Diaries Dog tag

The Lost Six Years 1939-1945

Derek Hunnisett


On the 5th of June we marched to the station and boarded the train in cattle trucks, leaving Mogilno at 8:30 am. We stopped at Poznan for a long time and those of us who had been there before were hoping  that we weren’t going to the fort again. Much to our relief we eventually moved off again and arrived at Grätz (Now Grodzisk Wielkopolski) at 6:00 pm. We then had a two mile march to the Stalag. (Listed as Stalag XXI C/Z).

When we arrived we were issued with a Red Cross parcel each, the first time we had one to each man. Men were coming in from other camps all through the night and the next day and we wondered what was going on. Rumours were flying around all the time, like the war was coming to an end or that Russia was coming into the war etc.

On Saturday the 7th we were issued with fifty fags per man and I watched a concert through the window of one of the huts. I couldn’t get in as there were so many there to see it. It was put on by the regular inmates there. It wasn’t a bad camp but they took a long time on roll calls, half the morning sometimes.

On the Wednesday we were issued with two parcels per man. We weren’t supposed to open them as we were told that we would be moving out soon (some hopes!). We did open them and what a feast we had. It was the first time that I had felt really full. We then had another fifty fags issued to us. I only smoked occasionally and all the cigarettes I had I swapped for food; mostly tins of condensed milk. I liked to make two holes in the tin, lay down and suck it until it was empty. It was lovely.

On Friday the 13th of June we packed our kit and marched out at 10:15 am for the station. The train left at noon and we were packed in fifty five to a truck, arriving at Marienberg (now called Malbork) in East Prussia at 4:30 am the next day. It was an awful night as we had more kit now and we were packed like sardines with no room to move. We had a four mile march to the Stalag. (Listed as Stalag XXB). When we arrived we were given a loaf between five men. There were French here as well and they seemed to do better for food than the English.

This was a terrible Stalag. We were always on parade. First there was a roll call, which lasted for about an hour and a half. Then on parade for two men to draw our bread ration of ten men to a loaf! Next was a parade to draw our dinner (a watery stew in large bins), another parade to draw our tea (a spot of jam margarine or sausage) and another roll call at night.

We were issued with new uniforms, at last.

I had a lucky escape while I was there. The latrines were covered pits with a long pole running the length of the pits to sit on. I was just leaving when the pole broke and everybody tumbled into the pit. There was a terrible mess and stink!

More French arrived. We couldn’t get on with them and there were a lot of fights between us, mostly over food, as they were doing a lot better than us. They lost a lot of their food and we always seemed to get the better of them.
On the 20th June, after six days in that Stalag (which was plenty long enough), ten of us moved out to the station. When we arrived two guards told us to get into a carriage. We couldn’t believe them at first because we were so used to travelling in cattle trucks. We didn’t need to be told twice, though, and settled down in comfort. We arrived at a place called Morhungen (now called Morag) and from there had a ride on a horse and cart to a farm near Lebanau. We were billeted in a small farm house that had one room with two tiered bunks, a kitchen (We were to do our own cooking), and one room for eating and relaxing in! All the windows were barred and the outside doors were padlocked.

Text © Copyright Derek Hunnisett 1983
The moral right of Derek Hunnisett to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
Website designed by Pete Hunnisett (Derek's nephew)