Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 21 April 1945 to 22 April 1945

The object of the Allied scheme was to secure order and smooth administration within the camp and this entailed departments for Police, Security, Works Supply, Communications and Food. Also as far as possible it aimed at protecting the camp from external menace and for this purpose Intelligence and Reconnaissance units were formed. The chief of the scheme was the Senior Officer in the camp who was General Ruge - a Norwegian.
From my position at the inner gate I was able to watch developments and almost immediately search parties discovered scattered groups of Germans who elected to stay behind; these were temporarily lodged in the cooler before being ejected or handed over in due course to the Russians. A squad of men quickly got to work on the telephone system which was one of the first things wrecked by the Germans before leaving and this section did a fine job. In addition to repairing the existing internal system they laid new wires to various points within our barracks so that the SBO's room was linked up during this afternoon. They also rounded up all the radio sets in the German compound and had most barracks equipped with radio by the following day. A considerable amount of guns and ammunition was found and stored away in safe keeping by a group of Irish Guards who were captured at Dunkirk.
The only incident of note during my first two hour spell of duty was the arrival of an excited Russian who made desperate efforts to get out; a Polish Officer who was acting as Russian interpreter found that this man was a German collaborator and he was alarmed at his prospects if he stayed in camp. Fortunately, about this time, some senior men among the Russian prisoners arrived to help with the running of the camp and they were able to cooperate more than we had expected.
At three o'clock I went off duty and had four hours rest during which time I could observe the almost incredulous attitude of the camp at the sudden disappearance of the Germans. Everyone was quiet and no one felt very elated because some of the Americans had a similar experience in Poland only for the Germans to return the following day and march them West.
By 7pm when I went back to my post the noise of battle became very loud and we could see that fighting was going on almost all around the camp with only an escape route to the NW left to the Germans. Both side however respected the camp and no shells or fighting took place in the close proximity. By this time I was at the main gate which was an interesting spot commanding a big stretch of open country to the N and W.
We had orders to refuse admittance to any civilians of whatever nationality and also to confiscate all food brought in by prisoners from working parties seeking shelter within the camp. A few women had to be turned away in a somewhat hysterical state but our main trouble was in escorting some French and Italian POW to the food store carrying quantities of food (even live rabbits) which they had looted in the town. Naturally they objected strongly to giving it up but all food entering the camp was deemed to be communal.

Sunday, April 22 1945. During the night I slept lightly on the guard room floor after being on duty at the other end of the camp from 1am until 3am. This period was quiet except for a burst of fire from an aircraft which flew low over the camp but fortunately no casualties were caused.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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