The diary of John P. Sandford

20 February - 27 March 1945

FEB, 20. to Dargun: 22 km 13.2 miles 268.6 total miles  

Sleep by thrasher in aisle. Large farm but flimsy buildings.

FEB, 21. layover:

High wind forces us to change fire area to spot next to small pond - kids with onions in pockets slip by guards to trade. Beautiful day of bashing.

FEB, 22. to Neukalen: 17 km 10.2 miles 278.8 total miles  

Via Dargun - stay in sectioned barn at near edge of fair-sized town - barn is fairly large and in good appearance - marched through streets to chow of boiled spuds, thick barley soup. Much trading for "Brot" - civilians want coffee. English speaking Jugend in uniform - specs - friendly - actively trading. Col. Goode forbids trading of clothes or D bars. No fires. "Trading Alley" with guards allowing furtive women to barter brot, saccharine, etc.

FEB, 23. to Basedow: 19 km 11.4 miles 290.2 total miles  

Via R.R. Center of Malchin (some evidence of bombing). G.I's working on tracks .."Any officers there?" "Yop" "How about a three day pass?" Rain - move out from under hole in barn roof. Goon issue 1/6 loaf bread, soup and spuds. Been getting ersatz daily at noon halts since 19th.

FEB, 24. to Cramon: 18 km 10.8 miles 301 total miles  

In loft over sheep with goon horses in aisle. Fires in hollow.

FEB, 25. to Plauerhagen: 22 km 13.2 miles 314.2 total miles  

Walk cross country by lakes and through woods - rain - Arbeiters sneak out food from house - rat race after milesk with guard going in one door and lads coming out the other - a Merry Go Round.

FEB, 26. layover:

Rain. No fires.

FEB, 27. to Lutheran: 16 km 9.6 miles 323.8 total miles  

Small farm with French workers - woman coffee-mad - barter in kitchen after knocking on door "Ich habe Baffee" - get Brot, saccharine, onions, sargum. Sugar from the French. Issue 1/2 RC Box #10.

FEB, 28. to Siggelkow 15 km 9 miles 332.8 total miles  

Via Rom, Luebz ("Hey fella, ya need a haircut!), Neuburg - circuitous route across country in a long "short-cut" in sight of Parchim. Air raid sirens scream. Town of Siggelkow - "Welcoming" group in top hats and tails. Sleep by door under light owner gives firewood - fires in street. Bakery with huge loaves.

MARCH, 1-5 - Siggelkow layover:

Waiting for transportation out of Parchim - marked by constant trading - bashing issues of soup, spuds, and 1/6 loaf of bread daily

March 3: Bill (Warthen) operates for brot. 1/4 RC #10 (USA)
March 4:

Greeted by pistol-packing guard. 2 officers missing in Parchim. Appeal. Get shoes fixed for soap by refugee cobbler. He examines shoes carefully, looking for "ersatz" ingredients - surprised to find none.


MARCH 6. - to Parchim: 8 km 4.8 miles 337.6 total miles  

Up at 4:30 am - march to train. "U.S. POW" painted on car roofs.

MARCH 7 & 8. - train trip to Hammelburg:

Sweat out air raids and hope for the best. Arrive station evening of 8th.

MARCH 9. - to Lager Hammelburg: 4 km 2.4 miles 340 total miles  

March up mountain overlooking picturesque valley to lager - Hammelburg - OFLAG XIIIB - gathered in riding ring - greeted by general -"crowded- that's war". Enter in groups of 100 - searched - grass soup - shower at 11:00 PM - quartered at 02:00 PM. Our first march is ended.

MARCH 10 - 27: Lager Hammelburg (OFLAG XIIIB)

Col. Goode finds himself senior officer and takes charge. POW's mostly taken in the Battle of the Bulge were unorganized, dispirited and unkempt. "Shave & clean up by morning!" Long-time kriegies take the new ones in hand.

MARCH 27th: Rescue Day by Task Force Baum



(Map by Ulrich Koch, Berlin - Germany)

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