Typed transcript by J. L. H. Batt of the unpublished diaries of John Heath of 155th Battery, 172nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, describing Second World War 'happenings' in North Africa and in POW camps in Italy and Germany, With preface by Batt.

John Heath and J. L. H. Batt [Jack Lynden Batt], both of 155th Battery, 172nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery [Lager 31, Stalag IV-G; POWs; Prisoners of War; Second World War]

Editorial: Modern transcript. Account of events between 5 January and 12 May 1945, 1943
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ii + 177pp., 8vo. Each page on a separate leaf. Original typescript, not a carbon. In very good condition, in green card folder. The first paragraph of Batt's two-page preface reads: 'This transcript has been copied from original personal diaries of JOHN HEATH with whom I served in 155 Battery, 172 Field Regiment R.A.; an artillery unit of 25 pounder guns stationed at Mersham, Nr. Ashford in Kent. John and I were together through most of the happenings in North Africa, Italy and Germany described in these diaries until May 1945 when we got split up as the war in Europe was coming to an end. However my "home run" via Belgium was similar but perhaps a day or so later than some of my comrades.' Batt considers that 'the detail in the diary will be of interest mainly to those who were actually in the Camps in Italy and Germany and perhaps to anyone who was a P.O.W. in Europe.' While 'readers may find the steady reference to food somewhat repetitive', Batt wishes 'to pay great tribute to our Red Cross parcels as without them life would have been very hard indeed'. 'Most of this food was tinned and the menus quoted should be kept in perspective, for example, egg and bacon consisted of tinned bacon and powdered egg. Cakes (so called) were made from ground up biscuit to make the biscuits go further. We had no acccess to flour or vegetables and most of the potatoes we obtained by stealing them. [.] I was sent 1,000 cigarettes a month by standing order to Germany over a period of 18 months but I received only two parcels all the time I was in Leipzig.' Batt describes his and Heath's place of captivity, Lager 31 at the small town of Gaschwitz: 'We were all employed by the German State Railways who paid us 75 pfennig an hour although most of this was taken back for "board and lodging", we collected a balance of between 20 - 40 Reich Marks a month to spend.' He ends by thanking Heath for making his diaries available: 'Undoubtedly these were written often under trying conditions and the keeping of such diaries was not encouraged by the Germans.' In Heath's own half-page preface he states that he is beginning his diary on Easter Sunday, 25 April 1943, his 'whereabouts at the time' being 'the P.O.W. Camp at Capua in Italy, and it is owing to my position, and the amount of spare time I find on hand that has enabled me to take on this task. | I am afraid I shall have to rely on my memory for most of the details, for up to the time of my capture I had kept no written record, owing to the doing of same being against army orders.' In the absence of a gripping narrative, the diary contains some interesting detail, and conveys the tedium of the POW's existence, with dull work and a preoccupation for the weather and food. The first chapter, 'The Journey Begins', 'opens on the 5th January 1943, on which day I started my great journey of over a thousand miles, as a gunner in the 155th Battery; 172nd Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery.' The five pages 19-23 carry a long list of the 'Foremost Dates in my P.O.W. Life', from 26 February 1943 ('Battery surrendered at 6.00 p.m.') to 31 December 1943 ('Extra ration of bread issued and beer for the New Year.') Places of imprisonment mentioned are Ferryville, Bizerta and Camp 66 at Capua, Camp 53 (?), Stalag IV B, Gerschwitz. N° de ref. de la librería

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Título: Typed transcript by J. L. H. Batt of the ...
Editorial: Modern transcript. Account of events between 5 January and 12 May 1945
Año de publicación: 1943

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