[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]
Sun Aug 1, 1943:
Hot. A meeting was held in the theatre of British Columbians, among other things a Canuck Directory was proposed. Arts & Crafts - chessmen carved from tooth brush handles (42), wood carvings, needlework, model making, knitting etc. Boxing contests took place in the evening. Swimming in the newly made (fire) water pool has been forbidden because the water is filthy.
Mon Aug 2, 1943:
Weather very good. Sometimes the Germans decided to build a number of water reservoirs around the camp in case of fire. Probably the Red Cross made them do it. If there was a fire in any of the barracks it would be the end, because everything in the place is made of wood. It is old and very dry. The reservoir nearest our compound is half full of water. Some of the fellows are doing their best to have a swim, even the men with only one arm. It looks inviting. Hot! At 7 am benches were being put in place for this afternoon’s Empire Games, we put ours out on the edge of the track right after morning parade. RCAF personnel were given their War Log Books. Meat & vegetable soup. The Games were run very well opening with a parade of all competing teams; bands playing. A German took photos of all the events. As the various teams placed in the events their flags were hoisted on the flagstaff. A Union Jack made from odds & ends draped the judges table. Rumour: - The Repats may leave for Blighty any day.
Tue Aug 3, 1943:
Hot & windy. Some fellows still swim in the (fire) water tank. The Arts & Crafts Exhibition is still on. Link & I used the barbell in the afternoon & again at night. In stalag jargon “air raid” means there is a chain panic or chain check by the Feltveble Unterofficer. “Joe” Kessel warned us at 5 pm parade of a chain check by laughingly saying “air raid” as he passed us. Argentine bulk half tin butter, half tin honey, half tin milk, 16 biscuits. No water on in our compound all day. RCAF received wartime log book from the Canadian YMCA. There is still a water shortage. The water sometimes comes on in our barracks around 10:30pm. So we have to sit around and wait for it.
Wed Aug 4, 1943:
A hot wind stirred up the sand so much that it was impossible to stay outside. School reopens next Monday. Eric brought in some whole dried bananas some of which were soaked for tomorrow’s breakfast. After lights out we heard several revolver shots, apparently some POW’s were throwing tin cans at the barbed wire & a German thinking someone was escaping through the wire fired at it.
Thur Aug 5, 1943:
Thunderstorm & rain this morning. We need this rain to settle the dust. On a windy day it blows around the camp like a dust storm. Bulk issue:- l tin bully beef, half tin marmalade, l bar soap, l bar chocolate, half pkt figs. Bananas & cream for breakfast. Hot showers this afternoon. The picture taking racket still goes on. I received my first letter from home dated April 17. About ten o’clock this morning a Russian POW, who had been with a working party just outside the fence was shot, picking up some cigarettes, some of our fellows had thrown to him. If he had been taken to a hospital immediately he would have lived, but the Gerries let him lie in the dirt for hours. We were all watching this and yelling at the guards in the compound, in the towers and outside the fence, to call a doctor. Nothing happened. A few hours later a couple of other Germans were forced to drag the poor fellow away, feet first. To do this picture taking duty they put on their uniforms, went down below for various group pictures. We don’t know if we will ever see them, but it will be okay if they are sent to the newspapers back home.
Fri Aug 6, 1943:
The compound gates weren’t opened till 9:14 am. Eric & I obtained some German jam & some delousing powder from Ginger Barnett. I slept during the noon hour. The Feldveble a/c became a bit nasty because no one was wearing chains, the crises soon ended for the Brew king yelled “Brew up” & the 2 Germans scattered before the stampede. Baseball - FMR played Essex Scots in the rain.
Sat Aug 7, 1943:
A cool day. Bananas & Klim milk for breakfast. Eric & I went to the Munich - Wog compound to read the translated news, the Germans had taken down the hand drawn maps. We visited Tommy Barnham (Fulham boxer). Back to the billet in time for brew, lately we have been having a coffee brew. Each combine contributes l tablespoon of coffee & Don Brown (brew king) handles the brewing. Meat & Vegetable soup. At 3 pm we had a check parade, no reason given. The chain Feldveble & his stooge tried to interest the boys in wearing their chains but they ignored his requests & continued playing cards.
Sun Aug 8, 1943:
A cool day. While strolling round the Munich - Wog compound we watched some Poles & Ukraines herding cattle. The cattle are tied in groups of 6 to 8 & each group is attended by a man or woman. Several pale weedy looking German soldiers & their women strolled by. In the afternoon the Essex Bulldogs beat the Camerons 15 - 0 at baseball. While we were having our afternoon siesta an Unteroficer came in top enforce the chaining. We all stayed put. He left in a rage.
Mon Aug 9, 1943:
Very cold last night. The 16B - 8 aside soccer team (the Millers) beat the Convalescents 5 - 0 this morning. At noon we heard that 3500 men from another stalag were coming here & to make room for them. The RAF in 7-10 were to move into our compound. The Canadian soldiers in huts 17 & 18 were to go across to the Dieppe Compound. The soldiers refused to move. The RAF in 7-10 will stay there & 50 of the new arrivals will be placed in each barrack. They will sleep on the floor. Raining very hard when we went to draw our Red Cross food parcels. Parade was held inside. Most of the RAF W.O.’s left today for a Naval W.O.’s camp. W.O. Daviner left with them. Our new compound commander is an Aussie Sgt from 7-10.
Tue Aug 10, 1943:
Very cold last night, two blankets aren’t enough. Eric & I visited Ging for our morning brew. There will only be 6 spaces for all the kite in the barrack. I decided to trade my upper bunk for Doug McLeod’s lower, then I can put up several shelves. At 2 pm 50 new comers arrived in our barrack. They are all from Italy. Short hair cuts & red patches on their clothes are 2 distinguishing marks. Among them are some paratroopers captured 3 weeks ago in Sicily. These POW’s were poorly fed & badly treated by the Italians. The barrack is very crowded.
Wed Aug 11, 1943:
I slept very well in my new bunk. The gates were locked all morning. No chains up today. We are now allowed to lie on our bunks from 11 am to 3 pm instead of just from 12 to 2. I tried some Italian tobacco in my pipe - filthy stuff. Heavy thunder storm.
Thur Aug 12, 1943:
The warm weather is back again. Chains up today. Cooking fires in the compound were banned today because several chaps left the morning parade before it was dismissed. The Feldvebel in charge of chains came into the barrack, but he was ignored, no one had chains on. At the 5 pm parade he spent quite a bit of time gestulating, shouting & prancing around, he then would walk away for a breather before having another go at us. I’m now playing 1st baseman for the Lancs. (16B baseball team) who beat the Outlaws 5-2. Rumour: Sicily has fallen. A landing at Genoa. 3000 more POW’s coming to Stalag 8B. Kharkov taken.
Fri Aug 13, 1943:
Red Cross food parcels this morning. I borrowed a book from Ging Barnett. The Lancs tossed the softball round during noon hour.
Sat Aug 14, 1943:
This is our half day holiday from chains, meat & vegetable soup. Last night a Russian POW escaped & was hit by machine gun bullets. He was discovered at the edge of the woods near the Dieppe compound suffering from lung wounds. International football - Ireland beat Wales 3-1. Suffering from a mild attack of the flu so I climbed into bed early.
Sun Aug 15, 1943:
I was given a bed chit this morning. Rained all day, but cleared up in the evening. My bones ache & I feel as weak as a puppy. Link bought a steel exercise expander.
Mon Aug 16, 1943:
I’m still feeling weak. Bulk issue, one third lb margarine, l tin milk, biscuits, Oxford sausage. The Lancs beat the Ions 6-3 in a very heated baseball game. Pat Miller read out some BBC news brought in from a working party. The posten in charge of dogs has orders to shoot at anyone throwing stones & cans or in any way annoying the dogs.
Tue Aug 17, 1943:
I feel a lot better today. In spite of last night’s good news a few pessimists still go round insisting that the war will go on for several years. After lights out we heard 12 revolver shots.
Wed Aug 18, 1943:
A hot day. A green scum covers the water tank (fire) so few people swim in it now. At noon the Lancs practiced softball & in the evening they lost 16-6 to the Black Sox through too many errors.
Thur Aug 19, 1943:
Hot. I received a parcel (clothing) from home, A large number of parcels were in so I had to wait most of the morning in the Post office before getting it. Everything in is very useful, especially the shoes & razor blades
Fri Aug 20, 1943:
A very hot wind stirred up the sand so badly that it was impossible to stay outside. There was a special roll call this afternoon - no reason given for it. Mike Gibbs ( Kenya) was on our “do”. It looks as though this hot weather is going to keep up for some time. The chains are issued each day, but nobody is wearing them as there are not enough German guards to watch to see that we keep them on.
Sat Aug 21, 1943:
Hot. The Lancs beat the Cardinals 6-1. Another wrestling show this afternoon. Quite a sandstorm blew up later. Our war logs are being collected & censored by Regimental Sergeant Major Sheriff. The BBC gen sounds good. A little excitement this afternoon, when a fellow in the Dieppe compound went nuts. A couple of Canadians, who had been playing partners at bridge for a long time and were very good at it. This afternoon, one of the partners was sitting outside talking to a few other fellows, when the other one came out of the barracks, walked up to him, didn’t say a word, but reached over and tucked an ace of spades in the other fellow’s pocket, turned and walked back into the hut. About fifteen minutes later the partner, who put the card in the other fellow’s pocket came out again, walked straight up to his partner, who was still sitting on the ground reached in his pocket and pulled out the card. He saw it was the ace of spades and he immediately began to yell at his partner, accusing him of hiding the card. Apparently the fellow went wild screaming that they would have won the tournament if they had the ace of spades, that he would never play with such a partner again etcetera. A few minutes later he went back into the barracks. A few minutes later he came running out of the hut, but this time he was stark naked and only carried a deck of cards, shouting, and throwing the cards all over the place. His partner, who was outside, ran up grabbed him, calling for someone to get a blanket. They threw a blanket over him, wrapped him up and carried him into the hospital.
Sun Aug 22, 1943:
Birthday. Nothing much to do except watch a soccer game and go down below for a shower. The shower didn’t really do much good, because the dust is blowing all over the place. You are just as dirty by the time you got back. A little cooler than yesterday. I’m 30 today. We were given our log books back. There is a typhus scare on (3 cases already). Anyone caught swimming in the water tank will be put in the “cooler”. The water situation is still very grim in our compound. Very hot this afternoon. International football - England beat Ireland 3-1. In the evening an 80 piece band & and 80 voice choir gave a concert on the football pitch. There appears to be a bush fire in the woods; a heavy column of smoke in day time & a bright glow at night. Nothing much to do except watch a soccer game and go down below for a shower. The shower didn’t really do much good, because the dust is blowing all over the place. You are just as dirty by the time you got back.
Mon Aug 23, 1943:
Hot, visited Ging Barnett & came away with books, German jam & coal briquettes. A baseball practice at noon. Red Cross food parcels at 2 pm. I slept during the remainder of the afternoon. I received a letter dated May 21 from home It is very dry, dusty, very windy. One would think we were in the midst of a dust storm, which we are. Last night there was a red glow in the sky over Opeln. It must have been a forest fire. There have been three cases of typhoid in the camp. We will all have to go easy on the drinking water. And an order has been given by the British Medical Officer, no one is to swim in the water reservoirs.
Tues Aug 24, 1943:
A heavy electric storm during the night, still damp outside. Pictures of the arts & crafts exhibition are on sale at the school. 2 marks for 4. Playing a good game of ball the Lancs beat the Rookies 23-4. There is such a shortage of equipment that we have to use a round stick for a bat, a glove made from boot tops & a ball made from tightly wound wood & covered with old shoe tongues. Cabbage soup today. Since the barrack commander won’t issue the chains the German is going to chain each man tomorrow morning. At 9 pm the sky was lit up by Verey lights and tracer from machine guns - German Army night practice.
Sun Aug 29, 1943:
There is a rumor that the German camp commandant has said that the chains are coming off everyone except the air force POW’s. Last night when the chains were collected, there were a number missing, so Ukrainian Joe ordered us to stand in the parade ground for two hours, however, once he had left the compound we all rushed in and the parade ground was empty.
Mon Aug 30 to Mon Sept 20, 1943: