This is the transcript of a notebook, handwritten in
pencil by my late father, Bill Clark, whilst in Stalag 383, a prisoner of
war camp in Hohenfels, Bavaria
Although Bill was one of many photographers in the camp, he gave
most of his collection of photos to the Red Cross about 30 years ago
as he felt that they would be best used in some way by them.
Links to more photos provided by relatives of POW's can be found at
the bottom of this page, plus links to useful associated websites.
If you have any photos or stories that you would like
to see on this website,
please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bombardier W. R. Clark : Royal Artillery T.A : 101st L.A.A and A.T Regt. R.A T.A
Captured 12th June 1940 : Released 1st May 1945
Reg No. 1434128 : Prisoner No. 18974 : Oflag No. 3433
Captured at St. Valery, North France.
Up to the 8th June 1941, have received 16 letters and 2 parcels.
Xmas Day 1941
Breakfast: Tea, Bread and Jam, Mc Vita biscuits.
Dinner: Mashed potatoes, sourkraut cabbage, roast pork and beans.
Dessert: Xmas pudding and Nestles milk.
Tea: Tea, fruit cake, chocolate biscuits, bread and jam and Canadian butter.
Total: Full up all day, no pint to finish off.
A short summary of events in France from
17th May to 12th June 1940.
We came to France on the 17th May and landed at Le Havre.
From there we went to Fauville and stayed there for 3 days where our guns were landed.
From there we went into action in the Moselle sector.
We were in action in the Moselle for about 3 days and then came back to the Somme.
We were in action in Londinieres and came away when it went up in flames.
Coming back to Blangy the gun went out of action and we were in Blangy for 3 days while it was being put right.
Coming out of Blangy we were heavily bombed and I narrowly escaped being wounded.
After being in action at Blangy for 4 days we again dropped back to a place near St. Valery.
We saw Blangy and Oiusmont go up in flames and what a sight it was.
Near St. Valery we were in action continuously for 6 days and the gun team were dead beat.
We used a terrific amount of shells during the 6 days.
The Jerries advanced quickly and we retired into St. Valery.
All this time we had no aerial support at all.
We were in St. Valery on the morning of 11th June.
We were firing practically all day and night and we were ready to drop out.
On the 11th we were told that we were surrounded and were told to destroy our guns.
This was done by all gun teams and we were then marched to a wood where the French surrendered and Jerry walked in.
I destroyed all my maps and personal letters also all papers relating to the regiment.
From capture to POW Camp
June 12th The surrender of 9th French Corps at St. Valery
June 13 Yvetot France
June 14 Forges France
June 15 La Faire France
June 16 Formerie France
June 17 Houte Somme France
June 18 Doullens France
June 19 St. Pol France
June 20 Bethune France
June 21 Seclin France
June 22 Tournai Belgium
June 23 Renaix Belgium
June 24 Ninove Belgium
June 25 Aalst Belgium
June 26 Lockerin Belgium
June 27 Marbeck Belgium
June 28 Walston Holland Approx 279 miles so far
July1 Wesel Germany
July 2 Hemer Germany
July 14 Thorn Poland
Sep 5 Shaplitz Danzig Free State
Nov 2 Thorn Poland
Nov 23 Bromberg Bartleser Poland
Feb 22 Thorn Poland
April 18 Marienberg West Prussia
April 18 Willenberg West Prussia
May 12 Marienberg West Prussia
Sep 15 Willenberg West Prussia
Oct 29 Hohenfels Bavaria
The Wife’s Commandments
The R.A Driver’s Crash
A young R.A driver lay dying
At the end of a bright summer’s day
His comrades had gathered around him
To carry his fragments away
The motor was piled on his wishbone
The rifle was wrapped round his head
He wore a spark plug in each elbow
Twas plain he soon would be dead
He spat out a valve and a gasket
As he stirred in the sump where he lay
And then to his wondering comrades
These few parting words he did say
Take the manifold out of my larynx
And the butterfly valve off my neck
Remove from my kidneys the cam rod
There’s a lot of good parts in me yet
Take the piston rings out of my stomach
And the cylinders out of my brain
Extract from my liver the crankshaft
And assemble the engine again
Pull the driving shaft out of my backbone
And the cog wheel from out of my ear
From the small of my back take the handbrake
There’s all of your motor car here
I’ll be riding a cloud in the morning
With no speedo before me to cuss
Take the lead from your boots and get busy
There’s another lad needing this bus
Hohenfels Bavaria NCO’s Camp
Regensberg NCO’s Camp
6 verses of Lili Marleen were written in the Diary, in German, but written by my dad with inevitable mistakes as his German was not perfect. Here are 2 slightly differing translations, draw your own conclusions as to what my dad was trying to say.
Child, I love you so much, sweet little mouse
But I cannot stand the streetlamp any longer
If on the organ they start playing
That we are standing under the streetlamp
Then bye-bye, Lili Marleen
Rattling streetlamps, they are everywhere
Love under the stars – that would be my wish
Let’s walk towards the front door
And stand under the streetlamp
Be clever, Lili Marleen
Just look how they gape, those handsome gentlemen
You’d better keep them off, those apes
Because if we stand here much longer
I may have to stand in line
For you, Lili Marleen
Brave soldiers need something for their hearts
They want some juicy roast and no pain from love
When they blow the evening trumpet at ten
Then our little sparrow will be taken
Then she falls asleep, Lili Marleen
Come out, lass, be friendly, give up the battle
Take me, it’s so cosy, up to your den
And if some misfortune should happen
I will stand by you
Everything’s clear, Lili Marleen
Just believe, we soldiers, always ready to fight
As scout troops we always want love
Before we mount an attack
We earn, you will understand
A kiss from Lili Marleen.
Kid, I like you a lot, sweet little mouse
But I’m sick and tired of this lamp ( lit. it hangs around my neck )
When it first touches the street organ ( ? Barrel organ )
It is then that we stand near the lamp
? sweet Lili Marleen
Worn out lights are everywhere
Love under the stars that will be my downfall
Then let yourself go into the hallway
? so that we stand near the light
Be clever, Lili Marleen
Look ? how they gape, those fine gentlemen
Do they know these apes ( fools/dopes ) keep you away from love ( or don’t really love you ??)
Then if we stand here longer
Well perhaps I’ll form a queue
For you, Lili Marleen
? Soldiers need something for the heart
They only want juicy roasts and to know sinewy ( ? ardent ) love
? Let us blow out the match ?
Then our fun happens
Then sleep, Lili Marleen
Come lass, be friendly, give up your fight
Take ( or give ) me, something cosy/comfortable, set out your stall
And should trouble happen to you
I would stay true for all this
Understood ? Lili Marleen
Believe me, we soldiers are always ready for the storm ( attack/assault )
Would rather have loving things, than to look at rough things
So before we go into the attack ( ? into action )
Before everything grows dark, you will understand
One kiss ( ? my kiss ) Lili Marleen
O’ Flanagans Band
Flanagans Band ( Chorus )
Oh’ the drums were banging
The cymbals clanging
The cornets had the way
Diary Oh’ here upon the floor
Just as the fight begun
Oh’ there was O’Larny
Fighting Old Barney
He could hardly stand
A credit to Ould Oireland
Were the boys of O’ Flanagans Band
Pages 13 &14
Translation of a letter from D. Rly to Camp Commandant regarding the conduct of British POW’s
Today again the British prisoners do as they want. The continuation of this condition is not tenable. If this condition is allowed to go further, one fine day we shall be doing the work ourselves and the prisoners watching us. In spite of the fact that we have often shown them the correct way to work again and again, they will not understand. They pay not attention to the arrangements of my foreman and they just do what seems right to them. The working performance of the prisoners is such a small amount that one cannot speak of performance at all. They strive with all means to do as little as possible. My foreman can do what he will but they persist in their standpoint. In spite of the fact that from 9 till 9.15 we allow a lunch period they still eat the whole day. Feeding is their only performance during the day. We are absolutely at the discretion of the English prisoners. If it occurs to them not to work, then apparently they will not work. The conduct of the English prisoners shows that they sabotage the work as much as possible. Only today a light rain set in and although and although it was not necessary to shelter, the Confidence man was the first to run to the hut with naturally quite a number behind him. For more than an hour this man was not disposed to work.
Suggest a remedy.
H… H… Sgt
1. Some time ago upon this earth there dwelt in misery.
Some people who were used to drinking ginger ale and tea
Until along there came a man whose name was Charlie Mott
And he invented a wonderful drink by the name of beer and hop.
Now he ought to be an emperor, a sultan or a king
And all his praises we’re always ready to sing
For look what he has done for us he’s filled our hearts with cheer
It’s old Charlie Mott, he’s the man who invented beer
2. There are some great inventions that have come about of late
The Movietone, the Wireless, the Talkies that are great
But the greatest invention of them all to me is very clear
It’s old Charlie Mott, the man who invented beer
3. Now there was a man named Billy Corndrunk who lived on half and half.
When he used to take a drink, he used to take a bath
But when we’re both together and we’re filled right up to here
We roll in the gutter and cheer the man, the man who invented beer
4. Now when beer was first invented it was very, very clear
Fancy paying a quid for a glorious pint of beer
The people of that time of life were silly I should say
They used to chew the hops and throw the glorious beer away
Pages 17 to 19
With the 51st Division at St. Valery, June 12th 1940
1. We were captured in France at St. Valery
Surrounded by infantry and tanks
There were guns, mortars and machine guns
Spitting death in the midst of our ranks
2. Our boys were doing their damndest
To stem the Jerry attack
They were fighting the rear guard action
To let most of our boys get back
3. There was Jock, there was George
Paddy and Taffy the Welshman too
Fighting shoulder to shoulder
Determined to see the fight through
4. The French on our flanks had weakened
And let the enemy through
With our backs to the wall we were fighting
As Britishers only can do
5. Our allies the French had the wind up
And thought the battle was lost
So they waved a white flag in surrender
The men we had been taught to trust.
6. A white flag appeared on the church spire
It was held by a froggy we know
Till one of our boys aimed a bren gun
And the Frenchman fell headlong below
7. A disorganized mob with no leader
The town we held was in flames
We were bombed, shelled and machine gunned
The enemy’s usual games
8. We retired into the valley
The Valley of death it was called
Our comrades lay all around us
Some dead, some dying, some maimed
9. All through the night we stuck to our guns
We held on as long as we could
Hungry, tired and sleepy
Half dead but our hearts still game
10. Then came the dawn with a kind of relief
We fought to the eleventh hour
The battle was lost but we did our best
As the bugle sounded “cease fire “
11. The hearts of our boys were heavy
May an eye shed a tear
As we smashed our rifles and machine guns
The weapons we had held so dear
12. Our Air Force when needed was missing
Our Navy was far out to sea
With most of our guns out of action
What little support had we
13. And so we had to surrender
But we had come up to par
The help we had been promised was far out to sea
So near and yet so far
14. Then we started marching
Out from the town we had tried to hold
With nothing but our steel helmets
We were lucky it was not cold
15. But we boys can hold up our heads
We did not fight for fame
We fought for our homes and freedom
“Yes” and we would do it again
Pages 21 to 26
Names and wartime home locations of dad's friends in the POW camp
( I have full addresses )
Allen. H. J. from Hendon, London
Balch. J. from Dalston, London
Batt. Leslie A. from Walthamstow, London
Bellamy. W. from Bow, London
Best. R. J. from Ringwood, Hants
Bird. James. from Croydon, Surrey
Blanshard. R. H. from East Grinstead, Surrey
Botoshaner. J. from Stamford Hill, London
Broadgate. G. from Holbeach, LIncs
Bullock. Harold. from Burnley, Lancs.
Clarke. Wesley. from West Kensington, London and Kidderminster, Worcs.
Clatworthy. George. from Exeter, Devon
Cockerton. Leslie. from Kilburn, London
Conway. Ronald. from Hull
Craddock. G. T. from Cannock, Staffs.
Craig. Robert. from Wishaw, Scotland
Daldry. Sgt. T. W. from Swanscombe, Kent
Davis. Leslie. from West Melton, Yorks.
Davison. E. from Worthing, Sussex
Day. A. F. W. from Hersham, Surrey
Donaldson. J. from Darlington, Co. Durham
Dove. Morris. from Stepney, London
Engwell. D. from Grays, Essex
Finnegan. from County Durham
Firman. Bert. from Twyford, Berks.
Freeman. G. from Old Kent Road, London
Gandy. Ivanhoe. Austin. from Darlaston, Staffs
Gilbert. H. G. S. from Stoke Newington, London
Gill. A. from Peckham, London
Harris. C. from Forest Gate, London
Heath. F. from Walworth, London
Hill. J. from Stepney, London
Hilton. J. from Wigan, Lancs.
Holland. A. from Clapton, London
Holland. J. from Ramsgate, Kent
Jacobs. Ralph. from Blackpool, Lancs.
Kebby. E. from Luton, Beds.
King. Albert E. from Elephant and Castle, London
Lilley. G. from Sidcup, Kent
Lines. G. A. from Marylebone, London
Lintern. E. from Hoddesdon, Herts.
Mann. W. from Stepney, London
Mansfield. D. from Hedcorn, Kent
Mc Carthy F. from Kennington, London
Miller. A. from Ealing, London
Newell. W. from Clapton, London
Noakes. C. from Hackney, London
Peacock. Sgt. P. from Winchester, Hants.
Pinn. L. C. from Kingsbury, London
Pope. E. from Widnes, Lancs.
Priest. P. from Southampton, Hants
Ralph. Herbert. from Snodland, Kent
Rider. L. C. from Battersea, London
Ridout. E.T.J. from Cardiff, Wales
Sandford. T. from Bermondsey, London
Scowen. G. from Wood Green, London
Settle. C. from Bolton, Lancs
Shaw. W. from Fleetwood, Lancs
Sidthorpe. G. from Deptford, London
Smale. R. from Wandsworth, London
Smith. R. from Defford, Worcs.
Stormont. Albert. from Golders Green, London
Taylor. Bill. from Ilford, Essex
Thompson. H. from Birmingham
Tompson. S. from Richmond, Surrey
Tuck. A. C. V. from Islington, London
Walker. James. from Bermondsey, London
White. R. from Kentish Town, London
Wilkinson. J. from Southall, Middx.
Wines. Peter. from Croydon, Surrey
Woolgar. L/Sgt. C. from Walthamstow, London
Yemms. W. from Stepney, London
More photos and Text
Website last updated on 8th March 2018
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Also 135 Stalag 383 photos on Flickr
by permission of Raine Alexander ( her dad's photos )
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