Arthur Reasebeck's Diary

June 25 1941

We started work on Thursday night as the night shift. The job we are working is quite a decent sized undertaking. The work being rather heavy at first but after some time we get used to it. The hours are rather long – (0700 to 12.0) and (1330 to 1900) the day shift & (1930 to 0630) hrs on the night shift, the latter having a half hour break.

June 26

In this camp we have quite a comfortable time – there being a really good wash–house with hot & cold showers as well as wash basins. A drying room is also provided so we have somewhere to dry washing or clothes that have got wet through rain (which we are getting a fair amount of). Meals are dished up from German canteen – cookhouse just outside our camp boundary fence. We also have a small canteen but up to date (Aug 3) there has not been much we could obtain there – the chief stuff being a couple of jam issues & two or three milk issues – other stuff has not yet come through. Regarding meals – our Sunday meals generally have the only meat issue of the week.

June 29

With them – each man getting at least one large issue with dinner & another with tea which has consisted of beetroot & a small portion of jam and margarine. In each barrack room we have a slow combustion stove so should not feel cold when the weather gets colder or winter comes along – a time which we are forever hoping to see at home.

Our first payday was on July 15 – I myself drawing 7 marks. These marks are only useable in camps and are no use outside so that we cannot obtain anything outside camp, even if we could get near any shops etc. The camp guards are not a bad group of men – they are mainly Austrians and are mainly older men round about 40 years of age similar. There no doubt to our own prison guards at home.

Today we started work on the dam – one party commencing in the morning and the rest of us on the night party commencing at 1900 & working through till 0630 hrs Wednesday.

July 4

Tonight ends our first week’s work. On Monday we change over to days & the others come on to nights for a week.

July 5

DAYS. Barrack inspection this morning followed by a check parade & then an inspection by the Camp Commandant.

July 6

Started day shift this morning at 0700 hrs till 1900 hrs with a break for dinner from 1200 to 1330 hrs.

July 9 Sunday

Parades again today, as usual Sunday procedure. We received post & letter cards today so that we all did a bit of writing home for the first time since leaving Corinth – actually this appears to be about our first chance of definitely getting a letter home since being captured. One letter or card per week is our limit to send but we can receive as many as are sent us.

July 25

Parcels are allowed us at the rate of 2 food & 2 clothing parcels per month. Started night shift tonight.

August 3 Monday

Day shift again this week

August 4 Thursday

Canteen open tonight with quite a decent selection of goods for a change – when it closed however there was not much variety left & we expect that by tomorrow there will be nothing left again.

August 14 Thursday

Cigarette issue today. 120 per man at 2.5 pfennings cash.

August 16 Saturday

Finish night shift tonight. Saturday incidentally is now a shorter day – the day shift working 7.30 to 1600 hrs & night 1600 to 00.30 hrs. The week has passed much the same as others although if anything it has seemed a bit easier & passed quicker owing to there being a great many jobs scattered about the dam & this making the week easier with quite an appreciable amount of time for us to take off a few minutes rest now & then.

August 7 Sunday

Barrack and Commandant’s inspection in morning. Rugby & Soccer matches this afternoon followed by church service and impromptu concert in evening. Quite a pleasant day and a very great change to the usual daily routine. We are hoping that these games & concerts will continue together with the additional amusements to help relieve the monotony. Wrote my weekly letter to Betty & posted same immediately.

August 17 Monday

Started day shift again this morning. Still quite a steady & easy job ‘Mit stefal’

Friday menu – coffee – breakfast, potatoes bread soup, sauerkraut – dinner, potato, porridge, bread – tea

Yesterday’s menu – coffee – breakfast, potatoes, barley soup, sauerkraut, meat – dinner, meat, beetroot, white bread – tea

August 19

Same group today but on different job – rather awkward working owing to heavy steel reinforcement round intake casings

Menu today – coffee – breakfast, Dinner – potatoes, brown soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, maize, coffee, bread

Payday today – 9.80 marks

August 20

Finishing same job this morning then on another small one after dinner – a very easy day

Menu – breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, macaroni soup, sauerkraut, Tea – potatoes, potato soup, bread

August 21

Clearing up ready for first concreting & taken down timber till about 1030 then started on fresh hole & finished day on this very easy day

Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, macaroni soup, potatoe stew, Tea – potatoes, rice porridge, bread

August 22

Fairly easy day again today but finished up with bit of a rush owing to 18 & b12 loads being shipped at 1845 & we knock off at 1855 hrs.

Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, white soup, vegetable pea, Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

Saturday 23

Exceptionally easy day today – find form & I went on a small tipping job this morning the job finishing after 8 trucks so we had quite an easy morning as have stopped on site till 12.0. After dinner we went to same site & were hanging about till 5.30 when a came along & chased us off to Foreman who took our numbers & marked us off the time sheet for afternoon – really more said but we expect to have a few pfennings short on payday. In evening after tea we had a ‘mock trial’ which passed off very well.

August 24 Sunday

Saturdays breakfast - coffee, Dinner – potatoes, meat, potatoe soup, cucumber salad, Tea – potatoes, maize, coffee, bread

Barrack & Commandant’s inspection in morning. Football & rugger matches in afternoon. Church service followed by concert after tea, all this passing off very well and giving us quite an interesting day. Sent off my weekly letter to Betty. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, meat, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – beetroot, meat, milk, biscuit, slice of white bread

25 August

Nights again this week so that we have had a long weekend again. The day has dragged a bit as we have had nothing to do except lounge about doing an odd bit of washing or something like that which we must of necessity leave over till weekends. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, porridge (no bread in before we left for work)

26 August Tuesday

Had exceptionally easy & monotonous night owing to no concrete being poured and we were put on to clean up ready for concreting. Got yesterdays bread ration with this mornings coffee. Started off tonight as last night but went on tipping about 23.00 hrs, so that night passed off quite nicely once more. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, sauerkraut, Tea – potatoes, milk & potato soup, bread

27 August Wednesday

Same job as last night only ‘mit stafal’ tonight. The day party was rained off this morning about 9.30 & did not return to work as the rain did not clear off till nearly 1700 hrs. New Commandant & Guard take over today & we had a barrack inspection during afternoon (about 2.0) which upset our sleep a bit. Later just after tea we were paraded so that the old Commandant could hand over. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

28 August

Steady night again – on same job. Jam in canteen today at 40 pfennings. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, vegetable stew, tea – potatoes, potato soup (thick), bread

Unreadable date

Good night again tonight – started tipping on same job as last night & then as it was finished went down below on another small one. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, vegetable stew. Tea – potatoes, custard, bread.

29 August

Started another job last night and it turned out to be the hardest job we have had yet (trench on river bank) – all of us being dead beat by morning. Day party today were rained off this morning and as rain continued till evening we on the night shift did not go into work at all. Mock trial this evening. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup (with maize), vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, maize, coffee, bread

30 August

Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, meat, vegetable stew, Tea – beetroot, white bread, bread. Commandant’s barrack inspection as usual this morning. Football matches in afternoon followed by a church service and then concert in evening. The concert passed off very well. The Camp Commandant honoured us with his presence for this and has promised to help us to keep these concerts & games going. We have not yet received our weekly issue of letter cards so have been unable to write home. Issue of wine in canteen today at 60 pfennings for Ό litre.


Day shift again this week. Started day on same job as Friday night & finished same about 1500 hrs of which time we went onto clearing timber – still knocked off at 1900 hrs. During the latter period we succeeded in getting quite a number of apples from the many fruit trees round the job. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – pototes, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

Next day

Nothing much doing again at the dam today. We went onto digging & had a very easy day. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potato, soup, vegetable stew, cucumber & potato salad, Tea – potatoes, barley & potato, bread

Gherkins in canteen today at 50 pfennings per ½ kilo

2 September

‘mit stafal’ again today on and this rather cushy job. Jam and margarine in canteen today at 70 pfenning the two issues. Received and wrote weekly card home. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, sauerkraut, Tea – potatoes, macaroni, bread

3 September

On small but very deep hole today the chute of which is exceptionally dirty to work under owing to its great length. The two pumps in this hole broke down about 11.15 and the hole filled with water this stopping work there. After dinner we went on digging – a very tedious job which we were very glad to leave. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, potato soup flavoured tomato, bread

4 September

Working round turbines today – a great job with a fairly easy throw from each chute in bit of heavy reinforcement round about. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, potato stew, Tea – potatoes, maize, coffee, bread

5 September

Working round turbines again today. Still a steady easy job as we have to use the vibranators nearly all the time owing to not being able to shovel much. Finished at 1600 hrs as usual on Saturdays now. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, tomato & vege soup, cucumber & potato salad, Tea – potatoes

New day

Once again the usual barrack and Commandant inspection this morning. The afternoon was a couple of football matches (one soccer & one rugger). After these was held a trial of a couple of chaps charged with stealing – a rather depressing affair but necessary I am afraid. In evening was usual church service followed by concert. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, meat & vegetable stew, soup, Tea – beetroot, white bread, bread

7 September

Nights again this week so that we had a long weekend once more. The day passes very slowly for us on Mondays as we have not to make up for lost sleep like on other days on this shift. Had a rather monotonous job also tonight – clearing up ready for concreting tower in centre. After this went on tipping for a couple of hours till 6.30. There was a spot of bother tonight owing to quite a number being found asleep and missing from jobs.

8 September

Monday’s breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

Tuesday – Pay parade this afternoon – received 7.70 marks. Went on digging tonight as not enough concreting for us all. This turned out a very slow job so that time rather dragged. Tonight turned out coldest yet – there being a temperature of 5 below zero roundabout 5.0 hrs. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – thin white soup, sauerkraut, beetroot, Tea – potatoes (2), beetroot, maize, bread

9 September

Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – tomato soup, sauerkraut, beetroot, Tea – barley soup, coffee, bread. Had an exceptionally good & easy job tonight – six of us were tipping a couple of trucks of ballast on side of river those going up at short 10 minute intervals. We split ourselves into groups of 2 each & so we all managed a spot of sleep by the side of a really good fire we made good work.

10 September

Butter, margarine, cigarette papers & lighter, toothpaste & brushes, boot polish, knives, drinks,(5) in canteen today – usual mush to get these things & all was sold out by teatime. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, tomato & vege stew, Tea – potatoes, ground rice & potato, bread. Were told supper time were clearing hole ready for cement after went on job feeding endless conveyor with concrete.

11 September

Exceptionally tough job as all had to be handled by shovel & there was no break between trucks. The conveyor broke down however for about 1 ½ hrs so we did not have things quite as bad as they might have been. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, veg stew & extra farm bread. Canteen stocked again today.

12 September

Finish night shift tonight – start work at 1600 hrs & knock off 2400 hrs with 1 hr off at 1900 hrs after which we return to camp. Another very easy job tonight – hooking up trucks at foot of railway up river bank from 22 – 30 trucks stopped coming so we did a spot of ‘sloughing’ till supper. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, bread, soup, sauerkraut, extra soup and veg & sauerkraut, a lot for work from cookhouse, Tea(or supper) – potatoes, coffee then usual soup at dam.

13 September

Today inspection parade did not come off owing to rain this morning but the barracks were as usual inspected. The weather cleared towards dinnertime and footballers went out for the usual weekend games. After tea was church service & then wrestling matches in place of concert. Post cards not yet in.

Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, barley soup, vegetable stew, Tea – meat, vegetable salad, white bread, bread

14 September

Day shift once again. Messing about all morning off one job clearing up to another one and finally got a job on top of one of the towers about 11.30 clearing up before dinner & then wheeling concrete in barrows from railway to job. There was a sharp downpour of rain during afternoon but we managed to shelter & keep dry while it lasted. Cigarettes and butter in canteen. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, veg stew, Tea – maize, milk, bread

15 September

Tipping for a time this morning then carrying timber afterwards going on shoveling concrete on temporary dam wall. Cards in today – sent Betty’s weekly one off & another to Mum & Dad. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, veg stew. Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

16 September

Tipping today on bridge. This is not a bad job but as we are in such an exposed ___________ (for bosses etc passing over bridge) our parties (______________ ) keeps on moving sweeping up while waiting for trucks. Also today starts a ‘no smoking’ ban on us while on the job. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, barley loaf, bread

17 September

Went sick last night as my face has again come up –was excused of work for today and _________ on job of unloading railway truck of the much awaited Red Cross parcels. We were issued with 50 cigarettes from these but must await till parcels themselves are sorted before they are issued – most likely Sunday. Excused work again tonight. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, veg & tomato stew, Tea – potatoes, maize, bread

18 September

Light duty again today. Was not ‘clamped’ for fatigues in morning but after dinner went with party to empty refuse tasks – only half hours job. There was quite a stir in our barrack room when the lads arrived back from work at 1600 hr this afternoon & got their parcels. We also got weekly letter card and an extra postcard so that tonight we had a busy time writing home and bagging parcel contents. The extra card is to be issued once a fortnight. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potato soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, potato soup, bread

20 September

No inspection or parade today but we had to clear up the room as usual, just in case. There was no football this afternoon due to lack off support most likely as everybody was ‘celebrating’ the parcel issue. Church service and then concert in evening. Beer & lemonade in canteen today. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner - potatoes, barley soup, veg stew, Tea – coffee, beetroot, salad, white bread

21 September

Night shift this week again. I am again excused work. I did not go in ‘went sick’ in morning and on suggestion of or MO went to see German MO in afternoon about my face – he extracted a tooth as both think this will effect a cure at last. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner - soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, white soup, bread

22 September

Same again today. Light duties around camp. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner - soup, veg stew, Tea – potatos, porridge (with macaroni), bread, salt, butter, jam issues today at 83 the lot

23 September

Once again excused duty for the day. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner -  soup, veg stew, bread, Tea – potatoes, potatoes & macaroni soup

24 September

Work tonight – started on tipping job till midnight then went on digging. Red Cross cigarettes issued today. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, white soup. Bread

25 September

Tinned meat is part of our RC parcels issued today. 1 tin per man each one being issued in accordance with orders from Wolfsberg. This order appears (from what we are told) to be partly in retaliation against escapes and also for reasons of health due to our diet up to present not having meat stuff in its makeup. This order holds for all tinned stuff as the German authorities class all tinned goods as conserves.

26 September

Remainder of parcels issued today, actually by a bit of wangling as the order was for 1 tin each issued. No work for night shift tonight so we have Saturday night in bed for a change. Post cards issued today so wrote and posted my weekly one to Betty. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – barley soup, sauerkraut, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, milk, bread, butter, jam

27 September

Weekly parade inspection then Commandant’s parade in morning. Nothing doing in afternoon but usual church service in evening followed by wrestling matches. Finishing earlier at 1530 hrs owing to the days getting shorter it is now quite dark at 2000 hrs. We therefore held a bit of a singsong in our barrack room and so passed the evening quite well. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup & veg stew, potatoes, Tea – milk, beetroot, white bread

28 September

Day shift once more, there was no concrete being poured today so we were split up into groups and different other jobs. I was with party taking down timbering and clearing up ready for concreting. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, sauerkraut, tea – potatoes, porridge. Since getting our RC parcels there has not been the usual dashing about for ‘back ups’ on meals – in fact it is now a common thing for quite a large amount to be left over and nobody wanting more

29 September

Timber shifting again today – the day passed rather well till about 1500 hrs, after which time dragged and we were glad when the buzzer went. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, maize, porridge, bread

30 September

Working at cooking station today unloading & stacking lunches – rather a monotonous job but quite a change from the dam. We were rather late getting back to camp tonight owing to have to wait for lorry back –arrived back about 1845 hrs instead of just after 1500 hrs as usual. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, meat, veg & sauerkraut, stew, Tea – potatoes, potato soup, bread

1 October

Small cementing job this morning as one of the towers after which went on timber shifting – rather tough going out first but quite good later. RC cigarette issue tonight, also butter & jam. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, porridge, bread

2 October Dad’s birthday & wedding anniversary

Very slow today – tipping concrete & shoveling soil over wall supporting river bank. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, veg stew, Tea – potatoes, barley soup, coffee, bread

3 October Sylvia’s birthday (3)

Was hanging about this morning till about 9.30 without a job then went into hole spreading concrete. This turned out quite cushy till about 1530 hrs when I happened to be under the chute when truck was tipped over. I therefore ‘packed up’ to dry out. Finished day shift today (at 1600 hrs). Received first letter from Betty today (dated Sept 4). Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – soup, stew, potatoes, Tea – bread, butter, jam, veg soup

4 October

Quite a hectic day today. Visual clean up of rooms today for Commandants inspection – this we cleared out all mattresses and spare beds a special ‘do’. After this was check parade, followed by photography of groups etc. Then concert in afternoon followed by tea which was once again interrupted by parade for re housing some of camp staff. Next evening service which we missed and spent most of evening writing home letter to Betty & Mother & dad. Breakfast – coffee, Dinner – potatoes, soup, stew, Tea – white bread, coffee, beetroot, bun, milk in carton & also cigs & tobacco

5 October

Nights again this week RC parcels issued this afternoon so there was quite a hectic time bargaining with each other for various commodities. Had fairly easy night tipping on temporary wall

6 October

Received letters dated 1 & 10 from Betty and one of Sept 9 from her Mother. Same job as last night but with more to do as we were being fed by two trains instead of one. Band instruments arrived today – pipes, mouth organs, drinks etc in canteen

7 October

Same job again tonight after a bit of messing around with the lads

8 October

RC parcel contents & cigarettes issued this afternoon. Received two letters dated Sept 1 – from Mother & Dad & Bobby. Moving timer logs from one end of dam to other tonight – had very easy time and all time passed quickly

9 October

On concrete today in hole at corner of dam – just beside turbine – quite an easy night

10 October

Went into work at 1300 hrs today instead of 1600 and finished at 1800. Was on tipping – same job as earlier in week. Time passed fairly quickly and job was easy except for last half hour when we were pushed owing to extra trucks coming round. RC parcel issue after tea with usual exchanging of contents.

11 October

Weekly barrack room cleanup and parade. Wrestling and concert in afternoon. New band instruments being used for first time outside. Service in evening. Wrote card to Betty

12 October

Hanging about this morning shifting timber bridge over temporary dam wall then went on cementing in tower after dinner – quite a good job but must have been a bit tough on those tipping

13 October

Same job again today rather cold on this job first thing but when the sun got up it was quite ok

14 October

Colder now in morning. Not bad to wash in except for the concrete being very wet, especially from the pump this making it wet over knee deep. Finished this about 1700 and then went on timber shifting to pass time till 1900 hrs.

15 October

Shifting rock then timber off temporary wall till 100 then digging on cutting into bank just below round tower for rest of day. Butter & jam issue today (80 pfg). Bought German grammar at 5.50 marks

16 October

In new hole at end of dam – right into bank – good day although the concrete got fairly deep towards afternoon. RC parcel tin issue tonight. Boots and trousers to be placed in hut at night in accordance with new orders. The wire round camp has also been raised about 18 inches

17 October

Good morning working on wall below dam outlets. Finished today at 1200 hrs. Pay (7) parade and log issue after dinner followed by RC parcels

18 October

Barrack room weekly cleanup for inspection in morning – our room incidentally being missed once again – it appears that only a few rooms are being picked out each day now as they all are now up to standard expected by our guards. Rugby matches (7-a-side) held in afternoon followed by concert. The latter being arranged by ‘Lofty’ Young and being the best concert yet. Wrote Betty and Mother & dad after tea when letter cards were issued

19 October

Nights again this week. Working round turbines tonight – not a hard job but rather awkward owing to reinforcement and narrowness of hole – actually a wall

20 October

Tipping over turbines tonight – the time dragged somewhat in spite of 2 trains running continuously. Raining fairly heavy after midnight

21 October

Same job again tonight but have a rotten night owing to rain all night

22 October

Digging again in new big hole (turbine) – rain and sleet all night so we trucked off at 2.0 Friday morning after a spot of bother

23 October

Digging again tonight – very easy time. Day shift returned about 1.00 this  afternoon owing to continual snow which kept up till about 1800 hrs just before we on night shift ‘fall in’ (12 trucks between 3 of us tonight – Parrot, Norm and I)

24 October

Short days work to finish the shift from (130 – 1800 hrs) on digging in same job as last two days. Filled 8 trucks between 2 of us – (Parrot & myself)

25 October

Another week over – today passed with the usual room cleanup and then parade. Football in afternoon with church service in evening. No concert tonight as it is now to be held every fortnight. Wrote card home to Betty

26 October

Day shift once again. Groups reformed today into 3 groups instead of 12. Clearing out under turbine intakes ready for concreting. Received RC parcels tonight.

27 October

Same job again till about 11.0 when went on tipping at top of dam wall. Very sharp frost this morning with every sign of snow to come.

28 October

Shifting timber again and moving store shed and contents today. Received letters from Betty (Sept 18) Mother (Sept 15) Grandpa (Sept 22)

29 October

Same again this morning started snowing about dinner time. Went on tipping on dam wall to left of main bridge after dinner. Moving all the time and we knocked off at 1530 hrs. Cigarette and meat tin issue this afternoon

30 October

‘Nix arbeit’ today. Down to dam this morning but came back immediately as no work could be done owing to electric power supply being off, some of the permanent day shift went in later but the rest of us had day off. Night shift did not go in either tonight. Quite a stir in camp this morning owing to search for unopened tins.

31 October

Same again today & went down to dam this morning but returned again. Snowing on and off all day but not very heavy as yet. Red Cross parcels issued this afternoon

1 November

No parade today. Clothing issue today – greatcoats, battledress blouses, pullovers, socks, towels. The concert this afternoon was held in bath house and went over quite well in spite of cramped room. Pay parade also today (received 11.20 marks)

2 November

Night shift this week. Pushing trucks on to lift behind turbines. We were rained off at midnight and got back in camp by about 1.30. The weather has become much warmer than it has been for the last week and the snow has almost disappeared at best from the valleys if not altogether on the hilltop.

3 November

Pushing trucks on lift again tonight at back of turbines. RC parcel tin issue

4 November

Day party rained off at dinner time today and as rain later turned to snow (fairly heavy) we did not go in at all tonight

5 November

Cigarette issue today (RC) Same job tonight – pushing trucks on lift for turbines

6 November

Cigarette issue (canteen 3.60) Once again pushing trucks for turbines but about 2300 hrs had to put on gumboots and work underneath as one lad came out saying he was ‘kanki’. Not too bad a night anyhow. It got quite cold towards morning as it has done the last few nights

7 November

Went in at 1.0 today to finish the week’s night shift as usual now and knocked off at 1800 hrs. Pushing trucks into lift once more. Had group photos taken this morning

8 November

Parade inspection this morning & commemoration service at 10.45. Red Cross parcels received after service. Wrote card to Betty this afternoon

9 November

Excused work today owing having a cold, so was in camp all day

10 November

At work today. Working behind turbines in concrete instead of tipping for a change. Armistice Day today – nearly all the lads stopped work at 11.0 for 2 mins silence

11 November

Started morning hooking buckets to crane but went into back of turbines at 9.0. Photos in today

12 November

Digging in center hole today as concrete on turbines finished for time. Not too bad a day although this job generally gets very monotonous. Received two letters dated 20 Oct, Oct 6 from Dad

13 November

Digging and generally hanging about today – but not a bad time for all that

14 November

Messing about all morning clearing up timber for temporary bridge between towers. Knocked off as usual at 12.0. Red Cross parcels issued today – everything turned out to be tins

15 November

Parade this morning and search for surplus boots, jackets, overcoats and also unopened cans. No concert this afternoon. Beer in canteen. Received letters and cards, so wrote Betty and Mum and Dad also sent photo to Betty

16 November

Nights once again this week. Working clearing rock ready for concreting in front of turbine outlets till midnight then moving concrete from in front of broken shuttering

17 November

Digging tonight on river bank above dam – not a bad night and quite mild.  Received two letters (Sept 30 & Oct 6) from Betty also pack of cards. Three men found to be missing today – escaped

18 November

Another night of digging – this time in big hole

19 November

Had rotten night owing to bad toothache

20 November

Went sick this afternoon and then saw German MO who extracted tooth - received ‘camp duty’ for tomorrow so no work tonight. To see him again Monday worse luck

25 November

Pushing trucks on to lift to turbines today & knocked off at 1700 hrs to see German MO for and the tooth extraction

26 November

Tipping on turbines today. Not a bad day in spite of there being a continuous line of trucks this allowing us no breaks except what we could make ourselves

27 November

Same job again today. The last few days have been rather cold with a very heavy frost in the mornings

28 November

Digging a big hole this morning as the turbines were not working having to be cleaned and before any more concrete can be poured. Received letter dated Oct 19 from Betty this afternoon

Parade this morning with a search for money – also inspection of boots for studs etc. Wrote letter and card to Betty and Mum & Dad and also sent photo for Mum & Dad. Red Cross parcels (Canadian) issued this afternoon. Concert in evening and later we held a general knowledge bee in our room to pass the evening

30 November

Tipping over turbine tonight

1 December

Tipping same again tonight. Received letter dated Oct 14 from Betty

2 December

Hooking up trucks to crane in tower tonight

3 December

Tipping once again tonight over turbines

4 December

Same job again tonight

5 December

Same tipping job again tonight. We had to work full night shift today & started work at 1930 as on a normal week day shift. Day shift today & worked a full day as well.

6 December

No special parade like as usual Sunday as night shift were back and day shift were at work. Wrote card home for Betty. Held another general knowledge bee in our room tonight

7 December

No work today owing to rain and snow. The last fortnight the weather has been very cold with very heavy frost at night and persisting nearly all day. Last night it started raining and this morning we just managed to slide down to the dam to return about an hour later. Later rain turned to snow. Held another general knowledge bee tonight to pass the time.

8 December

Frame tipping job over turbines today but the work was very ___________ owing to accident with one of the lifts, Charlie Green, I am sorry to report being killed through it. Last night also Douglas Galbraith had a similar fall but was lucky enough to escape almost unhurt.

9 December

Once again tipping over turbines – the job went slowly owing to trouble with lifts. Pay tonight – 7 marks. RC cigarettes & also canteen issue of cigarettes

10 December

Same again today till after dinner when went into stefals as quite a number of the lads had gone to funeral of Charlie Green. From their reports this was carried out with military honours and every respect – the Germans firing a salute. Held another for general knowledge bee after tea

11 December

Tipping today on bridge into center hole till just after dinner when job finished & went hooking up trucks at top of incline to end of dam wall

12 December

Working on same job till dinner time then went tipping ballast at back of wall farther along same bank. Red Cross parcel issue

13 December

Group photographs in today. Working this morning – first same job as yesterday, then shoveling concrete into barrows for tipping down chutes at end of wall just alongside of turbine inlets. No work in afternoon. Wrote letter to Betty & Mother & dad. Held impromptu general knowledge again after tea

14 December

Nights once more this week – on same job coupling up trucks to winch cable

15 December

Same job tonight

16 December

Tipping again tonight but this time ballast instead of ballast – same part of bank. Started snowing today and continued fall all night – not very heavily however so that we did not get unduly wet

17 December

Once more tipping over same job – concrete till about 3.30 then ballast till 6.30. All lights on dam went out for ½ hr tonight at 23.0 hrs so that the break for soup was earlier than usual

18 December

No work tonight – day shift finished at 1300 hrs also but a few had to go down for a short time later

19 December

Went down to Lavamund job this morning – only few going to the dam itself. Finished at 12.0

20 December

Nothing special today. Room inspection then parade and inspection of boots and clothing. Issue of Red Cross parcels (Canadian) Wrote card to Betty. Held another gen knowledge bee to night

21 December

Work for a few today owing to holidays we are being arranged into small groups for work – some of us to work one day and others the next

22 December

Working down at Railway latter today – unloading cement, etc – Not a bad day, although the work was tough

23 December

No work today – had issue of Red Cross parcels. There was an issue of wine (tastes like potato wine) from canteen today. There was quite a lively night in camp tonight. Some of the lads being quite the worse off for drink and also some off the guards who came round our various rooms & joining in the sport. The Commandant himself coming round later in the evening

24 December Mother’s birthday

Christmas morning – wishing everybody the compliments of the season – with special wishes for everybody at home. I was especially lucky today in receiving a parcel from home. Very successful concert tonight

25 December

Had another day off today. Only a couple of lads from each room going to work – at railway – we drew cards for this ‘privilege’ in each room. In the afternoon there were a couple of football matches and also a walk for any who wished to go. In the evening was held a repeat concert which passed off very well.

26 December

Another day off for us – only a small group having to go to railway. Received letter from Betty enclosing photos of Sylvie. This cheering me up very considerably – I hope my photo has been on time for Christmas as well. This afternoon we all moved out of barracks to tower overlooking dam as the huts are being deloused once more

27 December

Spent today in and about tower at dam as our huts were still full of gas. In afternoon we all went out for a short walk and had quite a pleasant time in the snow – some of the guards joining in the fun

28 December

Return to _____________ all day. Some of the lads in morning and the rest after dinner. Most of the afternoon was taken up by a general cleanup & refilling palliases. Hold gen know bee after tea in our room. We have now struck a really cold spell – temperature this morning being -16 . The river itself being partly frozen near banks and ice coming down all the time

29 December

Working today down at Lavamund – digging on hillside overlooking road and river – not a baddy although very cold at first – clearing snow to commence job. We walked down to job as no wagons were available and this warmed us up considerably. Returned by wagon of course in evening at 1800 hrs. Wrote letters & card after tea to Betty & Mother & Dad

 30 December

No work today. The party detailed for work this morning did not go in owing to cold. Red Cross parcel issue today. Had quite a pleasant day with quite a good deal of beer in with which we celebrated the passing of the old year & incoming of the new. Doors locked & lights out tonight. It was left till 0100 hrs to allow us to celebrate a bit. Over the last week the guards here also joined in the fun and games

Sunday Jan 4

Usual inspection parade. While on parade there was also boot inspection & tin search. Wrote home today

Monday Jan 5

Digging in big hole. Rained over shifts this morning. Our shift being changed from night to day

Thursday Jan 8

Generally moving around dam.

Friday Jan 9

Tipping over _______hole

Saturday Jan 10

Logging this morning. Knocked off at 1200. Received letter from Dad dated Nov 3. RC parcels today

Jan 10

Usual Sunday inspection parade. Wrote Betty & Mother & Dad

Jan 11

Tipping deep hole over river tonight. It has once again turned cold – although during the past week it had gradually got a little warmer – at least warm enough to thaw the ice on the river which was frozen right over. Temperature about -16

Jan 12

Same job tonight but as this has finished as far as possible about 5.0 we were put on log shifting – not that we did much but it kept us warm. The temperature about -18

Jan 13

__________ men on same job. Tonight turned out to be colder than last – so much more that the river has commenced freezing once again & before we marched off that part above the dam was almost a solid sheet

Jan 14

Part of concrete party went back to lager tonight owing to not enough concrete given. Others of us had to go on digging in big hole. We all knocked off at 2.00 hrs

Jan 15

Tipping on opposite side of river again tonight. Some more of concrete party returned here again tonight. The digging groups knocked off at 2.00 hrs again tonight but concrete worked through to 6.00

Jan 16

Tipping again this afternoon. Those off us in concrete who have not had time off this evening should have had afternoon off but as four did not turn out we all had to go in – knocked off at 1800 hrs

Jan 17

Nothing special today except no parade owing to slight change of rooms. Red Cross parcel issue. Wrote Betty sending her Parrot’s address – he sending our address to his wife

Jan 18

No work today for half our shift following a strike against such long hours in the cold – an agreement being reached whereby we work half shift on alternate days and also from 8.00 hrs to 1830 hrs

Jan 19

Work today for half our shift – I myself had a slight argument with foreman & finished up with interviews with Commandant at dinner time – had another bit of bother in afternoon also but this was settled on job by ____________. Received letters (dated Oct 26, Nov 7, & Dec 5) from Betty this evening

Jan 20

No work again today although everybody had to go down – our half shift returning

Jan 21

Our half shift at work today – concrete being poured into ‘big hole’ – I myself being with party on bridge itself. This morning Lavamund party refused to work but after discussion with Commandant they went in

Jan 23

Our shift in the morning. Only enough going in to make 3 reliefs (7.0 / 8.30, 8.30 / 10.0. 10.0 / 1200 hrs) as it is still cols – RC cigarettes today

Jan 24

Inspection of rooms this morning then nothing else today. Wrote Betty & Mother & Dad. Red Cross parcel issues this morning. Weather much warmer today

Jan 25

No work today owing to new arrangement of 3 shifts

Jan 26

Working this afternoon on 1300 hrs to 2000 hrs shift. Tipping over No 3 turbine & deep hole – quite a good job in spite of gusty cold wind. The weather for the last three days has become much warmer although it is still cold

Jan 27

In ‘stifals’ today for first time for several weeks & quite a change. Working on No 3 turbine

Jan 28

Tipping again today in big hole 2nd railway line – corner box

Feb 6-7

No work today for our shift. Mail in today – received letter dated Dec from Betty including Sylvie’s photo. The weather is still cold but not quite as bad as a few weeks ago –it has been snowing on and off for a bit also but snow up to now has not got more than about 7 – 8” deep. The river above the dam has now been frozen for some weeks, although cold and not too pleasant. Under the circumstances we are making the best of things and can still laugh and joke very often to the great surprise of the ‘civvies’ who just can’t make us Britishers (Anzacs as well) out. The surrounding countryside looks really grand and different in its snow covering and given other circumstances we would really enjoy it almost as much as our country. Wrote Betty thanking her also for Sylvie’s photo

Feb 8

Early morning shift this week – 0700 to 1200 hrs today, as no night shift Sunday night – we start at 0500 each day for rest of week – thus taking over from night shift who finish at 0430. In ‘stefal’ in big hole today – not too bad – for rest of this week was in ‘stefals’ working in turbines. Friday turned very cold causing concrete to freeze on chutes, this stopping job till afternoon shift. We therefore spent rest of morning clearing out chutes

Feb 18

Nothing special today – same job in big hole

Feb 19

Same job – four of us had lucky escape where a large piece of rock fell into hole where we were working – the vibration from chutes and the ice of wall from thawing caused this

Feb 21

Same job today – has slight incident but no damage – fell into concrete and got a trifle wet

Feb 22

Usual Sunday inspection & parade. Wrote Betty this afternoon. Concert held this evening was very successful helped as it was by __________ by new lads just arrived in camp. Commandant & several guards attended.

Feb 22

Started with new job today – digging holes for pylons. This job promises to be a real good ‘bludger’ as we are definitely not pushed – 42 of us with two guards only. The hours are also shorter & we are “permanent” days – 7.30 to 11.45 & 3.15 to 1745

Feb 23

Went with five others to a civvie clearing snow from positions of pylons farther along the valley – this proved exceptionally easy job the only fault being that it necessitated in getting our boots soaked through owing to the depth of snow. Incidentally the weather is now getting warmer and the snow is rapidly thawing. The scenery round looks very beautiful and under different conditions we could have an exceptionally good time. In fact it is so organized here that I hope I may be able to spend a holiday out this way with Betty and Sylvie – although it is not our own dear ‘Blighty’, it is definitely worth a visit

March 1

Monday, Tuesday work same job, Thursday – started dam at Lavamund – a rotten job which I intend to get off and back to the dam if possible. Received letter dated Jan 16 from Betty including snaps of Sylvie on Thursday & another on Friday dated Jan 28.

Tuesday – 10th received letters from Betty dated Nov 21 & 26, Dec 1 & from Mother dated Dec 1, from Doug dated Nov 3

Thursday – 12th – card from Mum & Dad & letters from Betty dated Feb 3 & 10

Saturday 14th – card from Gladys. Are still at Lavamund. The weather is gradually getting a bit warmer but we are now having quite a few days with a very cold wind which is really worse than the low temperature we had before

Saturday – 21st – nothing fresh this week

Sunday – 22nd – wrote Betty. Football started once again. Concert in evening. Doctor gave talk last night on birth control

Monday – 23rd – letters from Betty (Feb 19) Mother (Feb 16) Doug (Dec19) including Auntie Florence

Sunday – 29 – wrote Betty. Very good concert tonight attended by new Commandant

Monday – 6 half day work through group leader’s mistakes

Friday April 10 - letters from Betty dated 26 Feb. & Grandpa dated Feb 20

Sunday – 12 – wrote card home to Betty. There has been nothing special the past week or so – same old

Friday May 1 – received letters from Betty (Mar 11) & Mother & Dad (Mar 8) and also a parcel dated Dec 9

Sunday 3 – wrote Betty. The past fortnight has passed very much as usual – we had Saturday (May 2) morning off for May Day celebrations

Monday 4 – cigarette parcels in from Grandpa & dad

Wednesday – cigarettes from Betty

Saturday – moved down to Lavamund this morning

Sunday – cigarettes from Betty – wrote card to Betty

·        Dates not easily read now

Had very long hailstorm and cloud burst this afternoon together with quite a good deal of lightning

Wednesday – another cloudburst today. The river has risen……..

July 2 – letters from Betty – June 2 & 4. Had 2 more teeth out by Dr Berger

July 19 – 2nd visit from top camp – this time boxers and wrestlers

Aug 8 – concert (impromptu) held tonight

Aug 9 – have ___________ on newspapers production tonight

Aug 11 – night shift this week

Aug 14 – received clothing parcel from Betty (dispatched 27 Feb)

Aug 16 – received clothing parcel from _____________ (7 April) and also parcel of books from home

August 22 – received chess set & cards from Betty (23 April)

August 27 – received 200 players from S African Red Cross

Sept 3 – letters from Betty dated July 13, 18, 25, Aug 1 & 10, and from Mother & Dad dated July 22

Sept 5 – another very successful concert held tonight

Sept 7 – night shift this week

Sept 12 – letters from Betty & Mother (both August 13) and parcel from RC Cairo

Sat Oct 24 – had past morning off as civvies were to go to opening of first turbines at Wunderstatten. Plenty of beer in the _________

Nov 11 – 2 minutes silence held on job today. Last post sounded by tonight from Moon bridge & short service held at _________ of troops & lads in Lavamund.

Nov 21 – painting today for a change (8 day contract and 4 days off) Letters from Betty (9 June & 7 Oct) Mum & Dad (Sept 29 & Oct 20) Bobby (Oct 1) Harold (Oct 24) & Xmas card, Gladys, applied ________ from Red X __________

Dec 23 – card from POW Relations Assoc. Knocked off work 10.0 this morning till Monday Dec28 then worked till 11.0 Thursday Dec 31 till Monday Jan 4


Jan 15 – off work with stomach trouble

Jan 22 – work till 5 from today owing to cold

Apr 11 – received letter from Betty of Dec 4 & Feb 8

From here until April 1945, the entries become much shorter, listing letters and parcels received.

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