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317th Infantry Regiment, US Army in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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317th Infantry Regiment, US Army

If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

Those known to have served with

317th Infantry Regiment, US Army

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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Donald M Prescott Company L 317 Regiment

I am Donald's daughter and have just sent away for his medals. Now I am looking for any information or photographs of his regiment or anything to do with the time he was in it. I'm not sure when he went in but I know he was out in 1945. He served in the Central Europe campaign in the European theatre of operations (on the plaque he was awarded for the Bronze Star).

Terri Simula

PFC. John W Wedekind 317 Infantry Regiment

Mr. Wedekind attended my church when I was a boy. He and his wife Loretta were friends of my parents, and I was friend of their only child Terry. The only thing I know about his service is that he had been a prisoner of war in Germany. I found today on the internet that he was in Stalag 2A from 17th September 1944 to 17th October 1945. Mr. Wedekind passed several years ago, as did his son Terry, but Loretta Is still living in Clarion County PA (as of June 2014)


PFC Wilson A. Wendt 317th Infantry Rgt. 80th Infantry Div. (d.11th April 1945)

Wilson A. Wendt is buried in the Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands.

Oscar Ray Griffin 317th Rgt. C Coy 80th Inf. Div.

My grandfather, Oscar Ray Griffin, was an infantryman, but mostly served as a combat medic from 1943 until 1945.

Tyler Horton

Pte. Paul Stein Thomas HQ Coy. 317th Infantry Regiment

A Wartime Log

World’s Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations

Alliance Universelle Des Unions Chreriennes De Jeunes Gens,

Welrbund Der Christlichen Vereine Junger Manner,

Geneve (Suisse), Centre International

37, Quai Wilson

November 1944

Dear Friend,

As its title-page indicates, this War-time Log is part of a special remembrance from the folks at home. The other articles in the packet are more or less perishable, but this is intended to be kept as a permanent souvenir of the present unpleasantness.

If you do not want to keep a regular diary or even occasional notes on war-time experiences, these pages offer many other possibilities. If you are a writer, here is a space for a short story. If you are an artist (some people are) you may want to cover these pages with sketches of your camp, caricatures of its important personalities, whether residents or authorities. If you are a poet, major or minor, confide your lyrics to these pages. If you feel that circumstances cramp your style in correspondence you might write here letters unmailable now, but safely kept to be carried with you on your return. This book might serve to list the most striking concoctions of the camp kitchen, the records of a camp Olympic, or a selection of the best jokes cracked in camp. One man has suggested using the autograph of one of his companions (plus his fingerprints?) to head each page, followed by free and frank remarks about the man himself. The written text might be a commentary on such photographs as you may have to mount on the special pages for that purpose. The mounting-corners are in an envelope in the pocket of the back cover. Incidentally, this pocket might be used for clippings you want to preserve, or, together with the small envelopes on the last page, to contain authentic souvenirs of life in camp.

Perhaps you will discover some quite different use for this book. Whatever you do, le it be a visible link between yourself and the folks at home, one or more reminder that their thoughts are with you constantly. If it does no more than bring you this assurance, the Log will have served its purpose.

Yours very sincerely, War Prisoners Aid of The Y.M.C.A.

A Wartime Log A Remembrance From Home Through The American Y.M.C.A

Published by War Prisoners Aid of The Y.M.C.A., 37 Quai Wilson, Geneva, Switzerland

This Book Belongs To:

Paul S. Thomas Jr.

608 Henderson St.

Greenwood, Miss

U. S. of America


This Log Book was given to me on 11/29/44 while I was a Prisoner of war in Germany at Stalag IIIC, Kustin, Germany.


Wednesday, April 5 arrived Ft Dix, NJ

Monday, June 19 arrived Camp Kilmer, NJ

Saturday, July 1 left NY

Friday, July 7 arrived Scotland

Saturday, August 5 landed in France

Sunday, August 6 beginning of action in France

Tuesday, September 26 captured, to Stalag XIIF

Tuesday, October 3 to Stalag XIIA

Sunday, October 29 to Stalag IIIC


Wednesday, January 31 128 days - liberated by Russians

Thursday, February 15 Wreschen

Tuesday, March 6 left Wreschen on train

Friday, March 16 Odessa

Tuesday, March 27 60 days Russians - sailed from Odessa

Monday, April 2 arrived Naples

Tuesday, April 10 sailed from Naples

Friday, April 20 arrived Boston

Tuesday, April 24 Home for 60 days

Wednesday, June 27 to Miami Beach

Thursday, July 12 to Camp Shelby

Sunday, July 15 Discharge

November 25, 1940 Called into active Military Service of the United States with the Headquarters Battery 114th Field Artillery commanded by Col. A. G. Paxton. The 114th is part of 31st Division

December 22, 1940 entire division arrived at Camp Blanding, Fla and started its program of intensive training.

November 6, 1941 released from active service by act of Congress 28 years old

December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor

February 1, 1942 called back to active duty. Reported to Camp Shelby

February 6, 1942 arrived back at Camp Blanding

February 7, 1942 joined old unit again

February 19, 1942 Division moved to Camp Bowie, Texas

February 27, 1942 114th Regiment split into 114th Field Artillery Battalion and 137th F.A. Regiment

April 3, 1942 Got a 3-day pass and weekend pass, came to Greenwood where Mildred and I were married

April 11, 1942 137 F.A. Regiment moved to Camp Barkley, Texas

April 21, 1942 Promoted to First Sergeant

August 24, 1942 137 FA Regiment moved to Camp Gruber, Okla

April 15, 1943 sent on cadre of 20 men to 405 Field Artillery Group

April 24, 1943 137 FA Regiment redesignated 137 FA Group

August 1943 kicked out of 1st Sgt by new C.O. who has his own 1st Sgt, and transferred to 153 FA Bn. 153 FA Bn moved to Fort Riley, Kansas

December 1943 transferred to 80th Division at Camp Phillips, Kansas April 5, 1944 80th Division arrived at Fort Dix, NJ. Completed arrangements for movement overseas

June 19, 1944 moved to Camp Kilmer, NJ Port of embarkation

July 1, 1944 sailed from New York on Queen Mary for European Theater.

July 7, 1944 arrived at Glasgow, Scotland. Traveled by train to Ashton in Makerfield, England where 80th Division was reequipped and assigned to Third Army. The 3rd Army was placed under the command of General George Patton, and entered the European Campaign two months after D-Day. Pattons aggressive tactics quickly led to the breakout from Normandy at Saint Lo and the rapid encirclement of the 7th German Army in the Falaise-Argentan Pocket.

August 4, 1944 sailed from Southampton, England

August 5, 1944 landed on Utah Beach, France and proceeded to staging area D-day plus 58 near Saint Jores

August 6, 1944 moved inland to clean up pockets of resistance

August 8, 1944 first combat mission to assist in stemming the powerful armored counter attack by five Panzer divisions who sought to cut 3rd Army supply line.

August 11, 1944 seized Sille le Guillaume

August 18, 1944 Argentan mission starts

August 20, 1944 Argentan seized closing the gap that trapped the once proud invincible Seventh German Army.

August 29, 1944 chased Germans out of Chadons sur Marne liberating the town of Chalons. Division captured more than 80,000 gallons of gasoline near here.

Friday, September 1, 1944 Moving into area of enemy. Division rolled into Saint Mihiel where 26 years ago during the same month the Division had participated in the famous reduction of the Saint Mihiel Salient.

Saturday, September 3 Early morning action at line companies

Sunday, September 3 Saw War Memorial on a commanding hill above Saint Mihiel. 80th was in reserve in that area in last war.

September 4, 1944 advanced to the heavily fortified Moselle River began

September 12, 1944 Just before dawn 317th Inf crossed the Moselle at Dieulouard. This was where I was under heavy fire while laying telephone lines and later awarded the Bronze Star. (The first attempt to cross the Moselle River was repulsed, but the following day the 317th was augmented by tanks under the command of Col. Creighton Abrams, after whom the current U.S. militarys Abrams M1 and M2 tanks are named. The Abrams tanks were made famous in Iraq during the Gulf War. I served two tours in Vietnam in 1968-70; the first under the command of General William Westmoreland and the second under the command of General Abrams. Pattons rapid advance across France was slowed when he out ran his supply lines and when General Eisenhower redirected fuel supplies to General Montgomery on the left flank of the Allied advance.)

September 13, 1944 Germans massed armor and infantry and launched a series of high powered counter-attacks almost penetrated and nearly reaching the bridges at Dieulouard. Thrust was checked and all lost positions regained before nightfall. High ground rising above town of Point-a-Mausson taken. This high vantage point was the key to the Moselle River in the 80ths zone of advance. Town of Atton seized.

September 15 Heavy fighting near Hill Saint Genevieve. Germans counter-attack cutting supply line and re-capturing Atton. Atton later retaken by 1st Bn 318th Inf. After strengthening posotions on high ground running from Moussan Hill, saint Genevieve Hill, Landremont Ridge, and Falaise Ridge, the 317th and 319th forged ahead through the Bois de Saint Clement.

Tuesday, September 26 Captured on bitterly defended positions on Mt. Saint Jean. Lt. Himes, Capt. Bellamy, Cpl. Thomas killed and Capt. Hurst wounded on trail just a few feet in front of me by a mortar shell. Captured about 7:30AM near Battalion C.P. while looking for company headquarters to put wire in net.

Thomas and his older brother Bill worked as electricians prior to the war so he was attached to the 317th 3rd BN HQ Company as a linesman. His primary task was to run communication lines between command posts while other soldiers were busy digging in. At an 80th Division reunion, his pal Charlie Pillinger said that early on Thomas devised an improved method for connecting the communications lines that greatly improved the quality and reliability of their communications. Carrying a spool of wire meant that Thomas could only rely on his .45 automatic side-arm as his regular weapon. While stringing his wire through a gully on Mount St. Jean, he saw a German soldier standing above him on the edge of the embankment. Thomas drew his .45 and prepared to fire when a second German stepped up a few yards away and saw him. He knew he could not kill both of them so he raised his hands to surrender.

Wednesday, Sept 27 moved to Stammlager XIIF at Saarbrucken near German border. Note:

Thursday 28, 1944 nothing unusual. Very little food. No heat.

Friday, 29 Rations consist of loaf black bread, spam-full can meat for all day. No heat, only 1 thin blanket.

Saturday. Sept. 30 Same food, no heat. May move out today or tonight. Beds have straw mattresses full of fleas.

Sunday, October 1 Loaded on train in box cars, 50 men to small car. Not enough room for all men to lie down to sleep.

Monday, Oct 2 Remained in box car all day. Had an old Jerry guard that was kind of rough on us.

Tuesday, Oct 3 - Arrived at Stammlager XIIA about 12:AM near Limberg, Germany. Lot of bombers (Allies) flying over.


Wednesday, Oct 4 Food very poor. Sugar beets, cabbage stems.

Thursday, Oct 5 or 1/5 of loaf of bread for day 1 teaspoon syrup for breakfast. 1 can of soup consisting of peas or beet-tops for dinner.

Friday, Oct 6 quart can full of potatoes or beets for supper Saturday, Oct 7 One Red Cross food package to every 3 men instead of 1 per man as should be. Reason shortage of packages. Germans took my lighter, letters, knife, pipe reamers, fingernail file, money, notebook. Without R.C. package I dont think we can live on the food we get. ( In the Southern United States, until late in the 20th Century, the three daily meals were called breakfast, dinner and supper.)

Wednesday, Oct 11 Germans took pocket notebook but gave it back this date.

Thursday, Oct 12 Food no better. Barracks very crowded. Sanitary conditions very bad. No toilet paper so use cigarette package for toilet paper.

Friday, Oct 13 Had to march across street for a German General. Dinner better than usual, probably due to the Generals visit.

Saturday, Oct 14 There was a very pretty rainbow out this morning, most perfect I have ever seen. No Red Cross box today. Germans say 14 men on a box each day. Conditions getting tough. Reason is security measures against POW escaping.

Sunday, Oct 15 Usual food what there is of it. 1/5 loaf of bread, teaspoon jam, substitute tea. Bombers over all morning. Jerry ran all men inside.

Monday, Oct 16 Cloudy again today also wet. 1/6 loaf of bread, substitute coffee, spoon of jam for breakfast. No word of R.C. boxes yet. All food today had no salt.

Tuesday, Oct 17 Cloudy and raining mud getting deeper and deeper. 6 men to loaf of bread. Weather colder. Amer. Bombers over in large numbers. Anyone outside during air raid will be shot on sight.

Wednesday, Oct 18 My name called to be shipped out. Cloudy and raining. Weather cleared, Amer. bombers overhead. Beets and cabbage for supper. We hear that Saarbruken has been taken.

Thursday, Oct 19 Rained all night. Got 6 cigarettes per man tonight. These were refused by the Japs and sent back to POWs in Germany. Air raid during night. Prison grounds muddy as hell, worse than a hog pen.

Friday, Oct 20 Cloudy, not raining yet. Mud still bad. No word of shipment out. Broke stem to my Kaywoody pipe. Sure did hate it. Hear that people are moving out of Limburg.

Saturday, Oct 21 Cloudy, not raining. 1/6 loaf of bread, 1/13 stick butter, spoon full jam & Jerry tea for breakfast. 5 cigarettes per man.. Cigarettes have sold for as much as $27.00 a pack. Men trade $50.00 wrist watches for 5 loaves of black bread. New deal on Red Cross rations. 10 cigarettes every other day. Food package through kitchen.

Sunday, Oct 22 Cloudy, no rain yet. Extra good soup for dinner. Made from R.C. ration boxes. We hear Allies are getting close.

Monday, Oct 23 Cloudy usual breakfast. Fairly good dinner. Beets for supper with worms in it. 10 cigarettes per man. Large no. of men have G.I.s (Gastrointestinal Illness) vTuesday, Oct 24 Rained during night. May clear off during day. G.I. coffee this morning from R.C. boxes. Conditions improve as Allies draw closer to Germany. Jerry started locking us in barracks at night.

Wednesday, Oct 25 Cloudy no rain yet. Got 10 cigarettes. Boarded box cars to go to new camp.

Thursday, Oct 26 Twenty-five men to one end of box car, not enough room to lie down to sleep. loaf bread, slice butter, Jerry cheese for all-day ration. Weather real cold at night. No heat.

Friday, Oct 27 Cloudy and cold. Same amount of food. Was cold all night. Feet in bad shape from cold.

Saturday, Oct 28 Cloudy & misty rain much colder here at new camp, Stalag IIIC. Got here about noon. Camp much cleaner than XIIA. Some men have paid $10.00 for a single cigarette. This camp about 80 kilometers east of Berlin at town named Kristein. This is a new camp and may turn out to be a good deal. ( Alt Drewitz bei Kostrin in the Neumark of the state of Brandenburg (now Drzewice, Kostrzyn nad Odra), about 50 mi (80 km) east of Berlin, and just north of Frankfurt on the Oder River. The camp was first opened in early 1940 and 12,000 Russian solders were worked and starved to death there. The camp also held French, Yugoslavians, Italians, and British enlisted men.)

Sunday, Oct 29 Cloudy, not so cold. Area is nothing but sand. Reminds me of Florida. No mud. Sanitary conditions much better here. Coffee for breakfast, soup for dinner, tea for supper. R.C. package 1 box to 6 men.

Monday, Oct 30 Cloudy & colder. This camp is about 3 weeks old. Was occupied by French. 1/5 loaf of bread, slice butter, bean soup for Sunday. Went to church yesterday. Was conducted by a P.W. Was pretty good service. Issued 2 blankets.

Tuesday, Oct 31 Cloudy not so cold. No coffee or tea last night or this morning. No R.C. box for new 300 men as yet. Things really getting tough as to food. Turnips for dinner.

Wednesday, Nov 1 Cloudy & cold. Rained all night. No drink this morning. Got Jerry issue coat & cap. Turnip soup again. 1/6 loaf bread. Issued bar G.I. soap.

Thursday, Nov 2 Clear last night cloudy today, weather quite cold. One PW killed by truck today in accident due to PWs fighting for potatoes on truck as it passed by. Truck ran over mans head. Believe me I sure do miss my wife and baby. No R.C. box yet.

Friday, Nov 3 Sun was out but is cloudy again not so cold. Jerry searched barracks and area for food. No coffee this morning. Men talk about different dishes and cooking food all day long.

Saturday, Nov 4 Sun out for a while. Only one pan cabbage soup for meal today. Most everyone predicts war will be over by end of month. Issued 1 razor blade, bar face soap. One meal each day, 1/6 or 1/5 loaf of bread, 1 spoon butter, cabbage, potato, bean or turnip soup. A slice of salami on Sunday. Got R.C. box last night. American food sure was good. 1 box to each 6 men.

Sunday, Nov 5 Very pretty day. One of PW held a nice service this morning. All men really enjoyed R.C. box. 1 hand axe to 1000 men to cut wood with. Almost no wood at all and very little Jerry coal.

Monday, Nov 6 Cloudy & misty, not so cold. Raining now. Poor dinner, nothing but soup no solids. 6 men to loaf of bread. Most everyone betting war will be over in Nov. or Dec.

Tuesday, Nov 7 Rained this morn. 1 cup potatoes & turnips for meal today. Wrote Mildred a card today, also a letter. I keep thinking of plans for our future when war is over.

Wednesday, Nov 8 Rained all night, clear today. 1 pan potatoes & turnips. Men stay hungry and try to make what they get go as far as possible. Everyone out of cigarettes again.

Thursday, Nov 9 Cloudy & cold. 1 canteen cup chow all day. 1/6 loaf of bread per man. New men came in to fill up this compound.

Friday, Nov 10 Cloudy & cold. New kitchen opened up for this compound. Lights out at 9 PM; come on at 5 PM. I go to bed from 6 to 9 PM get up 6 to 7:30 AM. Sleep is one thing that is plentiful that is if you can sleep on hard boards.

Saturday, Nov 11 Raining & cold Today is my 33rd birthday. What a place to spend it. Turnips for dinner. Have shrunk quite a bit in size. About 32 in waist. Think I weigh about 175 lbs. New group of men have been captured 18 mo. Jerry took cigarettes from them but split them among other men of compound.

Sunday, Nov 12 Cloudy & cold Good dinner of potatoes, pea, & turnip soup seasoned with meat. Everyone out of cigarettes for a week. Today is J. D.s birthday. ( brother-in-law John David Turnipseed.)

Monday, Nov 13 Cloudy, wet & cold Reports are that P.W. was shot while taking turnips. Gestapo men here for a week. Oatmeal & potato soup for dinner.

Tuesday, Nov 14 Cloudy & a little snow. Sourkraut & potato soup. Jerry seems to be treating PW better & better.

Wednesday, Nov 15 Cloudy & colder R. C. reprensentative here. Two hot soups. 1/5 loaf. Issued 3 pieces wood and 12 blocks of pressed coal issued. Turnips for dinner, cabbage for supper. 2 in. snow.

Thursday, Nov 16 Cloudy & snowing. Snowed all night & all day. No tobacco for 10 days. 1 man got 3 day solitary for not saluting Jerry colonel.

Friday, Nov 17 Cloudy. Am hungry all the time. Jerry moving old PW men out because they are on to the maps of a stalag too well.

Saturday, Nov 18 Cloudy and Raining. Cabbage soup; same amount of food. Sleeping on floor on a thin straw mattress. Have two small jerry blankets. Have to sleep in clothes to stay warm. Common price of 1 cigarette is 1 mark or $.40; 50 smokes per pack. R.C. representative said Jerry food not enough for us to live on.

Cigarettes selling for 5 marks 3 cig now. Mailed card to H.M.F. canteen in England. No money to send letter by air mail. Mailed Mildred a letter.

Sunday, Nov 19 Cloudy & warmer, clouds breaking a little. Soup for dinner was sour. Issued 1 G.I. blanker; sleeps much warmer.

Monday, Nov 20 Cloudy but sun coming out a little, warmer. Turns warm at night and cold during day.

Tuesday, Nov 21 Mostly cloudy, sun out a little. 1 GI towel issued. Hear that 6 allied armys have begun to push.

Wednesday, Nov 22 Cloudy & colder Got 4 cigarettes & piece of cheese. 91 R.C. boxes broken down to kitchen for Thanksgiving soup. Hear that Goebbels says that war will be over in few days if armys are not stopped. 1 box of cheese per R.C. box.

Thursday, Nov 23 Cloudy & misty rain. GI and Jerry coffee mixed from R.C. boxes. Soup with R.C. box meat; hot chocolate for supper, raisins, jam, prunes, peanut butter, salmon also.

Friday, Nov 24 Cloudy, rainy. Athletic equipment arrived; R.C. boxes have been shipped.

Saturday, Nov 25 Cloudy & warmer. Thick soup of potatoes & turnips. Got bath for first time since being deloused. Got card & games, musical instruments. Men on edge most of time and hard to get along with. Sleeping on floor quite hard on kidneys.

Sunday, Nov 26 Cloudy & colder. Sent card to Mildred. Hear that R.C. boxes are in. Dont feel so good. Boy I really have lost weight. 28 drawers are loose on me.

Monday, Nov 27 Cloudy, not so cold. Oat meal and potato soup. R.C. packages tonight. Library in operation. Morale gone up 100% due to food boxes.

Tuesday, Nov 28 Clear & cold; heavy frost during night. Got 2 suits long underwear, wool cap, OD shirt, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 pair socks. Some R.C. boxes slobs (robbed?) before the arrival.

Wednesday, Nov 29 Cloudy & cold. Got R.C. boxes tonight. I made a raisin pie that was the best thing I have had to eat since being a prisoner. Sure did enjoy Amer food. We hear that Russians are 16 kil from here. Morale soaring high again. We hear that allied armies are driving and some have crossed the Rhine River. Berlin Y.M.C.A. supplied most of books for library.

Thursday, Nov 30 Thanksgiving Cloudy & warmer Two soups :turnip & potato, cabbage; no salt in either. Bread, butter & cheese. Another R.C. box tonight; 1 between 6 men. Im not used to good food after eating Jerry soup. Stomach and bowels upset. They have GI Jerry talking about closing our kitchen due to lack of fuel. Cans of meat in R.C. packages have to be parched. Jerrys order.

Friday, Dec 1 Cloudy & warmer Cabbage & potatoes for soup no salt. Rumors that Eisenhower says war will end about 15th. Traded for knife for 50 cigarettes. Next issue of R.C. box supposed to be Monday.

Saturday, Dec 2 Partly cloudy & colder Men took up collection of cigarette butts for me since I used all mine to get the knife. We use knife to slice bread and food. P.W. have shot all trading price down dirt cheap again. Fleas & lice in bed clothes and we cant get deloused. Jerry says its because of shortage of fuel to get up steam.

Sunday, Dec3 Cloudy & wet Attended services this morning conducted by one of P.W. Pea and potato soup for dinner.

Monday, Dec 4, 1944 Cloudy & wet Oatmeal & potato soup for dinner. Not any wood to burn and very little coal. Soup hasnt had any meat for days. No news floating in. Was supposed to get R.C. package tonight but didnt enough come in to be issued out. Wrote Mildred and Mother tonight

Tuesday, Dec 5 Cloudy & warmer Got a shower today. Used soap donated by people of U.S. through R.C. Sure did feel good to get cleaned up. Got R.C. box and made a raisin pudding that was good. One man baked a little cake in a milk can. Potatoes & sauerkraut for dinner.

Wednesday, Dec 6 Cloudy & warm Rained a little this morning. Got R.C. parcel tonight. Rutabaga soup for dinner, cabbage soup for supper.

Thursday, Dec 7 Cloudy & warmer Slept real good last night. Another R.C. box today. Made a raisin pie that sure was good. Some more of these log books given out yesterday. We hear that Allies are driving as they did in France. No Jerry cheese issued this week.

Friday, Dec 8 Cloudy & cool Sauerkraut for dinner. Finished R.C. box tonight. Enjoyed it very much. Bunch of French & Russians came in today. Men have organized boxing and softball teams with equipment sent in by Y.M.C.A. through Red Cross.

Saturday, Dec 9 Cloudy & cool Cabbage soup for dinner. Sugar ration gets smaller & smaller. No wood available for making fire. Weather has been quite warm most of week. Wrote card to Mildred tonight.

Sunday, Dec 10 Fair & cold sun out quite a bit. Good potato & pea soup today. Went to church again today. New song books have come in through R.C. donated by Y.M.C.A. It is said that this camp has accomplished for the P.W. in 3 mo. what it has taken others a year to do.

Monday, Dec 11 Fair & cold. R.C. box today. Bugle blows taps every nigh then plays a song afterwards. All the men enjoy it very much. Played Ill Be Home for Christmas & Beautiful Dreamer. Sun was out quite a bit today. We dont feel cold so much since we are getting meat in R.C. box. Found fleas in my bed this morning.

Tuesday, Dec 12 Clear & cool 2 in snow on ground this morn. Not so cold. Another R.C. box today. Rumor is that 6 Allied armies are across the Rhine and are waiting for 1 more before the big drive starts. Also hear that we will get 3 boxes next week that is 1 box for 6 men. I made a good bread pudding today out of prunes.

Wednesday, Dec 13 Clear & warm Sun out all day. Nice warm day. 2 soups today; rutabagas for dinner & potatoes & oatmeal for supper. R.C. box again today. Our company got seconds and everyone full of soup for first time. Report that 2400 more boxes down on siding.

Thursday, Dec 14 Clear & warm light snow during night. Had a good cup of coffee this morn. No more clothes washed in wash room. Two men from each co wash one day a week on wash detail. R.C. box tonight.

Friday, Dec 15 Cloudy & cold Ice on ground. Dont know how cold it is but it must be around freezing. R.C. box today. Sauerkraut for soup today. Made a plum pudding with icing for supper. R.C. box had no D Bars for second straight time. Report is that Xmas boxes are in; also 5000 regular boxes. I sure do get lonesome for Mildred & Jeanie. Go to sleep most every night thinking about them. I sure hope they are well & fine at home.

Saturday, Dec 16 Cloudy & cold Ice on ground. Temp must be below freezing. R.C. boxes today. We hear that Xmas boxes are in and will be given out 1 box per man. Includes 1 box pipe tobacco which I will enjoy very much. Found lice & fleas on me today. Most every P.W. needs to be deloused. How I wish I could be in old Greenwood tonight with Mildred & Jeanie.

Germans begin offensive which came to be know as The Battle of the Bulge.

Sunday, Dec 17 Clear & warm about the clearest day I have seen here at Stalag IIIC. Bean soup for dinner. No R.C. box today. Each man will get a Christmas box. Wrote a card to Mildred tonight.

Monday, Dec 18 Clear & not so cold Spent most all day getting deloused. Sure hope that ends the scratching for a while. R.C. box today. Also got a good bath. Sure do feel clean for a change.

Tuesday, Dec 19 Clear & cold Sun out heavy frost. Didnt feel so good this morning slight headache. Issued bar GI soap. We were expecting a show-down on R.C. box. No showdown; R.C. box today.

Wednesday, Dec 20 Cloudy & cold no sun. Feel better this morn. Cooked a prune flake pudding last night and the men commented on how good they looked. We are supposed to get R.C. box each day this week 1 to 6 men, and a Christmas box on Sunday at rate of 1 per man. I am looking forward to a package of pipe tobacco in Xmas box.

Thursday, Dec 21 Cloudy & cold Only 4 more days until Christmas. All my thought seem to wander back home and I suppose I have wished a thousand time that I could be home for Christmas. I pray that everyone at home is O.K.

Friday, Dec 22 Clear & cold probably coldest day yet. Was an air raid somewhere close to here last night. R.C. box today. Everyone is wishing they could be home for Christmas.

Saturday, Dec 23 Clear & cold seems even colder this morning. Ice on all window glasses. All water outside stays frozen. Wash rooms close because of frozen water. We are told that we will get R.C. Christmas boxes tomorrow afternoon. All P.W. that didnt have a Bible was given one today. R.C. box today.

Sunday, Dec 24 Clear & cold Would like to know exactly how cold it is. Everyone seems to be in good spirit. Went to church again this morning. Have new Hymnal to sing from now. From Y.M.C.A. I know that the folks at home are thinking of me and I am of them too. Im thankful for many things although I am a P.W. Got R.C. Christmas box and everyone is amazed as to number of articles and how good it is. We really appreciate them. The candy and salted nuts hit the spot with me as well as the package of pipe tobacco. Jerry is letting the lights stay on all night. Most every P.W. gave a cigarette for a Russian P.W. and also one for Jerry block Sgt. Beer was bought with funds from the PW barbershop. We have been saving a block of coal each day so as the have a fire all day Christmas. The men have been cooking cakes etc for Xmas. Saw one today that looked liked it was made from baking a bread pudding, milk & sugar icing and prune nuts on top forming the words Merry Xmas! The Christmas boxes made us a much better Christmas than we dared to expect. I really do think we have a lot to be thankful for although we are P.W. There are lot of folks in the world that are far worse off than we are. On this Christmas Eve night I pray that God will be with my wife, baby & loved ones and comfort them and may they have a wonderful Christmas.

Monday, Dec 25 Merry Christmas Clear & cold Very pretty day. Hope everyone has a very nice Christmas. I miss my wife and baby an awful lots today. Believe me I am with them in thought if not in body. I sure have been enjoying the R.C. Christmas box. Ate some of the Plum Pudding last night and it tasted like fruit cake. I thank God that we are able to get the R.C. boxes.

Tuesday, Dec 26 Clear & cold Never saw so many men sick at stomach and with G.I. Got sick myself. Didnt eat too much, the good food was just too rich after eating this Jerry soup. Feel a little better today but really had gas on my stomach last night. We all had a nice Xmas and were thankful for the R.C. box.

Pattons Third Army breaks through to besieged 101st Airborne at city of Bastogne, but it will be another month before all territory lost during German offensive is regained.

Wednesday, Dec 27 Clear & cold Feel a little better today. Still have G.I.

Thursday, Dec 28 Cloudy & cold ground has been frozen for about a week. Snowed a little this morning. Jerry put horse manure around water pumps to keep them from freezing.

Friday, Dec 29 Clear & cold heavy frost like snow. Has warmed up during day. Sauerkraut soup. Feel quite good today. Have gotten over G.I. Hear that a Jerry general is to take command of this camp. vSaturday, Dec 30, 1944 Clear & cold heavy frost again. Sun out a little. Hear that we will get R.C. box again Sunday. Have been enjoying the tea from Xmas package. Moon was real bright last night. Look like daylight outside. Gets pretty cold sleeping on floor these cold nights. We hear that Montgomery has replaced Eisenhower & Eisenhower is in Germany for peace terms. Snowing fast tonight.

Sunday, Dec 31, 1944 Cloudy & snowing snowed all night. About 3 in. snow on ground. Snowing fast this morning. R.C. box to be issued this morning. Snowed all day long and is about 5 or 6 in. deep now. Everyone staying up all night to welcome the New Year in.

Monday, Jan 1, 1945 Happy New Year To Everyone. May this year bring peace and happiness to the world. I hope too that it will take me home to my loved ones. Happy New Year to my wife & baby and may I be home with them soon. Got R.C. box yesterday and cooked a raisin pudding. The men have been cooking all night. We are all still hoping that the war will be over early in 45.

Tuesday, Jan 2, 1945 Cloudy & not so cold. Sun trying to come out. Report is that 1,100 R.C. boxes are in warehouse but nothing said about when next issue is to be. Lights were left on again last night until midnight. I go to sleep each night thinking of my wife & baby and wishing I could at least hear a word from them.

Wednesday, Jan 3 Cloudy & cold R.C. box today, 1 to 6 men.

Thursday, Jan 4 Cloudy & warm snow melting. Wrote card to Mildred today. How I wish I could hear from her. Had a shower this morning. Issued Jerry syrup that has no taste. Made raisin pie for supper.

Friday, Jan 5 Cloudy & warm sun trying to come out. Snow melting. Could hear planes bombing most all night. Had a couple of air raids before lights out at 9PM. Mailed card to Mildred this morning. Hungarians thru here going to Berlin says war will br over in 3 mos. All P.W. thought it would be over by now. They think it will be over by late Spring or early Summer. Four air raids during night. R.C. box today.

Saturday, Jan 6 Cloudy & cold The weather is about freezing but with Long Johns on and being inside, we dont feel it so much. Only feet stay cold most of time. Another air raid last night. R.C. box today.

Sunday, Jan 7 Cloudy & cold Mailed letter to Mildred and Mother. Went to church again this morning. I like to go as I feel closer to those at home at that time than I do any other. Sun out for a while today. News that we will get R.C. box each day next week 1 to 6 men. Also, during air raid at night we must keep all lights out and stay inside. In day time during air raid we must stay in barracks. We cannot light a match at night outside or guard will shoot. All guards are old men.

Monday, Jan 8 Matt. 9:10-15 Cloudy & cold Snowed a little this morning. R.C. box 1 to 6 men.

Tuesday, Jan 9 Matt. 9:2, Acts 23:11, John 16:33 Cloudy & snowing snowing fast. Have GIs again. Ground is white with snow and is about 4 or 5 in. deep. R.C. box 1 to 6. We hear that winter doesnt get much worse than it is now. If not, I guess we can stand it OK. Lights come on at 4 PM and off at 8 PM starting today. We made a raisin pie again today that was very good. The weather is quite funny to us here. It is cloudy most of the time during the day and is cold, and at night it clears off and is somewhat warmer.

Wednesday, Jan 10 Matt. 6:28-29, John 15:13-15; 2:1-2 Cloudy & cold Colder than usual. GIs had me going last night & this morning. R.C. box

Thursday, Jan 11 Luke 15:3-10, 23 Cloudy & cold Not as cold this morn. Snowed during night. GIs a little better. Sleeping on floor is getting tough as the weather gets colder. Got 6 sheets toilet paper, 4 razor blades, 2 pipe cleaners, box matches this morning. R.C. box.

Friday, Jan 12 Matt. 13:44, 25:21-33 Cloudy & warm Ice & snow is melting. We hear that Russians have 6 million men ready to throw in. I feel a lot better this morning. GIs not so bad. News is that all 7 Allied armies are on move again. No R.C. box today.

Saturday, Jan 13 Matt. 5:3-12 - Matt. 5:3-12 Clear & warm Roll call at 8:00 AM. Our Company (co. 7) work company again starting today. We didnt think we would be here long enough to catch that detail again. No R.C. box today lack of transportation.

Sunday, Jan 14 John 15:11, 16:22, 17:13 Clear & cold Sun out today. Went to church this morn. Mailed Mildred a card. Air raid again last night and one on at present time. Rumor is that no R.C. boxes til Monday. Good pea & potato soup today. No R.C. box.

Monday, Jan 15 Luke 6:27-28, 32-38 Cloudy & cold Air raid last night. Looked like it was on Berlin. R.C. boxes just came in. Will get them sometime today. Boy we sure got hungry with just the Jerry soup to eat. Still have GIs. Got R.C. box this morning. OK paper listed a bunch of American officers that was supposed to have been killed when Allied planes bombed the prison camp at Limburg.

Tuesday, Jan 16 Matt 18:21-24, 27-30 Clear & cold fog & frost this morning. Went to a German speech class this morning. Classes are held for German, French, English languages. Also one in hobbies. R.C. boxes today. A German captain taught the class and we enjoyed the class quite a bit. It is one way of making use of the time we have plenty of.

Wednesday, Jan 17 Mark 11:25, Matt 6:12-15 Cloudy & cold Air raid again last night. R.C. box today. Rumor is that all fronts are on the move and Jerry back is broken. Not so cold all day long.

Thursday, Jan 18 Matt 5:21-24 Cloudy & not so cold Rumor is that Russians are at German border and have captured two towns in Germany. R.C. boxes today. Air raid early tonight.

Friday, Jan 19 Peter 2:21-24, Luke 23:33-34 Cloudy & warmer Ice melting sun trying to come out. No R.C. box today due to lack of transportation. Six cases of R.C. boxes reported stolen from warehouse. Rumor is that Russians are 80K from here. Snowing again tonight.

Saturday, Jan 20 Mark 2:15-17 Cloudy & snowing not so cold this morning. Ground frozen again. We hear that all civilians were banned from streets in town yesterday due to troop movements. We had to walk for 30 min in cold this morning for not calling attention when Jerry corporal came into the barracks. Wrote a letter to Mildred tonight.

Sunday, Jan 21 Ephesians 4:25-32 Clear & cold 2 R.C. box today. Rumors that Russians have taken Breslau and are moving up Oder River. Mailed letter to Mildred. Went to church again this morning. ( Breslau (Wroclaw) is about 300 km southeast.)

Monday, Jan 22 Mark 3:1-6 Clear & cold Probably the coldest day yet. An old Jerry was assigned to this block about a week ago and has been causing us trouble ever since. He was the one that caused us to walk the other morning. He came around this morning with a heavy walking stick. Our feet stay cold most of the time now. R.C. box today and 5,000 more have come in. Jerry moved some Russians out of the blocks next to us today. We hear that the Russians are 125K from here now.

Tuesday, Jan 23 Luke 17:2, 20:45-47 Cloudy & cold snowed a little last night. Went to German language class again this morning. R.C boxes today. There was a Jerry show down inspection of R.C. boxes this morning to see if cans were punched.

Wednesday, Jan 24 Matt 23:23-28 Cloudy & cold Company was deloused today and drew overcoats, scarf, and khaki shirts. The overcoat sure does feel warm. R.C. boxes today. The old Jerry pushed Coleman around so he got the Captain on him and he told him to not put his hands on a Yank.

Thursday, Jan 25 Luke 16:19-23 Cloudy & cold Lot of mix up on blankets & matrices from delousing. Snowed a little last night. Was issued some G.I. insect powder, a razor, sewing kit this morning. Expect to get some shoes in a few days. Lights were cut off early last night and no lights at all tonight. Russians must be getting real close. We hear that they are 60K from here. Transport planes have been flying over close to here all day. Snowing again tonight. R.C. box today.

Friday, Jan 26 John 2:13-17 Cloudy & cold No R.C. boxes lack of transportation. A group of women passed here today. Looked like evacuation. We hear that there is no more coal for the barracks & only 3 days for the kitchen. Also one more load of R.C. boxes to be brought in. It is rumored that the Colonel (Jerry) has left here. Snowing again tonight. We believe that the Russians will liberate us soon.

Saturday, Jan 27 Matt 7:1-5 Cloudy & cold Snowed most all night. Sun out a little this morning. Jerry guards started wearing their helmets yesterday.

Sunday, Jan 28 Matt 4:8-11, Mark 8:31-33 Cloudy & snowing Snowed most all night and all day today Very cold. Went to church again this morning. No R.C. boxes yesterday; one today. My shoes are in bad shape and feet stay cold most all the time. Was issued 2 pr wool socks size 12 today. Latest rumor that Russians are 25 miles from here. No lights for several nights now. We make lights by using margarine.

Monday, Jan 29 Matt 7:21-25 Cloudy & snowing sun out a few minutes. R.C. box today.

Tuesday, Jan 30 Matt 12:47-50 Cloudy & snowing 6 in. snow on ground. Russians 36K from here. Jerry told us to be ready to move out on a ten minutes notice. They are trying to get Russian prisoners moved out. They wont let anyone outside the compound gate.

Wednesday, Jan 31 Cloudy & cold This is the day we have been waiting for. Jerry got us up at 4 AM to move out. We moved out in late morning in opposite direction from Kristin. Three miles up road we were fired on by Russians and several of our men and some Jerries were killed & wounded. We turned around and came back to Stalag and in a little while we moved out again in direction of Kristin and again came back. About 3:30 PM, Russian armor moved through. One man picked up radio and we heard news for first time in months. Air raid shelters were full so we took up floor and dug shelters under barracks. Jerry was using us to get themselves out.

Thursday, Feb 1 Cloudy & warm We made night OK. Plane just came over shooting. Boy we really are sweating it out until the main Russian body gets here. We had quite a bit of excitement during day. Jerry planes came over and dropped personnel bombs in P.W. camp. One G.I. was killed and several French. Artillery hit pretty close during night. The planes had us taking to the shelters several times. The weather turned warm and most of snow has melted. The water flooded the air raid shelters so all men had to get out of them last night. The Russians were using a lot of rockets and boy do they make a noise.

Friday, Feb 2 Cloudy & warm another day & night OK. Shells came in close enough to cause us to get up during night. Planes havent bothered us today. Heavy fighting & shelling going on all around. Current went off yesterday afternoon, so no more news. Men just came in with a pig. I got a rabbit this morning. Food is getting pretty low. Russians say for us to sit tight and they will evacuate us as soon as possible. We had pork chops & potatoes for supper.

Saturday, Feb 3 Cloudy & warm Rather quiet last night. Planes did quite a bit of dive bombing close to us. Really shakes the building. A bunch of Allied bombers came over also. G.I. guards have been placed around fence and we cant get out. Planes really did bomb close to here this afternoon.

Sunday, Feb 4 Clear & warm Well the Russians moved us out of Stalag IIIC at 5 PM yesterday. We walked til about 4 AM this morning. Went cross country with plenty of mud. The march wasnt too rough except it was real cold and our feet felt like they were freezing due to them being so wet. We hear that Allied planes will blast Stalag to bits. We live on whatever food we can find.

Monday, Feb 5 Clear & warm Last night we slept in what ever house or barn we could find. This afternoon we started out again in groups of 20 or 30, and made about 15K. Stopped at a farm house and killed some chickens & rabbits and I cooked them for supper. A Russian took my wedding ring this afternoon.

Tuesday, Feb 6 Cloudy & warm Stayed in farm house last night. Hiked about 25K today. Found enough to eat at houses. Expect to get to Lansberg tomorrow. We saw an old man and old woman hung in the rafters in the attic of this house.

Wednesday, Feb 7 Cloudy & foggy Got to Lansberg (Osno Lubuskie?) about noon. All P.W. were collecting at an old theater. Started to move to a town 7 K away but will go tomorrow. Russians say we will catch a train there. Lansberg forestry (?) badly torn up. Saw two old women and old man killed in bed and another hung to door hinge.

Thursday, Feb 8 Clear & warm no transportation at Lansberg so we start walking to Friedburg. Couldnt get through at one town where Russians were, so had to turn around and go another way.

Friday, Feb 9 Cloud & Rain Rode bicycle all day today. Went about 15 miles. Some of G.I.s passed us on trucks. All towns are pretty well burned out.

Saturday, Feb 10 Clear & warm Rode bike most of day. Passed town of Kreuz. We are headed toward Warsaw. Passed one of Germans concrete fortifications today. Kind of hard to find food now. There is four of us now and we got separated from the main group of G.I.

Sunday, Feb 11 Clear & warm Rode bike all day. Got to within 7K of rail head. Just inside Poland at unknown town. They gave us some food here.

Monday, Feb 12 Snowing & cold Walked about 8K to railroad station at Sogen (Sulecin?), Poland. There was hundreds of war refugees including G.I.s. All that could get on the train piled on. Some even rode on a flat car in the cold. Refugees included French, Poles, Russians, Americans, Italians, etc. Some with babies in arms, some with household goods. We rode what seemed to be about and hour & half to town of Rogofeu (Rogozno?) . Polish Red Cross gave us coffee and bread today and a place to sleep in an old school building.

Tuesday & Wednesday, Feb 13 & 14 Snowing & Cold Waited at railroad station in Ragofen (Rogozno)most of day. Train came in about middle of afternoon. Rode train til early this morning and got to Geneseu (Gniezno), Poland. The Polish Red Cross does all it can but cant do much due to condition of the country. The train ride was tough. Was snowing hard and most of refugees were on flat cars. It was a pitiful sight to see women with tiny babies out in that cold. Saw them carrying one baby away in a wagon to bury it. There seems to be thousands of P.W. coming out of Germany. We were told by a Pole that there are about 20,000 P.W. of all nationalities at a collecting point 23K from here and they are about to starve for there isnt anything for them to eat. The Red Cross feeds one soup per day here. I got some today and enjoyed it very much. Looks like we may have to stay in Poland til war is over.

Thursday, Feb 15 Cloudy, cold & rain Spent morning in Gneseu. Russian captain brought some bread & Jerry can meat and gave it to us, then moved us out to road intersection and stopped trucks and loaded us on them. That was French and Americans. Got about 5 mi. and trucks turned off. Caught another ride to town of Wreschen (Wrzesnia) which has been designated as a collection point. We are staying in building which were occupied by Germans. Looks like barracks. The place is so full that we slept in hall on straw last night. The Russians feed soup & coffee each day as well as loaf of bread. We cant ship out so we think that perhaps as soon as enough men assemble here that they will ship us out. There is also some American officers here.

Friday, Feb 16 Partly cloudy & cold Moved from a building where all nationalities were to a building on the highway. Over 300 are here and still some in other building. Got 1/6 loaf bread last night and soup. Soup is pretty good but not much of it. There is 2 captains in charge of us now and they are sending a wire to Moscow so looks as if we will be here for a few days before something is done to move us out.

Saturday, Feb 17 Cloudy & Cold Had coffee this morning. Are out of any kind of tobacco now. We may be issued some by the Russians. There is 14 of us in this room and we are sleeping on straw on the floor at present. We had soup three times today and was pretty good too. Got 8 cigarettes per man.

Sunday, Feb 18 Cloudy & warm We drew rations this morning and will start cooking in the kitchen which is in the basement of this building. Rumor is out that Russians will ship us to Moscow about the end of the month. Americans & English first then French, then Italians.

Monday, Feb 19 Clear & not so cold Still in same location. Eating soup out of our kitchen now. Had good bean soup for supper. Details are continuing to clean up building and area around building.

Tuesday, Feb 20 Clear & warm Had another good soup for supper. Men still waiting here to be shipped out. Got water fixed in building. I tried to fix lights but no luck. Men went to get showers.

Wednesday, Feb 21 Clear & warm Sun out bright this morning and its not so cold. Some of English & Americans moved out today. Left on a train that was transporting a large group of prisoners. We all hope to be out in a few days. Got lights in building tonight.

Thursday, Feb 22 Fair & not so cold Still here in Wrzesnia waiting to be shipped out. Rumor just came in that another shipment is going out today. Tobacco is getting very scarce. Went up town this afternoon and got a haircut & shave for 3 marks. Also got a bowl of soup. The restaurant and barber shop was the only two businesses outside of a drug store that we saw.

Friday, Feb 23 Cloudy & warm Russians had a roll call this afternoon. We dont know why but we hope it is for a shipment out of here. Maybe we will know in a few days. The main supply route runs through here so we see quite a few trucks that are made in the U.S. We got some lard so we are frying up some potatoes tonight. There are plenty of potatoes left in mounds by the Germans.

Saturday, Feb 24 Cloudy & snowing Snowing quite heavy this morning. Went uptown just after dinner. Nothing up there so had a cup of soup at Red Cross and came back. Russians issued us some alcohol to drink. Boy it is pure stuff too. Some of the boys cut it and tried it out. Had noodle soup for supper. Hear that a group of officers came in today. One high as a major. Hear that there is a shipment going out on Monday and Thursday.

Saturday, Feb 25 Fair & warm Quite a nice day. One of the boys held a short service on the stairs. Had a good soup for dinner also got some tobacco issued. Boy it is really strong. Showed the boys here in the room the pictures of Mildred & Jeanie and they complimented me on how nice they both were. Several of the boys here were with the group from 3rd Bn that crossed the Moselle and were cut off and captured. We are getting impatient waiting around so if they dont move us soon Im afraid we will be starting out on our own again.

Monday, Feb 26 Cloudy & Rain Everything about same. No word yet as to when they will ship us out.

Tuesday, Feb 27 Fair & Warm Just like Spring today. Sun out and nice & warm. Thought we were moving to another building but didnt. Some more officers have come in and a Major has assumed command of all G.I. He issued an order today that that everyone would stay here and for us to stay as clean as possible. Also keep our rooms clean. He says that the Russian commander knows when we will be shipped out but he wont say. Everyone is getting restless sitting around. Some of the men tried to hit the road but they sere sent back by the Russians. The officers say they will stay as long as possible with us so maybe they can help us get out of here.

Wednesday, Feb 28 Fair & warm Another nice day. The Major came over here today and laid down the law to us. Said he would see that we got a court martial upon reaching the States if we did not stay here as the Russians have directed. Walked uptown again this afternoon. The people were outside a little more than usual. There is a captain and a lieutenant in this building now. The Jerries flew over tonight so the Russians threw up quite a bit of stuff at them. Nothing happened however. No bombs dropped or planes hit.

Thursday, March 1 Cloudy & windy We fell out this morning at 10 oclock and was organized into platoons. A Capt. Thomas is in charge and made us a talk today. He says we must have some sort of organization so that is why we are organized into platoons with men in charge. They didnt want us out after dark. For my part, I dont want to be out after dark cause it is real easy to get shot. I hope all the organization dont mean that we will be here foe some time. Soup is pretty good but we get tired of soup all the time. The Major came over and inspected the building. Walked uptown again today. I sure dont have too much energy these days. I sure wish I could write to Mildred. I think of her and Jeanie most all of the time.

Friday, March 2 Cloudy & snowing A blizzard blew in last night. The ground is covered with snow again. March really came in like a lion. The wind has been blow continuously . Order came down from Russians this morning that we are not allowed uptown due to typhus & venereal diseases up there. Washed my underwear this morning. Trying to clean up a little. Sure will be glad when I get new clothes. The wind certainly has been blowing hard this afternoon. Even shakes this brick building at times.

Saturday, March 3 Cloudy & snowing not so much wind today. Got to take a shower this morning and it sure did feel good to get clean again. We had a formation at 13:00 and the lieutenant told us that Turkey had declared war on Germany. Also that there would be three trains out of here Monday and all the GIs would be shipped out on one of them. He also said that the other 100 that left here was shipped to Odessa. He doesnt know where we will be sent to. We started cleaning up the place today in preparation to leaving. One of the doctors that is here gave us a physical inspection this afternoon. I dusted all my clothing good with insecticide powder so I dont think the lice will bother me.

Sunday, March 4 Cloudy & cold One of the boys held church again today. The word was passed down to us this morning that we would leave tomorrow at 1PM for Odessa and the Russians had issued supplies for six days. I think they will also issue blankets & mattresses for the trip. This will be one trip that I think all the PWs will be glad to ride in a box car. Had a good pea soup for dinner. Two Russian nurses came up and gave us a spot check for lice. Snowing again tonight. The ground is all white again.

Monday, March 5 Cloudy & snowing Had roll call by Russians this afternoon. Didnt move out because 70 American officers & some English came in so the are making arrangements for them to go also. We are supposed to leave before noon tomorrow. Eat a couple of eggs tonight for first time in months. Jerry was over again tonight.

Tuesday, March 6 Cold & snowing The Americans and British assembled at old stalag about 4:30 PM. British moved out first followed by Amer. Officers and then Amer. Enlisted men. We marched to train station and after some wait loaded into box cars 30 men to small car; 60 men to large car. Cars have two layers of boards in each end for bunks. Were issued beds of straw to sleep on. 7 men on top bunk; 8 on bottom. Was so close that we had to sleep on our sides. Stove in each car which keeps it quite warm. Weather was pretty cold. About 1,000 liberated PW on board train.

Wednesday, March 7 Cold & snowing We have been sitting in a railroad yard ever since last night and it is about 5 PM now. I think this railroad yard is close to Warsaw. We dont know why we have been held up here. Were just told that if we got left by the train to get in touch with Russians and catch train up with Train 96162. It is a lot colder here than any place we have been so far. The food given us is mostly German. The Russians going toward Germany are eating American canned food. A Russian captain told us that there are all kind of American supplies at Odessa. 1 loaf bread per man yesterday. 1 can meat for 10 men today. 1 soup today. Sugar & tea.

Thursday, March 8 Cold & snowing Still making slow progress through Poland. Left Proga and are further east.

Friday, March 9 Cold & snowing heavy Made about 20k today and stopped at Siedice during night. Seems like the further east we go the heavier it snows and the deeper it is. A Pole gave me a couple drinks of snapps and it was pretty good too.

Saturday, March 10 Cold & snowing Still in Siedice. Traveled about 80K today. Weather very cold. I imagine it is way below zero. Everything covered with snow.

Sunday, March 11 Cold & sun shining Weather real cold. We traveled quite a bit during night and have been making good time today so far. We are about 25K from Brest Litowsk where we think we will start heading southeast toward Odessa. So far we have been going generally east. Just passes a big air field with lots of fighters and larger planes.

Monday, March 12 Hazy & cold Little snow coming down. Not as cold as it was yesterday. We set here in the yards at Brest Litowsk all night and are still here at 2 Oclock today. Cant get any more coal to burn in the stove but did get a lot of wood and split it up. They have been switching us around in the yards. Found out that 10 air corps men were added to our train night before last. Were issued 3 cans of meat this morning for 31 men, 1 loaf of bread per man. Was issued can of lard day before yesterday and we eat it like butter. The Russians laugh at our light clothing and shoes. Dont know when we will leave here.

Tuesday, March 13 Cloudy & cold We passed through Rowno (Rivne?) and on to Starokostyantyniv where we set til about midnight. No soup at all today. Got 5 cigars per man.

Wednesday, March 14 Cloudy and not so cold. The snow seems to be getting thinner the further south we go. The last town we are stopped at (the name I dont know) was supposed to be 350K from Odessa. (maybe Tulochyn?) A Russian captain told us a few days ago that flowers were blooming in Odessa so we are looking forward to seeing them. We are also hoping that we can get Amer. Rations there too. The train has been making quite good time in the last 24 hours.

Thursday, March 15 Cloudy & quite warm Still making pretty good time. Just passed through town of Kodyma, Ukraine. We are not so far from Odessa now. One of the captains says that the Major got a wire that a transport is waiting at Odessa for us. We expect to get there tonight or tomorrow morning. The people there have eggs, meat, hams, bread, cakes, etc. I suspect it takes quite a few rubles to buy them.

Friday, March 16 Cloudy & warm We got to Odessa early this morning and sat on a side track til about 9:30, then moved closer into town and unloaded. The transport left yesterday so here we are again. We are virtually prisoners cause the Russians have us all in a big building which is surrounded by guards on all sides. They also have guards down at the Amer. Boats to keep soldiers from slipping on board. Some of the sailors have been by here and gave some of the men a few cigarettes. We were taken a few block from the building and had a bath and clothes deloused. We are on soup again. Sure is hard to see all the canned food from the States and cant have any of it. We are not allowed out of the building. So I hope a boat will soon take us out of here. The men got quite a kick out of the showers because women were operating the showers & delousing along where the men undressed.

Saturday, March 17 Clear & warm �Sun out bright. Had a good soup this morning. Some more sailors came around today. They were from the USS Tiger. They gave us a few packs of Luckies and later a Marine officer came up and he sent back for a load of cigarettes. We each got a pack. The sailors said they had come to take us out of here. Their ship is said to be the first U.S. ship to come in the Black Sea. The Russians wont even let the sailors come in where we are. The British Red Cross was up to see the British this morning and gave them cigarettes & candy. It seems that we will be here four or five days until the Russians will let us leave. I sure would like to look around Odessa for there must be some wonderful old buildings, etc. in an old city like this one. It is torn up to some extent however.

Sunday, March 18 Partly cloudy & cold This have been quite an eventful day for us. We got copies of the Stars & Stripes this morning which was the first American news in over 6 mos. Also got cigarettes & bar chocolate, Red Cross comfort kit and they are bringing in plenty of sugar and coffee into the building. Sure does feel good to get articles from the States. They are getting passports made out for us and I think we will sail next Sunday. Hear that some C-raions have just come in. All this is fine, but it cant compare with the joy that will be in my heart when I can see my wife and baby again. I have missed them so terribly much.

Monday, March 19 Cloudy & fairly cold Didnt feel so good last night but after taking three aspirin I feel better this morning. We had to take our stove out this morning but it has been quite warm in the building all day. There have been details working all day cleaning up. We were taken for a little walk around town today. The city is very old and practically every building has been damaged or destroyed. There seem to be quite a number of people here though. There is plenty of them on the streets.

Things seem to be improving for us day by day. We were issued a tooth brush, package of blades, 1 pk cigarettes, 2 bar chocolate, knife, fork, spoon. Also got a little more sugar and spam with our dinner. Toilet paper issued this afternoon as well as canned milk. I find that it takes very little to fill me up after having so little to eat for so long a time. It snowed a little this afternoon and later rained. We were called down stairs and our serial no. checked. Some said it was to send a wire home notifying that we are safely liberated. We had good American coffee, beef & gravy and rice for supper and believe me it was really good. We had a movie here tonight. The second show was stopped because the wall of a bombed building in rear of this one collapsed and killed one American outright and another died a little while later. Many more would have been killed if it had collapsed during the day.

Tuesday, March 20 Clear & quite cold Sun out all day but was freezing during night. Had good coffee with cream & sugar this morning. Food is much better since food from the States has been added. We also got a bunch of books and games the other day. The Russians have had a large group of men working around here today pulling down that were left standing close to this building.

Wednesday, March 21 Clear & not so cold The funeral for the two Americans that was killed was held today. We all lined up, a file on each side and gave a salute as the caskets passed by. They were carried from the building and loaded on a truck. Both caskets were covered with the Amer. Flag. We drew a few other items today canteen, mess kit, barrack bag, tie, handkerchief, belt, drawers.

We are getting plenty to eat also. Never thought I would see a PW turn down food but I have here. We were assigned to companies and platoons as well as given numbers for loading on the boat.

Thursday, March 22 Clear & warm Got a few more items of clothing today. We took showers again this afternoon. I noticed some cream rolls at a corner stand on the way to the showers so on my way back I stopped by and bought a couple of them. Boy they were really good. Havent heard for sure when we will leave here.

Friday, March 23 Cloudy & quite warm We were taken down to a stadium this morning to see a Russian circus. American, English and French filled the place which would hold about two thousand. The acts were really good. The feature act was a rocket ship act that was very good. Have never seen anything like it before.

Saturday, March 24 Cloudy & cold Snowed during the day. Nothing much doing but sitting around waiting to be shipped out. Drew a new field jacket.

Sunday, March 25 Cloudy & not so cold Got up at 6 AM. Was called off and lined up according to Russian roster. We marched down to boat with a Russian band in the lead. Loaded up just after arriving at wharf and had dinner. Had hot chocolate about 4 PM and supper at 7 PM. Had white bread and butter for supper. It was really good. This boat is the HMT Circassia. Dont know when we will pull out.

Monday, March 26 Clear & warm Sun out all day. Was a very pretty day all day. Boat still in dock. Had two fire and boat drills. Chow is good but not much of it. We sleep in hammocks down in hold of ship. Officers have state rooms. Most every place in boat is off limits to us except the part where we sleep and the Prom. Deck. The cinema is our recreation room. Officers ran us out of there last night and had a function in there.

Tuesday, March 27 Clear & warm Ship pulled away from dock and out into bay about 11 AM. Pulled anchor about 2 PM and sailed. Duchess of Richmond also sailed with British. This is a Scottish ship. We got paid 2 pounds last night. The ships canteen opened yesterday afternoon. It has quite a stock.

Wednesday, March 28 Clear & warm Today was a pretty day with the sun out all day. The closer we get to Turkey the warmer it gets. We passed out of Black Sea into the straight that leads to the Sea of Marmara and dropped anchor at Constantinople and Istanbul. It sure is pretty from the boat. Looked at it again after dark and it is all lit up and is still pretty. Looks quite funny to see a city all lit up. We are really enjoying the voyage now. Food is good and we are getting plenty now. We are given a pack of smokes, pack of gum & a bar of candy every day. With the $20.00 paid us last night we can buy a few things at ships canteen, that is if you sweat the line out. The men were given shots today if the time had elapsed since the last ones. I was truly thankful for the shots while I was a PW. We are really back in the Army now. Have boat drills twice daily. Quarters are inspected each day and we have we have to obey all kinds of rules or restrictions.

Thursday, March 29 Clear & warm Another nice day. Most everyone going around in shirt sleeves today. We set here in straight all day. This makes a night and day here and looks as if we will be here all night tonight. Some of the Amer. Embassy was also aboard today, also some news correspondents. We can all see the Presidents palace right here on the waterfront. It really is a pretty looking building. We are getting all we want to eat now. The boat drills are a pain in the neck. Have to wear a tie in the morning for it.

Friday, March 30 Clear & warm Pretty all day. Ship sailed at dawn and we have been in sight of land on both sides all day long. I was very pretty all the way. We passed the Dardanelles this afternoon also. A pilot came out and took the ship through a mine field just before we got there. Saw the cemetery & monument for the English that died there in the last war. The climate is a lot warmer now and should get much warmer still. We were told to set our watches back 1 hour at midnight tonight.

Saturday, March 21 Clear & warm Ship passed through Aegean sea and into Mediterranean Sea today. Mediterranean got quite rough this afternoon and most everyone was getting seasick. I did myself. Passes along the southern coast of Greece this morning. Could see some snow capped mountains in the distance.

Sunday, April 1 Clear & warm The ship passed out of Aegean Sea and into Mediterranean Sea today. Went between Italy and Sicily this afternoon which is only about 2 miles across at that point. Saw the city of Messina in Sicily from the ship sure was pretty. Also saw a town in Italy on the opposite side of the straight but I dont know its name. Italy & Sicily both had real high mountains that reached to the clouds. Most everyone felt pretty good today after getting seasick yesterday. The weather is nice and warm tonight. Suppose we will reach Naples sometime during the night. One of the chaplains on board held Easter services in the ships lounge today. Last year on Easter day I remember being home on furlough with my wife and baby.

Monday, April 2 Clear & warm Ship docked at Naples, Italy about 7:30 AM. We unloaded about 10:30 AM and was taken to Replacement Center. Red Cross gave us a sweater, donuts and a comfort kit when we left the boat. Turned in all our excess clothing this afternoon. Got more shots and deloused.

Tuesday, April 3 Clear & warm Got records filled out and physical exam today. Had hot cakes for breakfast this morning. We dreamed of them back in the Stalag. Slept in one of the Armys new sleeping bags last night. They sure are nice. Wrote Mildred a V-Mail letter this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 10 Sailed from Naples, Italy for U.S. on U.S.S. Wakefield, an Army transport.

Thursday, April 19 Arrived at Boston U.S. proceeded to Camp Miles Standish.

Saturday, April 21 Left Miles Standish for Camp Shelby by special train.

Tuesday, April 24 Home for 60 day furlough.

June 27 Mildred and I to Miami, Fla. for 15 days. We had a grand time while my records being brought up to date. Had 90 Points.

July 15, 1945 discharged at Camp Shelby, Miss.

Paul Thomas

PFC Joe Edward "Red" Fortner Coy. I 317 Infantry Regiment

Joe Fortner was captured 29th of November 1944 near Marienthal, France and was taken to Stalag IVB where he remained until liberated by the Red Army. He said they had little food. At some point he and a buddy shared a jar of yellow mustard which he never liked after that. He "volunteered" to work since they were promised better food. That consisted of a horse leg, which they threw out. He said a week later they retrieved the frozen leg & ate it. He shared that he and his buddy knew they were going to starve to death and had made a pack to escape and gathered what "provisions" they could. Thankfully they were liberated before they escaped.

My father lived to be nearly 92 yrs old. He talked more about his experiences when he was older, but not so much when young. They were truly the Great Generation and lived through some very rough times. Those serving in the war, and those left in the States that loved them. My father and three of his brothers and several cousins all made it through. Many prayers were offered up for them by a loving mother.

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