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To the left is a photo of the twenty-one men that were marched from STALAG 9-C to the Monastery. The next morning we were lined up and this group picture was taken by the German guards.

I am the Prisoner on the top right with the little arrow pointing to me.

Click the picture to see a larger image.


WWII Memoirs

Clyde D. Willis

Clyde D. Willis


STALAG IX-C
FIRST POW CAMP A BRITISH RUN HOSPITAL

I was sent to RESERVE LAZARET, OBERMASSFIELD and given my numbers which was STALAG IX-C 43202. This was June 24,1943 and we were not checked too close.. As it was run by the British and it was one of their Hospitals there in the Germany camp. We were housed in some kind of a factory as there were steam pipes in the basement and we could go down there. The British would cook their beef and steak pies on these steam pipes as they were very large.. There were about two hundreds Americans here and three hundred British POW’s. My first time I was introduced to Tea. The British had to have their Tea three times a day. When the time came one could hear “Tea time Blokes” but all in all they were good guys. They helped us in every way they could. Up to this time all I had to wear was an old shirt and old pair of pants what kind I don’t know French I guess and I did stand out from the rest of the other POW’s. Here I was given a British outfit and it sure was better than what I had.. This was the first place I received a Red Cross package. It came from Canada and I do mean it was great. There were cigarettes in them and as I did not smoke I had a lot of buying power. I used a couple of packs to buy a razor from one of the British POW. it was a single blade and I had one blade that lasted me the complete sixteen months and I shaved often, that British steel was very hard and sharp. I took care of this razor as the plastic ones that the Germans had would cut your face to ribbons. It scratched your face more than shave off the beard..

A few of us had our picture taken at this place. Some of the Americans who was on our flight and a few other English and Canadian fellows. Most of them had been taken prisoners at DUN KURT where they were pushed up to the sea. I heard a lot about their war and I just let it flow out of my mind. I wish now that I had talked more to them and recalled all that they went through. I believe I could have learned a lot from those Blokes. I was bunked next to an Indian British solder and every morning he would place his mat on the floor and face Mecca to give his respects. He also would wind the Turban around his head like one would put on a tie. It was just as easy for him. He did not talk to me very much even though he spoke good English.


STOP OVER FOR TWO NIGHTS
About twenty-one of us KRIEGIES (this is what we POWs were called) most were from the raid that did not go so good. Now I don’t know why I did not take notes as it would helped me a lot. But I did not know that I would some day try to write what happen on those POW days. But one thing we were told by the Germans that if we were caught with any writings it would be the last time any one would hear about us. I had a new Testment that was given to me by some Chaplin there in the camp and I wrote things in in it but now I can’t read my own writing. We were taken out of STALAG IX-C and marched for a day to an old Castle that was once a Monastery of some sort. This was hard on us as Cpl. G. Heski, who lost his foot in the raid was made to walk along with us. Another prisoner who had to have a spring attached to the toe of his shoe was also along this was placed there so he could walk and his foot would not drag. I made it OK as by this time I was beginning to heal fast. We were placed in the dungeon of this Castle to spend the night and there were no beds. Yes there were no place to lay down to sleep and the floor was wet and damp so we just squatted in a corner or up against the wall. It was two nights of this and some of the boys were bitching and complaining but to no use. On the second day at this place we were lined up and we though we were on our way to where we were going but as we walked around the Castle we went up a mountain that was very high up to the top of the Castle so we could see most of where we stayed last night. Yes it was a beautiful build old and looked very strong. As we stood there looking the guard told us that was a place that at one time there were some POWs killed. But in a little while we were taken back and was told we had to stay there until they could get some transportation for us. So another night in the Dungeon. So on that third a truck came.

This vehicle looked like a large buss but it had no seats and on the back there was a large tank that used burned wood for fuel. This was the first time I had ever seen anything that could use burned wood for fuel. Yes this is some smart German to use the burned wood and save their gasoline. This buss took us to an American STALAG VII-A. This was the first time in three days we had any food. Well we did have some black bread and water but we wanted something else. We had to soak the bread in the water as that was the only way we could get it to where we could eat it. now we though we would be better treated but that was not so. It was real bad and the American Red Cross packages were not up to date as the English. We did have coffee and not Tea and there was some dry milk with cheese. Any way we went for that food. What the Germans have us was slop. We were in the company of a lot of other Americans and it was good to talk to them and find out what was happing. They would tell about how the enemy would shoot at them when they were coming down and how they would try to swing just to make a bad target. Well some of the boys would tell about their experience in the air over enemy territory. About how good some of the German fighters were and about getting a few. Oh yes, they did have a band and would play at night as we would listen. Well it was something to do any way. There was one who would play the spoons and he was pretty good.
Transfered to STALAG VII-A