Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 5 May 1945 to 7 May 1945

Our expedition was successful in that we found a rhubarb field which we gleaned and also managed to find about 10lb of potatoes; also Ted called on the camp butcher for whom he had just completed a big job in the joinery line and found him killing a pig out of which he presented Ted with the liver. We returned to our quarters with our spoils of war to find that a friend had sent a bottle of wine whose source we did not enquire and so we had our best meal for some time after which we went happily to bed talking of being home in a week.
Then came the morning and with it our spirits fell again to a new low. During the night the SBO had a stormy interview with the Russian authorities who would not agree to our evacuation and insisted that we should move into the Adolf Hitler Camp of recent unhappy memory. At this the SBO told them that he would resign his position as he would be unable to issue such an order to his men but the Russians refused to accept his resignation and there the matter rested for some hours. Meanwhile another unofficial exodus took place and about midday the Russians climbed down and said that no obstacle would be placed against our evacuation.
Shortly after this a convoy of American ambulances arrived to carry off the sick and this was very encouraging but in addition the drivers brought news that 180 lorries would come the next day to complete the evacuation. Once again spirits rose but after previous experiences no one was too confident, especially after the Russian confrontation with the SBO whom I should mention by name - he is Wing Commander Collard ('Dick') who has performed a difficult task with distinction.
The last two weeks have really been a great strain on us all and nerves in some cases are close to breaking point but our group of four has been fortunate in having work to do so that we are all in good heart.

Sunday, May 6 1945. The expected lorries began to arrive - only 25 at first - and were halted by the Russians about 2 miles from the camp as there was still no agreement with them. The American enlisted men, who had been living in the worst conditions, formed up in small parties to march to the lorries and two thirds of these got away fully loaded before the Russians used armed force to prevent any further evacuation.
More lorries continued to arrive and we were all warned to stand by as it was expected that the Russian Commandant would receive his orders at any time; our hopes were boosted by news from the American Captain in charge of the lorries that he had orders from Supreme Allied HQ to evacuate Americans, British, Norwegian, French and Belgian personnel in that order.
However no movement took place on Sunday with the Russians still adamant and indeed our position was much the same as in the past with armed patrols surrounding the camp.

Monday, May 7 went by with no progress except that many men made their way to the lorries which were still waiting for the 'off', while we were told to resume operations in the workshop as before.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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