That night, the Germans pushed the bunch that I was with into a farmyard and we found shelter in a barn that was full of old carts, including an old Handsome Cab.
From an e-mail by Marilyn Walton, 6 December. 2008.
|This was able to house two men on top and four inside. However, Charlie Thorpe, myself, and one other POW named Peter Waddington had to kip on the ground between the wheels. It was still snowing outside and MIGHTY COLD! I had been marching, or rather sludging, along in a pair of brand new boots that had been given to me by Charlie, who got them from "Wenty" (Wentworth) Beaumont. (Wenty later became Viscount Allendale after the war, inheriting the title from his father who had passed away while Wenty was in Sagan). Unfortunately, these boots were too small but I managed to squeeze my feet into them. However they froze in the bitter cold and I had to take them off that night. I used one as a pillow, but the other one got temporarily lost in the fray. You can imagine what a shambles was going on as everyone desperately tried to find shelter. Some managed to shelter in a haystack but they still froze. After I had been laying on the ground for some time, I started to shiver from head to foot. Charlie Thorpe, who was next to me, realised I was in a state and started to shake and pummel me to get some life back into my body. Eventually, I managed to get off to sleep and when I woke up the next morning I tried to put my boots back on. The one I'd used as a pillow wasn't too bad, but the other one was frozen solid. Fortunately, Charlie took this one into the farm and managed to thaw it out on the fire. After a while I managed to get it on but it was still very, very, tight. However, I had to walk in it as I didn't have any other choice.|
The Glass Factory at Muskau as it is today. (The chimney is still standing and casts a shadow over the roof).
|We were at the glass factory for two days before being assembled outside and marched off to a German barracks where we were given some soup (or rather cabbage water). At least it was hot, which was something to be thankful for. After about an hour, we moved off again to a railway siding and were crammed in to some rail cars. These rail cars had bars on the side and I managed to tie one of my blankets into a hammock for me to use, as there wasn't room for everyone to sit down - let alone lie down! I stayed in this hammock for the rest of the journey, which was quite long. We traveled South of Berlin and progressed up to Tarmstedt, near Bremen.|
|When we reached Tarmstedt we were taken off the train and marched for three kilometres through mud and rain to a Naval POW camp named MARLAG MILAG NORD. (Go to a story of one of the Navy POWs that were also there). We were in this camp from February 5 through April 9, while the ground war got closer and closer. While we were there, the Goons allowed us to hold a memorial service on Sunday March 25th for our fifty comrades who were executed a year earlier at the time of the Great Escape. The Germans very sensibly stayed well out of the way while this was going on.|
|On the 9th of April we were told that we were going to have to leave the camp as the Allied troops were getting too close. Our policy was to make this move as slowly as possible until we were finally forced to start moving at gun point. After a false start on the 9th we finally got going on our 'Final March to Freedom' the next day.|
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