Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945
 March & April 1945

In the afternoon the now large column slowly wended its way through the town to the station and although the march was over we realised that the train journey would be no picnic.
We were packed 45 to each cattle truck so that no one could get really stretched out and we were locked into the trucks about 4pm; the train did not pull out until 8pm and we crawled slowly through the night and all next day to Luckenwalde, a journey of 160 kilometres which took 24 hours.
We de-trained at the sidings and marched to Stalag III A in the darkness with our guards too listless to bother much about us but by this time we too were in a low state so that no attempt was made to escape. After a weary wait and a search we eventually found beds in disgusting barracks which really horrified us but that is another story and the great march was over.

Editor's notes: In March 1984 Bill wrote, "After a forced march from various camps in Poland and Eastern Germany in January 1945, many thousands of allied POW were held in Stalag III A at Luckenwalde, South of Berlin. Together with my close friends - Ted Walker, Ray Hartwell & Johnny Sutton - I was put into one of the compounds at Luckenwalde which housed a large number of Air Force personnel from Stalag Luft III at Sagan and it must be said that conditions in the compound were deplorable.
By early April 1945 food was very scarce and no Red Cross parcels had reached us for many weeks but we were encouraged by the news - by clandestine radio - which made it clear that the war would soon be over. Nevertheless there was some anxiety as to German intentions towards us, because in March an attempt was made to evacuate us to South Germany but this was abandoned owing to their inability to provide rail transport and in particular a locomotive.
The period between the arrival of Russian troops and our eventual journey to American lines was fraught with uncertainty and apprehension. During that period I kept a diary at intervals but this is now in poor condition so I have decided to rewrite it in order to preserve a memento of a somewhat remarkable but little known story. My copy is a true replica of the original and nothing has been altered from the account which I wrote in 1945."

Wednesday, 18 April 1945. About 9pm the German doctor called on the SBO (Senior British Officer) in our barracks and it was obvious that he had brought some information of importance. Soon after his visit the SBO went to all barracks and announced that, according to information which he could not ignore, the Camp Commandant intended to march the whole Stalag of 12000 men Westwards tomorrow morning; the reason for this was that the Russians had broken through and were about 20 miles away in an arc from NE to S. The SBO stated that he would resist the move as far as safety permitted and that we were to delay as much as possible should the order be given.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

Back to previous page  Page 35

Go to next page

 To go straight to a specific page, click on the page number below:

 1  3  5  7  9  11  13  15  17  19




 29  31  33  35  37  39

 43  45  47
 2  4  6  8  10  12  14

 18  20  22  24  26  28  30  32  34  36  38  40  42  44  46  48