The diary of John P. Sandford

21 January - 25 January 1945

JAN, 21. to Exin [Kcynia]: 21 km 12.6 miles  

Long and snafu appeal in cold ... light snow ... 1,282 Officers & 109  Enlisted Men march out of gate in platoon groups with 1 RC box each ... sleds ... join refugee wagons ... soon a pell-mell mob ... 2 official breaks all day ... Colonel's (Goode) bagpipes lead the way. Constant adjustment of "packs" ... clothes and heavy articles cast along road. Evening quartered in quadrangular farm buildings are heated, lighted barn ... refugee wagons in quadrangle.

JAN, 22. to Eichfelde [Polanowo] 25 km  15,0 miles  27.6 total miles  

Sick left behind ... slow-marching group formed ... others march out ... still stream of refugee wagons ... dead horses by road ... lads "GRRR" at horses ... guards do a lot of yelling but column poorly organized ... stragglers ... civilians (German) seem taunting ... billeted in small barns. Heard small arms fire.

JAN, 23. to Charlottenburg [Falmirowo]: 7 km 4.2 miles 31.8 total miles  

Told guards had left at 04:00 hours ... "LIBERATION" free 10 hours ... Brass set up CP's ... told to remain in the area ... Polish women bring cherry preserves ... help cook around fires ... singing ... bash RC box ... rye for cereal ... dig latrine ... rumors ... Poles say Russians 5 km away ... Germans return ... told we march at 16:00 hours ... small guard of SS Latvian troops take over ... snow ... many officers take off across the fields cross country ... snipers in white tour around in truck ... bazooka men on road billet in group barns ... sleep in stable on carted straw. Bill's (Warthen) RC box stolen in last hour of daylight.

JAN, 24. to Lobsens [Lobzenica]: 8km 4.8 miles 36.6 total miles  

Casually form into platoons ... march out ... some try hiding in hay ... column well strung out ... loads lighter since most RC boxes almost empty ... Poles along the way give bread, cheese, milesk etc. Spend some time in Lobsens [Lobzenica] - town gives food out of cooking pots, bread, ersatz cheese ... SS in town severe - try to hold down the populace ... strutting officer with potato-masher grenade pushes child off sled ... bullies his way around - old Schubin guard rejoins us ... 17 escaped O's caught - threatened shooting ... billeted in barn ... speech by Oberst "Be gentlemen - don't try to escape" ... shoot in hay - Col. Goode (been sick) informs Oberst he's not been easy ... Himmler has sent SS troops to guard us.

JAN. 25. to Flatow [Zlotow]: 18 km 10.8 miles 47.4 total miles  

Column better organized - issue of thick soup - cold - cobblestone towns ... arrive Flatow [Zlotow] ... other columns of Russian & British POWS stay in barn at commando farm ... frozen Russian ... fire of slats.

 

(Map by Ulrich Koch, Berlin - Germany)

2002 Copyright Peter Domes -  Date of last change: 2021-07-10