Inside Stalag VIII B

We were herded into a large hall where we were searched by guards, our "flying" boots were taken from us and we were given wooden clogs to wear. These were to prove our greatest curse for the next two months.

The biggest trouble was learning how to walk in them, because unlike the "Pukka" Dutch type, they were roughly made and the sides cut into ones ankles. The main problem was keeping them on whilst walking. I often marveled later at the proficiency in which the old timers used to speed along in them with apparent ease. That night we were herded into a barrack room, given one wet blanket and slept on bare boards. We hadn't had any food for about 24 hours, but thanks to an unknown New Zealand soldier who was taken at Crete, we were able to share his tin of biscuits.

Prisoner of war

The next morning, hungry and stiff and exceedingly "browned off" we were deloused and given a hot shower. That however did not ease our empty stomachs and the freezing cold penetrated our scanty clothing. By two o'clock the same afternoon we marched to what was to be our permanent billets. Jimmy was, I think, in a worse state than anyone else with his "clogs" We were a sorry looking crew with Jimmy staggering far behind the rest. It must have been comical as we were greeted with guffaws from the "Jerries" I was "Chained" with body harness and an iron ball for over one year. All Canadian Dieppe prisoners and Aircrew personnel suffered this torture.

Clothing list
Clothing list
Body harness
Drawing of body harness

German document
Camp memorabilia 

 Dad's drawing of the raid


To the fleas.

While Wheeler plays his fiddle
I madly scratch my middle
and tried in every form to find some ease
I could not escape their feeding
With my poor skin torn and bleeding
I lay and roundly cursed them...
Damn the fleas.
There were knock-kneed fleas, bandy ones
and great big square head dandy ones
They shook their fists and snarled
as they danced upon my knees.
What a life of pain and sorrow
and I screamed in bloody horror
Damn the fleas.....
So I dusted them with powder
but they strutted all the prouder
the only thing it did was make them sneeze
and now I fear I'm dying
you may faintly hear me crying
Damn the fleas.....
When my bones are laid to rest
Place a medal on my chest
and this poor lost soul
I'm sure you'll please
He was in victory never doubting
in his hammock he died shouting
Damn the fleas.


Drawings while in Stalag

The Lammsdorf March

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