My fathers diary notes about Long March from Stalag 18A to 18C Markt Pongau

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ianjardine, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. ianjardine

    ianjardine Member

    Hi all

    As I have mentioned in another post, my father died back in 2000 and it is only last week I discovered a tin in the loft containing various items from his time as a Royal Marine and POW; Photos, contact names and addresses, notebook with diary entries.

    This part referring to his forced march I thought may be of interest to others so I've copy/pasted it below. It may lack detail but I'm so glad he wrote something down.

    He did get there in the end. Further diary entries are just before his release in May 1945.

    Royal Marine John Jardine CH/X 100196 – POW 6829

    The Long March, Stalag 18A to Stalag 18C Markt Pongau

    Friday 30th March 1945

    Packed up and left Lager. Knee very bad. Managed to get a lift on a wagon. Stopped for night in a farm 3km above Graz, Yankee bombers plastered railway.

    Saturday 31st March 1945

    Walked all day into the hills. Very steep climbing. Had the usual rations from Jerry…FA!

    Sunday 1st April 1945

    Reached Voitsberg and rested in Jerry barrack square. Damned good job we managed to save some grub. Still no rations from here.

    Monday 2nd April 1945

    Walked all day. Slept in open.

    Tuesday 3rd April 1945

    Walked all day. Slept in the open.

    Wednesday 4th April 1945

    Still walking. Stopped in woods about 4pm and stayed the night. Made hut out of pine branches. Not bad either. Given bit of bread and sausage which stunk with old age. Tasted as well.

    Thursday 5th April 1945

    Moved off in parties of 50. Lads mucked up Jerry as usual. Getting high up, snow now and very cold. Slept in woods.

    Friday 6th April 1945

    Reached mountain top and had to dig our way through snowdrifts. Cooked some spuds.

    Saturday 7th April 1945

    Walked down side of mountain. Getting warmer now. Into wood again.

    Sunday 8th April 1945

    Spent day walking. Rested in barn. Griff is we are staying here for a few days. Bread ration, 1 loaf to 7 men.

    Monday 9th April 1945

    Best nights sleep since leaving the lager. Rations for 4 days; 1 loaf of bread and 6 inch sausage. Could finish it in 2 meals easily. Latest griff is that Red Cross parcels are coming.

    Tuesday 10th April 1945

    Another good nights rest. Grub tastes very bad. Very, very empty!

    Wednesday 11th April 1945

    Still here in barn. Today Red Cross parcels arrived, 1 between 5 men. Not much but every little helps. Smashing brew of tea, 8 cigarettes.

    Thursday 12th April 1945

    Still here. Plenty of griff flying about. Two letters today, Mrs D and Dad. None from Betty. Doesn’t matter, if griff is true I will soon be with her.

    Friday 13th April 1945

    The news is Roosevelt is dead.

    Saturday 14th April 1945

    Parcels arrived, 1 parcel between 10 men. Good to eat again.

    Sunday 15th April 1945

    Nothing much doing.

    Monday 16th April 1945

    Nothing much doing

    ………………………………………………end of diary notes.
    4jonboy, dbf and canuck like this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for sharing your father's diary notes.

    Grim reading.
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    You rarely hear of POW's experiences in Austria (Greater Germany) moving away from advancing Russians.

    Granted their experiences March/April 1945 were not as grim as those POW's who started marching westwards in January 1945 from camps in Poland and eastern Germany but the same problems of poor food and bad weather applied to them.

    My father was in a Stalag 18B working camp at Mistelbach in Upper Austria and moved westwards for 6 weeks from mid March 1945 ending up in the Sudetenland in early May when they were released by elements of General Pattons 3rd US Army.

    They were moved quickly back down the line via Regensburg, Nancy and Cherbourg and he was back in the UK within 2 weeks and immediately sent on 3 months leave having been fully equipped with US kit in Germany!


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