Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 27 April 1945 to 5 May 1945

The only real trouble has involved some French POW who apparently were allowed by the Germans to come and go between the camp and the town and it is difficult to restrain them now. Inevitably several got out on Monday night and four Frenchmen got into trouble with a Russian patrol in the vicinity with the result that three were shot and killed.
Yesterday my back became very painful due to continued standing on guard duty at the gates and I was relieved of my duties. By now most fellows have become resigned to a fairly long stay here before repatriation and the whole camp is gradually being made into the semblance of a RAF station with all the usual sections; even sports and entertainments are being organised on a proper footing for the first time.
Today however an interesting new development has taken place affecting our small group of four as Ted Walker has been asked to organise a Carpenters shop in order to carry out repairs and any small jobs which may crop up. A workshop already exists outside the camp and since the German departure it has been used by a few Frenchmen for their own purposes. I accompanied Ted to the workshop and acted as a somewhat inadequate interpreter in order to prepare the French for our occupation. We had HQ permission to move in and use part of the building as living quarters but we expected to meet considerable opposition from the French; however they accepted the situation without argument and we immediately began to arrange things to our satisfaction with Ray Hartwell and Johnny Sutton thus retaining our group intact. Actually only Ted and Ray are skilled carpenters but no doubt Johnny and I will be able to pull our weight as unskilled labourers.

Saturday, May 5 1945. Since I last wrote much has happened but nothing which gives us any hope that our repatriation is near. To continue the story following our occupation of the workshop, it requires much cleaning and reorganising both as living quarters and as a Carpenters shop so that it took two days before we were really settled. We were given free rein in the Stores and we appropriated spring beds and other bits of furniture so that we were more comfortable than ever before in our prison life besides enjoying peace, quietness and some privacy; we even managed to acquire a radio set which was a great boon.
About the same time as our removal was taking place a Russian repatriation Committee of about 100 arrived, including some women. At first this caused great rejoicing but it soon became known that they held out no prospect of an early return home and for the time being could only help to make us as comfortable as possible.
During this period we knew from reports and actual gunfire that considerable German forces were still in the neighbourhood so that it was generally accepted that the Russians could not move us until these forces were eliminated. For the reason therefore that this was still very much an operational area, the Russians issued an order that no one was to go into the town as not only would prisoners endanger their own safety but their presence in the countryside would hamper Russian operations. In fact this order was not being strictly obeyed owing to holes in the wire but so far no untoward incidents have occurred.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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