washington.
These young men, the article points out, are Nazis to the core. When they return to Germany after the war they will form a firm nucleus, around which a strong Germany will gather. News Weekly says that “realistic” measures are being prepared in Washington – although, as the paper admits, political education of P.O.W.’s is probibited [sic] by the Geneva Convention. D. Ang.

“ONE THING AT A TIME” or “KRIEG IST KRIEG UND SCHNAPPS IST SCHNAPPS”
The United States Army Command has warned American soldiers that it will take a poor view of any marriages between then and French women.

The Washington Post carried an article amount a brochure which has been issued to all American soldiers warning them of the undesirability of relations with the women of the country which they would be passing. The Frenchwoman, it said, is not the frivolous person portrayed in Hollywood films – most of them wish to get married and settle down.
The soldiers have been warned that they cannot expect free transport for women whom they have married in defiance of these instructions and that it may be difficult for them to get into the United States.



The Reichsminister for Air has issued a new order relating to “public Air Raid Warning.” All business and public activity and all traffic is to

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continue normally during these periods. It is not permissible, therefore, to resort to air raid shelter or more distant refuges when the sirens sound. Only when the seeking of shelters is recommended by radio may factory air raid wardens order people to the shelters. V.B.



1,577,000 voted against 1,396,000 rejected the Australian Government’s plea for retention of its special powers for five years after the war. V.B.



EXTRACTS FROM “NOWOJE SLOWO”
During the last terror attack on Berlin counterfeit ration cards were dropped. They were meant for travellers and restaurants. Anyone who finds these cards and does not give them up is liable to the heaviest punishment.

The dropped ration cards are easily distinguishable from the official ones. The headings are larger, the writing is less legible and there is brighter. Above all, the counterfeit meat coupons are made of white tissue, whereas correct coupons are printed on a coloured background.”

The Berlin Emergency Court sentences the couple Arthur and Marianne Peikert of Guterberg to two years imprisonment for attempting to buy sausage and cheese with counterfeit ration cards, dropped form enemy aircraft. The sentence of 15 months imprisonment and two years loss of honour was imposed on Anna Domke, of Blankenfield, for similar offence.”

“At 0500 hours on the morning of 1st August the insurrection of the Polish ‘Bandits’ erected barricades, or coerced the civilian population to do so. They had their strongholds in buildings, covering the streets with their fire, hampering the traffic of the city, and obstructing the main cross-roads.
The Wehrmacht freed the vital centres with immediate counter-measures, re-took the Power station and inflicted heavy casualties upon the

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‘bandits’ The bandits put up a strong resistance despite Stuka attacks against their main points of resistance and , in some cases, fought to the last rifle to maintain their blockade of cross-roads etc., they even continued to resist in bombed and burning houses. Their methods are cunning and ruthless. Their aim is to create chaos, especially among the “East” troops serving with Wehrmacht. The bandits are mainly recruited from young men between the ages of 15 and 21 years.” V.B.



On first looking into a British Red Cross Parcel and seeing the Meat Roll:-
From time to time the human race
Has tampered with its meals,
And teeth have clamped on even worse
Than tripe, or jellied eels.

Sweeny Todd, with sharpened blade,
Whipped “bods” beneath his floor,
Then Mrs. Todd with skilful hands
Made pies of them next door.

An ancient witch, with dark intent,
Abducted Hans and Grete;,
And named them for her plat du jour
Buy roasting them in metal.
A dusky Amazonian tribe
So something quaintly sicking -
Catch beetled under mossy stones
And munch them while still kicking.

More recently, an Aryan race,
In search of something news,
Make bread to feed their hungry mobs
From sawdust, rye and glue.

But all these gents are somewhat old,
Their history rather musty,
We have an entrant to the ring,
Presenting – Mr Lusty.



Now that we have a “warning wire to keep us from touching it, that old term “warning rail” seems rather redundant. Why not the “no-warning rail?”

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Internal Abwehr reports a very daring and successful escape participated in by the S.B.R. and two other rabbit of junior ranks. The attractive reward offered has produced no results, but a distinct odour of rabbit-stew could be detected escaping from Block Ones’s kitchen the other day.
The needles, please, Watson.

“SOMEONE AT THE DOOR”

“Beggars can’t be choosers” and the producer made the best of an uninspired play with his most enjoyable presentation of “Someone at the Door.” Farce fought realism to carry melodrama without mustachios.

“Ronnie” gained on the swings of laughter what he lost on the roundabout of dramatic effect; had he used a little more restraint he would have been very convincing, nevertheless he was laughter-maker-in-chief.

The acting and female mannerisms of his sister Sally were was marred by lack of dramatic feeling, consistently good and showed great promise.

The confident portrayal of “Bill Reid” was marred by lack of dramatic feeling, but Sgt. Spedding showed admirable restraint in a part which would have been spoiled by burlesque. His subordinate, Constable O’Brien, was his equal in characterisation and serves as an excellent foil to his stolid official dignity.

I was delighted with the superb portrayal of “Price” by the producer. He made us laugh, thrilled us, horrified us and yet in the end had our sympathy
.
The only complaint, and that was a small one, was with the performance of “Kappel,” the squire-villain. He was less successful as the villain than he was as the squire, this shortcoming, couples with badly written third act, was responsible or a slight fall of interest towards the end of the play.
The setting designed by F/Lt Allen, the lighting, the backstage effects and the costumes were well up to the highest standard we have come to expect.

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In looking forward to W/O Lawrence’s next productions I suggest that he should consider the play as a whole rather than as the vehicle for individual character parts and aim for a cohesion which does not allow interest to lag for a moment. Nevertheless, he gave us two hours of excellent entertainment, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

THE MERRY-GO-ROUND
Who are the people who have the infernal impudence to write factious and would-be intellectual remarks in the margins of our library books? The book A more than Happy Countryman is a case in point. Certain opinions are expressed by the author, and some vandal has seen fit to annotate all points of disagreement. This is one of the more unpleasant forms of selfishness and an expression of intellectual snobbishness.



A camp grocer has been appointed which will combine these duties with that of tobacconist-in-chief. This officer will be responsible for the storage of food, etc., under the scheme. We are informed, although, we don’t believe it, that he is racket-proof and a non-smoker.



The busy rush of affairs is the camp seems to make it impossible for many members of theatre audience to arrive punctually. We are certain that of these same people had paid a guinea or so for the seat they would arrive on time – anyhow, it’s damned bad manners.
Who said “Autumn for Henry?” –



General der Infanterie Arthur Hauffe, General commanding an Army Corps, has been killed in the battle of East of Lemberg. D.Ang.



Officers who wish to order a copy of the LOG, souvenir edition, are requested to call at Room 2, Block 6, between the houses of 14500 and 1530 on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

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SQUANDERED YEARS

Of the many pressing questions which will call for attention after returning to England in the near future that of education is one to be placed very high on the list.

As we all know, some only too well, this subject has been food for endless controversy for many weary years.

Of all its aspects, however, it would seem that insufficient constructive attention has been paid to the question of school curricula, to decide whether generally they are outmoded and, if so, to instate measures designates to revise the subject matter being taught in the majority of schools.

There seems to be small room for doubt that the war years, bringing with them new and hitherto unknown, responsibilities, have inculcated into our generation a different perspective, broader knowledge and a revised, if not entirely new, set of values. The majority of us may say, at the risk of appearing smug, that in the light of our wider contact with other people from all counties we are better able to realise the value of our respective educations and to judge what proportion has been of any practical use since our classroom days. Many realise the futility of much that we learnt. Other recall with bitterness, the lack of guidance from disinterested teachers and unwise parents at a time when their own values were juvenile and they were unable to appreciate the potential worth of the subjects they we restudying, or neglecting to study, as the case might have been.

War-time environments and the contemplation of the fast-approaching problems of reversion to civilian careers tend to recall these shortcomings of our educational syllabi. Thus we can more readily appreciate the advantages that may accrue to future scholars by timely consideration of this aspect of the education systems.

Many people feel that much more attention in our schools should be devoted to subjects of practical value, such as civics, international affairs, physiology….


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[Image – MAJOR BARBARA]

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[Image – FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS]

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NOTICE
INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE GERMAN AUTHORITIES THAT CERTAIN AREAS IN GERMANY, APPARENTLY IN THE VICINITY OF THEIR ARMAMENT AND WAR INDUSTRIES, HAVE BEEN PRESCRIBED IN WHICH ANY UNAUTHORISED PERSON IS LIABLE TO BE SHOT ON SIGHT.
A REQUEST FOR MAPS SHOWING THESE AREAS HAS BEEN REFUSED ON THE GRUNDS THAT IT IS UNDESIRABLE FOR THE GERMAN AUTHORITIES TO PUBLISH AREAS IN WHICH THEIR ARMAMENTS INDUSTRIES ARE SIUTATED.
ANY PRISONER OF WAR WHO ESCAPES OR CONTEMPLATES AN ESPACE IS ADVISED TO AVOID SUCH AREAS IF POSSIBLE.

GROUP CAPTAIN,
Senior British Officer,
28th September, 1944

This notice was publically displayed, much to the bewilderment of the German Staff who tool it all very seriously – ED.

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[Image – MUSIC SOCIETY OF LOWER SILESIA]

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THE LOG
BELERIA Christmas, 1944
VOLUME TWO
NUMBER FIVE
EDITORIAL
We hope that the repatriates who left on Friday last are now well on the way home, speeded by our good wishes and hopes for the recovery when they achieve civilised conditions. One or two members of each of these parties has promised to write news letters from home they have never materialised, but we may hope that one at least of this party will be able to spare us the time an thought.

The skating rinks have been very popular and it is no uncommon sight to see several of the camp personalities flat on their backs in various corners of the rink at the same time. I am told that this is an essential part of learning the art and am reminded of happier days on the staff of a wartime flying training school, where a large number of the pupils seemed to think that the same qualification applies.

The Christmas show is over and has been generally voted the best of its kind. Whilst agreeing with this vote of approval I would suggest that, if all shows are now going to last for more than two hours, the signature tune of the band might well be “Cheek to Cheek.” The innovation of “brews” at half-time was a success and we feel it is only a matter of time before the backstage experts have entered a stalls and pit bar.

Our producers are becoming more ambitious ad we hear that G.B.Shaw’s “St. Joan” is going into rehearsal. This should be very interesting test of ability for the producer and actors involved and we are understand that the stage may be widened to enable an adequate set deign to be built.

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FOR THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE 50 OFFICERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN MARCH, 1944
The ceremony held at the Stalag Luft III cemetery during the afternoon of 4th December, 1944, was attended by the Senior British Officers of the three Royal Air Force compounds, two padres and thirty other Officers, representative of the nationalities of the fallen.

A memorial, as shown in the accompanying illustration, has been erected. The three tablets shown in the drawing are engraved with the names of the Officers who were killed and the large inscription across the front of the cairn is shown at the foot of the sketch.

The Service was also attended by the Swiss Minister to Germany and M. Naville, of the Swizz Embassy, accompanied by Major Dr. Simoleit, of the Lager Staff at Sagan.

At the conclusion of the Service, which was conducted by Padres Goudreau and Jones of the North Camp, a trumpeter sounded the Last Post and wreathes were laid by the Senior British Officers and by M. Neville, on behalf of the Protecting Power.

The Swiss Ambassador shook hands with the three Group Captains before leaving and expressed the sincere sympathy of the Swiss Nation,
“At the going down of the sun
An in the morning,
We shall remember them.”



Wreaths were laid on the tombs of Clemenceau and Marshal Foch by Winston Churchill, during one of his recent visits to Paris. D.A.Z.

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THE LAST TRUMP
Whether “fanfare” was a Requiem for the Old Year or a salute to the New remains in doubt, that the production fulfilled our expectations and earned it’s title us clear – (loud and clear).
Some people, quite a number apparently appreciate crooners and twitch kids, other tolerate them, of course this is a season of almost unlimited good will. Humour from Bow was well driven home and “Home Town” deserved it’s applause. “One man in his time plays many parts,” but Carmen Miranda was a new “High”; the lady herself will have to look to her laurels, that is if she wears any. Guying the Womens’ Services is_____________, well anyway, there are very few old kriegies here to whom the W.A.A.F. might still be a novelty, if not an experience.

Had the Andwell Sisters sung “Bei Mir Bist du Schon” twice more, we should have been word perfect, but even that wouldn’t have lessened our enjoyment of the act.
Antoinette would no doubt be at home in almost any dockside tavern, while drunk compensated us for our dry Christmas and unobtrusively, but convincingly showed us a glimpse of what might have been.

Perhaps one of two members of the band forgot that they were therefore the eight evenings to amuse the audience, and indulged in private by-play at the expense of the show; but it was a good band show, well played and produced – but so loud.

The raffle which was organised to raise cigarettes for the Communal Cigarette fund was a great success. More than 14,000 cigarettes were raised by sale of tickets. The winning ticket was numbered 64 and the prize of 1,000 Sweet Caporals went to a room in Block 15. Cigarettes will be distributed every Tuesday, between 1400 and 1430 hours; those who are in need should apply to Room 5, Block 21, at this time.

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BASIL BEETON’S CORNER
Stuffing to serve with Xmas Turkey. (For 12)
½ Bowl Barley.
2 Cups of Breadcrumbs.
3 Tablespoons Thyme or mixed herbs.
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 ozs. Margarine.
Work margarine into breadcrumbs and barley and mix together. Then, add thyme and salt and mix well. Line dish with margarine and bake in slow for 1 hour. Do not burn.

Icing for the Christmas Cake
As we shall be getting and buts in the Xmas Parcels you can now make your cakes look attractive. An excellent white sugar icing can be made as follows:
1 Packet Canadian Sugar or equal amount of Reich sugar.
½ Cup water.
Mix sugar and water thoroughly and add Klim to make heavy white paste. Spread over cake with a wet knife and smooth carefully to 1/8” thick. Garnish with cherries and nuts. This icing will set hard.
A soft icing can be made by adding ¼ lb. of Reich margarine to the above mixture. Beat the margarine with a fork until it reaches the consistency of clotted cream before mixing with sugar and Klim. This soft icing can be spread to any required thickness.

HOUDE, a former Mayor of Montreal, was recently re-elected to what office with a majority of 14,000 votes. He was sent to a concentration camp in 1940, because he had encouraged French Canadians to refuse military service. He was released very recently. V.B.

Enemy transports, under the protection of very strong naval units, penetrated into the Sea of SULU in the Philippines, on the 15th December. The landed 1 division in the vicinity of SAN JOSE and one the S.W. corner of the Island of MINDORO. Heavy fighting is in progress. V.B.

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THE DIARY OF F/O PEPYS, P.O.W.
20th December, A.D. 1944
BELARIA
Yuletide nearly upon us and we did have a great debate on the decoration of our chamber, some holding that it was too bitter a parody of the old days; while others wished to capture some of the essence of this time of rejoicing. But after all peaceable to bed, we shall have decorations and suffer our nostalgia silently. Now to make the best of our plight will spend this week a-cooking. To have the largest dinner ever, for which we have been saving, and all this despite our special parcel issue which will add turkey, sausage and face flannel to our menu. Did discourse with Basil Beeton on the latter and he, uncertain of American custom, did think they would make good garnishings. To-day from the Vorlager did receive our Christmas store of food. ‘Twas good to see our store of eggs safely back, unbroken; but what envious looks from those improvident neighbours who had eaten their reserves – as they say here: “Wie gewonnen, so zerrinnen.”

I did see the play by St. John Ervine, in the theatre, but it was lacking in interest and the building was cold; more stoves are being now fitted, so we shall see the Christmas revels in comfort, for rumour hath it that “FANFARE” is two and a half hours of excellent variety. Soon too it is hoped to improve our gramophone and, as more records are here, we shall have more musique.

Did learn from the O.K.W. this evening of the big new German counter-attacks to drive or armies back to France. This did remind me of the gigantic German counter –attacks at Sitomir in the Russo-German War, which did give the enemy breathing space for the further withdrawal. So the war goes on, the certain end coming nearer though some are blind to this.

This morning a big search – even extending to the complement of the flagship on morning Appelle. The only serious loss was suffered by the Commander

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of the ship, who did lose his cellar of wine, despite the pleas that was for medicinal purposes. And so, finally, to bed. Wishing all good men a Happy Christmas and a Happier New Year in the homelands.

THE GERMAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE

Owing to a shortage of information it is too early to form any conclusive opinion on the German counter-offensive in the West. We will, however, endeavour to suggest a few lines of thought along which the subject might be pursued.

On the 16th December the Germans started a large-scale offensive, between the HIGH FEN and the North of LUXEMBURG. That is to say between the two points, in the North on the River ROER and in the South on the River SAAR, where the Allied pressure was, and still is, the strongest. This portion of the front, held by the American 1st Army, was necessarily thinly garrisoned. The attack followed a strong artillery preparation and is supported by large tank forces and an intensive air screen.
Although the Germans claim to have taken the Allies completely by surprise, their preparations cannot have wholly escaped the notice of Allied air reconnaissance.

It is clear that the Germans expect more than local gains; they pursue strategical gains, unknown to us, but which we will try to guess.

Attack is often the best form of defence, especially when the element of surprise can be used successfully. A successful attack would also bring the initiative, always a favourable element in warfare, back into German ands. It is also probable that the Germans wish to relieve the pressure, both at DUREN and on the SAAR.

Did the German High Command want to disorganise an impending Allied attack? We doubt it; it would precipitate the rouble rather than avoid the danger, as the offensive would move into concentrations of considerable strength.

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On the contrary, the German offensive might well have been the result of Allied weakness in this sector, strong attack with the maximum available forces would be a natural reaction. Finally, this attack as been a vast factor in improving the German morale, this was undoubtedly on of their arms.

After having retreated and ….. and retreated ever since AVRANCHES, sometimes slowly, often very fast indeed, German divisions are again on the offensive.

The Germans appear to expect no less than the re conquest of FRANCE and BELGIUM. It only goes to prove the heights and depths go German morale.
If this German offensive fails, the re-action will be terrible indeed for Hitler’s Reich.

Eisenhower had the necessary room and the necessary reserves to manoeuvre and master the situation should it become serious. On the other hand, will the Germans, even if their hope are exceeded, venture far into BELGIUM, with the danger of large forces on either lank, waiting to cut them off?

In any case, the main task for the Allies is to fight the enemy, wherever he is. They have superiority in men, material and aircraft.

We are convinced that the German counter offensive only means a precipitation of the final issue.

From a letter:-
Here is a quotation from a booklet called “HUMANITY KEEPS AN APPOINTMENT.” It says: “ A member of the educational committee of Stalag Luft III summed up the attitude of Prisoner Students when he wrote ‘Without the aid of your Educational Service this P.O.W. life would be one of stagnation, but through the efforts of the New Bodleian Library it is a period of praiseworthy effort in adverse conditions.’” The booklet having quoted this letter, adds:
“If I had the power I wold inform everybody and every employer in England and the Dominions that the letter P.O.W. can, and often do, imply an added qualification.”

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A CHRISTMAS LETTER

I’d like to be home for this Christmas, my dear
To share all the sweet joys with you;
The laughter and fun of a happier year,
The same as we once used to do.

We’d put up the tree on the parlour again,
All tinsel and colour and light;
With ribbons and popcorn and striped candy-can
And crown’d with a star shining bright.

In the evening we’d sit by the old fireplace,
With the children all tucked in bed
And smile as we thought of tomorrow’s mad race,
To be first with that shiny new sled.

Then I’d kiss you again, my dearest of dears,
And whisper my thanks, just to you,
For the courage and patience and love through the years,
That have meant more than you ever knew.

Yes, I’ll be there for Christmas, the same as before;
Wherever you are I’ll be near.
In my dream I’ll be with you to tell you once more-
Merry Christmas, God Bless You, my dear.

From TOUCHSTONE, Oflag VII B’s monthly magazine:-
“Regarding rank, the New Zealand officers are the only ones who have regular promotion and nearly all of them are brigadiers. However, they are all very reasonable and democratic …. I sometimes wonder whether the old days weren’t perhaps, better when Germans were Germans, Britons and Canadians were chained. We felt darn sorry for them – I mean as far as one can feel sorry for a Canadian – their sufferings welded us into a real community.”

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“IT’S THE LAST LARST VORD IN PITCHERS”

Dr. Goebbels has said, “the film…. Is a cultural bridge between nations…..” but after viewing “Dixie Gugan” and The Spoiler,” one can feel that the bridge is creaking badly at the joints. Presumably the Moguls of Wardour Street, with a fat benign smile, despatch the reel as suitable entertainment for a long-suffering and helpless kriegie audience. Perhaps they are right. For officers, presumed to be intelligent adults appear to find pleasure and stimulation in the vapid hip-swingings of the curiously inept taxi-driver or the synthetic tinkling of a dance-hall harlot (Goodbye Roy – Splash, sob, choke, splash – Cut to fight in Gold Mine).

It makes one distinctly apprehensive. In England, after all, one can escape the high-pressure sex programme of La Grable or the persuasive machinations of Victor Mature by seeking immediate sanctuary in a tavern or the waxworks. But here one is compelled to swallow the celluloid offerings and be grateful.

The modern American film is calculated to entertain an audience with an average mental age of twelve years; in England, for obvious reasons the mental age is put at fourteen years and the average film with Hedy Lamarr as Elizabeth, Lana Turner as Mary Queen of Scots and Red Skelton as Essex, makes a great profit, although the film has a much inspirations and aesthetic value as a Group Captain’s hat. Even the strangely wooden Mr. Flynn has ventured into history and pantaloons for the benefit of the public at large and Warner Bros. in particular.

So, shall we at Christmas join reverently together in a quiet prayer of grateful thanks to the kind donor? No Sir – not if they continue this supply of tripe. Far less injurious to be in a top bunk, breathing mountain air and Edgar Wallace – which, by comparison with Randy Scott, has the constructive value of Aristotle.

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[Image – SEEING OUT THE LAST OF THE WAR YEARS]

[Image – THOUGH THE WIRE – WINTER, 1944.]

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[Image – The first Mrs Fraser]

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THE FIRST MRS. FRASER
The play itself was, perhaps, an unfortunate choice for cosmopolitan audiences, but we realise that the choice is very limited, both by scripts and performers. It was equally unfortunate that the playgoers, with frozen feet and numbed minds, were not in their usual receptive mood, a fact which does not help but greatly hinders amateur performances. Perhaps audiences will remember that and be a little more generous with laughs and applause. This would be easier now that the heating system of the theatre has been improved and you will be adequately warmed.

Janet Fraser was well taken, the best performance of the evening and undoubtedly the best we have had from this actor. James Fraser ha moments of conviction but, yet again, he appeared to be moving by numbers, his strictly stylised performances must be loosened up before he achieves a convincing stage presence. Elsie, the second Mrs. Fraser, appeared to have been greatly influenced by the manner of a certain Miss West, this was not your critic’s idea of the part but, if such an interpretation was intended, wit was quite well done.

Ninian stood out from an undistinguished lot of minor performers, if he can curb a tendency to gabble the latter half of long speeches he will be a useful addition to our dramatis personae.
The set was well designed and the props, particularly, were good. The colour scheme of pink and blue was, perhaps more suited to a boudoir then a drawing room, even though it was a feminine drawing room.

We now look forward to “FANFARE” the Christmas show. We do so with confidence, since the production is in the capable charge of F/O Whitely who has never failed to produce the goods.
A one-legged man won the high jump by clearing 5ft. 7ins. At the College Sports at Pretoria recently. He lost his right leg, two inches below the knee, when he was a boy. De Villiers who normally uses crutches, stands square before the bar, hops to it, springs with his left leg – an astonishing performance.

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RESOLUTION

I don’t see that there’s much point in making many resolutions for the New Year that is almost upon us. It seems a better idea to wait a few months until we are back in circulation again and then make our resolves, in accordance with the new conditions and surrounding that we shall find. Our lives here are pretty much ordered for us and there is little room for further restrictions, however well intended they may be.

There is, however, one habit of ours that we might are to alter. We might get a little more joy and correspondingly less melancholy if we focussed our attention more upon the future and less upon the past.

It is a curious fact that bygone events seen happier as they recede into time. Nothing ever seems so good as it was “Way back.” Thus we find ourselves at this time thinking wistfully of Christmases of old; progressively, from childhood up to those wizard mess parties and the attendant pleasure. Seldom are the unenjoyable hours recalled.

Now I thought it would be a good idea to adopt the same scheme, but in reverse. For there is much to look forward to now. A reasonable Christmas compared with what might have been. Longer days, with Spring in the offing. Home pretty soon, and happiness that we shall never have known before, even in retrospect. The company of our loved ones, getting the car out, wearing a decent suit of clothes and dozens of smaller pleasures that we can all readily visualise.

So I think I’ll make just one Resolution. To dwell on the future, instead of the past. Christmas 1939 was a joyous affair but Christmas 1945 cannot fail to be the best ever.

Although I suppose that even then, reclining and replete after the family Christmas dinner, we’ll be shooting a line to an admiring (?) audience about the advantages of being able to roll onto the “pit” straight from the table, etc, etc,.

Perhaps it is nice to look back sometimes.

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Untersturmfuhrer RAILTON M. FREEMAN,
alias
*Pilot Officer RAILTON M. FREEAN,
Alias

The Rat that left the ship that will not sink
An article appeared in Der Angriff of 23rd December 1944, purporting to be written by the above-named individual. We had intended to publish excerpts from this article but have decided not to do so. It contains no remarks which are worth reproducing dealing chiefly with the medical treatment of seriously wounded British and Germans behind the Allied front line. It quoted an article from the Daily News of 1929 to support the argument, and says: “how a captured solider who was wounded would be treated by the Anglo-Americans can easily be estimated when one reads the point of view of the British doctor on the treatment of their own soldiers.” – A point of view written in 1929 by an individual who was writing of Army Medical Services from the outlook of an Army Commander, trying to view the situation dispassionately.

The mentality which will allow a man to desert his country, however dangerous her position, has been well applied to the type of propaganda which the article tried to put across. The arguments would not convince a child of five and the spite and fear in the mind of the writer can be clearly recognised. We presume that the profession of such spite is a necessity to continued existence. The fears are certainly well grounded.

The article says a lot about Prisoner-of-War- among other things: “good food! They (The British) are nor even interested in feeding their own people; especially enemy prisoners-of- war,” many such inaccurate statements and false arguments.

This “Freeman,” ironically names, is now an officer of the “Waffen S.S.,” his alternative to becoming a prison-of-war. He and his loathsome brotherhood, who have violated all codes of deny and military ethics, wold do well to remember that we shall return home as “Freemen, “ he will continue to be Freeman.

*Sentenced to death at the Old Bailey in 1945.

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JOB DOESN’T LIVE HERE

I grow weary of these “Realists.” They are in their elements now, with mud all around, half-parcels in their bellies and yet another Xmas in Kriegiedom nigh is upon us. Winter shadowing the light at the end of the tunnel and the days marching by in slow procession. How smug they are, these cold comforters, with their widening smiles and their unspoken “I told you so’s.” How patently pleased with themselves as they explain the futility of hoping at all and as they superciliously decry the “childish refusal of face facts” of the cheerier souls who are happy to see the world and the war with rose tinted vision.

Perhaps we should have paid more homage to the profundity of these lofty gentlemen. Possibly they haven’t been accorded their due measure of respect for their long-sightedness. Though it does seem a pity that they couldn’t have foreseen their arrival in Germany and taken suitable preventive measure, thereby depriving is of their cheerless company.

For of that use are such gloomy prophets among us? Going around and inflicting, unasked, their wearisome theories on the erstwhile hopeful kriegie. Seizing upon the slightest display of optimism and carefully proving it’s lack of foundation, gazing with increasing pride at the lengthening face of the unwilling victim. If self-appraisal alone is not enough for these comforters of Job, then let them write books of their convictions, not to be published until the events have taken place.

We don’t want to listen to them. They defeat themselves with their own arguments. For it is so clear that this “realism” is naught but a clock for their lack of courage to hope and the fear of being disappointed, should any hitch keep is here for a few months longer. The very people who loftily decry the “refusal of the facts” are themselves the refusers. Let them gather courage and a different sort of smile. Let them bash the store of “D” bars, which they have undoubtedly saved against their beloved “rainy days.” Let them stop making

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Dozens of fivers from the faith of others. I hope that the war will end this year and am happy in my hope. I don’t want anyone to go to the bother of explaining to my why it will not.

THE AMERICA – CANADA QUIZ
Intended as a stop-gap to fill in the theatre schedule, QUIZ was a howling success in more ways than one and the capacity audience was quick to show it’s appreciation.

The Canadian team was frequently stumped by the, questions propounded by eh six Army Corps opponents, but managed to nose out a closely contested victory

Has the Americans known that George Washington made the original survey for the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, that the Hawaian[sic] Islands are also known as the Sandwich Islands, or that you don’t have to cross a State border to go from Buffalo, N.Y. to Detroit, Mich., it would have been a different story.

One the other hand, the Canadians were unfamiliar with smokeless electric trains and national anthems and lost points of the “King” who runs their Government.

The frequent “I pass” surrenders produced gales of mirth from the audience, particularly when some luckless contestant fell for an old gag. We still are not quite sure whether it is the Yang Tze or the Hoang Ho which is known as China’s sorrow and maybe Port Moresby isn’t in New Guinea, but it was good fun.

For a “first-time” presentation QUIZ provided excellent entertainment and subject matter for any number of arguments. We look forward to a return match between these contestants and more of the same with teams from other nationalities and services participating.

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WEST FRONT VIGNETTES
He left England in a fighter, as one of the escort to 72 Marauders who were doing a tactical raid….After being hit by Flak, he baled out over the target area and landed, by parachute, in the middle of the area which was still being bombed…With his bare hands he scrabbled a hole in the soil and had barely settled into it when a large force of Liberators followed up and showered bombs around hi,….

He was not hit. A few moments later a low rumbling noise made him peer over the edge of his hole…

An enemy Tiger tank was rolling towards his hole, the cupola was open and the commander was looking backwards – the Tiger was retreating-! The Englishman, 22 years old leapt out of his hole and the tank rolled by without seeing him… more aeroplanes in the vicinity forced him back into the hole…. The sound of voices raised his head again and he saw Allied infantry approaching from the East…. Leaping out of the hole for the second time, he asked them the way back to our lines…. They told him and asked him to escort four prisoners. He undertook this and set off…Four hours later a weary and harassed Pilot Officer reported back in our lines and handed over 160 prisoners, who – as he puts it – “Had been slung at him en route” He was unarmed.



Seen from a patrolling fighter on the evening of “D” day ;-
Two battleships standing about six miles off the coast with a screen of fighters above them… every naval craft within range joining them in pouring fire over the beachhead…. A bomber force on the way to bomb the marshalling yards at Caen… Thunderbolts screaming sown to strafe retreat enemy forces…. Vari-coloured parachutes being dropped with supplies for the airborne troops….a tank bottle going on between Caen and the Beachhead, with 15 or so in flames…. and, one mile from the centre or this scene, a solitary Frenchman with two horses drives a straight furrow over the land he has been tilling for 35 years… And adequate comment?

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[Image – This year – next year – sometime…]

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To the Editor – THE LOG

I am taking this opportunity to convey to all ranks of this Camp my sincere greetings for Christmas and New Year.

Most of us were convinced that we should be spending them at our homes with our families and I am most heartened and impressed by the way everyone has accepted the severe disappointment and has refused to indulge in fruitless self-pity.

In a message received from Her Majesty the Queen, the certainly of a very early reunion with our loved ones is expressed, and this, I know, finds an echo in the hearts of all of us.

It seems an appropriate time to thank, on behalf of the whole Camp, those who have carried out Camp tasks voluntarily throughout the year, and, to choose only one of many such jobs, especially do I congratulate the road building party for their stout efforts in building and bettering the Camp roads.

I am delighted to find that the American contingent is still with us over this period of good-will, and that we have the opportunity of further cementing the friendship and understanding between our two great nations, and most particularly do I include them, and all other of our Allies within the Camp, in these most Cordial Greetings.

GROUP CAPT.
SENIOR BRITISH OFFICER.
20th December, 1944.

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[Newspaper Image]

The Camp, BERLIN, AUGUST 5, 1944
World and War News

HOME NEWS IN BRIEF
A facsimile of the front page of “THE CAMP” – produced by the Germans and distributed to British P.O.W. Camps – The reproduction on the opposite page is the front page of the Christmas 1944 number.

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[Newspaper Image]

The Camp BERLIN DECEMBER 1944
HOLY NIGHT, SILENT NIGHT

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The selection of “Editorials” which occupy the following pages are taken from issue of the “LOG” which have not been reprinted in full in this book, They are included in the hope that some of the remarks and events noted therein may serve to remind ex-inmates of Belaria of some of our domestic problems and amusements.
THE EDITOR

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THE LOG

BELARIA 14th February, 1944
NUMBER THREE
EDITORIAL

The most notable feature of camp activity this week is, undoubtedly, the remarkable stride mace in the reconstruction of the theatre. I was privileged by an invitation to visit this seat of industry on Friday last: my former visit has been on the previous Sunday. I opened the door – walked in – and promptly turned round to walk out again, thinking I was in the wrong hut; or perhaps, round that familiar bend. A second glance reassured me and my amazed sense took in the transformation. An orchestra in the dressing room provided a suitable background, with what appeared to be “concerted individual instrument practice,” to the melody being played by sundry carpenters, electricians and general factota.
The floor has assumed a “gor-blimey” angle which will enable all the audience to see the stage which is well on the way to completion, and the orchestra pit is nearly finished.
Although we are asked to bring stools to the band shows tonight and tomorrow, I am told that there will be Red Cross armchair seating for a house of one hundred and fifty.
This is a great feat for the common good and I am sure that I shall be expressing everybody’s opinion when I render thanks and congratulations to the Entertainments Officer and his staff for a good job well done.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 21st February, 1944
NUMBER FOUR
EDITOIAL

Several incidents of importance to us all have occurred during the past week. The question of the cut in German rations has been dealt with elsewhere and since that was written we learn that the macaroni ration has been reduced by 75 grammes per fortnight.

One item of information which we have received, however, deserves special treatment. Foodacco has been open for less than a week and I regret to have a report that is it already being exploited by those among us who take advantage of that mutual trust which the very foundation of harmony in P.O.W. life. In one instance a customer sold 500 cigarettes to Foodacco in Player’s 10 packets – thirty of these packets were found to contain inferior grades of cigarettes of mixed brands. To quote another case – two tins of cocoa were accepted from a man and bother were subsequently found to be half full. One of these had been resealed.

We should all like to believe that these occurrences were accidental, but, in the case of the cigarettes and the resealed time of cocoa, such belief would amount to foolishness.

Gentlemen – I present these cases to you as one of the most abominable types of theft and only do so because you can assist in stamping out such practices – DO not distrust your fellowmen without very good reason – but, if you have such reason – it is imperative that you take immediate action. The best action being to report to it your Block Commander.

We are all convinced that 99.9 per cent. Of the personnel of this camp would not stoop to such practices and by dealing with it early we hope to kill off the tendencies of the other 0.1 per cent. In conclusion, I should mention that it is the S.B.O.’s intention to publish the name of any offender caught hereafter: in addition to any other action he may deem necessary The LOG will gladly give additional publicity to any such incident.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 5th June, 1944
NUMBER NINETEEN
EDITORIAL

The reprisals instituted last week are still in force and severely restrict the activity of our educationalists and horticulturalists. The latter, however, show more ability to rise above the difficulty, prodigious feats are performed daily with table knives and forks. Indeed, one sometimes wonders of they are horticulturalists or merely hungry kriegies “going back to the land.”

The wager which ended in the crawl will, doubtless, be the forerunner of other such incidents. One can only hope that they will be as well arranged and conducted.

The mail situation is still deplorable and letters from home make it apparent that out mail is taking longer than ever to reach it’s destination.

The new purge brought some interesting news pf home and it was particularly gratifying to hear the food situation is very good. They report that the greatest optimism prevails, but it is not having effect of slowing down the pace of production or preparation. It was also reassuring to hear that the raids on London and other English cities have caused little or no damage.

We are now approaching the summer solsticial day which will herald the shortening nights and the paling of those tanned torsos, now such a common sight. Opinion would seem to indicate that this paling will be completed under our own skies – or shall we be re-acquainted it under the Pacific sun?

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THE LOG
BELARIA 16th June, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY-TWO
EDITORIAL

The possibilities of emigration, subsided or otherwise, as one mans of providing satisfactory rehabilitation for ex-service men, particularly those of the United Kingdom, have received a great deal of attention from Government organisations entrusted which the planning and preparations for the re-absorption of service personnel into civilian life. It is generally accepted that there will be a large scale voluntary transfer of population from the British Isles to the Dominions, in furtherance of the inter-Allied planned economy.

In the past, migration was promoted and encourage largely for political reasons or the benefit of vested interests and with little or no regard for the welfare of the emigrants or the country of destinations. One of the principal abuses inherent in this system was the deliberate creation of false conceptions as to the opportunities available or prospective settler. Latter day economic conditions have some away with most of these ill-founded beliefs, clearing the way for planned migration designed to get the requirements of those countries willing to accept new citizens.
Three principal factors suggest themselves as criteria of the suitability of prospective settlers in these countries. They are adaptability, ability and permanency.
The recently pioneered countries place a premium on “doing,” People are judged entirely by their capabilities and the greatest rewards go to those with the most initiative. In consequence “push” is more important than “pull,” and skills or specialist training is a most valuable asset. Prospective immigrants will do well to bear in mind that these countries usually have a more than adequate supply of unskilled labour, but will always be able to provide opportunities to those who can offer skilled craftsmanship or specialised training.

While there is a definite tendency to minimise the importance of nationalism, it must be remembered that emigration to another country presupposes a willingness to accept and conform the customs and traditions of the country, with a minimum of individious comparison. It is most desirable that the settlers should make every effort to become absorbed into the national entity, avoiding any tendency to form isolated communities with the nation.

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No country is willing to absorb immigrants into it’s [sic] national economy and them to sit back and witness their departure “back to the old country,” as soon as they have accumulated sufficient capital for retirement or whatever other plans they may have formulated. The younger nations want citizens, not transients; people intending to establish themselves as permanent resident will be afforded every reasonable assistance, and the achievements of their aim will be dependent on their own efforts and capabilities.

Wartime contracts have afforded services personnel many chances to acquire a fair knowledge of conditions and probable post-war trends in other countries. Large numbers have had the important advantages of contact with members of the overseas forces and should have formed a reasonably accurate estimate, upon which to base future plans for emigration.

In conclusion, it may be said that although we know that the streets of the cities in the younger countries are not “paved with gold,” there are and will continue to be excellent opportunities for those willing to and able meet the essential requirements.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 24th July, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY-SIX
EDITORIAL

The Editor has been constrained to move into Sick Quarters for a short time. It was, of course, entirely coincidental that this should take place the day before he was due to commence a weeks stooging, and an issue of THE LOG due to appear. Fortunately, he has ordained that, for the time being, THE LOG will be published fortnightly. It is felt that this will help materially in overcoming production difficulties caused by the present dearth of suitable copy.

Definite steps have been taken to meet out need of greater privacy. The appearance of wooden screens along those sections of Camp exposed to the road would appear to indicate that there is no local shortage of scrap lumber. The vegetable issues of the last week have been rather overwhelming, and one could wish that the Protecting Power would send their representative more frequently. We now have unrestricted use of the classrooms and the education schemes are forging ahead. The news that nine of our fellow-prisoners are leaving to be repatriated is most welcome. With them go our best wishes for a speedy journey home and the hope that we will be seeing them again very soon in more pleasant surroundings.

The editorial which appeared in out last issue advocating the changes in the administration and availability of the theatre has occasioned a number of Letters to the Editor. Several considerations have altered out original intention of publishing the. Until such time as The Editor is back on the job, the publication of these and any other letter on this subject which may be submitted will be left in abeyance.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 21st August, 1944
NUMBER TWENTY-EIGHT
OVERHEARD comments from new arrivals indicate that there exists some misapprehension as to certain of the “news items” appearing in THE LOG. The publication of informative material of this nature is obviously dependant on three sources: Extracts from letter; information received from recent arrivals; and translations of extracts from German newspapers. Information received from the first two sourced is, if possible, checked and verified before insertion in these columns. Translated extracts from German publications may be identified by the appended initial of the newspaper source, and readers are expected to evaluate these with reserve.

With the appearance of the most optimistic “new Purge” to date, our strategists have been enjoying a field day deducing substantiations for pet theories. At last we seem to have achieved Mr. Churchill’s “the beginning of the end.”

We are pleased to note the presence of F/Lt. J. Reid, v.c., among the more recent arrivals on camp.
An undesirable demonstration of the futility of arguing right versus might took [ace last week. The innocent party most concerned escaped with painful and possibly permanent injury thanks only to his own good fortune. So long as the present condition prevails, it can not be emphasized too strongly that prisoners must take every precaution to avoid anything remotely resembling an infringement of the warning rail regulations. Casuistic submissions afford no defence against bullets.
The regrettable breakdown of projection equipment resulted in some of the camp not seeing the film, but we are told that it will be repaired and retuned next week, when extra showings will be given.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 18TH September 1944
NUMBER THIRTY
EDITORIAL

Since the publication of our last issue there have been several important changes in camp life. The closing of the sports field was a great loss, but this is undoubtedly offset by the opportunity, this created, of going for walks outside the wire and seeing something of the countryside.

The inmates of Block One had a short return to their winter quarters, but found that the enemy has not yet been driven out. At the time of going to press they find themselves scattered all over the camp in other peoples’ blankets. Neither of the blocks have yet caught fire and se we may hope that this treatment will be effective.

Those who were fortunate enough to see the bandshow will agree that it was quite the best entertainment of it’s [sic] type we have yet seen or heard. We anxiously await the re-opening of the show, in the hope that it will be possible to sneak in with a stool and hear it again.

Most people are not yet feeling the drop in rations. This is probably due to the abundance of vegetable. Messes are, however, strongly advised to try and avoid the uses of their reserve Red Cross food; against the day when the vegetables are no longer available or in the unlikely event of the complete failure of the parcel supply.

Betting over the end of the war seems to vary between the 5th and 30th October, expecting those confirmed pessimists who gloomily pronounce that “We shall probably be home this year.”
It is a great relief to most of us to note that the dead-end kids and their fezzes have gone to ground, we can but hope that they are not thinking another “Secret Satorialism.”

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THE LOG
BELARIA 6th November, 1944
VOLUME TWO
NUMBER ONE
EDITORIAL
The editorial and sub-editorial of last week’s Wire will explain our apparently premature withdrawal from retirement. While we are delight to welcome a youngest to the ranks of Kriegie journalism, we cannot agree that the Camp will “Have the benefit of two papers” (sic). We trust that you do not look for benefit in THE LOG; you are doomed for disappointment, we haven’t any to spare.

The heroic cuspidor in the extension to the Camp had led us to expect an American occupation but, as yet, none of the many rumours as to the identity of our new readers has crystallised into fact. The block which is open, Number Eighteen, will have to be filled before the others are inhabited and there is still no certainty about the occupants.

The Senior British Officer has been informed that the food parcel situation is becoming acute; in fact the S.B.O.’s at Calswalde are seriously considering whether we should be reduced to quarter parcels weekly. The present stock of parcels will take us to December 25th at the existing rate of issue and with our present strength. Letters have been received from the International and British Red Cross saying that every effort is being made to forward more food and that personal parcels are also coming through. We may, therefore, cherish a reasonable hope that, even if we drop to the quarter issue, the position should improve before long. Spero meliora.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 20th November, 1944
VOLUME TWO
NUMBER TWO

WE must open this issue by extending a hearty welcome to our American colleagues, those among us who come from the Centre Camp will remember what pleasant companions they were and it will be most refreshing to hear their point of view on questions which have been on our minds recently.
We have devoted a lot of space, three pages, to the article on President Roosevelt in the hope that it will provide, to British readers anyway, some enlightenment on the significance of this re-election. America has come to appreciate his shrew pre-vision and a different election result, with it’s interferences in a long-term policy, might well have proved disastrous to American and international affairs.

Public debated, now a weekly event, will give people the opportunity of getting a broader view and a new outlook on national and international problems. Many of the better thinkers of our generation have perished in the war, we shall have to take their places. Here is your chance to study the problems and incidentally, to practice the expression of your views; the latter, however shrews are of no value if you cannot put them over.

The food position, a prisoner’s greatest pre-occupation, seems to have resolved itself into a state where the issue will be the same as before, with the exception that tins must be returned within 24 hours of issue. The question of communal messing, should we drop to quarter parcels, is still under consideration, this may happy within the next fortnight but we still hope that “reinforcements” will arrive in time.

In conclusion, we must apologise that this issue will have to be published in two parts, those pages which are missing today (November 20th) were held up by the unserviceability of the typewriter and will be published as soon as possible.

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THE LOG
BELARIA 4th December, 1944
VOLUME TWO
NUMBER THREE
EDITORIAL

The senior British Officer has asked us to let all new arrivals know that various services on the camp such as watchmaking, hair-cutting, shoe and clothes repairing, etc., are one on a communal basis. The officers and N.C.O.’s who carry out these jobs do so on a voluntary basis and the tools and materials they use are supplied by the Red Cross or Y.M.C.A. You need, therefore, feel no hesitation is asking for such things as watch repairs, etc., and, of course, there is no question of payment. The Officer who does the watchmaking is most anxious that new prisoners with broken watches should take them along to him as soon after arrival as possible. This often prevents further damage and lightens his task.

At the time of going to print, we hear rumours about a film which is thought to be coming into the camp. The theatre officer has been advised that one, probably a Dietrich, is due – but we’ve heard that one before. However, it may arrive Morgen Fruh.

Conversation with the representative of the Y.M.C.A. discloses the fact the 3,000,000 Red Cross food parcels from America and United Kingdom have passed through Sweden. They are destined for camps in the Eastern part of Germany and we may expect our share as soon as the local transport can cope.

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Readers of these military news commentaries, of which two specimens are included, who were not P.0.W. must realise that they were based on facts (?) obtained from the German Press and information obtained from newly-arrived P.O.W. Any news we obtained from our secret wireless could not be incorporated since the “LOG” was always read by the Germans in the hope that we should disclose knowledge of events only obtained by “unorthodox” means.

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
THE OFFENSIVE ON THE WEST FRONT
Out last summary on the offensive in the West said little about the fighting itself. It would probably be better, therefore, to start from the beginning. Many interesting details have come to light since.
Readers should be reminded that mistakes may occur when commentaries on military events are made so shortly after their occurrence, there is only one source of information and much guesswork and reading between the lines has to be done. Those who feel great interest in the matter must wait for a few years, until the generals on both sides have published their memoirs, etc.

Where was the front before the offensive started?

From the MOERDYK (Bridge on the Waal, S. of Dordrecht) along the WALL to NYMWEGEN, then back to the MAAS at GENNEP. North of BENLO it left the MAAS to form the so-called German Bridgehead S.E. of HELMOND. The front went round to WEERT on the NOORDER KANAAL, then crossed the MAAS in the region of MAASEYCK until it turned South, West of GEILENKIRCHEN. So to STOLBERG, ECHTERNACH and the MOSELLE, which it more or less followed to PONT-A-MOUSSON, leaving a bridgehead to the Germans West of METZ. From PONT-A-MOUSSON, to CHATEAU-SALINS (Salzburgen) BACCARAT, GERARDMER, CORNIMONT, West of BELFORT, MONTBELIARD and the SWISS frontier.

THE ARMIES AND THEIR COMMANDERS
Canadian 1st Army. – General CRERAR, from the MOERDYCK to NYMWEGEN.
British 2nd Army. – General DEMPSEY, from NYMWEGEN to North of GEILENKIRCHEN.
If the original arrangement of the Invasion armies has not been changed, these two armies constitute Field Marshal MONTGOMERY’S Army Group.
American 9th Army. – General SIMPSON, from GEILENKIRCHEN to STOLBERG. This army was intended as left wing to :
American 1st Army. – General HODGE, from STOLBERG to ECHTERNACH, possibly to DEIDENHOFEN.

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American 3rd Army. – General PATTON, from ECHTERNACH (or DEIDENHOFEN) to the RHINE_MARNE CANAL.

American 7th Army.- General PATCH, from the PHONE-MARNE CANAL to the BELFORT GAP (BURGUNDISCHE PFORTE).

Gaullist 1st Army. – General BETHOUART, from the BELFORT GAP to the Swiss frontier.

The above-mentioned Armies constitute General BRADLEY’s (12th) Army Group. The disparity in size between the two Army Groups is obvious. It is possible, therefore, that SIMPSON is included in MONTGOMERY’S Army Group.
The fighting started on the 650 kilometre line, between NYMWEGEN and the SWISS frontier. EISENHOWER’S bid, in the opening stage, was 20 divisions. These were not spread out equally, but a greater concentration of troops and material was made there, where main points of fighting were desired or expected. Whereas both wings were still in front of the SIEGFRIED LINE and had to close in on it, the Allies in the AACHEN area had been in contact with the SIEGFRIED LINE for some considerable time, (first and second battles of AACHEN). Consequently a breakthrough in this area would be decisive and it was here that EISENHOWER concentrated his forces. We shall return later to this subject.

Other concentration points were built South East of HELMOND, METZ and BELFORT.
I. The American 1st Army. – General PATTON’s attack was the prelude to the general Allied offensive.
The main intentions were :-
(1) The fall of METZ, a fortified position of some importance, commanding the historical invasion route between the ARDENNES and the VOSGES (Louise XIV – Von Moltke).
(2) To close in on the SIEGFRIED LINE, running parallel to and behind the SAAR.

On the 8th November two spearhead were sent across the MOSELLE, on both sides of METZ, with the aim of surrounding the town.

The first spearhead built a bridgehead at KONIGSMACHERN, North East of DIEDENHOFEN. This advance as, at first, checked. The second spearhead was more successful. Starting along a line between PONT-A-MOUSSON and SALZBURGEN, it took NOMENY, DELM, SALZBURGEB itself and DIEUZE is quick succession. Advancing to MORCHINGEN, PATTON, delivered a frontal attack against DIEDENHOFEN, which was soon taken against, METZ, and against the MOSELLE, between these two towns.

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The frontal attack on the MOSELLE was repulsed on both wings, but in the centre the Americans forced the bridgehead over the river at UECKINGEN. It is probably this spearhead which swung round and finally cut off METZ from the EAST. But we cannot be sure. The frontal attack on METZ caused heavy fighting to develop, especially at GRAVELOTTE. The Americans then slowly closed in and took the town leaving behind a few isolated strong points in the outer defences, which the Germans claim still holding out. The fighting for METZ itself had so much relieved the pressure of North East of DIEDENHOFEN that by the 17th the bridgehead at KONIGSMARCHEN has been widened and deepened and SIERCK was threatened.

On the 18th, PATTON was able to renew his attack East of DIEDENHOFEN on the direction of the lower NIEV and of the SAAR between MARZIG and SAARLEUTERN. The Germans had to give ground and, on the 19th, the front was back eastward of SIERCK to BUSENDORF (west of SAARLAUTEN) and to the East of MORCHINGEN.
At the moment PATTON is firmly established on a line running near or along the SAAR, from the south-west of TRIER to about FINSTINGEN. There seems to be a deep penetration to BITSCH. On the other hand neither FORBACH nor ASSRBRUCKEN have been mentioned. PATTON’S initial aims have been fulfilled.

2. The British Second Army. – The Germans have, so far, given little detail about this offensive under the command of General DEMPSEY. The attack started on the 1th along the NOORDER-KANAAL, South East of HELMOND. It was preceded by an enormous artillery barrage. The German, have expected the attack, had very cunningly evacuated their positions before the barrage began.

On the next day a bridgehead over the KANAAL was established at WEERT, and by the 18th the Germans had only a bridgehead over the MAAS, including the two towns of VENLO ad ROERMOND. On the 23rd they mentioned British attempts to cross the MAA in the region of VENLO. Nothing more has been heard of this venture. At the present moment, the Germans refer to their small bridgehead at ROERMOND, which seems to imply the VENLO is now in Allied hands.

On the 16th of November, three other thrusts started, one on the RHINE-MARNE KANAAL, one in the BELFORT GAP and one in the region east of AACHEN. As the latter turned out to be the main Allied push, we will leave it to the last.

3. The American 7th Army.- General PATCH’s attack again on the 16th. It was part of EISENHOWER’S scheme of engaging the Germans on the entire front. Preventing them from shifting beg reserves along it.

A main point of fighting was built on his left wing, which as still on the plains (RHINE-MARNE KANAAL), but he brought his army to bear on the entire front of the VOSGES. The Americans slowly worked themselves up to the crest, the first significance event occurred on the 18th, after two days of intensive preparatory fighting. The Americans broke through from EADONVILLERS along the road to SCHIRMEK. Fighting was continued for this very important pass and it was taken on the 22nd.

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The road to STRASBOURG was in danger; and the Germans had to send some of their local reserves in an attempt to save the town. Meanwhile, another breakthrough has been forced, slightly North of the first one, Emerging from the PARROY forest, the Americans broke through West of SAARBURG, along the RHINE-MARNE KANAAL. The Germans, taken by surprise, were checkmated. Pushing swiftly on to PFALZBURG on the 22nd, the Allies took ZABERN on the 23rd, and made 30 kilometres on their last triumphant dash to STRASBOURG, which, except for a few fortifications, was taken on the 24th. During that time the first spearhead had only reached OLSHEIM. PATCH’S effort on his left wing had the effect of a beautiful “Disengage – double and lunge.” The advance on the remainder of the front was not so fast, but in the light of what had happened in the BELFORT GAP it is much better to let the Germans stay where they are, at least for the time being.
4. The Gaullist 1st Army. – This army under the command of General BETHOUART (of NARVIK fame), consists of Moroccan troops, Free French and a few American regiments. Their offensive also started about the 16th. On the 18thm heavy fighting developed on both sides of the DOUBS in the MONTBELIARD area and the French broke through on the 19th, South of BELFORT. Leaving a mask South and South West of the town, they pushed on and reached the RHINE North of BASL on the 23rd.

They then turned left and three divisions reached MULHAUSEN on the 24th. The French did not have the necessary reserves to push on further. This seems to indicate that a success in this area had not been expected and the exploitation of the De Gaullist success had to be improvised. The Germans, on their part, with an attack from the West of Altkirch towards the Swiss frontier, tried to cut the French off from the bases. The available reserves were used for the frustration of this German counter-move and the French attack along the RHINE was slowed down slightly. The Germans now feel the disadvantage of having to fight with a major obstacle in their rear and few avenues of retreat leading to and over this obstacle. With the Allies at STRASBOURG and at MULHUSEN, their position might soon prove, hopeless, but they will do everything in their power to disentangle their Army of the Vosges. We look forward to a week of spectacular military events in the area.

THE OFFENSIVE EAST OF AACHEN
The offensive is called the Third Battle of AACHEN. EISENHOWER has employed the greatest possible concentration of troops and material. The bulk of the fighting sustained by the American 9th Army under General SIMPSON between GEILENKIRCHEN and STOLBERG. On the left flank of this Army substantial portions of the British 2nd Army have been thrown in North of GEILENKIRCHEN, and on the right flank, the greater part of the American first Army under General HODGE. This, on a 72 kilometre (42 mile) front, nearly two whole armies are engaged. We estimate this force at about 450,000 men,. The artillery barrage prior to and during the fighting used 20 tons of explosive per hour. Numerous squadrons of the Tactical

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Air Force were used in support and attacked every imaginable target – tanks rolling stock, supply columns, bridged, machine gun nest, flack emplacements, troop movements and troop concentrations.

The intention underlying this offensive was very plain; to widen the sent previously made in the SIEGFRIED LINE; to make this line yield under the repeated massive blows, to pour strategical reserves through the gap and to disorganise the German resistance on the left bank of the RHINE, between DUSSLEDORF and BONN.

The offensive started at 1100 hours on the 16th of November , on a 30 kilometre (18 mile) front, between GEILENKIRVHEN and GRESSENICH (3 ½ miles East of STOLBERG). On the first day the Allies achieved two penetrations about two miles apart.
On the second day, the 16th, the fighting spread North and South over a 70 kilometre front. The Germans put up a stubborn resistance, only yielding inch by inch. They could not prevent Allied success near WUERSELEN, along the AACHEN-JULICH road. On the 18th the strongest pressure was in the area of GEILENKIRCHEN.

On the 19th further pushes were made to the Eastwards in the Southern sector, East of GRESSENICH, in the forest of HUERTGEN and slightly South of it at VOSSENNACK.

So it continued all along the AACHEN front. One the 21st a big effort was made to crush the German resistance East of GEILENKIRCHEN; at GERONSWEIDER 120 tanks attacked on a 1,500 yard front. It must be this force, with infantry following up, which as reported to be nearing KINNICH (on the RUR) on the 25th.

To deal with ESCHWEIDER, the Americans had recourse to the usual tactics. Two spearheads outflanked the town to the North and South on the 22nd. They met East of the town on the 23rd, and stormed it on the 24th. The force, attacking from the South and South-West, consisted of two armoured divisions and three infantry divisions. This is indicative of the concentration on other points of the front.

At the same time, on the 24th November, the Americans who had scored the initial success North-East of WURSELEN on the 17th, appeared in sight of JULICH.

At the moment the fronts appeared as the bend from the North of GEILENKIRCHEN to LINNICH, JULICH, West of DUREN, East of Vossenack, then joining the old front probably West on MONSCHAU. The Americans are slightly less than halfway between AACHEN and COLOGNE, but their aim is not achieved; fighting continues with unabated fury on both sides.

In conclusion. – Although the greatest successes have been scored in the Allied right wing, our chances lie on the Central sector. Another week of fighting should bring both wings into direct contact with the SIEGFRIED LINE and, we confidently hope, the rupture of this line by the American 1st and 9th Armies. We are waiting for EISENHOWER’S rebid. Meanwhile fighting continues.

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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
THE OFFENSIVE IN THE WEST
Those who did not expect an Allied offensive before next spring ad quite a few arguments in their favour. Firstly, a winter offensive would demand special equipment for the men, special coolant for armoured fighting vehicles and rolling stock, and the shorter days and bad weather would considerably restrict the telling effects of our air superiority. Lastly, we had plenty of time, so why hurry? But those who patiently and confidently kept waiting for an offensive before the winter set in with all its rigours, at last saw their hope materialise and their arguments prevail.
The enemy must not be allowed to recover from the blow he has suffered in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The new general call-up in Germany must not bear fruit, the men of the German Volkessturm must not be given the opportunity of becoming well –trained and well-equipped soldiers.

The respite was given to the Germans was unavoidable. The disrupted communications in the liberated countries had to be repaired and re-organised. Above all, ANTWERP has to be cleared, the free flow of supplies into this vital port had to be guaranteed. Even if, through other Atlantic ports, enough reserves could be piled up to start a general offensive in the West, ANTWERP was the only port which would ensure that the hell-fire about to break loose would be adequately fed.

Meanwhile tanks, rolling stock, general equipment and armaments could be minutely overhauled. Well employed, the time would not be wasted.

A few days after the channel into ANTWERP was freed, the offensive started along the whole part of the Allied front, which was directly facing Germany; on the 8th of November in the region of METZ, on the 14th November South-East of HELMOND, in Holland, and on the 16th around AACHEN. It is difficult to say where the heaviest fighting is going on. General EISENHOWER probably wants to test the whole German line; to engage vigorously everywhere and to find a weak spot. He will then attack, with all his remaining strength, at the weakest point.
The possibilities of developing a successful war of movement after a break-through is in the different sectors depend largely upon the topography of the country. It might be interesting to discuss them.
On the extreme right wing the country is mountainous – about 4,500 feet above sea level – in such areas, as a rule, roads and railways are few; this would mean certain restrictions on the strategical exploitation of a break-through, where fast mechanical forces must advance on a broad front, must be able to manoeuvre freely, causing confusion in the enemy’s rear.
Apart from the fact the nearby RHINE might break the swing of a fresh “war of movement” affording as it does good conditions for a determined rearguard action, we must consider the possibilities of effective defensive warfare in the fortified

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SCHWARDWALD, a mountainous wooded country with comparatively few roads. Those who argue that the scarcity of the roads in the event of a breakthrough would give full scope to the Air forces must remember that the first aim of any offensive is the destruction of the opponent, by killing, wounding or capture, and only an army can achieve this on the scale required.

One the left wing, between NYMWEGEN and ROERMOND, a break-through would be very effective. The distance from this sector to the RUHR, is short, about 30 miles. The communications, roads, etc to and from this vital industrial centre are plentiful and good; a war of movement in this area, a quick thrust towards the RUHR would endanger Germany’s economic and military position.
There are two setbacks:-
(1) The Allies have not yet completely mastered the left bank of the MEUSE, let along crossed the river. The main German defences are undoubtedly on eh right bank.
(2) The RHINE is comparatively near, and consequently there is little space to cut off the Germans on the left bank of the river. The latter must be regarded as a serious obstacle.

A break-through in the area GEILENKIRCHEN-STOLENBERG would smash the German central sector, the collapse of this would have immediate and far-reaching repercussions on both wings, particularly on the extreme left wing, between MOERDYK and NYMWEGEN.

The German advance bastion would be in a hopeless position I the event of an Allied break-through East of AACHEN. While on both wings the Allies have not yet contacted the SIEGFRIED LINE, in the AACHEN area they have been fighting in the line for some time. The German communiques repeatedly referred to pill boxes, dugouts and fortifies positions. A break-through in this area would, certainly, be decisive.

An Allied success in LORRAINE would probably yield the best strategical results. The distance to the RHONE (between STRASBOURG and MAINZ) is greater than from the other sectors. The region East of THIONVILLE-CHATEAU SALINS is flat and open, with good communications leading towards the mining district of the SAAR. General PATTON in an attempt to cut off the German retreat towards the RHINE, would have ample manoeuvring space. With some luck it might be possible to destroy the German forces opposing PATTON before many of them had crossed the RHINE, which would be left undefended.

Furthermore, at a moment when the Germans have to distil every drop of their fuel from coal, the loss of the SAAR coal-mines would be a serious blow to their war machine.
Let us now consider the various components of the whole offensive:-
(1) General PATTON’S 3rd American Army delivered the initial blow. His first intention was to outflank METZ from the North and South and make the two

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pincers meet East of the town. The Northern spearhead crossed the MOSELLE at KINIGSMACHERN, North of THIONVILLE, but German resistance then slowed up their advance. The Southern thrust was more successful. Starting from PONT-A-MOUSSON, it successively took NOMENY, DELME, CHATEAU-SALINS-MORCHINGEN and is now in the region of DIEUZE. The Germans prevented these two pincers from meeting.

To relieve the pressure at the bridgehead of KNIGSMARCHEN, PATTON attacked the MOSELLE between THORNVILLE and METZ and established a bridge head at UECKINGEN, halfway between. At the same time he delivered a frontal attack at THIONVILLE, which was taken on the 16th November. Soon GRAVELOTTE fell, and at present the Allies are closing in on METZ from all sides. We must bear in mind the fact that PATTON has not yet reached the 1939 German board, and that the SIEGFRIED LINE lies beyond. PATTON’S intention, therefore, is the acquisition of an easy jumping-off place for the carrying of the war of movement into the heart of Germany.

(2) On the 14th November, General DEMPSEY, with the British 2nd Army, started for the MEUSE in the direction of VENLO and ROERMOND, with the intention of clearing all German forces from the West bank of the river. This offensive seems to have met with great success. The Germans, at first, talked about an Allied bridgehead over the MOORSER CANAL at WEERT an now about their own bridgehead over the MEUSE at ROERMOND.

(3) Two days later, on the 16th November, activity flared up on the VOSGES front and the 3rd battle of AACHEN began.
(a) From BELFORT to BACCARAT we should regard PATTON’S attack as intended to pin down the German forces, preventing them from drafting reserves to the other sectors.
(b) The Germans, so far, have announced few details of the fighting in the STOLBERG area. Ferocious fighting with masses of artillery and tanks is going on over a 50 mile front; but no new names have yet been mentioned; the Germans have, however, claimed that an average of 40 tanks per day have been destroyed.

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THE LOG
ON THE MARCH
GREAT SELTAN 30TH January, 1945
VOLUME TWO
NUMBER FORTY EIGHT

We must apologise for being a day late in publishing this issue. It should have been on the boards of Belaria yesterday; since we do not speak Russian it is perhaps as well that it wasn’t. It is strange how men adapt themselves to changing conditions and there could be no more convincing proof of this than the production of some two or three hundred sledges in thirty minutes, their variety of design and efficiency is a credit to Kriegie ingenuity.

The first day’s march seems to have been found difficult by most people but everyone agrees that the next was much easier, I tis only a matter of getting used to it apparently, if you heat anyone grousing remind them of our troops sleeping and fighting in the open on the West Front or the Russians on the East, not very far East either. Rumour puts them about 30 kms. from here, but she always id exaggerate.

We should like to advise everybody to go easy with their rations. It seems quite likely that we shall be some time on this march and it is suggested that you budget for a minimum of 14 days; do not stint yourself on this account, with the full parcel you have and extra rations you brought, it should be possible to feed very well.

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Readers may be glad to hear that the manuscript for the Souvenir Edition has been brought along, we do not guarantee that it will be carried indefinitely (it weighs 9 ½ lbs.) but every effort will be made to get it home.

To-day is a Heaven-sent chance to get yourself set up for the rest of the great trek. Get your socks etc., dry, the best way is to put them near your body, possibly between your shirt and tunic under the arms. When we start marching again you should on no account, sit in the snow or on milestones, etc., this leads to rheumatism, piles or other frightful trouble which will aggravate the difficultly of walking.

In conclusion, don’t let it all get you down – all you have to do is to keep your bowels, ears and mnd open.

R.O.T.F.B.

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THE MARCH

January 27th Stalag Luft III. Sagan

AT 9.30 tonight the camp was warned to be ready to leave in 30 minutes. This was the usual German timing, however, and we finally paraded at 0015 hours on the morning of Sunday the 29th. This was a lucky delay as it gave is time to make sledges upon which to tow our kit, enabling us of course, to carry much more. The greatest ingenuity was shown in constructing these vehicles and everything from coal boxes to Red Cross arm chairs when into their making.

It is impossible to describe our feelings when we were told to march and I won’t attempt to do so but the immediate reaction was interesting. We had never been in such a situation before. We were about to leave behind an accumulation of books, equipment, food, clothing, cigarettes, etc., which had been accumulated during the past five years and officers who had hoarded every safety-pin, nail and bit of broken glass were to be seen trying to give away thousands of cigarette, brand new clothing, and all other things which they could not carry but did not wish to burn or leave for the Germans. We felt that this move indicated that the war was very nearly over and were accordingly in the highest of spirits.

The 0015 hours parade was eventually dismissed at 0145 and we were told that we should be really be going in about an hour and a half, so went we back to our quarter and rechecked boots, pack, etc., and had a good meal. One very bitter aspect of this move was that out much looked forward to British Red Cross Xmas parcels which had arrived later were to have been issued the next day. Of course, we never got them.

We eventually left at 5a.m. on the Sunday, and a very strange procession would its way across the German countryside for 20 kilometres to a small village called Kunau – the drawing will give you some idea of the variety of clothing which we were wearing and we must have been a very strange

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sight to German eyes. Many people had decided that overcoats were much too heavy for a long march and had made capes or hoods out of blankets – others were wearing home-made puttee, some were in Balaclavas, some in the remains of flying kit, and a few- very few- in R.A.F. uniform of various types. Most of us were smoking pipes and everybody was towing or carrying odd looking bundles of kit and equipment, to which were attached kettles, jugs, milk tins and water bottles. All our pockets were filled with things we had decided at the last moment we could not leave behind and it was strange to dip your hand into a conglomeration of raw potatoes, razor blades, black bread and probably a fork or spoon seized at the last moment.

On arrival at Kunau we were put into barns. The march itself had not been bad – the roads were frozen and sledging was easy, but many of us were very foot-sore and everybody was extremely tired. We cooked meals over small fires and made a brew f tea or coffee. (I should have mentioned that we each had a whole Red Cross parcel which we had collected on marching out. Owing to the fact that the Germans, throughout the whole march, gave us little or no food, these parcels undoubtedly saved many of us from serious illness and possibly from the fate which occurred to other less fortunate groups of prisoners who were also on the march.)

The lucky people in the barns were those who managed to get a cow to sleep with – they were delightfully warm and very friendly. But most people found it very cold and did not sleep much that night. Another thing which many of us discovered was that n these conditions it is very dangerous to sleep with your boots on because they freeze solid and contract, and one wakes up in agony.
We were up early next morning and set off again about 9 o’clock and marched through Wiesau to Gross Selten. We arrived there at about 1600 hours and were put into a large farmyard with much netter barns than the night before and plenty of straw. The German people along the road were

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All very friendly and at times it was almost like being a unit of a liberating army – they would rush out with hot water and anything they could spare ad barter with us for cigarettes. Our guards, who were Volsturmers of an average age of about 65, were apathetic about this, as indeed they were apathetic about this, as indeed they were about the whole match, but the Luftwaffe officers in charge of the column got extremely annoyed and tried to prevent fraternisation by reminding the civilian that we were the very gangsters and child murderers of whom Dr. Goebbels had warned them to beware. This had no effect whatever. As soon as the officers’ backs were turned the business was resumes and we were sent on our way with a wave and a smile.

There was plenty of scrap wood about in the farm yard at Gross Selten and we made meals of corned beef etc., and settled down for the night. We were very lucky in our barn since it had electric light. The farmer was very irate when he discovered we had it on, but one cigarette seemed to placate him over this. We did not make the mistake of keeping our boots on this time, and by struggling together in the straw had a really warm and restful night – except for those whose ashes and pains from unaccustomed marching kept them awake.

We were wakened at 7.30 the next morning, and having made coffee with hot water which we bought from the farm labourers’’ wives exchange for cigarettes, we were paraded for counting at 0930 hours. To our delight we were told that we would be staying here all day for the rest. There was great rejoicing over this and the rumour mongers who had not been idle since we left Sagan really came into their form. “…. The Russians were 3 kilometres away …. The British and Americans had crossed the Rhine ….Hitler had gone completely round the bed and Goering had taken over and was discussing peace terms, etc., etc., “ We could, of course, get no German papers, and owing to the fact that the column had split up, the wireless, which had been dispersed among several people, was also split and we could not use it, so that we could get no real news to confirm or deny

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these rumours. I published o one page log on the lines of “it could be worse” – this is included in this book. It amused people to see it in these odd surrounding, but as the oil in the typewriter was frozen the printing was tricky. Entract did a drawing of a Kriegie with a sledge – very good considering that his hands too were frozen from the cold.

An interesting part of this day’s stay was that a motorised section of a German Panzer Division. Chased out of Lipmannstadt by the Russians, arrived in charge of one officer. It consisted of several lorries and the officer’s car, The troops were all very friendly and only too anxious to trade their rations for our cigarettes or coffee – they assured us that the war would be over in a day or two ( this was January 29th) and there was only one incident with these people, which occurred when somebody removed a goose from the officer’s car. He complained to the Group Captain and threatened that strong measure would be taken if this bird was not returned. An appeal was made for this return, but it was not forthcoming – the truth of the matter was that it had already been cooked and eaten The German officer grew to feel, however, that a 4 ounce bar of chocolate and 100 American cigarettes was ample compensation and the matter was settled this way.

The farmyard around which our barns were built looked like a Gipsy camp, with hundreds of little fires heating jam tins of water and people stirring a has or stew. It was altogether a very happy day because the German opinion that the war would be over in a few days had spread around and nothing could have dampen our spirits

We left there the next morning at about 0800 hours and did 20 kilometres through Tappferstadt, to Birkenstadt. The temperature rose in the afternoon and a slight thaw set in. The sludge made sledging much more difficult, and we did not arrive till 1700 hours. We were put into barns again – these barns were unheated and unlit, and even in the daytime there was little light – in sharp contrast to the adjacent shed which housed 98

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Friesland cows and had central heating, running water and electric light: We had by now got wise to the fact that it was far better to group together and make large communal meals, and we fed better from then on; but since we were locked into the bard at 1700 hours we got very hungry during the night, as of course we could neither smoke not light fires owing to the great danger of fire in the straw. Another inconvenience of being locked in the barns at 1700 hours every night was that these barns contained no water taps or any form of sanitary arrangement. A note in my diary written that night echoes the general feeling “Although dead tired, I feel very well – my feet are holding out well and apart from al the aches and pains inevitable after so much marching, everything is fine.”

I gave a small girl of eight a piece of chocolate and she looked at me very suspiciously when I told her to eat it and refused to do so until I had nibbled a small piece off the corner to demonstrate its edible properties. She then ate some herself and the ecstatic expression on her face as she got the flavour was wonderful to see. She had never seen chocolate before: She became very friendly after this and I showed her photos of my two children, which excited her very much, and she gradually became less nervous of me, until when we left I found it quite difficult to shake her off as she followed me down the road, hoping for more chocolate.

February 1st
We spent the whole day there again because, we understood, the parties marching ahead of us had slowed down and there was no accommodation on the road. We got one fifth of a loaf of bread that day – the first German rations for 5 days. The farmer in whose barn we were billeted got very annoyed at the way his straw, etc., was being moved about. He shouted and bellowed at everybody n German to no effect – he then told the Group Captain that he was surprised at the conduct of British officers in a foreign country. It was pointed out to hi, that the officers concerned were in completely strange circumstances and they the Germans had

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[Image – ON THE MARCH]

[Image – BARN AT BIRKENSTADT]

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[Image – 8 CHEVAUX, 40 HOMMES. SPREMBERG – LUCKENWALDE, 1945,]

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Broken nearly every article of the Geneva convention in their treatment of us during the last 5 days – we therefore felt under no obligation to be of good behaviour. One of the members of our “mess” begged, borrowed or stole a chicken from somebody and it was boiled and divided among 21 of us – I got the wish-bone and thought that I was unlucky until I saw someone with the beak.
A great blow fell in the afternoon when it started to thaw rapidly – by 1600 hours the thaw was complete and we realised the worst had happened. From now on everything had to be carried on our backs.

The next day we set off over very heavy country and owing to the thaw the mud was ankle deep. Nobody was very cheerful by the time we arrived at Schonheide where we were split into parties of 100 and thrown into damp strawless, unlit barns. The doors were immediately locked and therefore we could not cook a hot meal. Everybody was dead beat, however, and after some biscuits and margarine settled down to sleep.

Next day we marched to Spremberg where we were taken to a very large German Tank Corps depot and locked into the empty tank sheds. An hour later we were given half a litre of hot liquid containing no meat or solids but having a faintly cereal flavour. This was the first “hot meal” the Germans had given us since leaving Sagan 7 days previously. We entrained during the afternoon into empty cattle trucks and at 1630 hours we were locked in – 50 men to each, which made it quite impossible for us all to lie or sit down at once, so we took it in turned to do so. Seven hours later the train left the station and we were told that our destination was Luckenwalde, a large Stalag 32 miles south of Berlin and about 60 miles from our present position. Next morning we were still going, with frequent stops in railway sidings, and we arrived at Luckenwalde Station at about 1700 hours.

It was just beginning to get dark and the Germans had great trouble in counting us before marching off to the camp. When they had done so four times

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with different results, none of which was the figure they expected, we marched off in the rain to the camp where we spent an hour and a half standing outside the gates waiting for admission - there was no apparent reason for this. When we finally got into the camp 2000 hours we were searched, deloused, etc., until 0600 hours, the next morning when we were shown our new barracks.

It is impossible to describe the revulsion and disgust we all felt on seeing them – they were squalid and sordid buildings with great parched of damp all over the inside walls and ceilings. The door would not shut and most of the windows were broken. Three tiered beds in sets of 12, accommodating 200 men in each room, were indescribably filthy, with dirty and half filled paliasses. There was nowhere to cook our food and the water was turned off so that we could not even wash.

During the train journey from Spemberg the senior British officer of our party was visited by a German Foreign Office official who, without giving any reason, asked for a statement from the British that the German had made every attempt to improve condition on the march and that we were quite satisfied with their behaviour in this respect. This was undoubtedly an attempt to offset the indignation shown by the World Press over the whole incident, and, with typical German propaganda methods, it was implied that the giving of such a statement would greatly improve our living conditions at the new camp. The statement was, of course, refused. On arrival home we were dismayed to find that our relatives had been greatly upset by the very exaggerated stories of this march which has been splashed over the cheap “dailies”. It is regrettable that the people responsible for this type of press sensationalism cannot, for a moment, put themselves I the other people’s places.

Stag IIIa, Luckenwalde
This camp contained many nationalities including British, American, French, Russian, Italian, Jugoslav, Czechoslovakian and Norwegian officers and soldiers.

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We were the only R.A.F. contingent and it turned out that the Group Captain was the senior British officer in the camp. He immediately made representations to the Commandant to get in touch with the Red Cross authorities of the protecting power. This was the most urgent since there was no Red Cross food and we were having to live entirely on German rations, which at the time consisted of one fifth of a loaf, half a litre of soup, about 6 potatoes and one ounce of margarine per a per day. This diet contained just over half the calorific value of a man’s minimum daily requirements but apart from feeling hungry we found that we were quite fit on it provided that we did not exert ourselves in any way at all.

A far greater lack was that of literature. We had no books of any sort- they had been too heavy to carry – and there was no camp library. This period of just lying about with nothing to read, no mail coming in or out, and a perpetual hunger, was very trying and it is interesting that the topic of food was the only one discussed by anybody – people used to spend hours discussing the meals they would have when they got their parcels or when they got home and although it was a form of self-torture, everybody found themselves doing it. This was slightly relieved on February 23rd, three weeks after our arrival, when the 600 Norwegian officers gave us a gift of some Danish Red Cross parcels. It worked out at about one fifth of a parcel each and included small quantities of butter, cheese, Ryvita, sausage, sugar, molasses and oatmeal. The generosity which promoted this gift from those who were already short can only be appreciated by those who were there. It was a splendid gesture for which we shall never cease to be grateful to our Norwegian friends.

The lack of literature and educational facilities forced people to seek other occupation and it was interesting to watch how people one knew well reacted to these new condition. Many started to learn language from the Polish officers who were in our compound – they were very anxious to learn English of which many had a smattering, and were

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Willing in exchange to teach Polish, Russian, German or Spanish which most of them spoke fluently.
The Doctor from our camp at Sagen had marched with us – Capt. Montuuis R.A.M.C. – and had used nearly all his portable medical supplies during his valiant work caring for those who fell ill or had foot trouble on the march. His hospital at Luckenwalde consisted of a small walled-off section of a barrack without any heating or water in it (although this was later improved) and the Germans could not or would not, produce any medical supplies. We were fortunate, however in that the general health of the contingent was food and there was a German run hospital in the immediate neighbourhood of the camp which could deal with really serious cases. Nothing could be done, however, for the hundreds of people which suffered from an epidemic or sore throats and bad colds – luckily this cleared up without any serious development.

A regular supply of American Red Cross parcels began to come in about the middle of March and this, of course, improved the general conditions enormously. There is no question that, whatever one’s normal environment it is possible to out up almost indefinitely with the utmost discomfort, dirt and squalor provided that you are reasonably fed and warmly clad. The arrival of this food, together with the improvement in the news, which we were getting daily through our secret wireless, enabled us to ignore the unpleasant side of the life.

There were persistent rumours throughout our stay at Luckenwalde that we should move again when the Russians came close and we allows held reserves of food against this possibility, which took shape when we were marched to the station on Saturday, April 14th, where a train was waiting, ostensibly to take us to Moosbery near Munich – this journey did not see, at all pleasant in view of the great activity of R.A.F. and American aircraft. We did, however, manage to persuade the Germans to provide the paint and allow us to embellish the tops of the carriages with the letter “R.A.F.- P.O.W.” in yellow.

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[IMAGE – PER ARDUD AD ASTRA! A THREE TIER NIGHTMARE]

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We were locked in the train on Saturday night and told that we should leave as soon as the engine was available to pull us out. The German civilians living round the station were very friendly, and once again, only top anxious to trade their meagre rations for our coffee and cigarettes. The German railway staff looked upon the whole thing as a huge joke and had told us on arrival at the station that there was no hope of an engine ever arriving to take us to Moosberg. This proved to be true when we were marched back to the camp on the evening of Sunday the 15th.

It was now becoming apparent that the war could not last much longer and our “Defence Scheme,” which had been long planned to cover the moment when the Germans fled, was reviews and brought up to date. The German staff of the camp were becoming increasingly polite and obsequious – many of them going to the extent of asking for “good conduct notes” which they could present to the oncoming enemy, and their one prayer was that the British or Americans would arrive first.

And here I will digress to tell of one German interrogating officer who, when asked by a British prisoner whether he thought the Russians or Western allies would reach Berlin first said: “the Western Allies – even if we have to send transport for them” (this remark was made in September ’44!)..

The Defence Scheme, which I have already mentioned, was organised in secret and designed to keep the vital services of the camp going after the German left – it was also necessary in a camp of this size to have some systems of picketing the perimeter to prevent prisoners wandering off individually or n groups and endangering themselves in the local fighting. It was realised, too, that large numbers of displaced persons for the military commanders of advancing forces. While still in German hands we managed to contact the senior representative of each nationality in the camp and got their agreement to our proposals. The situation,

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As we foresaw it, was that we should awaken one morning and find the Germans had gone. Things turned out very differently because on the morning of Saturday, 21st April it became obvious that the German were about to leave. The first indication was that the sentry boxes were no longer manned, and then, one by one, the guards and sentries in the camp were withdrawn. At about mid-day the Germans paraded just outside the main gate in full marching order and the Commandant sent for the Senior Officer of the Camp, General Otto Ruge, Commander in Chief of Norwegian Forces. There was some delay in finding the General and the Germans were in such a hurry that they would not wait and selected the nearest senior looking officer who happened to be an American and formally handed over to him. They then marched out of the camp and were not seen again until some of them re-appeared in the Russian prison cages.

It should be appreciated that we were now completely surrounded by Germans, although they had officially evacuated the camp. There were not Allied Forced in sight, and there was some doubt as to how long we should be left in this sort of No Man’s Land. The water and light had been cut off at the mains in the local town, but the Works Service of our organization found some fire trailer pumps and pumped up water from static pools to maintain essential services. The light question could not be overcome until the power station was going again. A report from the patrol in Luckenwalde says “Quiet and orderly throughout the time. By 1100 hours all available food was distributed, and the factory manager of an armament works making breech blocks was yesterday ordered to destroy the vital parts of his machinery – which was done. Civilian are being evacuated by Police order, but the Volksturmers are still in the town. In the woods near the camp is a party of 7 or 8 S.S. troops and 100 soldiers who have visited the came and stated that anyone outside the wire would be fired upon and that any overt acts of hostility would bring drastic reprisals.” There was a light artillery unit in the woods north of the camp

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under a German general and we were not a little surprised when his officer visited us to say that unless the 8 rifles stolen from his men were immediately returned he would open fire upon the camp. The rifles had apparently been taken by some of the members of the camp and an appeal was made. They were found and returned to hm. The day was generally very quiet and, of course there was plenty to do inside the camp organising food distribution, cooking, reception of refugees who were pouring n from working parties, etc., etc. There were no incidents inside the camp – which is a great tribute to the discipline of the 25,000 inhabitants of all ranks and nationalities. Everyone went to bed that night wondering whether the morning would bring Russians or Americans. From the activity around they appeared to be about equi-distant from us. This later proved to be a false assumption.

At about one o’clock on Sunday morning April 21st a German aircraft strafed the camp This was the first time during the whole of our stay in Germany that we had been in any way directly affected by air warfare. However, the effect of this was fortunately not very serious The pilot flew up the main street of the camp and most of his shells fell in that street – it was amusing however to see people baling out of top bunks and landing on people who were simultaneously baling out of the tier below. Another amusing incident during this night was a visit from the Mayor or Luckenwalde who wanted to hand over the town to us. This offer was of course, refused by General Ruge. It was probable that the townspeople felt that this might in some way hold off the Russians, of whom, they lived in greatest terror.

At about 0500 hours on the Sunday a light Russian armoured car drove into the Camp at a high Speed, pulling up with a jerk outside our headquarters. A small and very dirty Russian emerged and was immediately surrounded by delirious prisoners who felt that at last they were on their way home. He, (the Russian) seemed to be very excited and grabbed

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everybody in sight, kissing them and slapping them on the back. They left about 20 minutes later and took General Ruge to report to their headquarters. They also took the senior American officer and an interpreter, who were perched up on the outside of the viehicle [sic] but ended their journey rapidly when fired upon just outside the camp. They did a smart roll into the ditch and the armoured car went on to Luckenwalde.

By this time there was continuous fighting in the woods all around us, but somehow none of the shells or bullets seemed to land in the camp. At about 10 o’clock a party of several Russians tanks and armoured cars drove in. As they were driving through the camp the German party in the woods just to the west of the camp opened fire on them, but caused no casualties. We could get no information from these people as to our evacuation since they were spear-head troops but they told us that the occupation forces would be along very soon and our position would be made clear. With this party of tanks and armoured cars was a large troop carrier filled with Tommy Gunners and it was very strange to note that one of these was a very attractive 19 year old girl, dressed like a man in a short smock ad breeches. It was incongruous to watch this women very battle stained and with a Tommy Gun across her knee, produce a dainty white handkerchief. She was asked to what unit she belonged and replied with obvious pride, “I am a soldier of the Red Army” but would say no more. Here it should be mentioned that the security observed by all ranks of the Red Army was of a very high order. They must have been extremely well trained on the subject and the penalties for leakage were, of course, very severe.

While this was going on the Russians were occupying the town of Luckenwalde and passing through in great numbers. Several independent reliable witnesses stated that apart from the firing of pistol shots into the air the occupation was quickly and effectively carries out. The discipline and behaviour of the Russian troops was reported

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as being correct in every way and the Germans were undoubtedly astonished and very relieves at this.

By 1100 most of the Russian troops had passed through and the German civilians began looting shops, taking particularly footwear and linen goods. White flags were flying everywhere and civilians were asking: “Where are the Americans?” The German civilian’s also looted the town bakery taking all the flour.
All Russian prisoners in the camp, approximately 9.000 were released today and anyone who could walk were given rifles and told to go and shoot Germans. One party of these Russians ex-prisoners was ambushed by German civilians I the wood near the gate and four of them were killed. The civilians responsible were subsequently captured. The German neighbourhood were now being broken up into small parties and many of them came and tried to surrender to the British or American camp. We took these prisoners on for subsequent handing over to the Russian authorities. One of these Germans, who had been the driver of a food lorry, said that he considered himself better off now under them than he had been in the last days of Naziism. [sic]

During these next few days we were frequently visited by Russian officers but could not get our position clarified. They also brought a film unit and photographers who took photographs of the various groups of prisoners and filmed the funeral of the eight Russian soldiers who had been found starved to death in a barrack in the camp. Another visiting Russia officer told us that there were still four German divisions in the area – two tank and two infantry – but that since the tank divisions had no tanks and the infantry division no boots they were only employing one Russian division to mop them up.
On the 26th April, Major General Famin of the Repatriation Board on Koniev’s staff visited the camp – he was accompanied by a bodyguard with a tommy-gun who posted himself outside the

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S.B.O.’s office throughout the interview. He said that he believed that owing to the approach of the two armies and the congestion of the lines of communication in the Russian rear it was most probable that we would return home via the West and assured us that whatever our route everything was being done to get us home as rapidly as possible.

A Russian girl interpreter, youthful, attractive and very smartly dresses in a tailored uniform and wearing Russian boots visited Camp yesterday. She remarked on the smartness and bearing of the British and American prisoners. She said that this camp resembled no other which her unit has yet liberated. Other camps have needed a Russian administrative staff to run them and on occasions the prisoners immediate on liberation have abandoned the camps for luxurious German quarters which they have badly despoiled. The interpreters, whose name is Maya and rank sergeant, visited some of our barracks and said that she considered them disgusting accommodation and that in view of the difficultly in living in them they were kept in remarkably good condition and the officers appeared to keep themselves smarter and more presentable than might have been expected. Sergeant Maya only began to earn English five months ago. Sher applied to join a fighting unit but was posted as interpreter. A number of Russian officers have expressed their gratification at the discipline and administrative organisation of the camp and for the past few days of continual stream of Russian officers has been reaching the camp to see that British officers look like and how they behave. The Russian officers who are not on duty are very willing to speak on political matters. One Russian major deprecated the pre-war propaganda which he considered had misled both British and Russian in respect of each other as individuals. He said that the Russian people have a genuine respect and admiration for Mr. Churchill whose “personality is very sympathetic” to them. They had all considered the death of President Roosevelt a great loss. This officer, however, preferred more

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than anything to talk about his small two-year-old son, of whom he carried a large photograph.

Another Russian officer said that his wife and three children had been shot by the Germans in Murmansk and his own main interest in life now was the pursuit and extinction of Nazis.

Senior Russian officers, including a political officer and senior Allied officers yesterday attended a funeral near this camp of a number of Russian ex-prisoners of war. No religious service was held at all but a number of speeches were made and a firing party of Russian ex-prisoners of war fired a number of live rounds which included a burst of a tommy-gun fire, over the grave. The Russian political officer made a rousing speech which ended in the words “Death to the Fascist Invaders.”

The following is an account of a visit to Luckenwalde by one of our officers yesterday:-

“There is very little damage In the town and only two buildings damaged by shells or bombs were seen in a five hour visit. Both of the damaged buildings were factories. There were a few traces of street fighting where house were spattered with machine-gun bullets and some trees on ether sidewalk had been uprooted by passing tanks. Convoys of tanks and 3-ton lorries were still passing through the town mostly arriving from the south-easterly direction and going west. Life in the town appears to be extremely quiet, even dull. The civilian in the streets are almost all women ad old men. Those of Russian extraction wear a res arm-band for security and as a symbol of peaceful intentions.

“German civilian are continually stopping British officers to ask them when the Americans or the English will arrive. The reaction to the reply that they will probably not come to this area is dismay and sometimes tears. The German civilians appear to be gathering in their houses and having large number of gloom sessions. Requests to Germans for articles which are being requisitioned are very swiftly met without hesitation or question. All photographic and radio stores have been looted by

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the Germans and during yesterday’s tour to requisition sets for the barrack blocks of tis camp, very little success was met with. The Russians in units attached to Luckenwalde all seem to be most anxious to talk to officers about their captivity and will even listen with great interest to anyone’s ‘shot down’ story.”

Our problems were being increased by the hundreds of civilian refugees who were applying for permission to enter the camp -these included a large number of women and children and we had no facilities to look after them. One barrack was, however, allotted to them and everything possible was done to make them comfortable and to feed them. They were all interrogated before admittance and any who were doubtful cases or obviously German were thrown out. This caused not a little heart-burning in some of the most difficult cases - where, for instance, a Belgian arrived with his German wife whom. Of course, we could not admit. We were lucky in having a quantity of unclaimed parcels which had been sent by relative to women in German internment camps these were opened and their contents distributed to the needy. It was a new experience for the R.A.F. officers to hold clothing parades and distribute feminine civilian clothing.

The situation in Luckenwalde continues to be extremely quiet. The Russians were reported to be searching civilian’s’ houses for arms. Civilian were appearing more in the streets, though usually only in groups – women shopped but did not go out alone. The resistance groups in the woods were losing their ardour and little firing was heard. During the day a German leaflet entitled “The Avenger” was dropped by a German aircraft. Its main theme was that the situation was not so bad and that no attention should be paid to the enemy’s lies on the wireless – Hitler and Goebbels were said to be in Berlin directing and decisive battle of the war.

At 1330 hours today the Senior Allied Officer was called to Luckenwalde to see a Senior Russian Officer.

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The Senior Allied Officer left with the intention of requesting:-

1.Representatives from this camp should be allowed to go by car to Marshal Koniev’s Headquarters to try to obtain more information, and to try to get in touch with the British and American Liaison Officers to the Russian Army.

2.Representatives from this camp should be flown to Allied Headquarters.

The Senior Allied Officer has neglected no opportunity for obtaining information concerning evacuation plans concerning the camp. He has continually stressed to all the Russian officers whom he has interviewed how unsatisfactory it is for all those in camp to remain here for any length of time and how bored and discouraged everyone in the camp feels.

All the Russian officers to who, he has spoken have shown the greatest sympathy and understanding and willingness to make our situation tolerable and to expedite repatriation.

SIGNALS
The various Security Signals Services of the Oflag and Stalag have functioned according to plan from the beginning. As a result of this the Allied authorities in the West should have been in full possessions of our conditions and local situations for some day. The Allied Signals Service of the Camp has picked up a number of prisoners of war stations working according to the prepared plan. One of the strongest signals received has been from a prisoner of war camp near Regensberg.
No replies have come in to us or any other prisoner of war camps but this is not unexpected as there has been no immediate emergency.

Among other signals picked up have been intercom. conversations between air crews.

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SUPPLY
The Allied Supply Officer with a staff of 50 including leaders if the foraging parties has to cater for approximately 15,900 men.

Although he has the greatest assistance from the Russian authorities who have made every effort to respond to his demand notes it has not so far been possible to organise food issues on a 48-hour basis.

The new Russian Base Organisation with which the Supply Officer is already in contact has promised to facilitate this. The Supply Officer states today that the food organisation and the food situation generally shows improvements with the arrival of the Russians’ permanent administration. Hitherto food issue has been working on an 8-hour cycle which has meant the issue of food almost immediately on arrival. Food is issued by the Supply Organisation direct to the 5 camp kitchens where it is divided on a pro-rata basis for the whole camp. Most of the bread has been coming in from Russian stores. Flour has been commandeered and bread is also being baked in Luckenwalde by Russian and other Allied bakers. Yesterday a quarter of a loaf was issued by the changeover of Russian administration caused some delay and at mid-day today it was not known what the ratio would be.

The following are a few figures of supplies received in a the camp for the whole period April 24th to April 26th inclusive:- 9,015 loaves of bread; Pork -95 kilogrammes and 82 sides of pork; 7 head of cattle; Potatoes – 4 tons; Beef and beef tallow – 854 kilogrammes; Flour – 3,000 kilogrammes; Corn meal and wheat – 5,375 kilogrammes beef tallow – 854 kilogrammes; Flour – 3,000 kilogrammes; Corn meal and wheat – 5,375 kilogrammes; Salt – 625 kilogrammes; Pudding Powder – 625 kilogrammes; Butter – 1,850 kilogrammes; onions – 150 kilogrammes; Soup Powder – 150 kilogrammes; Dried vegetables for soup – 15,700 kilogrammes; Sugar – 6,000 kilogrammes.
It is hoped to make arrangements under which members of the camp shall accompany Russian

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Police Patrols in the town. The large number of French Commandos which arrive in the camp for orders from time to time will be dealt with by French Patrols.

The new Russian Town Major yesterday sent for the German Mayor of Luckenwalde and expressed his disapproval of the water supply. There has been water in the town, but the Germans have not taken the trouble to build up a head of pressure for the camp. The Russian Town Major told the Mayor that it would be unfortunate if pressure for the camp was not built up immediately. The Mayor of Luckenwalde appreciated the point.

In the past few days Polish Officers in this camp have received visits from several Russian officers including one from the Political Affairs Department. The Polish Officer were told that the Western boundary of the new Poland would be the Oder and East Prussia and Danzig would be Polish thus eliminating the old Polish Corridor. Poland’s Eastern boundary will be the Curzon Line. The Russians stated that all Polish towns are now under a Polish Commandant. The Russians promised all the Poles in the camp a quick return home and said that letters would be forwarded to their families in Poland and agreed to supply them with Russian and Polish newspapers if they could be obtained. Three Polish Senior Officers arrived here yesterday from a camp for high ranking Polish Officers near Berlin. They said that the rest of the party was on the way here.

A German civilian who came to this camp requesting shelter yesterday told the Camp Intelligence office that according to a Czech railway worker whom he met on his way here there has been fighting in Berlin between S.S. and Wehrmacht troops and Volksturmers.

The Camp supply officer said this evening that among the stores bought on today were 20 tins of potatoes, enough bread for an issue of one sixth of a loaf per man tomorrow and enough sugar for an issue of 50 grams per head. About 800 pounds of meat had come in so that there would be meat in

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the pea soup tomorrow. It is hoped t obtain enough bread for the next issue to be a quarter of a loaf. Forage parties have located several more sources of supply and permission is being sought from the Russians to work them. These stores contain sugar, jam, barley, oatmeal, potatoes, rice and canned meat.

Works Department Staff from the camp, in Luckenwalde this evening met two American War Correspondents, a man and a woman, both in khaki with green U.S. War Correspondent tabs. They were on their way through to Berlin there whey hoped t be the first American War Correspondents to enter the city. They have heard about Stalag IIIA and they sent good wishes to everyone in the Camp for a safe and quick return home.

Latest news of the camp water supply is that the authorities hope to have town water up here within two days. The electric booster pump for raising the pressure to supply the camp has been out of commission because the wires in the woods had been cut and repair was difficult because of local snipers.

The first Americans from the Western Front have arrived in Luckenwalde.

A Russian woman lieutenant who is a Medical officer attached to local forces of the Red Army called at the camp at 2215 hours and requested details of all sick by 0600 hours this morning. She required the list to be divided into 3 sections – 1. Seriously ill; 2. Patients confined to bed; 3. Patients not bed-ridden. The return was made to her at the required time and it showed that there were 215 seriously ill, 177 other patients confined to bed and 881 other patients – a total of 1,273. Their nationalities were: British, American, Polish, Norwegian, French, Yugoslav, Italian, Czecho-Slav, Rumanain [sic] and Belgian. The Russian officer who was blond, smartly dressed and appeared to be very efficient was not able to give any information about the time of the evacuation of the sick.
There is still more evidence that the open countryside around us s very much an operational area.

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A Russian Colonel paying a social call on the S.A.O. last night said that there were estimated to be approximately 15,000 Germans still loose within a 16 mile area of Luckenwalde. They are wandering about in disorganised bands and attempting to drive West. They have been without food for five days and are inclined to be rather desperate. One member of this camp who had taken off on his own to try and get west ran into a group of them about 5 miles from here yesterday and had to talk rather fast before he could get away. They warned him that there would be a lot of shooting going on in the woods. A member of a camp Forage Party who had difficulty in identifying himself to a Russian patrol also found himself in a rather difficult situation. German civilians around Luckenwalde are only too anxious to have members of the Allied forced living with them as they are under the impression that this gives them protection and exemption from Russian occupation orders. In fact, any member of this camp who takes up residence in a German house opens himself to being suspect by the Russians and foregoes the protection from military operations which the camp affords. A few members of this camp have already paid for their misunderstanding of this with their lives.

FOOD
The Camp Supply Organisation this morning had enough bread for an issue of one-fifth of a loaf. Other dry ration issues will be : 100 grammes of sugar, 30 grammes of pudding powder and 300 grammes of potatoes. 30 pigs weighing approximately 200 pounds each are also coming in. A stock of peas has been located at a Hitler Youth Camp near Juterbog. The Supply Officer says that the camp is poorer by some considerable amount of sugar and potatoes which were in a store at a village close to the camp. These supplies were awaiting collection by a Camp Foraging Party but they were removed by an unofficial foraging party: Unofficially foraging and requisitioning is, in fact, nothing but robbery of camp supplies. Every assistance is being given to our foraging parties by the Russians. A foraging

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Party leader said today: “The Russians are not very keen on paper work but when they are told to do something they go flat out, through all obstacles will they have done it.”

The following is a description by an Allies representative from the camp who was present this morning in the Luckenwalde Municipal Offices at the interview between the Russian Town Major and the Burgomaster of Luckenwalde.

The Town Major is a man of about 40 years of age, of rugged appearance and well over six feet tall. During the interview two other Russian officers, both very operational types, and each as tall as the Town Major sat beside him at the head of the Town Council Room table. The Burgomaster of Luckenwalde, a harassed looking little grey-haired man with spectacles, who is collaborating as hard as he can was accompanied by his assistant and his interpreter. The Town Major spoke quietly and firmly and did not raise his voice once. The only shouting was done by the three Germans who shouted at each other. The Town Major told the Burgomaster that the obtaining of meat, food and water supply for this camp was to have priority over everything else. He requested a complete inventory of all farms, farm stock, food and equipment in this area and ordered the delivery of 15 cows to the camp today. When the Burgomaster protested that the water situation was too difficult owing to lack of fuel the Town Major said that transport and workers would be placed at his disposal at once so that a search for fuel could be made. The Burgomaster was given permission to use his own car and was told that the Russian authorities would supply him with all his fuel and service and repair the car whenever he wished. When the Burgomaster asked if he might keep his radio set the Town Major asked why. The Burgomaster replied that he wished to be able to know the correct time. The Town Major was highly amused by this reply and told the Burgomaster that he thought the Russian authorities would be able to tell him the correct time whenever he wished.


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There has been a big crowd of German civilians delivering their radio sets to the Russian authorities at the Town Major’s office all day today. A number of these are being serviced and repairs by the camp staff and the cocks in the Stalag and Oflag have priority for them.

Some Russian officers who visited the S.A.O.’s offices this morning has just come from Potsdam. They said theta the town was not as badly smashed as Berlin and quoted a Red Air Force pilot who had been over Berlin this morning and said that the capital was ablaze from end to end.

They were asked why Marshal Stalin has never come to England or outside Russia to meet Mr. Churchill. Their reply was “Mr. Churchill and the American President only have one job each. Marshal Stalin is Commander in Chief of the Forces, Prime Minister and Leader of the nation and he cannot possibly spare the tome to leave the Soviet Union.” The Russians do not like their political officers to be referred to as Political Commissars. They are known in the Red Army as “Officers in charge of Military Morale and Political Education.”

The Russian Colonel who visited the S.A.O. last night asked the S.A.O. why the Germans fight the Russians to the death, but are anxious to surrender to the Anglo-American forces. The S.A.O. replied that this was due to German propaganda attempts to split the Allies and to the fact that the Germans were well aware of the devastation and terrorism which they has spread in Russia. He added that surrendering to the Anglo-American forces would in no way protect them from their just punishment for their crimes in Russia. This reply met with great success and the Colonel commented “That is a very good answer.”

The Colonel related that he visited two caps in Poland, one near Lublin known as “The Camp of Death.” In these two camps alone, he said 11,000,000 people had been slaughtered by the Germans. The Lublin camp had eight large crematoriums for the burning of bodies, The Germans’ method of

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execution was to take large groups of prisoners to a building which they said was a de-louser. They took all the prisoner’s clothes away and locked tem in the shower room and then turned on the poison gas system. The ashes of the burned bodies were sold as fertiliser and used in the manufacture of road-making material. The Commandant and the S.S. staff of the camp were captured. After a court martial they were all hanged in the main square of Lublin. The Colonel also stated that he had seen direct evidence of a German atrocity when a mother was forced to watch her child being hung and was them raped in the presence of her father and afterwards shot.

A member of the Foraging Party from this camp yesterday passed a coulomb of German prisoners of war being marched south. The first half a dozen files were officers. In the middle of them was our late Appel Officer, Hauptmann Lien, known as “The Porker.” It was raining and he seemed to be finding his pack and blanket very heavy. An unconfirmed report says that the late Security Officer of this camp is shovelling coal in Luckenwalde.

Today the first elements of the Russian Repatriation Committee arrived in the camp. They had been on the road for five days and were much too tired to discuss detail that evening.

At 1 a.m. this morning Captain Medvedev visited the Senior Allied Officer again and gave him a few more details of his organisation and plans. An account of this interview was given later this morning by the Senior Allied Officer to the Senior Officers of national groups.

Captain Medvedev told the Senior Allied Officer that he has brought his own wireless station with him for direct communication with his Commanding General at Marshal Renier’s Headquarters. He said that later in the morning he wanted to visit the British and American Oflags and Stalags, and the other compounds as soon as he has time, when he wold also meet Senior Allied officers and Compound Commanders. He said that he would discuss later with the Russian authorities in the

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town, the possibility of bringing all the French prisoners in the area under one single command.

He asked a lot of questions and was somewhat surprised and gratified to find the general organisation and administration which exists in the camp. He appeared to have come with the impression that he might find here a conglomerate mass which he would have to sort and organise.
He had no news about General Ruger, which has now left the camp, and said that he and his convoy has been five days and nights on the road and even his military information was five days old. He said that he hoped that it would be possible to get entertainments going such as concerts, films, lectures and dances while awaiting repatriation orders. It is hoped the some Inter-Allied Committee will be organised for entertainments. The camp has two theatres, one of which is still under construction.

At 0230 hours, by which time 33 lorries of his convoy had arrived, Captain Medvedev, who is a hard driving and hard working officer, told his men “You can dismiss now and as you are very tired, you need not start work again until 6 a.m.” They were back at work at 6 a.m. t continue unloading, sorting and distributing, and 17 more lorries are arriving today.

The camp organisation for the reception of the Commission last night, although it was turned on with very little warning, worked very smoothly. The Norwegian Kitchen Officer and his staff supplied a good meal to all the Russians during the night and are continuing to look after them and new arrivals today. The Camp Accommodation Officer managed to find quarters and bedding for all the Russian officers and men and for the 15 women other ranks and the two women officers who love by themselves and mess with the officers.

The Garrison Commander has just informed the Senior Allied Officer that he is expecting high officers dealing with repatriation and accompanied by and International Commission to visit the camp shortly.

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In respect of other work by the camp for the reception of Captain Medvedev’s Commission during the night. Allied Officers, N.C.O.’s and men did a very fine job in helping the Russian unload and park their lorries with great dispatch. A staff of 25 Allied interpreters was on duty, meeting the trucks at the gate as they arrived, supervising unloading and helping the Russians to find their food and quarters. 50 pigs were unloaded and were billeted in the counting pen outside of Oflag. In spite of the protests of the Senior Pig, nothing could be done to give them better accommodation. Among the supplies which the Russians brought with them there is a large quantity of clothing, musical instruments, entertainers are also on their way.

Captain Medvedev’s second in command is an Officer in Command of Military Morale and Political Education. He has already promised us Russian, English and American films and concert parties and is arranging for Russian airmen to visit the compounds as soon as possible, It is quite clear that the Russian intend to give the best possible time until repatriation arrangement are complete.

When interviewed this morning, the Camp Supply Officer, as he watched stores pouring in from the Russian transport under the direction of a girl officer said “These girl lieutenants are very efficient, they certainly keep their men on the run and get things done.” They seem to have everything we need – margarine, noodles, barley, rice – which will go to the sick – and four. There are at least ten tons of flour unloaded and there will be an issue of 50 grammes of margarine and 100 fresh meat this morning. We have received three truck- loads of live pigs and 12 head of cattle. There is corn meal for soup thickening and the Russians have promised us ten tons of bread a day. We are hoping to get every man in the camp two good meals a day and the kitchens will probably work on a 24-hour bass. There will be plenty of peas from now on as any amount will come in.
Among other things the Russians have brought three truck loads of brand new blankets, a load of

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white sheets, two trucks of pots and pans, knives, forks and spoons, and ten bags of tobacco. It appears that the lorries started out empty in many cases and filled up from German towns and villages on the way as all the supplies seem to be German. More loads are coming in and we intend to push it out to the camp as soon as possible beginning this morning.

During the morning Captain Medvedev, in accordance with his intentions last night visited the American and British Oflag and Stalag. For the information of those who did not see him, he wears khaki uniform and breeches and high boots and carrier a map case. He comes from the Caucasus, is 24 years of age and wears the Stalingrad Defence medal and the Soviet Cross for gallantry. Above these decorations are three wound stripes, one in gold for severe wounds, one in red for light wounds and one in black for shell shock.

Captain Medvedev was completely horrified by our conditions inside the camp. He considered all barrack blocks depressing, gloom and very overcrowded. The tented camp conditions he considered terrible and was visibly shaken by the tented camp’s water supply, toilet arrangements and overcrowding and he said that he would do everything possible to move these men away to better quarter at the earliest moment. The Senior American Officer entirely agreed with him about this. In respect of the barrack blocks he said that where were four or five camps in the neighbourhood which he would go and inspect at once to try and find better accommodation. In this respect he Senior Allied officer told Captain Medvedev that he felt that the inconvenience of a move would raise an unnecessary amount of personal difficulties and inconveniences as well as administrative problems for a few days of comparative comfort. He told the Captain what when we move, which he hoped would be as soon as possible, it should be a move straight home.

Captain Medvedev was satisfied with Oflag and Stalag kitchens and examined the food that was

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being cooked as well as the food on hand. In his inspection of the barracks he was particularly interested to know which contained aircrew and which ground personnel. He referred to the Aircrew Barracks as “The place where eagles live.” He said he would obtain brooms and equipment for the cleaning out of Barrack Blocks but that, in his opinion, a move to better quarters was essential and he is going to report our conditions at once to his commanding General with whom the decision rests. Immediately after his visit around the camp, he left to visit neighbouring camps to see if there was any good accommodation. He was most interests, during his tour, in the pressure cooking stokes which he saw at work.

An English woman and her two children re now living in the camp, the arrived after a four day journey from Berlin. They had great difficulty reaching here without getting involved in front line fighting and on several occasions they were under fire. The English woman’s Name is reported to be Thomas and she is a native of Blackheath.

Mrs Thomas was riding on a cart through Luckenwalde with two Dutch youths who were giving her and her children a lift to Torgau and the Americans. As they were passing through Luckenwalde Mrs. Thomas spotted the Union Jack on the British Liaison Officer’s car. She shouted to the car to stop and as a result she is now being looked after here where she will stay with her children until repatriation has been arranged. The children are John, aged ten, and Diane, aged seven. Their experience has not in the lease affected their high spirits and they are both perfectly fit except for blistered feet.

During the day, 10 armed German soldiers came up to the gate to surrender and asked where they American forces were. When told that they were at Torgau, they left the camp in a south westerly direction and many parties of German soldiers were seen to be heading for the American lines. Today also saw the first order of the Russian Occupational

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troops posted in Luckenwalde. This requires all German civilians to hand in wireless sets. They were told that these would be modified so as to receive only one station and then returned.
General Famin, who is in charge of repatriation of prisoners of war in this area, visited the Senior Allied Officer today.
Shortly after his arrival he sent for the Senior Officer of each national group in the camp and to each one issued an order regarding the discipline of his unit. He confirmed that Wing Commander Collard should continue to be responsible for the whole camp and act as Senior Allied Officer. He said that his verbal confirmation of this will be followed by a written order which will be published she said that our own governments have been informed of the numbers of their own nationals in the camp, and the respective governments in consultation with the Soviet Government will decide time and method of repatriation. This has not yet been decided and General Famin said that he had no information concerning it. The Senior Allied Officer told the General that all nationalities in the camp were becoming rather bored and were anxious to get home. Though they realised the difficulties due to transport and communications, they would like some information and the Senior Allied Officer asked General Famin for his personal opinion on two points: 1- How long it would be before we should leave here to go home. To this General Famin replied “There is no immediate prospect.” Point 2 was concerning our route home. To this General Famin replied that he thought it would be west through the front although the possibility of going by Odessa still esixted. [sic]. He stressed that both his replies were only personal opinions.

According to his information General Famin said that he had never heard of any Allied Liaison Officer with Red Army formations and the repatriations of prisoners is dealt with through diplomatic channels. In spite of this he said that Allied officers might well come to visit the camp and in fact he enquire if any had yet arrived.

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General Famin next told the Senior Allied Officer that he considered the conditions of this camp were intolerable for us ad he could not allow us to love here in such uncomfortable circumstances. The Senior Allied Officer while agreeing as to the discomfort of the camp, said that he doubted whether the administrative difficulties involved in moving the camp would be justified, and as we should be in our new quarters for such a short time, he felt that on the whole most members of the camp would prefer to remain here. However, General Famin was clearly very concerned about our welfare and insisted on the Senior Allied Officer accompanying him to visit the Adolf Hitler Lager, about six miles from here on the road to Juterbog. The Adolf Hitler Lager is a German Officer’s Rest Camp and Training School. The Senior Allied Officer reports that it is built and equipped on a most luxurious scale. It is quite evidently a showplace, with a sport stadium, showers, baths, a swimming pool and officer’s club and a canteen. It is situated in very pleasant woodland surroundings and has excellent buildings, which clearly could accommodate the whole of the camp without the slightest discomfort or overcrowding. It has been looted a good deal and on the whole is in good repair and condition.

At the conclusion of the visit to the camp, General Famin said that he had decided that everyone in this camp except Poles and Italian move to the Adolf Hitler Lager, and he issued on order to that effect.

The opinion of the Senior Allied Officer on this move is that there are a great many administrative difficulties in the way and it should not be regarded as immediately effective. Allied Headquarters in the camp has already sent a party to investigate the Adolf Hitler Lager and it has been found that before we can move there the water and electricity will have to be made serviceable and cleaning and billeting parties will have to spend some time there.

The party which went to the Adolf Hitler camp found that some 15,000 French civilian had been

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lodged in there about six hours before we arrived, with the inevitable results that the place has been very thoroughly looted before we wold stop it. This, added to a great amount of wilful damage, made the prospect of living there seem very unattractive. However the advance party got to work and attempted to clear it up. The biggest difficulty as getting the French to evacuate the barracked which has been allotted to British and American officers. This was quite impossible until Marushka came to our aid, (she was an interpreter of the Russian forces but was always dressed I mufti) and it was amusing to have to admit that where our efforts had failed to move the French she did it quite easily by slinging a tommy gun over the shoulder of her blue dress and just appeared in the doorway of each building. The French were out in about 15 minutes.

It was while we were at this camp that we saw German forces moving down one road and the Russian Army moving down another half a mile away – the camp being situated between these two roads. They appeared to be unaware of each other and our efforts to tell the Russians that the Germans were so near were ignored by their commander.

We were now beginning to realise that the Russian forces carried no food with them at all. Our rations had been decreasing steadily since their arrival, for although the quantities given earlier may sound impressive, it should be realised that this had to be divided between the 30,000 or so who now comprised the population of the camp. The whole food position was causing some concern as it was obvious that the local resources being found by ourselves and the Russian would shortly be exhausted, while there was no sign or our immediate repatriation. The general outlook was unsatisfactory and prisoners were feeling very hopeless, with the inevitable results that large numbers of all nationalities were leaving the camp hoping to find their own way west. This, of course, was happening all over Germany and resulted in General Eisenhower’s broadcast orders to stay put.

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The question of the move to the Adolf Hitler Lager has by now become a major issue between ourselves and the Russians. They had reduced the accommodation originally booked for us and it had been completely overrun and ransacked, so that it really seemed that a move would be no improvement. The Russians would not see this point of view and it was necessary to persuade Captain Medvedev to go over and inspect the proposed accommodation before he would agree that it might be better to stay where we are.

A new arrival today was the Russian officer in charge of morale and political education, who announced that he was detailed to provide entertainment and lectures for our delight. He also told us that a cinema would be got going and said that the first film would be “Hurricane.” He was anxious to organise amateur dramatic societies for all nationalities. This looked to us like a very long term policy, and caused people to feel more unsettled than ever, and more inclined to move west under their own steam.

On the morning of May 2nd, fighting seemed to flare up all round us, many shells passing over the camp and several landing inside. Machine gun bullets were whizzing about and people were warned to get under cover. One of our foraging partied on its way to a village near here found some German front line reinforcements dug in behind camouflaged machine guns and 40m.m. guns. They were a despondent crew, and once again asked the inevitable “Where are the Americans?” to whom they wished to surrender. The Russians subsequently reported that all Germans in the area had been captured and told us that they believed American Forces were only 12 miles to the west – this unfortunately proved to be false. Large numbers of German prisoner were passing all day, in a worse physical; condition than any we had seen before – they were so tired and starved through hiding in the woods that they could hardly get one foot in front of the other. They were a mixed lot of S.S. infantry and Luftwaffe aircrew. One column of about 5,000 of these prisoners was escorted by

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Only two Russians near the front and one at the rear – and yet seemed to be making no attempt to escape into the surrounding woods, which would have been very easy.

One of the occupations of the Intelligence branch of our organisation was investigating all the German files and documents. These contained a lot of interesting information and gave a good insight into the curious working of the official German mind. One file told of a prisoner charged with consorting with a German woman and paying her with chocolate. The German woman claimed that she was only exercising her profession. This was investigated and found to be true, but since chocolate was an irregular form of fee, she was sentences to a year’s imprisonment whilst the prisoner of war was sentenced to 10 days’ solitary confinement: Another strikes a plaintive note when complaining of the lack of tact in official propaganda leaflets. It appears that one day large placards were placed by the Germans in this camp and other Stalags saying “…Will the enemy land? He has tried before. Dieppe is the answer! And then, in triumphant words “Let him come!” The propaganda officer complained that the enemy obeyed the invitation the very day that the placards were posted up and that propaganda was only useful when carefully handled. Another document tells of a prisoner faced with a charge of living at various times with twelve German woman all the women denied the charge and the prisoner was found not guilty, with the comment that he must be boasting.

Other volumes told stories of successful escapes, but one contained a long bad luck story of six Frenchmen being swindles by a mysterious railway official in Berlin whom, according to orders from the escape organisation, the Frenchman met in a small café in Berlin – having successfully escaped from the camp. They were met according to plan by an alleged French civilian dressed as a German railway worker. He collected 400 marks from each of the prisoners and promised to send them home to France. That night he took them to a small

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local station and sealed them into a truck. After a for day journey they had become tired of waiting and were puzzled to find their compass indicating a southerly direction, so they broke open the wagon and looked out, to find that they were just crossing the Danish frontier. They travelled back to Berlin by passenger train after spending a couple of days riding about the Berlin underground to keep warm they contacted their railway worker again. Once again he took them to a siding and sealed them into a truck. By now they were thoroughly suspicious, and climbing out of the truck they read it destination label which showed that it was going to Russia. A little later the six prisoners. who were captured by Railway Police, denounced the men who had taken their money and send them the wrong way home.

Another German order on discipline among the documents found read “The best way to maintain discipline among the Russians is to beat the, but as the High Command has forbidden this, it should be done by the Camp Police.” One Camp Commandant was posted away after a number of his officers had made a joint complain about his manners and behaviour – the chief complaint seemed to be that he was bad tempered and ill-mannered at breakfast in the mess, and refused to say good morning to his officers: Another document told of the examination of a crashed American bomber just outside Berlin and how a German Hauptman ordered a number of Volkstrumers to climb into the aircraft and inspect it. They hesitate, until assured they had Hauptman’s full authority and then one of them climbed into the aircraft. While examining the controls and instruments in a gun turret he pressed the trigger and another Volksturmer who was standing outside looking in had both his legs blown off at the knee by a burst of fire. The German report added than among the objects found in the aircraft was a copy of instructions for pilots landing behind the Russian front.

On May 3rd and 4th, the battered and weary advance guard of the Norwegians, British and Americans at Joe’s Place folded their monogrammed

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sheets, and with a last regretful look at the cinema to seat a thousand with its piles of tangled film, marched back to Stalag IIIA over yesterday’s battlefield to the sound of desultory rifle shots from the woods. The American guard is due to arrive this morning. The Allies from the Stalag were defeated by the ever-increasing horde of refugee which poured into the Lager through the gate nearest the section allotted to the Stalag party. These refugees very naturally took up quarter in the nearest empty building. They were clean quarters, though somewhat short of furniture and fittings, which had been removed by the earlier refugees who were successfully evicted and sent to their own portion of the camp. The cleaning party them cleaned up, and the rooms were ready for the main party of British, Americans and Norwegians, only to be filled by another influx of refugees.
The sad story began when the advance guard arrived to find refugees in possession. At a conference between Allied officers and Captain Medvedev, area of the Lager were allotted to the various nations. Then came the problem of shepherding the refugees into the areas. Naturally, they were reluctant to leave, and there were some incidents; still, they left most of the buildings – but not so the beds or fitting. These they took with them, with the exception of the built-in wash-basin, which in many cases they wantonly smashed.

Much wanton damage was done all over the Lager, apart from the chaos caused by the rifling of desks and cupboards for the odd bottle or box of cigars. The attitude of those who caused most of the damaged was summed up by one youth ‘The Germans smashed my country up, so I smashed up theirs.’ Unfortunately that particular property which was smashed does not belong to the Germans, but to the Russians. For this reason, the Russians asked that a guard should be mounted over certain store houses in which valuable material was not only being looted, but wantonly smashed. Brand-new typewriters were to be seen, hanging drunkenly half out of their packing cases after being swiped with a crowbar; thousands of coloured pencils.

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Scattered from their boxes made the floor difficult to walk upon; movie projectors were torn from their cases and their lenses ripped away; delicate talkie apparatus was trodden underfoot. In response to the Russian request a guard of 600 Americans was mounted, with 200 men on duty at time. Keys and padlocks were found, and many of the buildings locked. The guard carried sticks after one and two incidents which occurred shortly after it was mounted. On Monday night the refugees began to turn ugly, and on several occasions was only averted by the prompt action of Marushka, a Russian girl attached to the Red Army interpreter. Marushka would turn out in the middle of the night, sling a tommy gun over her shoulder, run down to the stores and quell the trouble by sticking her gun into some infuriated refugee’s stomach and clearing him off in a language which body else understood.

In the end one of the refugees drew an automatic and after that is became clear that four out of five of them were armed. Batons are no good against guns and to the regret of the American guard, they had to be withdrawn.

In order to prevent the refugees looting in the area allotted to be American, British and Norwegians, it was found necessary to patrol it, and the refugees followed suit with a patrol around their area. An order was issued by the Russians that all firearms should be handed in, and a certain number were collected, but obviously not all.

On Tuesday, Captain Medvedev reduced the area allotted to the Stalag party by accommodation for 1,600 men, and also stated that the officer’s mess would be taken over as Russian headquarters. It was pointed out that this change left adequate room for our numbers, apart from the insufficiency of beds. The removal of the officers’ mess reduced the accommodation and also took the only available kitchens and dining rooms for the use of the officers. Captain Medvedev returned to the Stalag, and the Lager advance party continued their unequal struggle with the refugees.

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The situation for the British, Americans and Norwegians was further complicated by the failure of the authorities at Luckenwalde to turn the electricity on. A Russian officer assured the British officer i/c Detachment on Monday that the Burgomaster’s life depended on the power coming on the next day. Presumably the Burgomaster is dead for there was no power in the camp up to Wednesday evening. As far as the technicians were able to tell, the lighting, water, sewage and telephone systems had not been sabotaged, and all that was necessary for a final check was the throwing of the main switch in Luckenwalde. The Germans must have left Adolf Hitler Lager at a moment’s notice for there were half-eaten meals on the tables in the mess and unfinished cups of coffee in the anti-rooms. Tear-off calendars in the offices showed the date April 20.

“An auxiliary pumping plant was found and got to work, and it was possible to keep water on for a period of the day. The staff from the Stalag operating plant did a very good work to supply just under half a million gallons a day to those in the Lager.

“A number of auxiliary petrol plants for lighting were found in the stores, and one of these was installed to supply light to the temporary headquarters. The refugees rapidly caught on to the idea and now there are generators running all over the Lager with stolen petrol.

Two incidents which occurred on Wednesday brought the situation to the danger mark; one of the Stalag party was shot at by a refugee as he was cycling through the Lager behind a lorry, and a certain of the refugees were observed removing a stock of tear gas from the armoury to their part of the camp. So on Wednesday evening the advance party, with the exception of eight technicians to keep the essential services going and the American guard returned on foot to Stalag. The refugees, among their loot, glances up and stared at their departing Allies.”

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Today we notices large numbers of Russians racing back from the Berlin direction, who stated their destination was the Dresden and Czechoslovakian fronts. They appeared to have collected some very fine transport in Berlin and many Russian officers were speeding by in Mercedes Benz luxury cars. Among the troops seen in Luckenwalde today were some Russian women cavalry, who looked very smart and disciplined and who ride through the town two abreast. Their uniforms were covered with long dark blue cloaks and cavalry sabres hung by their sides. Their hair was cut short and they wore khaki Field Service caps. Members of our Police Patrol in Luckenwalde were invited to look over a 60 ton Stalin tank this morning, while it was undergoing running repairs at a tank repair park. This tank had a 125 m.m. gun fixed in a 360 degree turret and two heavy calibre machine guns. The armoured plate of the gun turret and two heavy calibre machine guns. The armoured plate of the gun turret was not less than 8” thick. They were not allowed inside the tank, but those who looked through the turret door said that is was very roomy indeed and had V type water cooled engine. The tank is built to a very fine proportions, low and flat topped and was painted grey green. It seemed to be about the same size as a German Tiger.

Great excitement was caused today by the arrival of two American correspondents – Bob Vermilion of the United Press and Lewis Azrael of the Baltimore News Post. They arrived here from the American bridgehead at Barby, passing through the link-up area at Wittenberg. One of their remarks is worth reproducing as late as this. They said “We came here in a jeep without any pass and had no trouble getting through the Russian lines – one of the most amazing things we have ever seen is the way the Germans greeted us here. English and Americans seem to be the most popular people in the world and one German threw his arms round my neck when he heard I was American. There have been any number of Germans drowned trying to swim the Elbe to the American lines and the mass surrender of the whole division is not at all uncommon. German civilians in the American

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occupied area are giving no trouble at all -there is no sniping or booby traps or any of the things that were threatened. The Germans seem to be so regimented and accustomed to taking orders that their attitude is:”Nazis have gone - here is someone else in a uniform giving orders ad they obey.” There was great excitement in the came as we were able to send letter back through the kindness of these two correspondents, knowing they if they got home, which was more than likely, they would be the first out people had had for six months. Captain Edward Beatty, a United Press Correspondent who had been a prisoner, returned which his colleagues and took back information about our numbers and situation to Supreme Allied Headquarter. A statement issued at 1630 hours that evening by the Senior Allied Officer ran as follows: -

“An arrangement, at present somewhat unofficial, has been made with Lieutenant Klietz of the American 83rd Division to start evacuating American, British and Norwegian personnel from this camp tomorrow. Russian agreement has not yet been obtained, but it is intended to proceed with the arrangement. Details will be issued to Unit Commander later.”

This raised all our hope and everybody went round congratulating everybody else and packing their kit. It all came to nothing, however, for on the next day, May 5th, the following statement was issued:-
“The Senior Allied Officer reports that the surgeon in charge of the convoy of 23 U.S. Army ambulances which arrived here at 1300 hours, Lieut. Col. D.W. Clotselter, of the 83rd Division, has given the following information.

“The ambulance convoy will today evacuate the bulk of the American, British and Norwegian sick, and will return tomorrow for the balance.

“The lorry convoy in on its way here, by the Lieut. Col. Cannot give its time of arrival or strength because his division has been busy evacuating an ex-prison camp at Altengrabow. Altengrabow is in the Russian occupation zone,

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but the prison camp there was liberates by the Americans. The bulk of the lorries for our evacuation have to come today from Hildesheim, just south of Hanover, 135kn miles from here. They are bringing 1,000 K-rations which will be issued to Americans, British and Norwegians immediately on arrival.

“The following are the details which Lieut. Col. Clotselter has given to the Senior Allied Officer regarding standard evacuation route which the 83rd division has been using for other Camps.
“Sick will be taken to Schonebeck, eight miles south south-east of Magdeburg, where they will be delivered to a Collecting Centre. From there, after treatment, the less serious cases will be flown to Hildesheim. Serious cases will probably be sent back to Base Hospitals

“The fit will be taken by lorry via the American bridgehead over the Elbe at Zerbst, opposite Barby, and direct to Hildesheim, and distance of 240 miles in all. Form Hildesheim, British personnel are flown direct to England, and American to the the [sic] Channel Coast to await early departure to the United States. It is presumed that Norwegian personnel will proceed to England.

“The Senior Allied Officer state, I hope it will be possible to arrange for all British, Americans and Norwegians here to be evacuate by this procedure. Naturally it cannot be regarded as finally settled and we must await the arrival of the trucks.’”

Later the same day hope sprang again when this state was issued:-
“Captain Sincavich, U.S. Army, a P.O.W. contact officer from S.H.Q.A.E.F. arrived in the Camp at 1630 today. He brought two lorry loads of bread and two of K-rations, which have already been handed over to Supply.

Captain Sincavich has given the following information to the Senior Allied Officer:
“The main convoy of truck will not arrive until tomorrow when, Captain Sincavich hopes,

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sufficient will come to complete the evacuation. They will bring more K-rations with them. As regards the route of our evacuation he says that the trucks will go to Schonebeck, eight miles south south-east of Magdeburg in the first instance, where it is possible that personnel will be transferred to a train for Hildesheim. Alternatively the trucks may go right through to Hildesheim. The routine at Hildesheim is the ex- P.O.W.’s are de-loused, reclothed if necessary, and generally dusted off. They are then formed into groups of 26 and flown of in C-47’s, the British straight to England, and the Americans to the Channel Coast. The average stay at Hildesheim has been 24 to 48 house and is to some extent dependent on flying weather.

“Captain Sincavich took away with him nominal rolls of British, Americans and Norwegians and requested documents and information regarding German war criminals which will be given to him tomorrow when he returned as he hoped to do.”

Nineteen American lorries, mostly driven by coloured troops, arrived on the evening of the 6th of May, and it was generally felt that at long last we were really on our way home. Slight doubts arose, however, when at 2000 hours that evening the Russians informed us that no prisoners could leave with the American lorries sine Russian authority had not yet been received from Koniev’s Headquarters. Despite this, we felt that we should nevertheless, go in defiance of Russian orders. Imagine our dismay next morning when the Russians fired over our heads of our people embarking in these lorries and forced them back into the camp. Each lorry was searched as it left to make sure that it carried no prisoners and vehicles would be interned if they removed a single prisoner. It was impossible to describe our feelings as these lorries drove through the came on their way back, to the American lines with nobody on board at all, and it cannot be denied that most of us for the first and probably last time,

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[IMAGE – As made by out “Tin- Bashers” from Red Cross packing cases, milk and Jam tine, etc, ]

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[IMAGE – Messing equipment supplied to each room of 16 officers.]

[IMAGE - Two-tier bed, wooden frame with straw-filled palliasse.]

[IMAGE – Reading the “LOG” on a summer morning.]

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felt that we were completely cut off from our own countries and Governments There seemed to be no good reason for this Russian order and we all thought there must be some political influence at work to prevent our departure. This was confirmed a night or two later with the Russian broadcast about alleged holding by the Allies of 800 Russian officers who had be captured fighting with the German in Normandy shortly after D-Day. The reception of this broadcast deepened our gloom and we began to wonder if we should ever get home at all.

Another result of this general pessimism was that more and more people set off on their own for the American lines, until finally between five and six thousand British and American prisoners had left the camp. Not all of these had easy passages, as the following account will show.

“Three officers left here the day before yester and marched in a south-westerly direction towards the American line – they had hone about 10 miles when they were stopped by a German patrol of one Feldwebel ad 9 men who asked them where they were going and were very hostile. One finding that British were heading for American lines they demanded safe conduct to the same destination saying that if this were denied they would shoot our men. Fortunately senior of these three officers thought quickly and pointed out that a party of thirteen was extremely unlikely to get through and the only result of the whole manoeuvre as proposed by the Feldwebel would be to the them all interned, He also told them how well the German prisoners were being treated by the Russians and suggested that they gave themselves up The Germans were all armed with Tommy Guns and had they forced the situation it might have been very unpleasant, However when out men produced some chocolate and cigarettes sufficient weight was apparently added to make the argument convincing and the Germans went off in another direction.”

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Many groups or individuals encounters such Germans , and unfortunately did not all have such an easy conclusions.

We were now getting daily visited from the Russian officers who all said they were repatriation officials and who all said that we should be leaving the day after their visit. Each one seemed to have a slightly better story than the last, and it was impossible not to continue hoping that one of them knew what he was talking about. This situation dragged on for another 123 days, during which time a party of about 40 officers and N.C.O.’s who had left here to go west, arrived back in camp having been picked up by the Russians and taken to Stalag Luft III Sagen our old camp in Silesia. They told us that the town of Sagan has ben totally devastated, and that German prisoners of war arrived there at a rate of 20,000 a day. It appeared that Stalag Luft III, which houses 12,000 British and American Ait Force officers in cramped conditions, now held 143,000 German prisoners.

This long delay gave the Intelligence staff of the R.A.F. organisation chance to make a very full investigation into Germans who were guilty of crimes against prisoners of war. A few of the cases are listed here.

The list of War Criminals was handed to the U.S. authorities wen whey were in the camp included the names of several German officers, we’ll known to members of the camp. Bemann, Sturzkopf, Simm and Rademacher are included among the most notorious. Two Germans responsible for the shooting of an American Air Corps officer in the centre camo at Sagan-Hauptmann Seifert and Feldwebel Althof - are also listed. A member of the Gestapo group responsible for the murders of the British officers at the same camp is named by Group Captain Kellet. Apart from the Germans known to us personally for their incorrect behaviour and ill treatment of Allied officers and men, there is a very comprehensive list of the principle Nazis of Luckenwalde; many of their names have been supplied by Sergeant Major Henderson, British Man

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of Confidence in Stalag IIIA. Their offences range from pilfering of the Red Cross store to actual brutality and manhandling of Allied P.O.W’s.

Hauptmann Bemann is charged with the deliberate destruction and theft of clothing and food belonging to British Officers; he is further indicted with being “continually insulating to British officer in his remarks and bearing.”

Major Sturzkopf – “ Bulk Issues” – is charges with continually lying and misrepresentation to the calculated detriment of the interests of the British prisoners, moreover he encouraged his solders to be as vicious and ruthless as possible during searches and this caused wanton looting and destruction of their property. He sentenced many prisoners to the cells without a shred of evidence against them and was known to be generally deceitful and vicious.

Hauptmann Rademacher incited his soldiers to strike British officers with their rifle butts, he displayed a violent and uncontrollable temper and drew and fired off his revolver on numerous occasions with the idea of intimidating the prisoners or provoking and incident. He lost no opportunity of humiliating and ill-treating British officers and took a fiendish delight in the destruction of their clothing under the guide of searching them.

Last, but not least there is Hautpmann Simm, the hotel manager, who probably achieved the greater personal loathing among Allied prisoner than any other of his colleagues. Possessed of a mean and spiteful nature, he did everything possible to make us uncomfortable or to humiliate us. He incited the Camp Commandant to take spiteful action against the prisoners and lost no opportunity of insulting them himself.

A case outside our own experience is that of Lieut. Janke, charged with brutality to the Polish officers of this camp during the move here. This brave German is now the possessor of a set of Polish papers taken from a dead Pole and is for the moment spared the knowledge that he is being searched for under is alias as well as his

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proper name and that his ponderous subterfuges were transparent from the first.

Lastly there is Obergefreite Gisevius who is perhaps typical of the whole Nazi system. For this Corporal had more power in the Stalag IIIA than the Commandant himself. A rabid Nazi, he was “the power behind the throne” and dictated his wished and commands to this superiors whenever he chose to do so. He was responsible for keeping many prisoners in the cells for months at a stretch without a trial and doing his best to deprive them of their food. Many eccentricities of German conduct are explained by the presence of such men as this corporal in the ranks of the German army.”

Two more officers who returned told the following story:-
“We got as far as Juterbog and found that we could not get on the direct Dresden road as there was a German pocket in the way, so with the help of Russian transport we turned south-east and reached Muskau on the first day. All that was necessary to get rides on the Russian lorries was to ask one of the Russian girl traffic controllers to stop a lorry going our way. Out identity was never really seriously questioned. The statement that we were British was almost always immediately accepted and we were sometimes embraced enthusiastically and invited to celebration feasts. At Maskau we were billeted in a large hotel which was the Russian officers’ mess. Here we met out first Russian Air Force officers, a Major and two Captains. They were the most smartly dressed and polished Russian officers we had yet seen. They were both fighter pilots, the major claiming 73 air victories and the Captains about 50 apiece. We got on to the subject of tactics, types and performances right away. They said that their best and latest fighter was the “MYK” with a top speed of about 310 miles an hour. They thought that the Airocobra compared very favourably with the best fighters but obviously considered that our people were line-shooting when told of the speed of some of our own

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aircraft. The latest spitfire the Russians had flown was the Mark 5 and they firmly refused to believe the latest marks do any better. “You cannot change an aircraft such as that,” they said, “it is always the same aircraft no matter what you do to it.” All these officers had fought the Spanish campaign and were now flying Yaks.”

The Russian authorities at Sagen had visited Stalag Luft III cemetery there and places flowers and wreaths on the graved of the 50 North Camp officer murdered by the Gestapo in April ’44. Following this they took photographs of the graves and the memorial, sending the negatives straight back to Moscow.

At 21.30 hours on the 9th May, the Norwegians were told they would be leaving in lorries in 45 minutes time. Many of these officers had already gone to bed and some were strolling about inside the camp. However, loading started under flood-lighting at midnight, the arrangements being that 10 officers and their luggage would travel in each lorry. Owing to the short notice, it was impossible for them to have a meal before they left, but most of them had time to boil up a brew, since the greater part of their luggage was already packed. Of the 1,044 Norwegian there, 806 left in these lorries; 238, comprising the aged and sick, being left behind for later repatriation.

Nothing of importance happened until May 11th when we received another visit from General Famin. In a meeting lasting from 23.00 hours in the 11th until 0200 hours on the 12th he expressed the greatest dis-satisfaction over the unofficial evacuation from this camp, and demanded from the Senior British officer a written report there and then. He also obtained a written report from the senior American officer. He told us that the American General Hodges had confirmed that no orders had been given on the American side to evacuate this camp, and added that is any further British left the camp, the Senior British officer would be interned. It appeared that the General had expressed strong disapproval of the manner in which his staff here

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had looked after us, particularly in the matter of food, and he informed us that Captain Medvedev would be court-martialled. With regard to the date of our repatriation, the only information that he gave was that the Russian authorities now only awaited word from the British and Americans that they were ready to receive the camp. The General also issued orders that the French were to leave Stalag IIIA and move to the Adolf Hitler Lager, and by 5 o’clock that evening larger number of them were on the way. We were authorised to take over two camps previously occupied by the German staff of Stalag IIA – this gave us much more space and surroundings were much pleasanter- plenty of gardens, orchards, etc. having been planted around these quarters.

By about May 13th, the Russians were once again getting very tired of having people for our camp wandering about the town and district, and demanded that we should have frequent parades to make sure everyone was staying within camp bounds. They went to the lengths of apprehending and returning British ex-prisoners under armed escort, and demanding that they should be subjected to disciplinary actions. It became evident that house to house searched by the Russians were being made to prevent entry into these houses of allied ex-prisoners, who the Germans were begging to go and live with them as some form of protection against the Russian soldiery. It was now becoming usual for a couple of Americans to arrive in a jeep during the afternoon drive around the country, and since they were not aware of the strength of the Russian feeling about the earlier unofficial evacuation, they must have been somewhat taken aback by the Russians’ distinctly emphatic attitude about their immediate departure. They were not allowed to contact allied personnel and were always told to return toothier lines immediately. This did not, however, prevent messages getting through which we hoped would speed out repatriation.

Despite all Russian precautions, prisoners were leaving the camp daily and heading westwards.

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In view of the Russian feeling in this matter, the decrease in our numbers was becoming serious and he Russian orders were reiterated by the Senior Allied officers, together with a repetition of their own orders on the subject. But despite all this, it was difficult to achieve or maintain a philosophical attitude. The Russians plays, literature, films etc., had never materialised, and the majority of the prisoners who had nothing to do found time hanging heavy on their hands. We were reminded that once upon a time we were able to be cheerful with the certainty of many months and even years of captivity ahead, and told that the prospect of a few days or even a week or two should not dismay us. Such statements were small comfort, because it was this latter fact which really caused the dissatisfaction among us - the knowledge that we could, without any enemy interference, be home in a matter of hours, overcame any philosophy one could evolve.

[Image – “GONE AWAY.”]

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Any Enquiries should be made to :-
BRYCE COUSENS,
THE COTTAGE,
THIRLESTAINE HOUSE,
CHELTENHAM, GLOS.


Published by Bryce Cousens.
Printed by Burr’s Press, Rodney Road, Cheltenham.

Collection

Citation

Bryce Cousens, “The Log,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 17, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/33142.

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