This extract from the booklet describes how an anonymous Australian soldier, wounded and captured at Villers Bretonneux, was treated in France and Germany. He was eventually exchanged and repatriated to Britain. The German medical facilities were hampered by shortages, even the bandages were made of paper. Food was inadequate and he survived on food from the British Relief committee and from Red Cross parcels. The Russian Prisoners of War were not so fortunate, he commented that they were dying of starvation.
I think it was the --- Battalion that had repelled an attack by the Germans at Villers-Bretonneux on or about 20th April, 1918. I was out collecting rifles between our lines and those of the enemy; and must have got too far from our lines and close. to a German outpost, for suddenly there was a burst of machine-gun and rifle fire, and my mate was shot through the head and killed. I was knocked just below the left shoulder and disabled, the bullet shattering my arm. . . . I was picked. up by a small party of Germans, almost immediately after I was captured alone.
They bandaged my wound, and helped me to a village called Revenshaw(?). Here my shattered arm was dressed and strapped in a wire frame. I was, not ill-treated in any way... I remained here for five days, and received good medical treatment and attention. The food was not good, but I was feeling too done in to eat anything. From Revenshaw(?) I was taken to Le Quesnoy by train and placed in hospital. Here the German' sergeant tried very hard to get some information from me concerning the disposition and movements of our troops. 'I did not, answer his questions. He said he would make me, I told him I did not think he could. He produced, a map and when I told him to put it, away he became angry. I was feeling sick and weak, from loss of, blood at the time. The hospital here was one the Germans had captured from us during their advance. I was the only wounded Australian here. Under the circumstances the treatment and medical attention were good. The medical officers visited the wards daily, and I received the same food and treatment as the German wounded. The food was rough, and consisted of black bread and jam, with a beverage sometimes called "coffee", and sometimes "tea." I remained here for three days.
I left Le Quesnoy about the l9th May, 1918, and travelled by train through France and Belgium to Guben, in Brandenburg, arriving there on 16th May. . . The train travelled very slowly, and was repeatedly sidetracked to allow other traffic to pass. During the journey my wound was attended to regularly, and 1 was given good food. The food was the best I had from the Germans whilst I was prisoner of war. At Guben I was put in a lazarette. Here, prisoners of war, of all nationalities were all mixed together, Russians being in the majority.
The medical treatment here was fair. Paper bandages were used for dressings. The food was rough and insufficient, consisting of watery soups made from vegetables, and a very small ration of black bread. A large number of Russian prisoners of war were dying here, and I think they were dying of starvation. Before my Red Cross parcels arrived I was being helped by small parcels of food from the British Relief Committee. My Red Cross parcels came to hand early in July, and after that I lived entirely on them.
I remained at Guben for three months, leaving there on the 15th August, 1918, travelling by train to Aachen, where I arrived orb 17th August. I was passed for exchange and left for Rotterdam, in Holland, on 22nd August, and reached there next day. I embarked, on the hospital ship Zeeland on Friday night, 23rd August, 1918, and sailed for England on Saturday morning, arriving at London on Sunday, 25th August, midday. I arrived in London at 4.20.p.m., and the same day I was quartered at the First London General Hospital, Camberwell.
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