Language selection

The food was extremely bad

Heroes Remember

The food was extremely bad

Stalag Luft six had been there for quite a period, period of time. So it was a well organized camp and was very well run, as far as the prisoners were concerned. Some of the prisoners of course had been there since the beginning of 1940. Some of them had been shot down in 1939. A prisoner of war was a kriegsgefangener, kriegsgefangener Dulag Luftwaffe because we were prisoners of war of the Luftwaffe and the short name for kriegsgefangener was Krieggies. The old Krieggies were very cynical of course, by this time. They'd heard it all and they had been there all this while. But the people who had been there, had organized the camp very well and you can expect with a thousand or more people who were well educated, and I say well educated because, to be chosen for aircrew in the first place, you had to have a fair education. And many of these people of course, had, had some pre-war occupation as well, from many other, many walks of life. So you had experts in almost every field. And so the prisoners who had been there a long time, had organized classes in almost any subject you could, you could choose. You could join an education class. And also there were lots of sports teams, because you had an area where you could play football on the parade ground and other people had got baseball bats and so on. So, you had good sports teams. And there was the perimeter track round the inside of the wire. So you had people who ran the whole time. And up until then and I'm talking about up until before D-day, when the invasion took place in Normandy, in June of 1944. Red Cross food parcels were coming through regularly. When we got to Fallingbostel, there were no facilities at all there for any sports, for any entertainment. There were no, the food was extremely bad and short. You know, the way the food, it was cooked in a, in a, in a big kitchen and it was then taken to the barracks in a sort of huge wooden buckets. And then you would line up and you would get a sort of a dose of whatever it was. And in fact, in fact, you had, they had a roster there, so that the, you would either go first in the queue, or then you would gradually get down to the back of the queue. Because the people who were at the back of the queue, got what was the thickers from the bottom, which was more sustenance than the people at the top, who got the thin stuff. And if all you were getting was a slice of black bread a day and some of this sweet soup, or whatever it was, you were not doing very well. And of course, Red Cross food parcels which were, you used to get initially, you'd get one a week and it became one between two and it became one between four then there would be weeks when you didn't get any. And til they, at the tail end, you perhaps get one between twenty, which was kind of next to nothing. But better than nothing I suppose. But the German food rations were very poor. In fact when I got back, I weighted about 110 pounds. Mind you, I wasn't a very great big chap in any case. I think I was 140 when I was shot down.

Mr. Yeomans describes deteriorating conditions in the POW camps

John Yeomans

Mr. Yeomans was born in Manchester, England. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was an apprentice electrical engineer. Too young to enlist, he was still involved as a firewatcher during the German air raids on his city, during which time he witnessed heavy destruction and numerous deaths. In 1941, Mr. Yeomans volunteered for the RAF, and went to South Africa, where he took Navigator training. His combat activity saw him take part in the bombing campaign against Berlin. Mr. Yeomans was the lone survivor when his Lancaster bomber was shot down and after spending a year in several different POW camps, he escaped and finally returned to England. After the war, he spent time in the RAF before moving to Canada as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Yeomans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Germany, The Berlin Series
Air Force
156 Pathfinder Squadron
Wing Commander

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: