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Remembered Today:

Sgt. Thomas William Chisholm

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About this blog

My Diary leading up to my capture 27th May 1918 during the Battle of Aisne and subsequently as a POW at Giessen, Darmstadt, and Lamsdorf camps, until my release 1st January 1919.

Entries in this blog

 

My Diary in Print

Since the Sergeant returned from WW1 in February 1919 until his passing in 1979, he had always dreamed of having his Diary of his days as a POW published. Well I am pleased to say that 100 years after the events, that has now happened. His Diary is available from Amazon in Kindle ebook form, and will shortly be available in paperback. It has been number 2 in the best sellers for Biographies, in WW1 and has done reasonably well. If you are a "Kindle Unlimited" subscriber, you can read it for free
 

Leading up to the battle of Aisne 5th May - 26th May 1918

Sgt. Thomas William Chisholm (POW), Giessen, Darmstadt, Lager 3A, Barrack 126, Lamsdorf O/Sch., Germany. The Sgt wrote:   Somewhere in the vicinity of the 5th May 1918, I with many others was chosen to go in advance as assistants to our G.Q.M.S. (Company Quarter Master Sergeant). We were supplied with service bicycles which are the most unwieldy article in the service, together with F.M.O and rifles, and extra rations to last us about two days, with orders to meet

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

The Battle of Aisne, my capture, 27th May and march off.

27th May 1918   There were very few casualties considering the shell fire, but the main part had been dumped on the front and support lines, the wind blowing gently from the direction of the enemy lines reeked of powder and the sickly tang of gas.   By this time about 3am our gas masks were in a bad state, the glasses were dimmed with perspiration and the waterproof bag covering was sticking to our faces and very wet, but we dare not move them owing to the  risk of ge

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

The battle behind us, the road ahead and so ends my first day of captivity.

One incident which happened goes to prove some of the almost unbelievable atrocities which the enemy committed during the war and a few of our boys being almost in the rear of the column witnessed it without being able to give a helping hand so just had to bear it and keep moving.   It was when their Red Cross men were coming over the ground passing our killed and wounded and not offering to give a hand to relieve their sufferings in the least. (I might mention before going any fur

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

28th May the march to Lislet and a couple of days there.

Wednesday 28th May 1918   At 5:30am the rouse came again, and with another drink of flour and water we were turned into a large field just over the other side of the hill. When this was done Fred 1 said ‘I wonder what they are going to do now Bill.’ ‘God knows, and he won’t split.’ say I.   So sitting for a short while we watched Jerry’s movements, until Fred 1 said ‘Billy if you want to keep anything you value get it smuggled quick because they are searching every ma

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

1st June on the march again this time to Fort Hirson.

Saturday 1st June 1918   Up at 4am and partaking of coffee and black bread we marched off again, this time under the charge of a guard of stalwart but rather old Prussian Guards mounted on very pristine horses who continued to trot backwards and forwards along the column keeping a very sharp eye on all that happened.   Getting on for about noon this day, the column were passing through a series of small villages, and by this time, we were again in no fit state to marc

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

2nd & 3rd June we're marched onto Giessen POW Camp

Sunday 2nd June 1918   The day passed without event, and on the night all that could be seen or heard, was the sentries feet and the figures of the guards moving along the stone coping round the top of our prison, and the groups of prisoners down below, on their damp cold ground beds, talking about anything that seemed to come into their heads.   Some talked of home and what their people would have to say when they heard of their sons or fathers plight. Others grumble

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

1st December 1918 Lamsdorf POW, the Russians are plotting.

Sunday 1st December 1918                                                 A Plot Revealed One sergeant arrived back in camp at dinner time from working at the railhead in the company of a squad of Russians. He had relieved a Tommy of his jacket earlier that morning in the hope of exchanging it for a bit of salt fish or ground meal. However he brought news of an intended raid on the British quarters by a mob of Russians.  It appeared that he had heard them talking together and

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

2nd December 1918 Lamsdorf POW, prisoners arrive from Munster and a great reunion.

Monday 2nd December 1918 A batch of prisoners from another camp called Munster arrived today, amongst them being an Irish corporal of my own platoon. The joy of our meeting again, is almost impossible to imagine. I think we remained out of bed more than half the night talking over all that had happened in our various stages of captivity. He told me that he had been kept behind the lines during the first three months, engaged in carrying wounded back to the dressing station.

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Tuesday 3rd December 1918 Lamsdorf POW Romanians escape but are brought back again.

Tuesday 3rd December 1918 During the night shots were heard at intervals, telling us that it is either more attempted escapes, or prowling wolves.  In going out next morning for soup, we are just in time to see three guards marching two Romanians back into camp. They had escaped during the night, and had made for the village about 2 miles south west of the camp, in an endeavour to steal bread from the local bakery. They’d have succeeded very well, had they not been caught. They eac

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

7th December 1918 Lamsdorf POW camp, an inspection and promises.

Saturday 7th December 1918 Another two Romanians are brought back into camp this morning. The Medical Officer, who had come to the camp, has been busy trying to get better living quarters for us and the first stage takes place today at 10.00am. He arrives at the compound in the company of a number of high officials to inspect the camp in general, and they went through every hut. On coming to the last one, the Chief was overheard to remark “It’s amazing, I don’t know how the poor fe

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Wednesday 11th December 1918 Lamsdorf POW a new battalion and new huts.

Wednesday 11th December 1918 Early this morning the Major from the RhD comes on first parade and proceeded to organize our troops into some sort of composite battalion, and is very successful.   He arranged that, to save the removal of any of our belongings, that each two huts should form one Company, irrespective as to what Regiment a man belonged to.   So here we are another step forward to better times, also with a much better supply of good food, things where looking more rosy

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Thursday 12th December 1918 - Red Cross Parcels, cinema, and best get out of here.

Thursday 12th December 1918 Today has been spent in getting into the camp as much British Red Cross Parcels as possible and it has been arranged that before distribution all goods such as tea, cocoa, bully beef, sugar and any other things that could be used in the cook house, (for we had to have cooks on duty) so that the cooks could make them up into a decent meal. So after these articles had been extracted, we were at liberty to have as much bread, margarine, dripping, cheese, biscuits,

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Monday 15th December 1918 - A canteen and poorly fed kids.

Sunday 15th December 1918           Today after a short parade and inspection by our C.O. we were dismissed and just wandered about the camp as we pleased. Our path took us into a German canteen which by appearances was used by all and sundry, as included in its customers were a few children, poorly fed, and poorly clad. They were really in a very poor state altogether, which only went to show once more the ravages of war on the younger generations. It mu

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Monday 16th December 1918 - Clothing, and list of names.

Monday 16th December 1918     A large consignment of clothing arrived from Lager 1, to equip the men of the first transport. We had a very busy day but I was doomed to disappointment, for when the list of names was read over my name failed to appear, so Fred and I were very gloomy at having to be separated after all our times of strife together, for he was down to go with this first batch. However we had to make the best of things, so I helped him to pack his few goods and ge

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Wednesday 18th December 1918 - More men and goodbye Fred.

Wednesday 18th December 1918.   I am on duty today as Orderly Sergeant to the camp and receive order that at 7:15pm tonight there are to be four guides per company at the main gate in readiness to meet a batch of men coming in from another camp. So it came about, that Fred and I parted company on this night, and I was to sort of welcome into the camp 950 new arrivals, who in all probability would also go before I did, so I had to cover up my misery and carry on.  

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Thusrday 19th December 1918 - A birthday

Thursday 19th December 1918     My birthday, I am 22 today and I am very miserable indeed for I had thought to spend it in dear old England, but not so, but I had a talk with the cooks and it ended up in a nice little spread in our hut where we celebrated very well indeed under the circumstances. There are rumours again of another transport on Sunday to include in it all cripples and every two days after that.   Sgt. Thomas William Chisholm (POW), The Northumberla

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Tuesday 24th December 1918 - A Christmas card of Sorts.

Tuesday 24th December 1918   As a special treat today we have been given a large amount of sausage, from the Germans but I may say that very little of it was eaten as we have any amount of our own food now. I suppose that this was sent as a peace offering owing to it being Xmas eve. Also included in the gift were two packets of tobacco and a Xmas card. The tobacco proved only to be dried oak leaves, and the card we discovered had been intended for one in England, for on the side us

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Sunday 29th + 30th December 1918 - New order, then wait!

Sunday 29th December 1918.   Orders are issued that the camp must be closed by the 1st January 1919. The excitement is great and we all start packing our little wooden boxes in readiness for the journey. Then we wait.   Monday 30th December 1918.   Still we wait.   Sgt. Thomas William Chisholm (POW), The Northumberland Fusiliers 5th Battalion, B Company Aisne, Giessen, Darmstadt, Lager 3A, Barrack

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Tuesday 31st December 1918 - New Order but someone has to stay behind.

Tuesday 31st December 1918   The day begins as usual, and still we wait. In the evening orders are issued that all officers, NCO’s and men will parade outside the orderly room at 2pm tomorrow dressed ready for marching off, greatcoat and one blanket over the arm I might say that all men were ready before the appointed time, and when we did parade and were just about to march off it was found that there was one man to be left in the camp. That one man was our Serbian f

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

Sgt Thomas William Chisholm

 

Wednesday 1st January 1919 - A march off, the wonderful HMS Concord and a friendly Marine.

Wednesday 1st January 1919   So finally we were marched off, and at Lamsdorf station boarded the train. A different kind of train it was this time, none of the cattle trucks in which we came here in, but instead real carriages with properly upholstered seats. So with eight men in a carriage we rolled away in the direction of a seaport on the Baltic Sea called Stettin. At the end of our train were two vans with two days supply of food which was issued at intervals alon
 

Thursday 2nd January 1919 - Awake with a bump, breakfast and bad news.

Thursday 2nd January 1919   I was just semi conscious when I was rudely awakened by a bump from under my hammock, and I found myself in the arms of three marines, who could hardly keep hold of me for laughing, they said that was the way they treated all sleepy heads in the navy but they allowed the culprit tom fall onto the deck, so they put me down. I proceeded to dress and get ready for breakfast which consisted of real bacon, real eggs and we had not seen an egg for nearly
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