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Diary note: 2.

About 100 of us marched to a station and were taken to a factory where we worked with a pick and shovel filling in bomb holes.

Morale dropped and no letters were received. We all wondered about home.

The Yanks were camped opposite us. Their guards were wicked, we often heard the beatings they were dishing out and ten lads died.

The cold was intense. I was grateful for my greatcoat, but my boots were worn out after miles of marching, so I was issued with clogs.

Conditions in the camp were wicked, enough to get one down. Mate stole from mate, no-one could help it, satisfying hunger was the top priority.

Early one morning I crept over to the dams and stole a couple of handfuls of spuds and risked the punishment.

I put the spuds on a wire and dropped them into the stove. They were black and tasted of gas fumes, but I ate the lot to fill up.

All the prisoners were becoming very depressed. I blacked out and I knew I was getting weaker.

No parcels for weeks, and rations scarce. I was thinking of breakfast at home, what it would be like when I got back to Blighty, sitting at a table and eating a good meal.

Thinking, thinking all the time.

We could see dozens of refugees and the German army trudging along the road from where we were working. We could see fighters in the distance and there was hope in our hearts.

The Jews were in a terrible state. One day one lay near us as near dead as possible, but we were not allowed to touch him. He lay there all day and died. "What was life?" I asked myself.
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Title Annotation:Lifestyle
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2005
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Next Article:Albert Park's Column.

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