[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]
Fri Apr 21, 1944: to Thur May 11, 1944:
Fri May 12, 1944:
The first batch of repats left the camp this morning and they should be back in England in a few days.
Sat May 13, 1944: to Wed May 17, 1944:
Thur May 18, 1944:
The guards blew whistles at 4:20 am. We had to go out on morning count at half past four in the morning. We found out it was called so early, because the Gerries wanted to check how many men escaped through the tunnel at compound seven and ten, which was the one down below. After the parade we went back to breakfast. Some of the fellows went back to bed. Then there was another parade count. The whole camp is marched outside the gates with guards and machine guns all over the place. All counted, those who went through the gates, but this time were not re-counted as we marched back. Weather was bad all day. Apparently twelve fellows escaped last night, but seven were caught at the Lambsdorf train station and were brought back and now are in solitary.
Fri May 19, 1944 to Sat May 20, 1944:
Sun May 21, 1944:
Weather is good, sunbathing weather. Rumor has it that all South Africans will be leaving next week. Most of the Irishmen left last week. They left in a hurry for another camp near Berlin. Nobody has said why this move was made, but it was made anyway. Glad we are not going there, because they are bombing Berlin an awful lot.
Mon May 22, 1944:
Tue May 23, 1944:
It started off cold and windy, then it changed and was sunny for the rest of the day. For some reason the Germans have been sky-writing over the camp for the past few days.
Wed May 24, 1944:
Weather sunny, but a little on the cool side. We all saw something good to-day, while watching some Gerry aircraft flying around, one of the wings broke off for some unknown reason and the plane just spun into the ground. We didn’t hear any explosion, but we did see the ball of fire and all the smoke. The pilot did not get out.
Thur May 25, 1944: to Fri May 26, 1944:
Sat May 27, 1944:
Now numerous rumors and pictures all around the camp advertising the Whitsun carnival, the grain and the big parade. By all accounts it should be the biggest and best carnival this camp has ever seen. It is really amazing what POW’s can do, when they want to. Some of the compounds have been working on floats for the parade for over a month, scrounging material, paint, metal etc. Costumes have been made and everything is ready to go. There should be some pictures taken.
Sun May 28, 1944:
Rugby games with various groups. After rugby games various groups started to rent stalls on the route of the parade that’s been laid out. The parade takes place to-morrow. Numerous fellows are starting to appear on the camp in comic and fancy costumes. One fellow is dressed as a mystery man and if he is challenged properly the challenger will get a prize of 500 cigarettes. We’ve been told that the German guards will be allowed to come into the camp and walk around to see what is going on. Our camp Commandant wanted to let the British staff out for the day, but the German officer would not allow that to happen. That must have been straff orders.
Mon May 29, 1944:
Weather perfect, sunny, hot and a little bit of a breeze. To-day was the greatest day in the history of Stalag 8B or 344 with the Whitsun parade, fair and carnival. Parade of floats, which included Anthony and Cleopatra, The Empire Has Wings, which consisted of airmen from all countries dressed in their best uniforms marching behind a home made Lancaster. The Zulus, the African blacks in their native costumes, who danced as they went by in the parade. British flower sellers, Volga boatmen in their old clothes and bare feet with simulated blood smeared all over them. A model of the Tale of Two Cities. A cenotaph with an airman, a soldier, a sailor and a wren, pseudo wren of course standing at each corner, a camel and a cow, one beach dame, numerous comics and fellows dressed in different costumes. The marching band was dressed in blue and gold uniforms. The Zulus won first prize, the air force with the Lancaster were second. After the parade there was a fair held on the rugby pitch, where there was stalls for each of the prisoner associations consisting of dart games, throwing balls in bottles, dropping pennies in the water, coconuts to knock down, that is substitute coconuts. Everybody in the camp attended and had a good time. At night there was boxing and a football games. There was a float from the theatre, covered in blue and white paper and thousands of phoney flowers.
Tue May 30, 1944: to Wed May 31, 1944: