Front Row: John Alexander, Tom Karpine, Wesley White, Ed
Christianson, ?, ?
Beginning October 12, 1944 boarded train from Camp Atterbury, Indiana to Camp Miles Standish, Mass, on way to Europe.
October 20, 1944 boarded HMS Aquitania bound for Europe.
Chased by jerry subs all
across the Atlantic. We finally docked at Glasgow in the Firth of Clyde
October 28, 1944.
arrived Stow on the Wold, England.
November 28, 44 left Stow on the Wold for South Hampton. 29th of November 44 boarded H.M.S. Langibby Castle and sailed across the English Channel and landed at Le Harare France on 30 November, 44.
December 2, 44 loaded on trucks and started on trip to
We were in
defensive positions until morning of December 16
when we were
hit with jerry artillery barrage for about one
hour. We were ordered on the
offensive and fought our way up to
Auw Germany by the
19th of December when we ran out of food,
water and ammunition.
Being fog bound and no means of resupply either from ground or air, we were ordered to surrender. We were assembled in an old barn with machine guns all around us. Spent the night there with no food, water or blankets. They took our overshoes from us and some had their overcoats taken.
We started on the long march into Germany December 20, 44
with no food or water.
We arrived in Bitburg that night about 11:00, about 45 km from where we
started. We slept in mud and snow for the remainder of the night.
About 7:00 a.m.
December 21, we got in line for something
to eat. We were given
some hard crackers and a can of cheese about the size of a #2 can. This
was for seven people.
In the afternoon
around 4:00 p.m. we would get one slice
bread, one patty of
margarine, and if lucky, syrup or jelly. I
We then started
marching and about 10:00 p.m. we marched into
Prum Germany where we
slept that night.
About 7:00 a.m. we
was lined up and they gave us one loaf
of bread and some syrup for seven men. The bread
was sour rye
bread. This was December 22.. We then started -Dur march again.
The men were really getting weak. Some were beat
with rifle butts and some even shot when they got too weak to walk. The
were strong enough helped the weak ones to keep them
from being shot.
Arrived at Gerolstein
about 10:00 p.m. and slept in an old building that night. My feet and
legs were frozen in Prum and had to march on them all day.
we were lined up about 7:00 a.m. and given
about same food as
before except it had to feed ten men, we then
marched to a
rail yard where we loaded on cattle cars where they
had been hauling horses and
had not cleaned then. We traveled
until about 200 p.m.
and pulled onto a siding at Limburg
Germany. About 4:00
p.m. British reconnaissance planes flew
over us for about 10
minutes and that night they came back and
bombed us. We broke out of our car, let others out and scattered across
a field. I was hit on right foot and lower leg with
however it was not serious. I could still walk okay.
still sitting in rail yard and sometime in
of December 25th we moved out and rode until we came to Bad Orb, Germany
where we marched up a mountain about 2
km to Stalag IX B Prison
Camp. This was a very sad day in my life. The day we were captured I
told Ted Schrenk, my truck driver, that General Patton would bring us
easter eggs. Our
first meal in P.O.W.
camp consisted of greens (I think tops from field beets) and potatoes
boiled in just plain water and the
weeks that followed
were pretty much the same with few
exceptions. We had
for breakfast on December 26, one slice
bread, one patty of
margarine and a cup of stained water they
called coffee which was also menu in weeks to follow.
Greens and potatoes for
noon meal. Greens, about one cup and potatoes mashed about 1/2 cup and
about one cup of soup from potatoes and some stained water they called
tea, with no sugar.
By this time we had settled into the routine of P.O.W.
On January 1, 1945 we filled out Red Cross cards. I
don't know if they ever left camp. 5, January 45 we wrote our first
letters home and they did leave camp and my wife got hers.
28, January was a black day. Two of the men got out of
barracks and broke in the kitchen the night before. They were raiding
the kitchen and the ferry guard walked in on them.
One of the men picked
up a hatchet and chopped the jerry in
the back 14 times almost killing him. The barracks
until about 9:30 a.m. on 28, January at which time they took us
out and lined us up in
front of machine guns and told us we
would not get food or
wood for our barracks until the guilty was
caught. They also said they would give us 24 hours to catch the guilty.
After 24 hours they would start shooting 50 each hour until the guilty
was caught. About 3:00 p.m. the guilty ones came forward and
surrendered. We had really got hungry by this time.
The days that
followed was just same old routine until
February 6. I was standing on the bank of a trench we were
for a bathroom when suddenly a jerry ME 109 plane appeared
with American P47
following and firing on him. Bullets plowed up the ground on each side
of me. Some of our men and some of the Russians got killed. We got our
first Red Cross packages that day. A 10 lb package was divided between 4
men. That was first American food we had tasted since capture. The
February was regular old routine except the letters we wrote
March 1, found us still marking time, hoping the
war would soon end. Still more of the same old routine nothing to eat
and losing weight. March 14, we got another Red Cress package for each
three men. Anything American was good, but there just
wasn't enough of
it. News filtered through to us
that our troops were making good progress.
March 27, we got Red
Cross packages. This time 1 per 11 men. Still had good hopes. We were
still being pestered day and night by fleas, lice and bed bugs. We
looked like a bunch of monkeys picking lice.
March 31, they passed
out 2 packs of French cigarettes per
man. You could hear lots of artillery fire from the
Sunday April 1, the yanks laid a barrage of artillery
fire on Bad Orb and
followed up with tanks and infantry and Bad
Orb was under siege
on Easter Sunday as I had predicted from day
troops came into camp and started moving
During the period of
April 3 to April 12, just routine of
making ready to board
ship for U.S. of A.
April 13, got word of
President Roosevelt s death, a sad day
for us all.
April 14, they woke
us up at 1:45 a.m. to load on trucks
and catch our ship
which was USS Anderson.
Our first day at sea
we were treated to Christmas dinner and was
it good! The period
from then to April 28, was just routine.
April 28, we
landed in USA and trucked to Camp Kilmire NJ.
From there we
were sent home on 60 day R&R leave. Was at home
on May 8, when Germany surrendered.
Well, that was the
end of that ordeal and thanks be unto God
for watching over us through those trying times.
During those times, I never gave up hope. When I left home I told my wife I have a two way ticket and intend to use both parts of it, and I did.
Page last revised 10/27/2007