had been transferred from Obermassfeldt to Memmingen,
Germany where I was in a sort of convalescent hospital.
I had an operation at Memmingen, and a closed
cast had been put on my arm from fingers to elbow. As
the doctor had said, there was no opening in the cast
for drainage, which would help to prevent infection.
There were no antibiotics, and he felt this was
the wiser solution. The wound had developed osteomyelitis,
and the serum that drained into the cast soon soaked
through, and the whole cast was stained yellow. The
stench was terrible, and despite the cold weather I
spent as much time outdoors as I could without freezing.
Camps - Joseph Armstrong (442)
We were quartered in plywood buildings, raised
from the ground no insulation, water or plumbing. They
were about fifteen feet wide, and some forty feet long.
There were double deck beds on each side of the
room. There was a small coal stove at each end
of the barracks, which, had we sufficient coal, would
have been adequate. We were allowed one
small scuttle of coal each day, which was used one lump
at a time. There were never more than ten lumps
in the scuttle, and despite our frugality, our last
lump was used about three in the afternoon. It
was December, and there were lowering snow clouds, and
some two feet of snow on the ground. There were
two piles of coal at a gate leading into the grounds,
on for German personnel and one for POW's. Each
morning we reported with our scuttle and were given
our coal ration from the pile reserved for us.
particularly cold day we used our last lump of coal,
and the temperature in the barracks dropped to a level
which had us all shivering uncontrollably. Dark
came early at this time of year, and I had decided that
we must have some heat before morning. At the
dark we turned out the single light in the barracks,
and I eased through the door, crouching beside the building.
I had the coal scuttle in my hand. I lay
on my stomach in the snow, and began a slow crawl toward
the gate and the pile of coal reserved for German personnel.
I could hear the snow muffled tread of the German
guard at the gate. The night guards would strap
a flashlight to the barrel of their rifle, and when
it was turned on both light and rifle would be pointed
at the target.
I finally reached the coal pile,
and gently began to put lumps of coal in the scuttle.
As careful as I was, the coal made a small clinking
sounds against the metal of the bucket. I was
nearly frozen, llying in the snow, inadequately clothed
and having only the use of one hand. My shivering
hand clanked a piece of coal against the scuttle, and
a flashlight beam was shown full upon me. Knowing
the guards flashlight was strapped to the barrel, I
knew his rifle was also pointed directly at me. I
stared into the light for what seemed an eternity, and
suddenly the light was switched off and the guard resumed
his muffled pacing in the snow. (Continued)