Notes on prisoner of war life -John Goldby



Notes on prisoner of war life -John Goldby


He complains about food and the shortage of it. He describes exercising and how they spent some of their day. Finally he mentions that he sent three cards but received none.

Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



One printed sheet


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[inserted] FROM 19-2-1945 John was POW no. 7645 at Stalag Luft 1.


I have not recorded anything much for the months of February, March and April (1945) until the 30th of that month.

Conditions in the camp were pretty depressing, mainly because of the lack of food. There were no Red Cross parcels and for weeks on end our diet consisted of 6-8 wafer-thin slices of black bread a day, one bowl of vegetable soup and some coffee without milk or sugar. Calorific value was said to be 800 a day. The effort of climbing up to or down from the top bunks left you feeling faint.

The slices of bread were cut from part of a loaf, and we all crowded round to ensure that the slices were of a consistent thickness. Roll-call was twice a day out on parade in the compound, and frequently the guards (or goons as we called them and they often called themselves) had difficulty reconciling the numbers. It was very cold, and although we exercised by walking in the compound, we spent a lot of time trying to keep warm in our huts, passing the time reading.

Whilst on parade for roll-call we did P.T. awaiting our turn to be counted. On exercise consisted of touching our toes, then flinging our arms up high above our heads with the shout 'Come on Joe!' – 'Joe' being the Russians, personified by Uncle 'Joe' Stalin.

On 3rd. February 1945, the family received a telegram from the Air Ministry which read "3/2/45 information received through the International Red Cross Committee states that your son F/Lt. John Louis Goldby is a prisoner of war wounded in German hands". On the back of the telegram my father has written the names of friends whom he wanted to tell of my whereabouts. At the time the telegraph was received my mother was attending a concert in my old school.

On 19th February I wrote a card home which bears traces of blood. This card arrived in the UK in April 1945. John's sister was reading it standing at her kitchen window when one of the last V2 rockets fell and she was cut by flying glass. It is her blood which has stained the card.

Kriegsgefangener cards 2 & 3 arrived in UK late April 1945. Whilst he was in Germany John received no news from home, none of their letter [sic] got through.

CAMP MENU – for a special occasion.

Sardines on Toast
Flarepath Chicken Soup
Mac's Special Pie
Meat Round Things
Spuds a la Crème
Liver pate sauce

Fruit gateaux
Kriege Custard
Birthday Bomber Cake
Café Fags
Small talk by Weston
Nix Bieren



“Notes on prisoner of war life -John Goldby,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 5, 2023,

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