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Derna POW Camp in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Derna POW Camp





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    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Derna POW Camp

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • Flegg Albert.
    • George F. C..
    • Gorman Terry. Pte.
    • Kelly John Verdun. Sgt.
    • Ongley Lynn Sarrell . Sgt. This page is new, as yet no names have been submitted.

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    Sgt. John Verdun Kelly

    The following extracts are from the YMCA Wartime Log Book supplied to Sgt John Verdun Kelley. Captured at Tobruk he passed through various Camps- Derna, Benghazi, PG60 Lucca, PG70, Stalag IVB and Stalag 357. Some of the entries are by Kelley others by "guest" writers.

    Benghazi

    Barren wastes of stony sand

    Dry infertile desert land,

    Spiked wire on every hand.

    Prisoners of War

    Ill clad ,unkempt and underfed,

    Trading watches and rings for bread,,

    With chilly concrete floors for beds,

    Prisoners of War

    Queueing for hours in blistering heat,

    Receiving a morsal of bread and meat,

    Glad, even of scraps to eat,

    Prisoners of War.

    Crowded together like flocks of sheep,

    Bullied and driven from dawn to sleep,

    Hearts are filled with hatred deep,

    Prisoners of War

    Cut off from the news of the outside world,

    Sifting truth from taunts that are hurled,

    Slightly keeping the flag unfurled,

    Prisoners of War.

    Striving to keep alive their hope.

    Finding at times 'tis beyond their scope,

    Drugging themselves with rumour dope

    Prisoners of War

    Setting new values ion trivial things,

    The smell of a flower, a skylark that sings

    The beauty,the grace of a butterfly's wing

    Prisoners of War

    Finding life without freedom is vain

    'Tis better to die than live ever in chain,

    Thank God! For hope of relief once again,

    Prisoners of War

    Seeing new meaning in higher things,

    In life in Christ and the hope He brings

    Thus did they treat the King of Kings

    Prisoners of War

    Finding at last, if you've the eyes to see

    This glorious truth fixed by God's decree,

    As long as the soul's unchained you're free.

    Prisoners of War

    June 23 .We awoke after a cold hungry night. The compound larger than Derna and as we were about 1000 more room to move about .In a separate cage near the gate were a party of Indian troops, used in fatigue work for strengthening the wire .In the other corner was a 40ft tower with machine guns.. Each corner had a water tank (empty) and guards patrolled all sides. We were ordered to form groups of 50 and we became N0o 22. Nothing else happened-it got hotter, more rings etc swapped across the wire for water. Someone paid £2 for a quart. Around 2pm the tanks were filled and after queueing for hours we were given a quart each., a groundsheet and 2 short poles . Rations arrived at 5pm - a tin of bully each and 2 small loaves between 3 men. Eat it all or save some? We had begun the trek down Starvation Road.

    More new faces arrived and we hoped to move on- we entered hungry men and left weeks later starving wrecks. More searches-this time anything sharp. A few kept back their jackknives or we would have had no way to open the bully cans. Water ration was increased to 3 pint per day, usual ration arrived at 4pm. The cigarette supply started running out!!! Profiteering took over and cigarettes that were selling for 50 piastres for 50 rose to 10piastres each. The guards realized the opportunity and were soon exchanging cigarettes for clothes etc. Sanitary arrangements were just a row of trenches and the smell would become unbearable. Empty day followed empty day ,bored, dirty ad unshaven the main conversation was about food. At the end of the month the Italians issued cigarettes-2 between 6 men!! By rerolling the dogends we made 2 more.

    By July 3 morale was low and sickness high , the MO visited but had nothing to teat anyone. Great excitement on July 6 -the RAF bombed the harbour and again on the 9th , lots of shrapnel falling on the camp but no injuries. Now we were so organised that we could make hot meals at night by soaking dry bread ,adding bully and boiling it up. Fuel was the problem, the guards became unhappy about us ripping pieces off the fence posts. The Indian fatigue troops had plenty but at a cost- 2 cigarettes for a small piece and the price of cigarettes was 5 piastres or a shilling each. Another bombing raid on the 11th and a ship hit in the harbour.

    Sunday 12th and a service from a South African Padre, though it must have helped it brought everyone back to thinking of home as they took part in a service knowing family at home were doing the same. We were all given Red Cross Cards to fill in, they were handed in but to this day I never heard of any arriving. By now health was getting poor, walking an effort and dizziness when standing. We were dirty, unshaven and lice started to appear. One by one those who had kept rings etc swapped them with the guards for food-tempted by guards holding up loaves of bread The minds of the guards needed understanding, a good watch worth £5 would get maybe 2 loaves but a cheap ring from the Souk costing pennies would get 5 loaves easily Cigarettes became THE currency and money was used for card games until we found the guards would sell 40 cigarettes for £1 Egyptian. Ersatz coffee was added to our rations but what was it? A Cookhouse was also built but could only feed one compound a hot meal per day so we hot meals every third day.

    Our first meal was 17 july a pint stodge of rice peas flavoured with olive oil . this cost us half a tin of bully each. The cooks found the dry rice a valuable trade item and were soon exchanging it for cigarettes. Dysentry broke out amongst the weakest but only the worst cases went to hospital I reckon about 60 died. Daily routine- get up when you felt like it, pass the time somehow until rations were drawn at noon, go to bed early to escape the day. Meals were 9am and 5.30pm and a brew of coffee in between (no milk or sugar)..

    July 25 the reality of how weak we had become hit home. New latrines were needed to be dug The labour divided up and each man had 2 minutes of digging to do. Mainy were unable to complete even this.. An escape attempt was made by a couple of guys hanging onto the underside of the rubbish truck, unfortunately this went into the next compound where native SA troops saw the guys and crowding round bending down to look resulted in the 2 heroes retuning in chains for 48 hrs.

    On July 27 groups from the next cage started to be moved out . July 31 we were given English bully 1 tin between 2 . We knew we would be soon and had started pooling our food to sustain us on the journey. We eat as much as we could and for the first time since capture I felt full. We paraded at 0330 next day, we had our food and 2 gallons of water why go hungry and thirsty? We were marched to the docks, the water weighed a ton but it was good to see the bombing damage that had been done We embarked on the Rosalino Pilo , although modern she soon took on the look of a slave ship as we were crammed into the holds helped by the Libyans standing on anyones fingers if they were slow on the ladders. More fun was had by throwing buckets of sea water at us through the gratings . The heat was stifling and we dreaded the night, a meal of cold fried bread,bully and water arrived at 11am and we sailed at noon.

    Next days rationed were lowered in a bucket at 4pm, tin of bully and a pack of biscuits. We were told next stop was Tripoli then across to Naples. The dysentery cases became so bad that in the end they were allowed on deck. We tried to sleep in the heat with the smell of engine oil and engine noise. It was a long night but as dawn approached the hold was silent save for a few groans and moans when I heard an unknown person playing "solitude" on a mouth organ- knowing my feelings and thoughts I could sympathise with him. We were allowed up on deck at 8am and managed to stay there all day, one man was hauled up unconscious and his body was taken off at Tripoli.. Our 11am meal of biscuits and bully seemed good until we saw the meals being taken to the gun crews who were German even though it was an Iti ship. We reached Tripoli at noon

    Sgt John Verdun Kelley

    Names in the log book from Benghazi:

    • Sgt Taylor
    • John Toole
    • Dougie Herrage
    • Charlie Peace
    • Stitch Taylor
    • Dodger Green
    • Bill Fyfe
    • RQMS Bone
    • CSM Muldowney
    • Sgt Graham
    • Sgt Mc Dermott
    • Gdsman Hall
    • Gdsman Simpson

    Peter Mason.



    Pte. Terry Gorman 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

    I spent quite a lot of time with my Dad, Terry Gorman recording his stories in the year before his death in 1996. Before then he never really talked about it – tho’ I knew he had fought in the Western Desert and had been a POW for a few years.

    We were watching TV together in 1995 and there were several programmes commemorating the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. There was a shot of the train tunnel and guardhouse leading into Auschwitz Birkenau 2 and Dad said "I used stand just there and warm my hands on a brazier as the trains came in." After the initial shock, and disbelief, we began to talk and piece together his story.

    Dad was born in 1920 and conscripted into the Army in 1940. He joined a Yorkshire Infantry Regiment – The Green Howards – and after training sailed around Africa and got stuck into the enemy in 1941. At first he was based at Ismailia taking ammunition up to Mersah Matruh by train. At Mersah he had his first meeting with Australian troops who had been pulled out of the front line and were on their way to protect the oil fields in Iraq. He was very impressed with the Australian troops who seemed taller, fitter and better equipped than the British Army. They were also far better paid – about £2 per week (Dad got 14 shillings). When Dad and his best mate approached the Australian lines there were several wolf whistles and a loud voice shouted out – “look out – the poms have sent the boy scouts!” – a reference to the ill fitting shirts and shorts which had been issued to Dad’s unit. He got on very well with the Australians who shared their (far better) rations.

    In May 1942 Dad was moved up to Gazala and a great tank and infantry battle took place which ended in the loss of Tobruk in June. Dad was wounded and captured on 2 June and spent a brief time at a transit camp at Derna, then some months at a terrible open air POW camp at Benghazi. The camp lacked even basic sanitation and the Italian guards were trigger happy and brutal. Eventually they were loaded in the hull of an Italian freighter and sailed across the Med all fearing that they would be torpedoed (as some POW ships were) by the Royal Navy.

    Dad got to an Italian POW transit camp at Brindisi and then he was moved to Campo 7 at Capua near Rome. Later he was moved north to Campo 54 at Chiavari near Genoa. Life in Chiavari was relatively good. There was food, Red Cross parcels and plenty of sport and books. Dad, and his friend Charlie Murphy, were experienced with horses so got out on a small work detail to work on the estate of the Marquis of Turin – he looked after a string of thoroughbred race horses and was allowed good grub and plenty of cheap wine. Then Marquis hated Mussolini and wanted the Allies to win the War.

    In September 1943 events took a turn for the worse. The Italian Army gave up the ghost and the Germans took over in Northern Italy. The POWs were rounded up and moved to Germany. Dad’s camp was sent to the Juventus football stadium in Turin. Dad spent three nights sleeping in the goal mouth whilst the Nazis sorted themselves out. They were then taken to the railway station where they were crammed into wooden cattle trucks and set off for the East. Dad remembers stopping at Innsbruck station, in Austria, where they were allowed to get some water and a little food. After a couple of days they arrived at a grim railway halt in Silesia and were marched up the road and into Lamsdorf POW camp, Stalag 344/8B – the most easterly of all POW camps in the Reich.

    Lamsdorf was tough, violent and very large. The Germans segregated POWs according to ethnic origin. There was a very large compound for Russians who were treated terribly (they did not have the protection of the Geneva Convention) – many living in the open or crude dugouts in the ground. There was an outbreak of typhus in this compound and Dad witnessed the Germans spraying the area with petrol then setting light to it – any POWs who survived were finished off by guard dogs.

    With the large influx of POWs from Italy the main allied compound was full and Dad was placed in an Annexe reserved for French Canadians who had been captured at the raid on Dieppe in 1942. They were a ruthless lot and had managed to cut the throat of a couple of guards (or goons as they were known). As a reprisal all the Canadians were chained to their bunks or radiators and Dad had to do this whilst waiting for transfer to the main compound. Of course, the Canadians thought he was a stooly – a plant put in by the Germans to get information about possible escape plans etc – and they threatened to kill him. Fortunately, for my Dad, they had been based in Manchester for part of their training and he was able to answer questions about the city. One question was “What is the Band on the Wall” which Dad knew to be a jazz club (which many of the Canadians had visited). After a few weeks Dad got to the main compound. There was very little food and nothing to do. One option was to join working parties outside the camp which gave you double rations (800 calories a day) and a chance to relieve the boredom. Dad signed up and was put on a train which took him to Katowice – about 90 minutes south east of Lamsdorf.

    He was given a donkey jacket with KG stamped on the back – KG stood for Kriegsgafangene or Prisoner of War (POWs often referred to themselves as “Kriegies”). He worked as a mate to a German electrician, then laboured in a sugar beet farm, then ended up in an arbeitskommando (work camp) in the Auschwitz complex. What he saw there haunted him for the rest of his life. Auschwitz is a 25 square mile concentration camp complex with four separate camps: Auschwitz 1, Birkenau, Auschwitz 3 and Monowitz. Allied POWs worked in many small work camps, and there was also E715 (E stands for Englander tho’ that included Australians and New Zealanders) at the infamous Buna camp at Monowitz. About 1000 POWs existed here and were forced labourers in a plant which was supposed to produce oil – not one drop was ever produced as many acts of sabotage were undertaken by the POWs.

    Dad worked mainly at E727 – the Power Station for the Auschwitz complex. It was coal fired and his job was to clear out the old “clinker” from the grates under the large furnaces and boilers – his only protection was pieces of sacking with which he covered his head and body. The shifts were very long and he got little food. The Red Cross parcels, which he still got even at Lamsdorf, were now very infrequent and often looted by the German guards. Dad was 11st 5lbs when he left England – he was less than 5st 11 lbs when he returned. Food and tobacco were the gold dust of the concentration camp and could be bartered and exchanged for anything.

    He worked alongside Poles, Ukraines and Jews. The Jews lived in terrible concentration camp compounds and were treated like dirt by the Germans who thought nothing of shooting a Jew for minor infringements. Some of the Allied soldiers also had little time for the Jews and felt they had “got it coming to them”. Dad had little time for this - he had witnessed the Blackshirts organising in Manchester before the War and had little truck with them or their ideas.

    The Germans found out that Dad had worked for the railways before the War and, together with a New Zealand soldier, was detailed to move some bricks along rail tracks into Birkenau 2. It turned out that the bricks were replacement fire bricks for the gas chambers and crematoria used to murder and incinerate Jews by the thousand. The Germans didn’t trust Jewish labour to perform this job as they feared sabotage. He was allowed one communal shower per week to keep the lice and sores under control. On more than one occasion emaciated Jewish women were shoved into the shower blocks by the guards - nobody, as far as Dad knew – ever molested them.

    He lived in a small wooden hut with an iron stove in the middle for heat. The men slept on bunks and the man below him was a South African who had been put “in the bag” (captured) at Tobruk. His surname was Silver. One day there was a routine inspection - the POWs came to attention and the Guards had a look around. This time they were accompanied by a man in the dark blue uniform of the SS. He walked along the line and stopped in front of Silver. He shouted, “Your name isn’t Silver, it’s Silberstein – you are a Jew! Take him out!” The Guards grabbed his lapels and dragged him outside where he was shot through he head by the SS man.

    In January 1945 the POWs became aware of the heavy fighting to the East. The sky was lit up at night as the Russians advanced. It was a particularly harsh winter, and one night in early January the men were ordered to gather there belongings and line up outside – they were going to march West away from the Russians. Dad looked around and could see three columns – Allied POWs, Russians/Ukraines and Jews. This was the start of the infamous “Death Marches” – POWs marched West for the next four months through the worst winter of the last century. Many died and any who dropped out were left for dead or shot. Dad remembers pulling over to pee in a hedge and seeing many Jews who had been shot and lay frozen stiff in a ditch.

    The POWs trudged, day after day, for weeks on end. Food was almost non existent or they got watery potato soup. They slept in rat infested barns. Dad’s column marched from Silesia, into Czechoslovakia then Bavaria in Germany. In late April 1945 the weather improved and they reached a large railway junction at Plattlin. As they sat on a hill near the town they saw allied planes come in and bomb the station – the POWs were set to work pulling the bodies from the wreckage of passenger and freight trains that had still been in the station. A couple of days later the guards simply disappeared and Dad took refuge in a pig farm, sleeping with the pigs. He heard the roar of a powerful engine and realized a tank had driven into the farm yard – and an American tank at that. He stood up and shouted “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” The Yanks were amazed to see the emaciated and starving POWs emerge from the pig sties and hedgerows. They handed out cigarettes and chocolate – and many of the POWs were sick as they had not had such rich, sweet food for years. They were moved back to the US Army echelon and deloused, fed and given new kit. Some were given weapons and drove off to wreak revenge on the local population. Dad remembers walking down to a local German village. Many homes had been looted with men making off with local delph china (Dad wondered how they would get it back via Army transport). He walked into a large house to see if he could get a cup of tea and bumped into a German woman. “Take me, take me” she said in German – behind her was her daughter who she thought Dad was going to rape. He asked her to make him a cup of tea then get upstairs and hide – many German women in the village were not so lucky.

    After a few days a British Army Sergeant Major turned up and told them they were going home. They marched to a local airfield and were loaded, 20 at a time, on to Dakota airplanes and flown to Antwerp in Belgium. The plane in front of Dads crashed on landing and all were killed. He was then transferred to RAF Lancaster bombers and flown to Guilford in England – flying straight over the White Cliffs of Dover. He was debriefed and given leave to go home. Then transferred to Ireland to fatten him up… but that’s another story.

    One brighter story from Auschwitz. One of Dad’s colleagues was Arthur Dodd who came from Northwich in Cheshire and had been put in the bag at Tobruk in June 1942. Arthur eventually ended up in E715 at Monowitz. One day he was marching back to camp and he noticed some Jews digging a ditch by the road . As they got closer one of them shouted – “I’m English mate, I shouldn’t be here, help me!” Arthur reached into his pocket and threw a packet of cigarettes at the man as they passed. Many years later Arthur was giving a talk about his experiences in Manchester Town Hall. He had written a book, “Auschwitz: Spectator in Hell” and made a programme about E715 for the BBC. After the talk he was signing copies of his book when, from behind, he heard a voice - “I’m English mate, I shouldn’t be here, help me!” It was Leon Goodman, who had been picked up by the Nazis in Holland and was the only English Jew in Auschwitz. He survived and, some fifty years later, and amidst many tears, was able to thank Arthur in person for the cigarettes he had given him in 1944.

    Michael Gorman



    Sgt. Lynn Sarrell Ongley

    Sergeant Lynn Ongley was held in P.O.W. Camp, Derna, Libya. P.O.W. Camp, Benghazi, Libya. PG 54, Fara Sabina. PM 3300, Rome, Italy. Stalag 4B Mühlberg-on-Elbe, Dresden, Germany and Stalag 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany. Whilst held captive he wrote a number of poems:

    Red Cross Parcel by L.S. Ongley, 7 October 1942

    • The Red Cross keep us fit and well
    • With many a tasty dish
    • No sooner is the issue made
    • We fry up spuds and fish
    • The chocolate lasts a little spell
    • Our prunes we soak and stand
    • Twelve biscuits spread with butter thick
    • My word they do taste grand
    • The meat roll fried in margarine
    • With Yorkshire salt and milk
    • While toast and butter heaped with jam
    • Slides down like folds of silk
    • The bully smeared with mustard
    • Between two hunks of bread
    • Can be described as having
    • All powers to turn the head
    • The oatmeal mixed with rasins
    • Makes porridge sweet and stiff
    • Our breakfast cheese warmed on the toast
    • Gives a savoury niff
    • Pork sausages baked in eggs
    • Mixed veg with Irish stew
    • Sweet custard smoothed o'er apple duff
    • At last we rest and sip our brew
    • The creamed rice sweets and apricots
    • We hold for yet a while
    • While cocoa in the evening hours
    • Completes the welcome pile
    • Maybe I've missed the honey sweet
    • The golden syrup two
    • But if their are some missing tins
    • I leave the rest to you
    • Without the Red Cross helping us
    • Our lives we might have lost
    • So when the war has passed us by
    • We help what e'er the cost
    • The cigarettes we cherish most
    • Their help is great indeed
    • When food is short we pull the belt
    • For nicotine is feed
    • My text to you is finnished
    • No more there is to be
    • The weekly Red Cross parcel gift
    • To you I bend my knee.

    Campo Concentranamento 54. P.M. 3300. Fara Sabina. Rome. Italy.

    My Wife by L.S. Ongley 30 May 1943

    • You are my own, my very tower
    • My work, my play, my trial, my power
    • Your truthful lips, and gliding grace
    • Those ways, those acts, my thoughts embrace
    • All you I love, my hearts refrain
    • My hope, my fear, my joy, my pain
    • Your thoughtful eyes and redgold crown
    • Those pools, those strands, my sorrows drown
    • In you I find my whole domain
    • My left, my right, my quest, my claim
    • Your simple faith and girlish pride
    • Those aims, those traits, with me abide

    Concentration Camp 54. Fara Sabina. PM 3300. Rome. Italy.

    Stalag Exercise by L.S. Ongley 15 April 1944

    • Twenty times a day I walk
    • Around the compound square
    • Twice to a mile is ten of the best
    • Quite a fair jaunt without any rest
    • A deed not common but rare.
    • Rainy days I do the same
    • The lads just stand and smile
    • On the third time round they point and nod
    • While I race faster across the sod
    • A picture of ease and style.

    Mühlberg P.O.W. Camp Dresden. Germany.

    I Would Like by L.S. Ongley 16 August 1944

    • I would like to have a four pound loaf
    • Of steaming snow white bread
    • A vat of butter rich and fresh
    • Enough to turn my head
    • A china plate piled high with steak
    • Six soft fried eggs on toast
    • Tomatoes in their dozens
    • With a chunk of fatty roast.

    Stammlager 4B, Mühlberg-on-Elbe. Dresden. Germany.

    Prison Bread by L.S. Ongley 22 Feb 1945

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    • An oblong lump of sawdust and rye
    • Cut into sixths by an expert eye
    • A slip of the knife and we moan and we cry

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread
    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    • A choicer food can never be found
    • With a basic content of wood and ground
    • We wonder they don't make them square or round

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread
    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    • A four pound loaf at two pound size
    • Always too heavy, it never will rise
    • Yet we never complain for it pays to be wise

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread
    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    • Crusts make a cake for the afternoon brew
    • While slices we have with our evening stew
    • The only complaint is the loaves are so few

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread
    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    • It may be hard and heavy as lead
    • But no bread at all would cause tears to be shed
    • So though it may be ersatz we have to be fed

    • Six to a loaf of bread we are
    • Six to a loaf of bread

    Concentration Camp 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.

    Sidelight by L.S. Ongley 24 Feb 1945

    • Patience is a virtue to prisoners its true
    • But four long years of waiting
    • Leaves them feeling awful blue
    • What with grumbling and bickering
    • There's nothing left to chew
    • The age long days of hardship
    • And the never ending queue

    Concentration Camp 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.

    Mind Over Matter by L.S. Ongley 3 March 1945

    • He placed a plate upon the table
    • Just in front of where I sat
    • Boiled potatoes, pork and onions
    • With a great big chunk of roasted fat.
    • The steam rose up, I could but simper
    • Streams of gravy, brown and hot
    • Lay there piping with the onions
    • Still I sat a drunken sot.
    • Heaps of bread strewn on a napkin
    • Inch thick slices, white and fresh
    • Mounds of butter, lay there gloating
    • Underneath the oval mesh.
    • Then the vision slipped and wavered
    • Up and past, the screen slid by
    • Now my eyes could see those turnips
    • All that passed was just a lie.

    Stalag 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.

    Our Bungalow by L.S. Ongley 13 March 1945

    • Bare brick walls all cold and damp
    • With freezing stony floor
    • A tiny closet wet and foul
    • The lighting system poor
    • Shaky beds of nails and plank
    • No mattress can be seen
    • A draughty roof of timber logs
    • The dripping rafters green
    • A smoky stove burns twice a day
    • The atmosphere is dead
    • One table is the furniture
    • Reprisal it is said
    • Some window panes are missing
    • The door wont fit the frame
    • Two heaters never operate
    • For coal is just a name
    • Fifteen feet by twenty
    • Is the length of our prison hut
    • Eighty men packed sardine tight
    • With every window shut

    Stalag 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.

    Starvation

    • Theres nothing left in the larder
    • Not even a crumb of dry bread
    • The knock in my stomach grows louder
    • Repeating the throb in my head
    • The coffee is tasteless and bitter
    • No breakfast of hot eggs and ham
    • Meat is a dish quite unheard of
    • Including the butter and jam
    • One parcel is all that is needed
    • Canadian or British will do
    • I would finish the lot in an hour
    • Excepting the milk and brew

    Concentration Camp 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.

    Good Friday by L.S. Ongley 30 March 1945

    • (Five weeks of starvation rations)
    • To-day is Good Friday the Day of our Lord
    • At home the hot cross buns are eaten
    • Out there they strive with gun and sword
    • Until the foe is surely beaten
    • Last night I prayed to the one above
    • To send us help in bread and meat
    • My prayer was held how great his love
    • I kneel in silence before his feet
    • Day by day they said there was none
    • Our hunger made us droop and sag
    • We join you with your hot cross bun
    • Each one with his red cross bag.

    During the days of hunger, trial and tribulation, parcels arrived to-day, after weeks of gradual starvation. Half a parcel per man.

    Stalag 357. Fallingbostel. Hanover. Germany.




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