Diaries Dog tag

The Lost Six Years 1939-1945

Derek Hunnisett

Back To Schubin

Back in Schubin Stalag on the 27th of August we found that the place is better organised than when we were here last. However it was still a scramble to get our food and still the same watery stew and six men to a loaf. The bread issued at breakfast was supposed to last for tea as well and I was becoming expert at cutting it up into as many thin slices as possible.

I had a medical inspection and at last I had something to put on my ankles. Also two pieces of flannel were issued to us to use as socks. I had to have my hair and beard cut off so I was now as bald as a coot. I also had a bowl issued so I was able to throw away my old pear tin. I had got quite attached to it but I wasn’t sorry to see the back of it as it was getting a bit battered and rusty.

I sold my wristwatch to a Pole for five German Marks. I didn’t like getting rid of it, as it was a twenty first birthday present from my parents, but I’m afraid I was too hungry to be sentimental about it – I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded under the circumstances. I also swapped my shirt for a loaf of bread. (I threw in the lice for nothing!).

On the 4th of September I had my first Red Cross issue. It consisted of one tin of milk, a third of a tin of marmalade, half a bar of chocolate, ten fags and three cheese spread. It went down well – I had forgotten what things like that tasted like. On the 7th I was issued with a Polish Cavalry greatcoat. It came down to my ankles and went around me nearly twice. I also got a blanket, pants and two more squares of flannel for socks.

With the money I got for my wristwatch I was able to buy extra bread, jam and biscuits from the canteen, which opened for one hour a day. The British still hadn’t any money to spend, apart from what they could sell their personal possessions for to the Polish P.O.W.s.

It was very monotonous there with nothing to do but wander along by the barbed wire fence between roll calls and queuing up for our meals and rations. We talked endlessly of the food we would buy when we got back home. One good thing about being back at the camp was that with less marching my ankles were getting much better.

Although there wasn’t much to do there we were glad that we were away from Poznan. Also we did get a bit better food, although it still wasn’t very good. There were a lot of men there that couldn’t take it and went round the bend. It was pitiful to see some of them and some just died.

I met John Matheson there again. We were pleased to see each other and had a lot to talk about. He hadn’t been away from the Stalag and he looked worn out and thin. I wondered if I looked the same to him but we were to part again. I was picked to go on a working party on the 9th and he wasn’t on it – or any of my mates for that matter. I didn’t like to stay in the Stalag for long as it was very demoralising and I hoped that this working party would be better than the one at Poznan. I didn’t think it could be any worse.

Text © Copyright Derek Hunnisett 1983
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