The following statement was made by a soldier whose right arm and both legs were severely injured, leading to a below the knee left leg amputation. His medical treatment was, in the main, good but he suffered severely from poor and inadequate food and would have died of starvation if it were not for the emergency food parcels from the British Relief Committee and the Red Cross Society.
On 5th April, 1918, the Germans attacked from. the direction of the village of Dernancourt, and during a bombardment by the enemy a high explosive shell got me. I had both legs shattered; one has since been amputated below the knee, and my right arm also was badly fractured. I was rendered absolutely helpless. I lay in that tunnel till about 5 p.rn., when I was carried out by two of our Pioneers (then prisoners of war) to the dressing station (German). I was carried on a stretcher. The German dressing. station was at Maricourt. Here I lay for a fortnight. My left leg was here amputated below the knee.
I was taken thence to Valenciennes, where I lay in hospital for about a fortnight. At. the time there were very few Australian prisoners of war there. The treatment we received here was very good. The German doctors and German nursing sisters were both skilled and attentive. The food too was good, as it was. supplied in the main, by French civilians. I put in the remainder of my period of captivity in Germany in the province of Brandenberg, at a place called Guben. It was a big lager and lazarette, and I was in the latter from 9th May till I left on exchange for England.
In the lazarette the doctor was good,
but the food, was awful. The doctor was
an Italian prisoner of war, whose name I have never heard. Two British
prisoners of war (marines captured away back in 1914) did the orderly
work in the ward. The food was mainly a soup, of which the principal
ingredients were water, smashed swedes or
mangolds, grass, and mushrooms. We got a small slice of war bread per
day, and drank coffee substitute. There were
about half-a-dozen Australians here.
The food conditions here were fearful. I was only saved from starvation by the emergency food parcels which I received from the British Relief Committee and by the white bread and biscuits that reached me from Copenhagen through the agency of the Red Cross Society.
Return to Prisoner of War Index