John D. Beals
DIARY OF 106th. DIV.
Activated on Feb.
1943 at Ft. Jackson So. Carolina. Basic training started Mar., 23, 1943
followed by Unit training. “D” maneuvers at Ft. Jackson. 4-Problems
Dec. 10, 19143. “D” maneuvers at Ft. Jackson. 4 - Problems Dec. 26,
1943 to Jan., 3, 1943.
Left Ft. Jackson
for Tennessee Maneuvers Jan,. 20, 1944 (3 days on road, by truck).
Arrived at base camp in Tenn., Jan. 23, 1944 (Pulled 8 problems)
Left Tenn. March 30, 1944 (Bivouac at Ft. Knox, Ky, night of 30th).
Arrived at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, March 31, 1944. (continued training).
Left for Camp Miles Standish, Mass, Oct. 11, 1944 (traveled by train).
Arrived Oct. 15, 1944,(Equipped and processed for overseas),
Left Miles Standish Oct. 20, 1944 (arrived that evening) N. J.
Shipped from N.Y. on “Acquitania” Oct. 21, 1944 (7+ days on the water, “no convoy”).
Debarked at Grennock, Scotland, (“Firth of Clyde), Oct. 30, 1944 (took train for England).
Stationed at Fairford, England, Oct. 31, 1944 till Nov. 28, 19144.
Arrived So, Hampton, Eng., Nov. 29, 1944 - boarded the “Antenor”.
Arrived LeHarve, France, Nov. 50, 1944. (5-days in France), (rain and mud). Bivouacked in a very muddy field. (no rations first two days).
Left France Dec. 5, 1944 - Arrived in Belgium same day by truck, Stayed in Belgium Dec. 5, 1944 to Dec, 7, 1944 (Snow 6 in,),
Left Belgium for front lines near St, Vith,
Traveled by truck about 14 miles - took over 9 hours, slow progress, - weather very cold, - nearly every one froze their feet, - in all open trucks.
THE DIARY 0F A P.O.W.
(Supply lines cut, Dec. 16, 1914), Dec. 16, 1944, The Bn was cut off from all supplies (also no mail), (CAPTURED Dec. 19, 1944)
Dec. 18, 1944.
Moved out from position, to form attack on Schoenberg, 7 miles, Attack
to be made early Tues., Dec. 19, 1944, Attack took place as per schedule
at day break. A Co., acting as reserve for Bn. We were very much at a
loss as to what to do. We were covered by 3 tanks with 88’s mounted on
them and we had no support. Only rifles and light machine guns, (no food
after breakfast early the 18th).
CAPTURED At 11:10 A.M., DEC. 19,1944, just outside Schonberg. (A Co., lost only one man - shot (Greenspan) jeep driver. (one man injured shot in leg,. Louis James, 2nd cook) We had left dugout huts, equipped with fireplaces, bunks, had plenty of food and cigarettes. Left all clothes behind except what we wore, no blankets, in fact we just got out in time, (4 of us together-Wines-Gachesa-Wasek-Beals). We were marched to Prüm (12 miles) - Slept in school house bare floor.
Dec. 20, marched to Gerolstein 16 miles (no food). Slept in machine shed on bare floor, No water-ate snow, water from ditches,
Dec. 21st, rations (+ loaf bread - 1/6 can cheese), Marched to Dockweiler Dries, at night (8 miles small camp. Slept on bare floor.
Dec. 22 - late afternoon (rations - 1/3 can cheese). Moved into Box Car.
Dec. 23 - Box Cars-didn’t move (1 loaf bread). Slept on bare floor. Road strafed - tracks bombed, We expected to be hit.
Dec, 24-moved back into camp (rations-small can potato water)
Dec. 25---(1 cup tea, MERRY CHRISTMAS) 4:30 P.M. bombs fell on road - broke out windows. Moved out at night (8 miles) to Kelberg. Close but missed us.
Dec. 26 - no food), Moved out early to Octumdun-35 miles - tough trip, men having trouble with feet-cold weather.
Dec. 27 - arrived at Koblenz late afternoon (1 cup flour dumplings) late that night. Slept on bare floor. (Apt. House). Lot of planes going over, Got to see a couple good dog fights in air as we walked.
Dec. 28 - staying same place, (no food), Bombed at 1:15 P.M. All windows and door blown out. One fell just outside. One Negro killed.
Dec. 29, same place-bombed again 2:30 P.M Hit the building in many places, After lots of complaints from Non - Coms. We were moved out about 6,00 P.M. Still no food. Walked all night.
Dec, 30. Still walking (18 hrs), (44 miles) Late afternoon arrived at Limburg. (P.O.W. Camp- Xll-A,) Food - 1 cup skilley (soup) Slept In tents.
Dec. 31-drew rations--1 cup skilley, No bread.
Jan, 1st. - 1945-HAPPY NEW YEAR- - ration same - coffee and skilley, weather still very cold, Late afternoon-entrained in Box Cars,
Jan. 2 - Box Cars traveling - rations 1/5 loaf bread 1/20# butter, 1 cake cheese. Jan, 3 - still traveling - rations same as yesterday, Floor hard, no straw and plenty cold,
Jan. 4-got the GI’s, still traveling - rations partial Red Cross boxes between 10 men,
Jan. 5-No food - 2nd., man died, from exposure.
Jan, 6-arrived Stalag IV-B-P.W. Camp Muhlberg - cup tea - cup skilley, deloused, (washed for 1st., time since Dec. 17th.) Processed, bathed, clothes sterilized, (received shot over heart for Tetanus) money taken.
Jan. 7- to Jan. 12- stayed at IV-B, 3rd man died. Rations daily - 2 coffee, 1 skilley, 1/6 loaf bread, 1/20# butter, 1 spoon sugar, 1 piece cheese or meat, Jan. 9th, mailed 2 cards, 1st., ones to mail out.
Jan. 11, 10:00 P.M. fell - out for delousing waited in shed, Jan. 12 - entrained in Box Cars (all Non-Com’s) 4,00 P.M.-drew rations 4 loaf bread, 1/6 can bully beef.
Jan. 13 - arrived at Gorlitz at 9:30 A.m. Walked 1 1/4 miles to PW Camp Vlll-A. Czechoslovakians donated a good rice skilly, Jerry coffee, all served late that night. Lots of sickness, bad feet, dysentery, colds, exposure.
Jan. 13, 1945 to Feb. 14, 1945 stayed at VIII-A.
Jan. 16. Received 1st Red Cross Box (donated by the English) 1 to 4 men Canadian, Deaths - (Jan. 23 - 4th man) - (Jan. 30 - 5th man) - (Feb. 1st-6th man) (7th and 8th men Feb. 12th). All men buried in Gorlitz, given burial by our men, Flag made by English - (very nice).
Jan. 17th - received news daily smuggled in by English-.”BBC” News--News got better daily, but as the Russians got closer we were moved out as “Geneva” says, “No P.W.‘s can stay in battle zone”, So we moved, During all our travels we saw lots of plane dog fights, heard them daily and nightly air raid warnings sound constantly. This trip from Schoenberg to Gorlitz we traveled approximately 150 miles on foot, was a tough trip. I had to have help most all, the way. Feet hurt and had pains in my back. Nice at VIII-A. Had books to read, no work, just rest. Feet never got well from being frozen, (4 of us still together, Wines – Gachess – Wasek (died later) - Beals), Now we must move out.
Feb 14, 1945, weather cold and raining, (1st Day) Feb 14, 1945 - 25 km., to Menselwitz, cold and raining plenty, mud, tough march on foot. Rations - 2 days, ½ bread and 1/6 beef. Stayed in barn - Guards plenty tough.
(2nd Day) Feb. 15 - 30 km. to Banzen-more rain-slept on floor in military barracks rations - potatoes, skilley.
(3rd Day) Feb. 16 – rations - 2 days, 4 bread, piece baloney, piece of other meat (small), small piece of cheese. Moved to Kamenz 27 km. Left knee gave out. I fell out – missed wagons. Stayed at Lehndorfn, a kommando house (French and Belgiums).
Had one good meal. First warm milk-egg, potato, meat, bread and butter, coffee. Then they gave us beer - later we had tea - 10 men all together with me. Also they gave us plenty of cigarettes.
(4th day) Feb. 17, to Konigsbruck, 15 km. Still in wagon. Slept in tents-had good oatmeal, skilley, Saw a Jerry Doctor-bad feet and knee-put me on wagon. (Gachesa sent to hospital at kommando camp - No. 1 buddy gone)
(5th. Day) Feb., 18, Kalkrenth, 23 km-2 days rations – 1/2 loaf, piece of baloney. No wagons-on foot-fell-out and was hit by Guard on back with rifle butt, Put on wagon drawn by oxen for rest of trip. Slept in barn.
(6th. Day) Feb. 19. Meissen, 18 km. Coffee, potatoes in morning slept in Army Camp. Barley skilly and tea.
(7th Day) Feb. 20. Lommachz 14 km. Rations - barley skilley and potatoes, still in wagons. Stayed In barn.
(8th Day) Feb. 21 - Dobeln, 18 km. Stayed in garage loft in straw. Still traveled by wagon. Rations 3 days – ½ and 1/3 loaf of bread, 5 inch piece of 1 1/2 inch ring liverwurst, barley, skilley (Rations for 7-8-9th days)
(9th Day) Feb. 22-Leisneig, 23 km. Slept in barracks on the ground. Skilley, barley but good.
(10th Day) Feb, 23.-Lansate, 20 km. Rations 3-days-5/8 loaf bread, 4 inch cut baloney, for 10-11-12th days. No skilley 10th day. Guards made all sick bay start walking, Fell-out, feet, left leg and left knee - guards tough, they beat as with rifle butt-hit on back. Back has been paining me both day and night. Along the “Art” Wines was shot by one of the guards, by mistake. Left in Lazzerette in the next village, I talked to him and he wants me to write Betty, his sister. (No. two buddy dropped out). Slept in barn-No skilley.
(11th day) Feb. 24 - Days rest-still at Lansatz. Coffee, barley, skilley.
(12th-Day) Feb. 25-Borna. 12 km – wagons - slept in barn, barley skilley.
(13th Day) Wurchwitz. 30 km. Rations 2 days – 1/2 bread, piece of baloney for 13th and 14th days. Slept In town hall upstairs, barley skilley.
(14th Day) Feb. 27. Zeitz, 13 km. Traveled by wagon with sick bay. Slept in good barn-oatmeal, skilley very good.
(15th-Day) Feb. 28th. Eisenberg - 22 km., supposed to be final destination. We found the place over crowded, slept in a masonry factory on floor, Walked part way-tough going. Put in wagon. Feet and legs give-out. Rations 1/2 lost bread. 1/9 can bully beef, coffee. Factory very hot. 3rd floor, no skilley.
(16th Day) March 1st, l945-Stendnitz, 18 km., wagons-raining hard. Rations-2/5 bread, 1/5 small ring blood sausage. Barley skilley. Left Sgt. Vogel behind at Lazzerette where he died almost at once.
(17th Day) Mar. 2-still at Steudnitz - day of rest. Stayed in barn. Lady good to us. All sick bay-together, Lady has son in U.S. P.W, Camp that gets good treatment. The barn was cold, but we needed the rest. Rations - 1/5 bread, small piece of bully beef.
(18th Day) -Mar. 3. Nelingen - 28 km. Stayed in barn-cold. No rations. Turnip and sweede, and potato skiiley-plenty of it and good. Lost filling in lower left rear tooth, Left Sgt, Stevens at Lazzerett in bad shape before we moved out for Melingen.
(19th-Day).Mar. 4. Staying over at Melingen-day of rest. Cold and snow. Moved to another barn-drew Red Cross - invalid-3 to 15 men (1 - U.S. & 2-British) No meat.(myself and 5 men drew British Parcel) most all sweets (malted, coco, sweet milk, Ovaltine, sugar, tea, yeatex and 7 Camel cigarettes). Our 1st cigarettes. Main body of men split here. 1,000 moved on. 600 men including the sick all stayed behind-trying to find Stalag to put them in. Rations – 1/4 bread, small piece baloney, No skilley.
(2Oth-Day)-Mar. 5-staying over Melinger-day of rest,. Cold, rain, snow. No coffee, skilley good-potato, sweede, beet and meat. Rumors say we go to kammando camp near by. Rations – 1/4 bread, piece of baloney.
(21st-Day)-Mar-6. Staying over Melinger another day of rest. Rations – 1/4 bread, piece baloney. News very good - Siegfried line has fallen-Russians moving forward - 9 more places across Rhine. Skilley same-potato, sweede, beet and meat.
(22nd-Day) Mar.7. Still at Malinger another day of rest, Sun out but chilly, skiiley same and good, Rations-1/4 bread, piece of baloney. Sgt. Wasek died while asleep. Leaves me all alone - 3 buddies all dropped-out, one dead.
(23rd.-Day)-Mar. 8, Bussleeben, 20 km. Rations – ¼ bread, piece baloney, no skilley-snow and rain-cold, freezing-very tough trip. Put on foot again by Guards-made the trip with help from other men. Fell-out a few times and was beaten badly by the guards. Hit on my back again also hit my piles, which have been out the entire trip. Kicked once on head knocked out. The few days rest is all that helped me make the trip on foot.
(24th Day) Mar.9. Still at Bussleben-day of rest. Sure did need it. Rations-1/4 bread, piece of baloney - skliley. Bombers going over all night - sirens going. Bombs fell close enough to shake building - piece fell on roof.
(25th - Day) - Mar.10, Gotha, 18 kin. (Back still hurting badly - can’t sleep nights.) Rations-1/4 bread, piece of baloney, - back with sick bay and put on wagons.
(2&th-Day)-Mar. 11, Schoenstdt, 30 km., dropped off from main column and placed with English (sick bay). Examined by Doctor and put on wagon, Rations - 1/4 bread, cake of cheese. Skilley-pea soup very good.
(27th - Day)-Mar. 12, stopped off from following main column at Mulhausen at Lazarett, 14 km. Examined by Jerry Doctor (they can do nothing for anyone as they don’t have the equipment or supplies). Rations - bread very small-1/3 loaf and bloodwurst, (Met Don Fraser from New Zealand), (Swell fellow-his buddy died in Lazarett-shared his few cigarettes with me). Slept in a building in the village upstairs - straw. Coffee and skilley.
(28th - Day) Mar. 13, Zella-14 1/2 km. Rations - 1/5 bread, pkg. of cheese. Put on foot, no wagons, Slept in barn. No skilley - we put together soap and razor blades for potatoes and sweede and made our own skilley. Traded 3 razor blades for small Jerry cigar, so Don and I had a smoke. Feet and leg hurt also back hurting badly. Was helped most of the way.
(29th - Day) Mar, 14, Worbis, 16 km. Rations 1/4 bread, 1 pkg. cheese, no skilley. Wagons part way. Going tough - back still hurting.
(30th - Day) Mar.15, Worbis, day of rest. Slept in barn, straw, Sun out and warming up. Still with English sick bay. (English, New Zealand, Australians and a few Yanks). Rations late so traded my fountain pen (plenty hungry all the time). Got one small loaf bread and 12 small Jerry cigars, potato off Jerry Guard. Coffee - no skilley. Rations late 6:30 P.M. 1/3 bread, 2 cakes of cheese. Planes overhead all right (English) Could hear bombs falling. Hope they speed up the end,
(3lst - Day) Mar. 16, still at Worbis-day of rest. Jerries are asking for volunteers for kommando workers. Coffee, no skilley. Rations-1/3 small loaf bread, 2 cakes of cheese. Weather warm, sun out. Had a late surprise, about 8:30 P.M. Called out of bed for a skilley, prepared for the malnutrition men. I was put on the list. 26 of us out of 163 men. Very good-peas, potatoes and meat,
(32nd - Day) Mar. 17, Worbis, still could help you celebrate it. Rations-1/3 loaf bread, 1 cake cheese, 1/25# margarine, mint tea, no skilley.
(33rd - Day)-Mar. 18, Worbis,. still resting. Weather still rainy and cool, Got my 2nd haircut since I was captured. An English chap had a pair of clippers and cut hair most all day. Rations-1/3 bread, 1 cheese, and 1/25# margarine. Skilley by the Jerries for the 1st time since we have been in Worbis-potato and a small amount of baloney-did taste good and was thick. We have been on short rations for so long we stay hungry all the time.
(34th.Day)-Mar. 19, Worbis, still resting, No rain today but still cool. Late last night we had good news by way of the usual grapevine, stating that peace terms have been offered and Churchill made speech stating or predicting the War to be over in a month.. Bombers went over most all night, must have been a large raid. Hope they end things soon. 5:00 P.M. weather clearing up-bombers still going over. Another surprise, skilley for the 26 men,. Have been so hungry I ate the rest of my food I got from my fountain pen trade, Rations very late, and small, 1/5 loaf (a very small loaf) bread, 1 small cake cheese, I small slice bulk cheese. Examined by the Doctor today. Rechecked my back, but could do nothing for it. I sure am skinny and weak. Mint tea.
(35th-Day) - Mar,, 20,. Worbis, still resting. Cool but warmed up toward noon. Rations short again, same as yesterday,. 1/5 small loaf bread, 1/10# margarine,, mint tea. Soserstadt, 15 km. Moved out at 6:00 P.M. all Yanks. Had to leave Don Fraser and Les Hahn behind. The trip was tough no wagons. Walked all the way. Slept in an old brick works on the hard floor. Had to have help from some of the men to make the trip. 3 tanks were shot early this morning in the tank column stationed in the next town to Worbis-1 dead. They also moved on to Doderstadt.
(36th-Day)-Mar, 21, Doderstadt, 1st day of spring. Tea up early-sweet and good. All men fell out with all equipment,. Was registered, signed up for kommandos as many men as the Jerries could make sign. The Non-Workers that wouldn’t sign were returned back to the building along with those that couldn’t march. The rest were marched off, I went back and into sick bay. Rations-1/6 bread,. 1/25# margarine (one of the smallest rations we have drawn except at Worbis).The bread loafs were very small. Skilley here is good today as was sweed, spinach and meat. This is a tough place to be-the guards are really tough, will shoot for almost no reason. 10-men have been shot in the last three days.
(37th-Day) Mar. 22. Doderstadt. Still in sick bay. Tea up and sweet-very good,. Retions-1/6 bread,. 1/25# margarine, spoonful of molasses (pulled a fast one on Jerry and drew two rations-ate them both as am plenty hungry). Weather very nice-picked up lice-spent the day in the sun delousing self. Skilley good-peas, sweede and meat-thick.
(38th-Day) Mar. 23. Box cars, all loaded-1:00 P.M. Rations-1/3 bread, 2 cakes cheese drawn along the way. All sick and men not able to walk- serious men to Hospital. One man died during the night. (next to me) buried here by our men,
(39th-Day) Mar. 24. Box cars, rations-1/4 loaf bread, 2 cakes cheese. Just passed through Hanover, have 45 miles to go to our destination, Stalag XI-B. Hanover looked to be in bad shape, bombed badly. Traveled approximately 150 km. from Doderstsdt to Fallingbostel and unloaded at 3:00 P.M. and drew rations before unloadirig-1/3 bread, 2 cakes cheese. Was late at night before getting through delouser. Glad to get a bath again. Bad luck, had pocketbook stolen. Did a bit of trading over the fence with some of the men for a cigarette, 1 Chesterfield and it sure tasted good. Met Don Fraser again and we are buddying up again, We split the smoke, Went into a barracks next to Lazzerett. No lights-had to sleep on floor. Hope this is our last move-this is a good Stalag.
(4Oth-Day) Mar. 25. Stalag Xl - B. Coffee, up at 10:00 A.M. Lucky for once-got my pocketbook back-money receipt and pictures intact. The only thing I lost is a little money. Rations-1/6 bread, small piece of baloney, skilley good-potato, sweede, coffee up again 1 spoon sugar. Back to bed, feet and left leg make me tire out easy as well as general weakness. Have a bed for tonight. Nice day-Doctor too busy to see all of us.
(41st Day) Mar. 26. Coffee-up, rations-1/7 loaf bread, 3/8 inch slice off 2 inch ring of baloney, spoonful sugar. Doctor in to see all of us-not too much room for the amount of men at Lazarett-some men go into barracks. Red Cross Hospital pkg., 1 to 4 men just came in. We split it up 4 ways. Shaved-so feel better. Pkg. contains mostly sweets-milk, Ovaltines, sugar malts and I ate most of mine. Moved into tents, plenty of straw, and the weather warm. Made my bed-Don gone to sleep. so I talked for sometime to Sgt/mjr James Bilton (English) for a long time - seems O.K., we smoked his cigarettes.
(42th-Day)-Mar. 27. Coffee up, 7:00. Doctor came in, we stripped and he gave us a check-up, Put me back in sick bay (Malnutrition), Rations-up, 1/7 bread, spoon sugar, salt, Skilley, sweede, potato. (Also a few boiled potatoes). Traded my sweater for 10 cigarettes (cigarettes being money or the medium of exchange), traded 2 for bread ration. (Of course had a good. smoke), Coffee up again at 2:00. Nice out today, sun is out and its warm. News good - gets better each day - hope it ends soon, getting thinner and weaker each day.
(43rd Day) Mar. 28. Coffee up at 7:00, chilly out, no sun as yet. News late last night was very good, Allies progressing rapidly and moving in this direction. Opposition against Gen, Patton has fallen completely and Jerries retreating, The Jerries only give the War a fortnight, Lot of planes going over ack-ack firing-bombs falling- vehicles moving on the road. This morning’s news “BBC” also stated the war would be over in a few days. Lucky day for all of us - English Medical Doctors split up the unclaimed U.S. Army Officers cigarettes pkg., and issued them out. We received 1 pkg., each and 1/12th of a pkg. of Tobacco. There were Lucky Strikes in the issue, the 1st I have seen since I was captured. I received 1 pkg. Strikes and Prince Albert tobacco. Thanks to the Yank Officers. Rations - 1/7 bread, 1/20# margarine, ½ cake cheese, 1 spoonful sugar and skilley - sweede, and meat, (also a few boiled potatoes), 2:30 P.M. moved to barracks. They are the best I have seen in any camp. Beds, lights, table in room, latrine and washroom in the building, The building is made up of rooms instead of one large one, Each room has a stove suitable for cooking, Lucky again, we received another Red Cross invalid parcel, which contained (tin of malt, can pow. milk, chocolate bar, can coco, tin Ovaltine, 2 pkg. tea, 3 tins soup powder, 2 tins oats, 2 tins yeatex, 2 tins eggs, can sweet creamed rice, tin Red raspberries, tin of cheese, can sweet condensed milk, 2 bars sugar, tin of lemon curd-split between 2 men. Met Cpl. Russ Drexler from my Co. Home in Morton, Ill., 8 miles from Peoria. Glad to see him, as we planned when we get home as he goes to Vedar Rapids, Iowa to visit a brother quite often.
(44th-Day) Mar. 29. Coffee up early - 6:30, stood roll call in bed while in this sick compound we get to rest completely, won’t even fall outside for roll call. Raining out this morning-shaved and feeling a little better after the food in yesterday’s parcel. Skilley up-sweede, kale, and meat, and a few boiled potatoes, Rations-1/7 bread, spoon sugar, coffee up again at 1:00, Later in afternoon having a bit of tea with Don and I am learning to like it. Have drunk quite a bit of tea since I have been overseas, This in particular is good because we sweetened it with sweet condensed milk and powdered milk. No air raids last night or as yet today-makes one think the news is predicting things right. 1st. air raid just sounded at 5:15 P.M. This is the longest they have been silent. Son and I are together on our Red Cross Box-so will cook together. We are having oats sweetened with Horlicks malt, a little powdered milk, a little sugar added, to the tea from our regular ration. Again at 7:00 we had a dish of soup made from the soup powder, Everything very good-I can go to bed contented for 1st time in a good many days.
(45th-Day) Mar. 30. “GOOD FRIDAY” - Coffee up 6:30, still raining. Not sleeping very good but expect to with the bed and better food, I am very weak but getting around, Rations-1/7 bread, 1/10# margarine, 1 spoon sugar, skilley, sweede and turnip also boiled potatoes and they give us a nice helping here. Coffee up again, Thanks to the English Medical Officers, they are doing their best to put us on our feet, (just gave us 2 vitamin tablets). 1:30 and 10 squadrons of heavy bombers going over (90) more coming I hope they do their stuff and end this thing soon. Lucky day again-we just received another Red Cross Box and its American (my 1st )-1 box between 4 men-but as malnutrition, we are getting 1-box between 2 men. Don and I splitting same as the others, so he is giving me the honor of opening it - ( contents - 5 pkg. Chesterfield cigarettes, pkg prunes, chocolate bar, pkg. candy coated chocolates, box of vitamin capsule, bar Swan soap, can powdered milk, can oleomargarine, pkg., 12 biscuits, can coffee, can strawberry jam, can cheese, can tuna fish, can chopped ham, can meat and vegetable stew, can liver pate arid pkg. cube sugar. Still raining and the bombers are still going over. Don and I having two nice meals-hope my stomach can take it. 1st. can of powdered eggs added to can of powdered soup-later we had oats and they were sweetened with malt and sugar with Ovaltine and powered milk added – very good. Topped off with a cup of tea. I feel very contented.
(46th Day) Mar. 31. Coffee up 6:45. Rained most all night-up and fried me a half tin of eggs and had a couple pieces of toast-feel very weak this morning, don’t know why but other wise I feel good. This is the 1st food I have had fried since I was in the kommando camp. Air raid this morning-planes going over. Rations up-1/7 bread, 2 spoonful sugar. Had a nice lunch-toasted cheese sandwich, bread with the mar., and lemon curd as a spread with coffee up just at the right time. Later skilley. Very good pea soup with quite a bit of meat in it also boiled potatoes. Later Don and I will have tea and a slice of bread. We were luck enough to get an extra loaf of bread last night. Very tired and weak back is paining me again. Guess I better rest for awhile. Senatator just in and gave us Cod Liver Oil. We had 2-vitamin tablets this morning. Had a nice nap-and will fry my potatoes and toast my bread now. Had it, but have been feeling full all day and so much food has given me a little dysentery, but I will be O.K. by tomorrow.
(47th-Day) Aprl 1st. “EASTER SUNDAY”. Up at 7:45 coffee at 8:00, but the Jerries set their clocks ahead 1 hour tonight--(go to day-light savings time). Had 2 slices of toast done on the stove so it came in just in tine and was very hot. The Jerry coffee isn’t like we have it, just tastes like it. The tea the same, they use quite a lot of mint leaf tea. Cool this morning but nice inside. Hope its nice in the States today, wish I could see the people on parade. Received a letter form and wrote you a few lines. Has been a long time since I wrote. Rations 1/6 bread, 1/1O# mar., and spoon of sugar. Just had coffee, scrambled eggs on toast, Don did the honors of frying the eggs. I made the toast. Skilley, sweede, turnip, also a few potatoes. We are peeling potatoes and will add them to the soup-put the can of meat and vegetable stew from the parcel with it and have a good meal this evening, along with a cup of tea. Weather here cool - no sun-still wearing overcoats, The Jerries issued us a bowl and spoon to eat with and eating out of a bowl makes the food taste better. Also we got a few clothes here, came through the Jerries. I got a change of underclothes-sure helped.
(48th Day) Apr.2. Cool, windy and raining. Coffee up at 7:00. Slept better but still very weak and tired, going back to bed for awhile. Rations up at 10:00-1/7 bread, spoon sugar, coffee at 1:00. Raining hard out again now, 3:00 skilley-pea. No potatoes on Monday, we added a can of soup powder to the pea soup made it thick and very good, Sun out now, maybe it will clear up. Going to have our prunes for supper and tea tonight. News still very good.
(49th-Day) Apr. 3. Still a typical April day cool and cloudy. Coffe up just in time, I had fried ham and toast, I’m really doing O.K. for the 1st. time since I was captured-thanks to the parcels. Still weak but expect it sill take a few days to come out of that. Rations up at l0:0O-1/7 bread, spoon sugar, skilley at 1:00 - spinach soup and a few potatoes. Raining again today, coffee at 2:00. Don and I had a lunch, as we also got another Red Cross parcel-1 to 4 men this time, American, again, without the cigarettes. We are having tuna fish for supper with tea. We save our potatoes and fry them for supper also.
(50th Day) Apr. 4. Coffee up, toasted cheese sandwich and the biscuits with strawberry jam from parcel for breakfast. Cloudy and cool out again today. Having 2nd cup of coffee made from American coffee out of parcel. Very good as it tastes like coffee for a change, after the Jerry coffee. Rations and skilley late today-1:00 and not up yet, Made a pot of tea so doing O.K. while waiting. Raining out again today. Rations up at 2:15--1/7 bread, spoon sugar and portion of a mixed meat. (Tastes like ham) skilley, sweede and turnip, also boiled potatoes, coffee. 5:00 and the sun shining for 1st time today. 7:30-Supper over and very good. The ration meat (ham) fried with potatoes, bread spread with butter and liverpate from the parcel and a cup of tea-now a cigarette. News-War predietions-Stalin-11 days-Britain, 13 days.
(51st-Day) Apr. 5. Up 6:30 have my prunes on stewing. Going to haves prunes and toast for breakfast. Coffee up at 7:00 just in time. No rain for a change. Rations-1/7 bread, spoon sugar, and 1/25# marg. Had a Russian wash my pants and shirt (OD’s) (2 cigarettes), they sure needed it. Skilley, sweede, turnip and meat. A few boiled potatoes. 3:00, raining out again today, but not quite as cool. Supper over-ham, and potatoes fried, very good with bread and butter, topped off with a slice of bread ant strawberry jam with our tea. Guess we wil have a cup of hot milk before going to bed. (powdered milk). Hoping for a parcel today.
(52nd-Day) Apr. 6. Friday. Up later than usual this morning, 7:30, coffee late – 8:30 made it O.K. Just got my toast finished-toasted cheese sandwich for breakfast. (News good last night-“Monty” within 50 km (35 miles), of here. Also not so good as rumors have it that they will move us again. Hanover, near here, declared an open city) 12:00 AM parcels up-1 to 4 men-American and not opened so I received 25 Chesterfield cigarettes, Don and I splitting our half. Rations-one small spoon of sugar- nothing on bread as yet. Hot news just came in-Russians declared war on Japan. Monty only 35 km from here now, Skilley up at 4:00 - sweede, turnip and liver meat - a few potatoes, bread up 1/7 loaf at 4:30. Food very late today due to some of the men moving out. Started raising about 3:30. Guess it will never stop. Salmon, sardines and potatoes for supper, bread and tea,, News says the people that moved out this morning have returned. Also that we would stay here as us are now in sick bay and not able to move. Sounds like they are getting close. The closer the better, a possibility of being released. Lucky again, we just drew 25 more cigarettes. Supper almost ready. Supper is almost ready, and I’m ready for it. 9:00 – hot sweetened coco, from parcel – ready for bed.
(53rd Day) Apr. 7. Up at 6:00. Raisins for breakfast, toasted cheese sandwich, bread and strawberry jam was excellent. Nice out f or a change-sun coming out. Coffee up at 7:00. Should have another parcel today. 11:00 and parcel is here (Canadian) 1 to 4 men. It’s certainly a pleasure to get food for a change. Nowall that can, must go out side on parade before the Jerry Doctor. I’m staying in bed along with a few others, it doesn’t pay to have too many out there or we will have to march if the camp is evacuated, So far we know nothing about what he has decided. Rations up - 1/7 bread, 1 spoon sugar and a piece of ham. Soup up and the best we have had as yet - peas and lots of meat. Also a few potatoes. The soup was thick and exceptionally good. Sun still shining, best day we have had – still cool. Planes have been going over every day and alarms go quite regularily, but today lots of planes going over and dropping pamphlets also we could see a parachute come down. Jerries getting nervous. Supper this evening was very good. It’s really something to eat food again, especially when it is cooked on heater. Ham - (from parcel) potatoes and a little ham that came as a Jerry ration today, bread and tea. 7:10 and the sun still shining. Sweet coco later. (Very good - I hope we can have some of these things when I get home)
(54th-Day) Apr. 8. Sunday, looks like rain again. Up 6:00 and its cool this morning. Stewing prunes for breakfast and I soaked the biscuits from parcel, then fried them in marg. Served with strawberry jam, Very good, Coffee up - just in time. Expect more parcels today, the Jerries must be worried, they are moving out a few more men this morning. None of us from sick bay so far. Rations - 1/6 bread, 1/12# mar., spoon of sugar. The Jerries here think the war is so near over that they are giving out all the parcels in the camp. Also hauling some. So far we haven’t gotten any. We did get a few cigars and a few packs of tobacco. I drew 1/2 of a Phillie cigar. We expect an issue of a parcel later. 6:00 - supper over-potatoes and meat and vegetables from parcel. The last parcel had salt & pepper and we were given a garlic so our supper was excellent. Tea to top it off. The Jerries running around like wild. They have MPs on the gate, both U.S. and English. Rumors have it that we are surrounded. That’s the best news I have heard yet. With a lot of the Jerries pulling out it sounds like something is definitely up. They say the English Officers are set to take over. Lot of explosions last night arid very close, also flares and ack-ack firing at the planes. Skilley,sweede and turnip. Back hurts me bad today.
(55th - Day) - Apr. 9, Monday - Air raid sirens last night early - the Jerries put the lights out on us. A few explosions - lots of planes, flying low, ack-ack fire and the flashes from distance ack-ack guns all night, We couldn’t even light matches to smoke. Had breakfast-raisins, toast and liverpate for a spread - real butter from Canadian parcel. Surprise, tea up this morning instead of coffee, and a good tea. My back hurt me yesterday and last night bad again, I have done nothing but rest, so can’t see what causes it. No parcel yesterday, but due for one today, as most every one else got one. 1,500 men marched out of camp yesterday, the Allies are reported very close this morning. “WE LIVE IN HOPES. Had news this morning saying they have by-passed Hanover, which was declared an open city. They should be very close. That is why the M.P.s were $placed on the gate. Rations up and cut by the Jerries-bread (1-kilo loaf) to 9 men, a cut from 7 to 9, but on Monday we get no potatoes, we get two spoons of sugar. Not good, but looks all the more like the end for the Jerries. Skilley, sweede, with a few peas in it and thin. Coffee not bad because we add a little American instant coffee to it. Also cream and sugar. The bread was the poorest we have had yet, and the Skilley was tasty but very thin, they are putting us on the rations one gets when captured. Sun finally came out this afternoon. Nice out now, No parcel. News again-during the night last night some of the men up in one of the other barracks were smoking and were strafed by a plane-3 buildings with 2 burning down. Also some of the hungry boys stole some of the Red Cross parcels yesterday, thus accounting for the shortage of rations today (a penalty). Tomorrow should be back to normal, I hope so, as I had no supper tonight. Also we get an issue of a parcel (American) tomorrow-1 to 2 men (that means smokes again). Haven’t heard how many men were hit in the strafing or how bad hurt.
(56th-Day) Apr, 10. Tuesday, up at 6:30-no breakfast, but brewed up a pot of tea, No coffee as the water was off and they couldn’t make it, News better each day, 3 men were brought in yesterday, captured within 25 km. of here, They were on reconnaissance patrol, that means they are getting very close. Last night and this morning heavy artillery fire could be heard. Come on Monty and Patton. We are ready to go home. Explosions last night rocked the building again. Rations - fooled again, 9 men on a loaf of bread, but a double issue of sugar (2 spoons). Parcel in about noon, (American) 1 to 2 men-Don ans I splitting as usual, We eat tonight. Had a brew of coffee and ate the chocolate from parcel, so guess I can hold out till skilley time. News very good-Jerry guard just came on, says this is his last day. Hanover has been by-passed and troops are near here and not having much opposition from the Jerries. Had skilley later than usual, sweede. Supper over-salmon and potatoes fried, bread and bully beef and whole wheat biscuits with strawberry jam and tea. I feel rather contented for a change. News from an Officer that was brought in just a short time ago. English Army within 15 km. and the American Army has passed Hanover and should be very close.
Ha was captured just a few kilos from here. He also says two P.W. camps have been liberated.
(57th- Day) Apr. 11. Wednesday. No coffee again as yet. Up at 6:15, had nice breakfast. Prunes, toast with beef, wheat biscuits, with jam, and I made a brew of American coffee. Lots of activity last night. Two heavy explosions rocked the building. Heavy artillery fire could be heard all night. This morning heavy barrage was fired,lasting over an hour. Come on Monty and Patton-you should be close. News-now 8:30. Hanover fell last night at l0:00,with the main body of the army past the city. Coffee up at 8:15 so I am haying my second cup of coffee. Of course we fix it up a little with the American coffee to give it a good flavor. Now a cigarette to top it off. Heavy firing can still be heard - the next twenty-four hours should tell us something. We can hear strafing machine gun fire close. The road that goes by here is the main road from Bremen to Berlin. Yesterday another large flight of planes went over-someone counted over 1,000 more going over today. Rations up (no bread as yet) cake, cottage cheese, 2 spoons of sugar. The town has been evacuated and the bakery being down town is what makes it hard to get. Also more men to feed. This bakery is supplying another camp also, now. No bread so they announce. Skilley up and was very good, thanks to the salt and pepper in the American parcel, (the Jerries have very little seasoning) sweede and lots of meat, the most meat I have eaten at one time since I have been captured and a better issue of potatoes. My supper-fried potatoes and ham, coffee-also coffee this afternoon just after skilley. It toasted better than usual. The weather is very nice now. Sun shining and ‘warm, “Come on Allies”! I have just heard that our own men are baking the bread. the Jerry Guards are checking out tomorrow, and that there are now enough parcels to issue about 1 to every 2 men, but lorries are out after more now. Also after potatoes and sweede. If the guards leave tomorrow, the white flag should go up. We should at least be liberated by Friday the 13th. The guards are packed and leaving this evening only a few being left behind. News better-a 6 mile neutral zone around camp.
(58th Day) From Gorletz Thursday, April 12, 1945 – cool this morning. Up early. We will probably get a parcel since we get no rations. No coffee as yet so l made a brew for Don and I. More men ware brought in yesterday (8). They were paratroops, dropped about 20 miles from here to blow up a bridge. They succeeded and then not being able to get back, were caught. They say that we should be free within 24 to 48 hours. (today or tomorrow). A light barrage of firing could be heard last night, but quiet this morning. The Camp seems almost deserted, no Guards on the gates-we can go most anywhere we like, any compound. Speaking of food and eating, don’t get the idea from my notes that we are eating plenty. Last night for my supper I had 4 small potatoes about the size of a walnut, the meat was my ration of 1/4 tin of a lunch neat from the parcel. At noon a tin cup of skilley and for breakfast, 2 small biscuits the size of a soda cracker and 2 pieces of bread smaller than a cracker, a few prunes from the parcel. Altogether the amount would be about what one meal would be if I was home. Without the parcel (Red Cross) you just gradually starve. The total Jerry issue for one day consists of 1/7 loaf of bread, (one kilo loaf-1,000 grams-small and very heavy potato bread-compared to our two # loaf), a small square of margarine (enough for 2 slices of bread sometimes one small spoonful of sugar, one tin cupful of soup (usually thin with no meat, and coffee (made from barley) twice a day). Altogether not enough for one meal. Sometimes a small issue of meat or cheese, which could be spread on one slice of bread. Geneva Convention calls for so much hot food. That is why the hot coffee. No coffee this morning, no water to make it, so we probably won’t have any soup today. Yes..Skilley up but very- light, a small cup and grass at that. We did get a fair issue of potatoes. Rations-2 spoons of sugar. No bread up as yet. No water on yet, so I have had only one brew of coffee. I had one fair meal, I fried all my potatoes (7 small ones) my half tin of ham from the package and my half tin of meat and beans. Still hungry, but will have to make it do for today. Hope we get enough water for a brew. The Camp sure is deserted. We are just sitting around waiting. Nice day again, the sun is shining. Water turned on for a short while. We had our brew of coffee so feel pretty good. Also have enough water for another brew later. Tea next time, and enough for one in the morning. Rumors have it that the Army is close to us -
just a matter of days or hours. 7:00 already, this day has really gone by. Guess I will have to get my dixie full of water for tea. Very tired today - guess I have been up too long, still weak, the tea should pep me up before going to bed.
(59th-Day) Friday, Apr. 13 - up early on the stove first to make a pot of coffee - no Jerry coffee up this morning. Nice day coming up - sun is shining out and it is warning up. Shaved and feel a little better. News just came in, New York by radio, Stalag XI-B would soon be liberated and the French were to remain-they are our Allies and would be taken care of, sounds good to me. No bread for a couple of days so they say that we will get an issue of a parcel. We sure need it and one per man. We have had very little food the last few days. The Jerries have been too nervous to get away before our troops arrived here. Just heard the news - that PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT IS DEAD. Had heard a rumor before but was officially announced today. Parcel due tomorrow, 1 to 2 men. Rations - (no bread) 2 1/2 spoons of sugar, skilley, pea soup and 6 small boiled potatoes. I will have my half tin of salmon from the parcel with my potatoes for my supper, fried. That is the last of food from the parcel. Just had our skilley so am getting ready to brew Don and I some tea. (This will please my wife Carol to know I have learned to like tea) Supper over - and very good and tasty. 2:30 P.M. on the stove for our turn soon, tea then to bed. Sorry to hear of the President’s death. He was very highly thought of by all the men here from all our Allies. They consider him the best president we have ever had. My sympathy to Mrs. Roosevelt and family.
(60th Day) Sat. Apr. 14. Nice day coming up, sun is shining. I have had my coffee, so I feel pretty good. No coffee from the Jerries any more, our men are doing all the cooking and the Jerry rations are very small, due to the men coming in is the reason we didn’t get a parcel before, but we got one today to make up for not having much to eat, the last few days. The rest of the parcels will be held in reserve for any men that might come, So this may be our last. We should also get a bread ration today. There is quite a few old horses been brought into Camp, that is the meat we are getting to eat. They are so old and poor that there isn’t much meat on them but they are food. That has been our source of meat since the Jerries have been ????? A Red Cross (American) parcel – 1 to 2 men just came in. Skilley up-sweede and barley soup, and thick. No coffee. Don and I had lunch, a brew of coffee, a little later a brew of tea and now, Don is preparing supper. We also got a ration today-2 1/2 spoons of sugar, 1/6 of a tin of meat similar to bully beef, and a nice ration of boiled potatoes (9). This is one day we eat. News very good-they say we will be by-passed and the English have food waiting for us. Also the Red Cross is prepared to take care of us and evacuate us. Supper over-we used the Jerry issue of meat with one of our bowls of skilley cooked it, fried the potatoes and fried our bread. Have plenty of marg., left from the parcel since we have had no bread, Topped our supper off with a couple of biscuits from the parcel and coffee. Tea later and then to bed.
(61st Day) Sun, Apr. 15, cool this morning and no sun out as yet. Up early - coffee up at 6:30 which was the 1st issue of Jerry coffee for sometime, Don and I having raisins, bread and cheese, sardines for breakfast. Can hear the artillery fire this morning. That’s the closest its been yet. We went out and pulled out one of the high fence posts for fire wood. The men have used up most of the available wood, so the fences come next. Before we leave we will probably break up our bunks. Each man furnishes his own wood for fuel. Rations up - much better today - 6 men to a loaf of bread, 1/12# marg., 2 ½ spoons sugar. Skilley was thickened with roggan and seasoned with dehydrated onions - had a little taste to it for a change. The hut commander just read our camp news stating that we have plenty of food for the next few days, including bread. Machine gun fire has been heard most all afternoon. News gets better each day. Don getting supper as usual-me, I am just the helper. Salmon and potato cakes, fried potatoes, stewed prunes and fried bread and coffee. For lunch today we had sardine sandwiches with our coffee. Tea later as usual. This has been a good day but I feel tired and can’t stay on my feet very long.
(62nd-Day)-Mon. Apr. 16. XI-B and 357 both Stalags near Fallingbostel. Sun is out this morning-a beautiful day, and is going to be nice ad warm. Coffee up this morning again - just in time for breakfast, which consists of prunes and raisins stewed, toast and cheese sandwich-topped off with a piece of toast ad strawberry jam. A lot of activity last night, artillery fire and machine gun fire could be heard most all night ad this morning. The planes are still going over everyday. In the evening they fly so very low over Camp, ack-ack fire at them is also very close. Explosions can be heard now and then that rock the building-must be very close. After dark, they worry us, we don’t know if they are Jerry planes or not, and we don’t trust them. 9:00-(0900-Army time) THE MEN ARE GOING WILD”, the ENGLISH are HERE - WE ARE LIBERATED !! The tanks are going by, two of them have pulled into Camp. We have been expecting them, but now that they are here - what a feeling! Some of the tanks stopped on the outside of the fence and the fellows are lined up along the fence talking to them. They passed out some food-white bread, large tins of English biscuits. They say they could have come in last night, but didn’t want to arouse the Guards and have any firing, that is why they waited till daylight. We just had a second breakfast on the strength of our liberation, biscuit with butter, raisins and a brew. Rations good today as the English have now taken over the compoud-1/6 loaf of bread, 2 1/2 spoons of sugar, 1/6 tin of bully beef, Skilley, sauerkraut ad plenty of it, also boiled potatoes. We have extra potatoes and a large bowl of kraut. We are going to have our largest feed tonight. I can’t eat as much as I like. I felt tough for several hours last night, from eating too much. We still hear firing, but it is gradually getting further away. The infantry has already moved up, so we are definitely FREE! Should be moved out in the next few days, We have plenty of food to last and bread and cigarettes have been sent for. Planes going over dip their wings ad everyone waves at them. I hope that I can be moved out with all my English and N. Z. friends. I’ll hate to say cheerio to them when we part. Its been a real day, the sun has shined out hot all day and everyone is singing and brewing tea and coffee and eating plenty, hope no one gets sick from over eating. We should have white bread from our own troops tomorrow. Gave my name ad address to a newsman this afternoon. He said they would be sent to our relatives in the States notifying them of our liberation. We have 4 blowers in our room besides the stove, ad they have been going all day. Don and I just cooked our supper
on one of them. Beet and potatoes. Tried sauerkraut, bread and butter with sugar and raisins on top-coffee. I feel very tired and weak tonight. Felt very low all day yesterday and last night. Didn’t sleep very good till towards morning. Hope I can snap out of it soon. We all thank GOD for this day. Not a shot was fired and the guards walked out and gave themselves up very peaceful when the tanks came up. I can go to bed with a peaceful mind tonight.
(63rd-Day) Tues. Apr. 17. The day yesterday wasn’t finished, about dark the fellows went through the fence and over to the large warehouses and raided them for food, but they brought in most everything-sugar, cases of tinned beef, cases of tinned pork, rolled oats, rice, pipes, cigarettes, papers, tobacco, matches, cigarette holders, fountain pens, combs, tobacco pouches, hair pins - they even found bottles of wine and gin. So we put on the blackout shutters-had a brew of tea and ate beef and pork. Everyone was awake for a long tine talking. Everything was put in the room and pooled, Fair day today, but not quite as warm. Don and I having a nice breakfast, Potatoes and pork and beef, fried, biscuits and bread, coffee. Dinner was another big meal. A tin of meat from parcel, french fried potatoes and fried onions (Don got the onions) bread and butter, coffee. Rations - 1/4 loaf of bread (very small loaves) 1/11# marg., 2 1/2 spoons of sugar. Two of the men came in with bread - large, 3 kilo loaves - we got 1/10 each of that, so we ate good all day. 11:00 P.M. - the white bread has arrived, 1/2 loaf each and 7 cigarettes - what a day (I’m sick-going to bed) too much last night and today just couldn’t take it. What a day. I was too sick to even taste the white bread,
(64th - Day) Wed., Apr. 18. What a night - was I sick, my stomach was so full and I really suffered all night. I don’t feel so bad this morning. Didn’t get up early, in fact its 9:00 and Don is feeding me in bed-he has two fresh eggs for us for breakfast. That should start the day out right. We also bad a piece of fried chicken for dinner yesterday. Guess the shook was too great. Up and feel much better - had soft boiled egg on toast and a dish of porridge (oatmeal) milk and sugar on the porridge. Tea this morning-going to have a cup of coffee a little later. Well I guess we will all go up and get registered sometime today. Getting ready to move out. They say we all go to England by plane - that sure suits me to get out in a hurry. The first few men are just leaving (2:00 P.M.). They have been prisoners the longest. We all will be gotten out within the next two days. I think Don will go tomorrow, sure will hate to leave him. Had white bread and coffee for a lunch today and tonight had a boiled dinner. Just a little afraid my stomach couldn’t take it after being sick last night. Our potatoes were issued raw yesterday, so we boiled them tonight, and peas. Also heated the can of meat and beans from the parcel. I made Don eat most of it. We also had white bread and coffee. Ratons today - 2 spoons of sugar, 4 loaf white bread, 1/11# marg. No skilley or coffee. The water was put on tonight. Hope it stays on. Well we have electric lights again tonight. The place seems quite livable for a change.
(65th - Day) Thurs, Apr. 19. Up early and have had my breakfast, porridge (oatmeal) white bread toasted and coffee. I think I will lose my Mucker today. The 5 men that left yesterday are #l2 - 14 - 15 - 20 - 23 - a few more move out today. Some Yanks but I missed, but it won’t be long now - I can wait a couple of more days. 13 men left my room today #8 - 17 - 19 - Don missed the call today. We had lunch (made some apricot jam from the ones that came in with the raiding party the other night). White bread toast and jam and coffee. The skilley (thick pea soup) came in and we had some of that, White bread 1/3 loaf and boiled potatoes, that’s the rations so far. Sun is shining but its a little windy today. Food and over eating still bothering me, (the people over here have low moral). We have an outside latrine, the women and girls go by within 30 ft of it but pay no more attention than if is wasn’t the there. The amazing thing to me is the amount of food stuff we found stored in these large 4 story warehouses, the tins of pork and beef were very good and there was plenty of it, They say they still have plenty of food to last for a long time yet. But the way the Armies are advancing they won’t need it for very long. Ration of l/l0# of marge., just came in along with the announcement that no more sugar would come in as we on or straight English rations. This afternoon trucks were out here serving tea and cigarettes. Similar to our trucks that serve donuts and coffee. Supper over, peas, boiled potatoes, beef, toast, and coffee. Don still here. Maybe we go out together yet. A cigarette ration just came in, 75 per man. Also got 20 off the truck this afternoon-still have a couple of packs left from the last parcel. So I am well supplied till I get to where I can get them. Well the day is now complete as they just came in and told me that I leave Saturday. Don missed being called for tomorrow, so he will probably go Saturday when I do, (“the end of a perfect day”.)
(66th-Day) Fri., Apr. 20. Nice day out today - up early as it is my day to clean the room - I put water on for the men to shave with. 10 men left the room today (8 of us left). #1-2-3-5-6-16-18-22-24-25, happy landing and cheerio - tomorrow I will be on my way. They say we truck from here to an airport near Hanover-fly by transport plane to LeHarve, France and a possibility of flying from there straight to New York. That would really be something. I came over in a fast boat (without even a convoy) now I hope to fly back. Lots of food today-tea up at 6:30 (had milk and sugar in it) breakfast-food issued in tins,, bacon and beans, 1/2 loaf white bread. Noon-tin again, carrots, corn beef, (cheese and jam-”bulk”). We have to cook our own also 1/6 of a pkg. of tobacco and 1/2 of a large chocolate bar. Nice going English. Supper tonight-we had family style. We cooked together, ate off plates, just like back home. Boiled potatoes, cooked beef, fried bacon, salmon, peas, beans, toast and jam - coffee. This is one of the best meals I have had yet.. The food tastes better off a plate. I have a whole chocolate bar to top off the evening. Has been a nice day-hope tomorrow is the same. We have a visit from Gen. Montgomery in the morning before we leave. I’m most all packed-very few souvenirs as I must travel light. Wish I could bring home one of the blowers to show what we cooked our meals on, I will try to bring a small one as a sample. As the English say, we have a couple of bloody good ones in this room. Hope I can sleep well tonight. My back has hurt me for a couple of nights. My feet hurt tonight as I have been on them more than usual as room orderly. 8:30 and raining a little spoiling a nice day. A couple of nights ago one of the large warehouses that the men looted all the food stuff and other things from, caught on fire-last night the second burning. Tonight I see the third one burning. Explosions-must be some shells stored. These buildings were probably set afire.
(67th Day) Saturday, April 21. Up early and its raining hard. Sure hope this doesn’t stop us from leaving. And what a day for “Monty” to visit us. Maybe it will clear up - I’m hoping. All packed - had my porridge (oatmeal) and toast, coffee, shaved, all set. Well its still raining out but “Monty” came - we went on parade in the cinema, He brought 30,000 cigarettes, newspapers, and books with him to distribute in the Camp. He is touring the Camp now. So we are cleaning up the room, We should pull out soon unless the rain holds us up. Even had a second breakfast - toast, porridge and tea. Later rations came in, 1/2 loaf white bread, cheese, jam, beans sausage, etc. Dick Widner, #21 in the diary, we being the only two Yanks in the room left together - so we fixed a food box - sugar, jam, sausage, cheese, bread, butter salt and pepper. We put then in a Red Cross box so we can throw it away. Through the gate 12:45 across the road to a delouser in the lorries (trucks) at 2:30 and on our way, 63 miles to Farrle, A temporary tent camp. Rain off and on all day. Supper very good and all we could eat - cabbage salad, peas, potatoes, meat, and vegetable, stew, bread, butter and tea, also apricots. Had to sleep on the ground, but not so bad - we are warm - 3 blankets and a canvas ground cover, Tired, ready for bed. We arrived here at 5:30 so its bed time now.
(68th Day) Sunday, Apr. 22. Up at 6:15. Breakfast - bacon, beans, cheese, porridge, butter and bread and tea. Raining and has most all night. One group leaving out early. We go later. I’m with the Yanks again - Don traveling in the same group. English, N. Z. and Yanks, we are all in the same convoy. Lunch before noon, bread and jam and cornbeef sandwiches and tea. Left on the lorries at 12:30 another 60 miles to Borghorst, still in the hands of Monty’s English Army. This was a factory, but has been equipped with beds and everthing just to take care of the P.O.W.s. We can go most anywhere. No control much. We get cleaned up tomorrow and all new clothes. Supper - biscuits, bread and tea - they feed light at first so we get better food tomorrow. Has rained off and on all day. The flowers are blooming, lilac bushes are coming into bloom, Cherry and Apple trees – really looks like Spring. Pansy, Peony, Tulip and many other flowers in full bloom.
(69th Day) Monday. April 23. Up 6:3O shaved, breakfast consisting of bacon, bread, porridge and tea. Back and saw the M. 0. and drew clean clothes, shower and saw the American Officer. All set to leave here now. Next, stop should be France. We are interrogated there - then homeland bound, I hope. Dinner at twelve, beef stew, peas, potatoes and date pudding and tea. Now just waiting. An issue of 75 more cigarettes, chocolate bar today but they ran out before I got there - I was too busy getting fitted so I could leave when the time came. We are well taken care of by the British. They had to fit us out in British uniforms - pants, blouse, 2 shirts, 2 towels, under clothes, sweater, braces, socks, shoe brush, cloths brush, toothbrush, shaving outfit and sewing kit. Shoes and overcoats could also be had if needed. I also drew one of the little round berets for my head, Look quite like a human being again. Sure felt good to take a hot shower. Now at 4:00, its tea time. Have been having trouble with my right foot, hurts and seems to be a piece of bone floating around but I can make it back home. Tea over -had beans, bread, butter and jam - they had no biscuits today, with the tea. Supper doesn’t start till 8:00-just like back in Blighty. Rested for awhile - Sun out this morning, raining a little this afternoon. Supper - 8:30. Vegetable stew, biscuits and tea - on the way out 7 cigarettes, candy and a chocolate bar. At the NAFFL they stamped our X-POW identification card for 5 marks credit and we got fruit cake, biscuits and tea. More than we could eat as we have had so much today. Tomorrow’s lunch, if we travel, will be fruit cake and biscuits. We all brought it out with us. Altogether its been quite a day. I’m really ready for bed, foot hurts and I’m tired.
(70th day) Tuesday, April 24 - up early shaved and had breakfast, porridge, sausage, bread, butter and tea. Expect to move out by lorry to Airport today-should go to LeHarve, France. All packed and waiting. Leaving out all loaded in lorries at 9:30 AM. 10 miles to Airport. Waiting for planes. NAFFL taking care of us again - fruit cake, biscuits, bread, butter, cheese, corn beef, sweets, chocolate and tea and cigarettes. Planes - (C-47’s) in - 30 men to each transport - leaving at 2:10 PM (flying out) over Brussels, France and the channel, landing at 4:45 PM at Guilford, England. What a swell greeting we received, the Red Cross Women meet us, more cigarettes. Girls (beautiful girls) they even carried our kit bag. We went through a hut where we were sprayed with a delouseing powder. Then into a large hanger all decorated, lots of flowers, set full of tables. We were fed again, sandwiches (spam, cheese, egg, lettuce, jelly roll and tea). Loaded into lorries again-10 miles to Horsham, England. “103 Reception Camp”. Believe it or not, eat again. Stewed steak, soup, gravy, peas, mashed potatoes, bread, butter and tea. Red Cross again-parcel just for the Yanks-2 chocolate bars, comb, toothbrush, paste, razor, shaving stick, handkerchief, washrag, soap. Then to a hut (real beds), 4 blankets, pillow, mattreses. English Pay Master money again-they issued us 5 lbs., ($20.00). Sure feels good to have money again. Stopped at YMCA. More food, chocolate coated cookies, tea and cigarettes. Then a hot bath walked down to the NAFFL which is a lot like our P, had a beer and oranges - then to bed, What a day, one to remember.
(71st Day) Wednesday, Apr. 25. Up 6:45 breakfast - porridge, bacon and eggs, bread, butter and tea. Lorries to the depot. Train to London (special train) arrived in London 10:25 A.M., went downtown by special bus-donuts, cookies, coffee and real American cigarettes, One hour by bus to 7th “General Hospital Medical”-check-up, Pajamas - assigned a bed - then eat again. A real meal-chicken, beets, carrots, chicken broth, peas, peaches, bread, butter and tea. Back to the Hospital Ward. examined by the Doctor. Rested and supper-hot dogs, potatoes, soup, carrots, stewed apples, bread and lemonade. This is a nice camp hospital. The PX is just behind my ward, theatre is close, library and reading room-Radio in ward-guess I could stay here for a few days if necessary. (14 days Quarantine).
(72nd Day) Thursday, Apr. 26. Up, shaved-breakfast-sausage, fresh eggs, bread, butter, puffed wheat or shredded wheat biscuits, milk and coffee. Have been doing my old job getting stamps and Vmail for the men. Had a donation from Red Cross-(a week supply) 7 pkgs. cigarettes, 5 chocolate bars, toothpaste, bar soap, 2 boxes of matches. Dinner today, lunch meat, macaroni and cheese, beets, pineapple, broth, greens, bread, jam and lemonade. They sure are giving us all we can eat. I received my issue of Yank clothes, so I look like an American again. Had dental check-up, go tomorrow for my filling. Supper-beef, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, brown raisin cake, bread, butter and tea. I had to go back for seconds on the cake. Another pack of Camel cigarettes from “Farmers Warehouse and Rotary Club”, Clarkton, N.C.” I’m going to need a truck just to carry my stuff if they keep on. Rain this afternoon, weather has been nice.
(73rd-Day) Friday, Apr. 27. Up early-rain again-breakfast-french toast, butter, butter, peanut butter, cereal, warm milk, syrup, oranges and coffee, Haircut, I really am beginning to feel like I am going to live again. Kept busy helping the Ward Sgt fill out forms-started raining just before noon-(got weighted-123 lbs., I was about 118).. Dinner-slices of beef, potatoes, bread, butter, grape fruit, thick soup and tea. Dentist this afternoon had my filling put-in, worked on more forms. Supper-fish, rice, peas, beets, bread, butter, oatmeal cookies and lemonade. 8:30 P.M.-cocoa and bread and jam. Shaved-time for bed.
(74th-Day) Saturday, Apr. 28. Rained most all night-breakfast, soft boiled egg, bacon, stewed apples, cooked cereal, bread, butter and coffee. A quiet morning-back to the old Army routine-Saturday inspection, everyone by their beds and the place cleaned up. “Just like back home”. Soon be noon, Big Ben just struck 11,00 on the radio. The English set their watches by Big Ben, and it is supposed to always be right. Dinner over-meat loaf, peas and carrots, catsup, corn, bread, pineapple, marmalade, butterscotch custard and tea. Sun is shining now, getting nice out again. “Rain”, before the afternoon was over. The Red Cross Mobile Unit pulled in with donuts and coffee, also a pkg. of cigarettes and a chocolate bar, Supper - steak, rice, spinach, lime beans with tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cherries, peanut butter and marmalade, gravy and coffee. Have been helping Ward Sgt., and am so tired tonight had to go to bed after supper. Ovaltine, bread and jam at 8,30. Food all the time, The program on the Ward radio very good, “Judy Garland” sang - and they have played a few recordings. Now before signing off they are playing Goodnight Sweetheart”, very appropriate, I think - good-night “Sweetheart”.
(75th-Day) Sunday, April 29. Rained most all night turning to snow towards morning. Chilly out this morning. Breakfast over-oatmeal, warm milk, scrambled eggs, orange, bread, peanut butter and marmalade and coffee. I go for a back X-ray this morning, to try and find out what makes it hurt and wakes me up nights. Sure felt tough last night but do feel better this morning. Had an X-ray taken of my back this morning-the sun was out for awhile-snow most all gone but really chilly yet. Dinner-very good-chicken, chicken soup with rice, mashed potatoes, gravy, peaches, asperagas, bread, butter and tea. On my bed for a rest. My foot hurts from being on my feet too much. Well its blood test today, two of them. Rations - our 1st that we had to pay for - 7 pkgs. cigarettes, 5 bars candy, 1 pkg. gum - other items I didn’t need. I have plenty of cigarettes now. Just decided to make a cup of tea, I have a tin cup to heat water in and still have a little tea with me. Not bad - I have sugar but no milk. But its still good. Sucper-just like the Army back home, the usual Sunday supper - cold cuts and potato salad, beets, cream soup, chocolate cake, and lemonade, Sun shining now and clearing. Up at 8:3O, coca time again - getting colder again. Feet hurt tonight more massaging.
(76th - Day) - April. 30. Trying to snow again this morning. The Ward boy woke us up as usual playing the accordion (and he is good). Breakfast over - scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked cereal, warm milk, apricots, bread, butter and coffee. The sun came out for awhile. Almost noon, had coffee and a fresh egg down at the Officers’ Mess. One of the cooks I met invited me down. Noon - peas, spaghetti and beef, pineapple, soup, bread, butter, and lemonade. Shots this afternoon, typhoid, typhus and tetanus. Also fingerprints, just like induction into the Army all over again, Supper - pork, spaghetti, fresh onions, string beans, soup, gravy, apple cobbler, bread, butter and tea, I dropped in at the Officers’ Mess tonight on invitation - had a piece of apple cobbler with cream. Had a cup of tea I made myself today while I wrote home. (77th - Day) – Tuesday, May 1st. Cool out today, had pains in my back last night and this morning. Breakfast - fried bread, sausage, syrup, oatmeal, stewed dehydrated apples, butter and coffee. Doctor making rounds for daily checkup. Blood pressure today - we will be almost finished. Still have to stay the 14 days. 7 more to go. Received 5 pounds partial pay, ($20.00) this morning. Dinner over - cold cuts, cheese, tomato soup, beans (lima baked in sauce), asparagus, salad, pears, bread, butter and tea. Taking our blood pressure now - I just got the sheets with Ward rosters done in time. I’m doing a clerks job part time. Supper time again – ham, fried potatoes, sauerkraut, pea soup, cabbage salad, cookies, bread, butter and lemonade. Now our 8:30 lunch again - coco, bread, grape jam and peanut butter. We should pick up our weight fast.
May 2, Wednesday. My birthday, 40 years are a long time, but they have gone by quite fast. Breakfast - ham and eggs, cream of wheat, prunes, bread, butter, coffee. Chilly out, but looks like it will clear up and get warm. Noon and sun still shining, nice day, the best we have had since we have been in England. Dinner - beef stew, lime beans, cauliflower, rhubarb, bread, butter and lemonade. Believe it or not its time for Rythum Rambles and the radio is playing “Stardust”. Helped the Capt., took notes when he made his rounds of the patients. Took a walk over to the Officers Mess and the cooks fed me a good supper of beef, corn, potato salad (oranges, carrot sticks, dressing), cake and cocoa and tea, Came back to the Ward - dressed up in my new clothes and took a walk through the fence, had a few drinks and came back. Surprise - Red Cross had sent me a birthday cake. I cut the cake and made the rounds of the beds and gave everyone a slice. Then I went down to the kitchen and one of the cooks made me a malted milk. Had a sandwich and tea. They gave us a pound box of “Bunte” chocolate for 2 shillings and 9 pence (55 cents to you). They were real good. What a day. My birthday had a grand finish.
May 3, Thursday. Another nice day coming up, Breakfast over - pancakes for the 1st time. Very good - shredded wheat biscuits, warm milk, syrup, butter, grapefruit and coffee. Rather quiet day so far. Had a service record made up this morning. Dinner - fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, onion soup, pineapple, bread, butter and coffee. Having a rest now, I sure tire out fast. Supper - hamburger, fried potatoes, peas,fruit, lettuce salad, chocolate cake, bread, orange marmalade and lemonade, Trying to rain tonight again. Raining hard out now, Coca, bread and peanut butter tonight.
May 4, Friday. Rained hard last night - nice out this morning. Breakfast over - boiled egg, slice of sandwich meat, mixed fruit (prunes, raisins, apricots) bread, butter arid coffee, A quiet morning, Dinner - meat loaf, creamed eggs, gravy, boiled potatoes, beets, spinach, stewed fruit,
(prunes, raisins, rhubarb, apricot), bread, grape jam and coffee. rested most all afternoon - have been feeling low for the last two or three days - reaction from the shots. Supper over - fish, creamed potatoes, lettuce, dressing, cherry pie, bread, butter and tea. A good show tonight - a little G.I. talent. Show over and was very good for the talent they had. Two of the men were very good, and had good voices, Cocoa, bread and jam at 8:30.
May 5, Saturday. Trying to rain again today. Breakfast - fried eggs, cereal (cornflakes) warm milk, fruit (pineapple and apricots) bread, grape jam, and coffee. This is inspection day again. Everyone cleaning up the Ward, Inspection over - the Col. and the Nurse (A Major) came through, Things really have to be clean. Noon, still raining a little and foggy. Dinner.-liver, bacon, stewed apples, lettuce salad, soup, boiled potatoes with the jackets on, bread, butter and marmalade and coffee. Red Cross Club - mobile back again here every Saturday afternoon - candy bar, mints, watches, 1 pkg., cigarettes, donuts and coffee. What a life this is - ”my - my, eat, eat all the time”. Also they gave us pipes. Supper - beef, potatoes, gravy, beans, soup, custard with raisins, sauerkraut, bread, butter arid coffee. Music tonigtht “Joe”, the night Ward boy that plays the accordion has his girl here arid they are playing requests for us now - cocoa, bread arid jam as usual. Still raining.
May 6, Sunday. The rain has stopped and its clear out - sun coming out, Breakfest - french toast, syrup, stewed armies, bacon, oatmeal, coffee. Nice morning, worked most of the morning, Dinner - fried chicken, chicken soup, lettuce salad, rice, gravy, custard with raisins, peas, bread, butter and coffee. Had a nice rest this afternoon - drew my weeks rations - 7 pks,, cigarettes, 5 bars candy, 1 pkg., gun. Supper - ham, potatoes, lettuce salad, corn, pea soup, chocolate cake and tea. 8:00 cocoa, bread and marmalade. Trying to rain.
May 7, Monday. The weather has warmed up a lot, probably going to get more rain. Breakfast - soft boiled egg, sausage, cooked cereal, bread, butter and coffee. Worked here in the Ward most all morning. Dinner - ham, cold cuts, boiled potatoes, lettuce salad, sliced pineapple, bread, butter, soup and coffee, Very nice day - worked inside most all day. Supper - pork, mashed potatoes, gravy, string beans, lettuce salad, soup, cookies, bread, butter and coffee, The announcement came over the radio that the war w~s over in the E.T.C. - tomorrow is VE-DAY. 8:00 - coca, peanut butter and bread. We are being entertained by the Ward boy, Joe, on the squeeze box-he sure is good - playing “Goodnight Sweetheart” now, Time I was in bed, so goodnight, “Sweetheart”.
May 8, Tuesday. V.E. Day-did it ever rain last night, thunder and lighting --guess the “Good Lord” above was celebrating the end of the War also. Breakfast - hotcakes, sausage, puffed wheat, warm milk, syrup, cookies, apples and coffee. Nice out now - sun is out. Warm again today. Noon - frankfurters, catsup, boiled potatoes, sauerkraut, carrots, fruit (mixed) bread, butter and coffee. Afternoon getting ready to move out at 0915 in the morning. Packed bag. Supper - steak, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, cabbage, salad, apple cobbler, bread and butter, coffee. Evening, more men came in helping the Sgt. in the next ward. 8:30 - coca, peanut butter and bread. Had a lunch with one of the cooks at the Officers’ Mess - apple cobbler and a midnight lunch with Joe the Ward boy. Liver sandwich and coffee. The lights over London could be seen for miles. Big celebration.
May 9, Wednesday. Looks like rain for the day we leave, Breakfast - boiled egg, sausage, cooked cereal, warm milk, grapefruit, bread, butter, and coffee. 9:15 - fell out to leave, but was disanointed - A Major gave us a talk - seems as though we have to take written examination. Probably here for a couple of more days. Dinner - chicken, chicken soup, mashed potatoes, peas, peaches, cabbage salad, bread, butter, and coffee. Washed out some clothes this afternoon, Supper - beef stew, rice, chicken soup (thick), corn, cabbage, salad, cake, bread, butter, and Ice tea, with lemon. 8:00 - cocoa, peanut butter and coffee. Since our 14 day quarantine is up, I went out to one of the pubs and had a couple of beers. Have been feeing low all day.
May 10, Thursday. up early - still feeling low. Ate too much yesterday and was on my feet too much. Feet hurt all the time. Breakfast - fried bread, syrut, bacon, oatmeal, warm milk, mixed fruit (pineapple, prunes, raisins, apricots) arid coffee. A little cool this morning. More loafing, resting, and sleep. Seems as though I am tired all the time - never enough sleep. Dinner - spaghetti, string beans, soup, apricots, bread, peanut butter with jam and lemonade. More rest, feet hurt too much to do much walking. Lunch at 8:00 - milk, bread, peanut butter and marmalade.
May 11, Friday. Nice day starting out - breakfast early, cream of wheat, scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, warm milk, bread, butter, apricots, and coffee. Went down with Joe the night Ward boy at 11:00 and had two fried eggs, sausage, lima beans, app1e cobbler and coffee. Helped the Sgt., fill out forms. Dinner - fish, fried potatoes, lima beans, asparagus, apricots, bread, peanut butter and marmalade, soup and coffee. Pressed pants and shirt. Supper - meat loaf, mashed potatoes, spinach, cake, bread, peanut butter arid marmalade and tea, 8:00 - milk, bread, grape jam end peanut butter. Walked out for a beer.
May 12, Sat. Nice day today. Breakfast - fried egg, sausage, wheat flakes, warm milk, bread, butter, coffee and orange. Too nice to be inside but I have worked all morning. Dinner - beef stew, boiled potatoes, sauerkraut, vegetable soup, apple butter, bread and coffee, and peaches. This afternoon we get final exam,, and checkup. We had a complete physical and have yet to see the interrogation Officer and a must movie, Supper - meat loaf, cream potatoes, relish, peas, bread, peanut butter with apple butter, orange and tea. Found an old paper today showing “Pops Harrison” and Iowa’s basketball team. That’s the first I had heard any news of Iowa City. I will drop “Pops” a letter tonight just for good luck. 8:00 - cocoa, tomato juice, bread, peanut butter, jam.
Saturday, and Red Cross Clubmobile here as usual, I helped carry trays to the Wards so they gave me 4 pkgs cigarettes and 5 candy bars. I should get fat.
May 13, Sun. Nice day again. Breakfast - 2 soft boiled eggs, sausage, cooked cereal, warm milk, bread, apple butter, orange and coffee. Feel good this morning, but can’t eat verymuch yet, stomach won’t take it. But I sure can eat often. Dinner - chicken, dressing, rice, chicken gravy, spinach, pears, bread, jam and peanut butter and coffee, It was very good dinner. And my interrogation exam this afternoon. Supper - chops, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, stewed apples, bread, butter, cinnamon rolls and tea, Drew our weeks retions today - 7 pkg’s. cigarettes, 6 candy bars and 2 pkg’s., gum. 8:00 - milk flavored with jello, bread, grape jam and peanut butter.
May 14, Mon. Breakfast, scrambled eggs, link sausage, oatmeal, warm milk, bread, butter and coffee. Last night. Sun is out, Dinner - liver, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, peaches, bread, butter and coffee. Wrote a couple of letters and packed a box of stuff to take home. Supper - beef, gravy, corn, lettuce, rice with cheese, cake, bread, butter and tea. Rush back to watch the phone as I decided to write Pearl a letter while at the desk. Lunch at 8:00 - milk, bread, grape jam and peanut butter. I’m almost too full.
May 15, Tues. Warming up today - hotcakes, milk sausage, wheat or shredded wheat, warm milk, grapefruit, marmalade, and coffee. Spent a quiet morning. Dinner - meat loaf, catsup, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, fruit cocktail, cake, bread, butter and coffee. Worked at desk for awhile. Supper - pork chops, creamed potatoes, meat gravy, lettuce with fruit cocktail, turnips, apple turnovers, bread, butter, arid tea. I worked for awhile, but the place got me down so I went out for a couple of drinks - missed the milk, bread, grape jam and peanut butter.
May 16, Wed. Looks like rain again this morning. Had breakfast - french toast, syrup, bacon, cooked cereal, warm milk, oranges, and coffee. Turned out to be a nice day. Sun out warm. Dinner - chicken, chicken gravy, mashed potatoes, beets with onions, string beans, pears, bread, butter and coffee. Had a good rest this afternoon – mail, but none for me again. Supper - had chicken again, pork, potatoes, chicken soup, tomatoes with lima beans, blueberry pie, bread, butter and tea., 8:00 - A change - pea soup, bread, jam and peanut butter.
May 17, Thurs. A beautiful day starting out this morning, Bread, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, shredded wheat, or crumbles, stewed apples, bread, jam and coffee, Swell day - was out in the sun for awhile - looks as though we might get shipped tomorrow. Dinner - beef stew, spaghetti, soup, sauerkraut, bread, butter, cherries and coffee, Swell afternoon, rested’, helped the Sgt. Supper - steak, spaghetti, potatoes, corn, sauerkraut, apple, raisin turnovers, bread, butter, and juice. Walked down to Officers Mess to see the cooks - I met Cavins and Rickard and they fed me apple turnovers and coffee. I missed the milk and bread and jam at 8:00 again. I’m quite full so I don’t mind.
May 18, Friday. Had breakfast - boiled eggs, bacon, prunes and raisins, bread, butter, jam and coffee, oatmeal and warm milk. 10:30 - leaving on a “Red Cross” tour of London. Dinner at Washington Club in
London, then took a tour. I had been to most of the places when I was there last fall, But I enjoyed it, and it got us out for awhile, Sure tired me out even though we rode most all the time. Had a nice dinner - potatoes, pork, asparagus, cake with custard and our choice of coca, tea or coffee. Got back to the Hospital in time for Supper-ham, mashed potatoes, string beans, raisins, gravy, cake, bread, butter, soup and tea. 8:00-milk flavored with maple, bread, jam and peanut butter.
May 19, Sat. Breakfast - fried eggs, link sausage, cream of wheat, milk, orange, bread, butter, and coffee. Spent pert of the morning at P.X. waiting till inspection was over. Read in the “Stars and Stripes” where no POW’s will have to go over seas, so that lets us out of the South Pacific. Dinner-beef stew, boiled potatoes, spinach, pineapple, bread, butter and coffee. 8:00-milk with maple flavoring, bread, jam, and peanut butter. Took a walk-had a couple of beers.
May 20, Sunday - breakfast-hotcakes, syrup, sausage, cereal, (crumbles) warm milk, oranges and coffee. Rest-Dinner-chicken, chicken soup, rice, gravy, lettuce, peas, peaches, bread, butter and coffee. Raining now hard. Supper-cold cuts, mustard, potato salad, cherries, bread, butter and tea. Took a walk down to Officers Mess and had chicken arid coffee. Rain stopped so took a walk down for a beer.
May 21, Mon. Cool this morning-breakfast-scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked cereal, oranges, bread, jam, warm milk and coffee. Big excitement - bags packed-tomorrow is shipping day. Dinner-ham, raisins, gravy, peaches, cherry pie, peas, potatoes, bread, butter and coffee. 1:30 off for Horse Show. 5:30 back and it was very good. I wish Rich could have been here all the more now. Had a very large crowd. We received a big hand from the people and was greeted by the Mayor and alderman “Lady Keens”, JP. They served us tea, cakes and sandwiches and gave us special seats. Supper when we get back-liver, greens, potatoes, peas, choc. cake, tomato sauce and tea. But to top it all I received my FIRST LETTER from HOME. Now it’s raining-but the day has been perfect with a perfect end. Pea soup tonight with bread, jam and peanut butter.
May 22, Tues. Up 6:00 went down to the Officers Mess and had breakfast with the cooks on my last day here (invitation) hotcakes, fried eggs, jam and good coffee. Shaved, rested now.
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day out, water more smooth, Last night Plenty rough. The boat bucked plenty. More speed today, we are behind schedule. Water smooth all day-has been swell up on deck. Some of the fellows trying to get a sun tan. Not making the speed they planned to make, But I’m glad I’m on my way home, (9 P.M-clocks back one more hour - 225 Mi.)
June 10, Sun. 4th day-calm, but bit cloudy-made good time last night. The weather fairly warm. sun out at noon - chicken for Dinner-sun bath on deck.Evening almost got too much sun, back just a little sore-the fellows say they sighted a whale a little while ago. The weather is getting warmer so the water probably is too. Saw birds today. Can’t see how they live so far from land.
June 11, Mon. 5th day (226 MI.) Fog last night but made good time. No sun this morning. Still warm - fog closing in, hope it doesn’t slow us down. Fog raised - up on deck for awhile - too cool for sun bath today. (clock back one more hour. 249 Mi.)
June 12, Tues, 6th day, clear day-Gunnery practice was interesting, but bard on the ears. More sun tan this afternoon. Well over 1100 miles towards HOME. Near Azores Islands. (246 Mi.)
June 13, Wed. 7th day, cloudy this morning, but warm. Ship back in convoy again-SOS late last night. Plane down-this ship and one more, were trying to locate it but didn’t have any luck. Was 10 miles from convoy at one time. Water still smooth. Making good time, should be in the STATES about 21st. “KP” tomorrow-I only pulled KP once-when I first came into the Army now as I go out I pull it again, but it took the Navy to give it to me, (264 Mi.)
June 14, 1945, Thurs. 8th day - cloudy this morning. Slept pretty good. Met a fellow from Iowa-one of the Sailors and he moved me to another bunk-mattress and a clean sheet. The Sailors live good, guess I’ll join the Navy next time. KP for the day over - not bad I didn’t do too much. (clock back another hour) so I am only a couple hours difference from Iowa time. Over half-way, just a few more days.
June 15, 1945, 9th day, Fri. (251 Mi.). Has been a grand day the boys saw a shark arid a whale today. They saw one of those big turtles the other day. Getting a nice sun tan. Only two hours from the STATES time now. Headed towards Bermuda, should be in port in the STATES by next Thurs.
June 16, Sat. 10th day out. (247 Mi.) This is really a grand day. Quite a pleasure trip, getting a good sun tan, should look like my old self by the time I get home, Putting on weight, thanks to the Navy food, Sun tan this afternoon. Legs too much they burn tonight. Hone I can sleep.
June 17, Sun. 11th day - (256 Mi.) cloudy today, but warm - should be near Gulf Stream. Also near Bermuda - if everything continues to go well should be in sight of the Good Old U.S. by Wed. Legs plenty sore I won’t go to sleep in the sun today. Chicken and Ice cream for dinner. Reading about Bob Hope - the man overseas said, “I have given the best years of my wife to my country.” He is right, glad I’m nearing the shore of the U.S.(clock back one more hour) that’s the last one - just one hours difference between home and here.
June 18, Mon. 12th day, another swell day. We pass Bermuda today. Beginning to see ships from the States heading out to sea. (221 Mi). Gun practice on board - I won’t he able to hear for the next two days. 12-20 MM and 7-40 MM. They can make plenty noise. Picking up the States on the radio now, Had a baseball game from Philadelphia last evening. Another whale was sighted today. Glad they keep their distance - lots of water out there, so as long as they leave us along, I guess we won’t bother them. 10 bells, time for bed just had a nice shower-should sleep well. Weather much warmer as we get closer to the STATES.
June 19, Tues, 13th day, (226 Mi) - a beautiful morning, and getting hot. Leg plenty sore from sun burn. Has been a swell day and uneventful-saw a few flying fish. Less than 500 miles. Hope the water stays as smooth the next couple of days. Then we should be in.
June 20, Wed. 14th day - hot day again, seems more like a pleasure trip as we go along. On deck taking sun bath this morning. Steak for Dinner - sure eating well. Now they tell us we won’t land till Friday morning. They have slowed down the ship the last two days. 300 more miles to go. Should see lights from land tomorrow night. Should land at either Norfolk or Newport News, Va. Couldn’t sleep - up till 1:30 on deck, too near home I guess.
June 21, Thurs., 15th day, must be near land, a plane went over last night, A little cooler today maybe we will get some rain, Did rain hard this afternoon for awhile. nice out this evening-up on deck watching the flying fish, Should dock tomorrow sometime. Too many rumors, we should have been before this. 10:20 lights out in 10 minutes. But think I will stay up on deck for awhile. May even get to steer the boat for awhile.
June 22, Fri. 16th day. Up early and believe it or not, we were passing a life buoy, On our way into port. I sat all morning on the bow, of the boat and watched her come in sight of LAND! LANDED ABOUT 2:30 AT NEWPORT NEWS. Unloaded in about an hour and in a special train to a camp (one hours ride) be here from two to four days. (Camp Patrick Henry). Its great to be HOME. I’ll try to put in a call home later, Just had Supper, the best food I have had yet - steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, lima beans and corn, green beans, peas, lettuce and Thousand Island dressing, fresh rolls, plenty of butter, cake and ice cream and all the milk we wanted. This morning the weather was nice - saw a whale and a school of porpoise. The porpoise were just like a bunch of kids plaping. It was a great trip and did all of us a lot of good, but I am glad its over. (16 days to cross).
June 23, Sat. Camp Patrick Henry, Va. Swell weather glad to he alive and back in the good old U.S. Best of all, I talked home last night. Was swell to hear that familiar voice again. Guess life is worth living after all. I wouldn’t give ny life for all the girls I saw overseas or any where I have been so far. Well I had a shook this morning - I was supposed to go to Colorado according to my orders, but they changed them to St. Louis.
June 24, Sunday. Met Lamor at breakfast this morning, Had quite a talk, Nice weather, but getting hot. It’s tough getting used to the hot weather. That’s about all I can say for England. It was nice there. In fact cool up North in Scotland.
June 25, Monday - Another day here but not quite so hot, this morning, Not so much sun all day, short arm-ready to move out sometime tonight. Hoping - rain more rain. No order to move as yet.
June 26, Tuesday. Up early. In fact up most all night, Rain and more rain - orders for 8:00. Had all the sunny side eggs I wanted this morning - at least we moved out to the train. The gear goes straight through to St. Louis, 0900. Pulled out 10:30 - all troop train. That’s a grand feelingto be or the last lap of about a 4,000 mile trip. Especially when its towards HOME. Mess car and the eats aren’t bad. Porter service and bed.
June 27, Wednesday. 0700 Louisville, Ky., making good time - across Ohio.
St. Louis early this evening if we continue to make this time. Pulled into St. Louis Station 1830.
June 28, Thursday. Up early-big head - last night the train sat in the Station for sometime. Went out and got beer and whiskey-had plenty just celebrating my return to the Middle West. Sorry for one thing - two Lt. Col’s on the train stopped me - for once rank meant nothing - I really told them off. They were swell and passed everything off. Processed in a few hours - at 2 P.M all through and, on my way to the Union Station – 5:00, on train 12:35.
West Liberty and HOME! (74 Days)
(My story is ended, except for the Synopsis which I wrote during the week I waited to be taken out of Germany, after my liberation!)
Copied: February, 1971 - from “The Diary of 106th Division.”
by T/5 John D. Beals
217 E. Davenport St.
Iowa City, Iowa, 52240
|Page last revised 11/28/2006|