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 along the route, so taking no harm until our arrival at Stetting where we left the train lined up in fours, and marched along the docks until rounding the corner of a warf the greeting we received from British sailors of H.M.S Royal Navy on board H.M.S Concord. They were evidently expecting our arrival judging by the rousing cheers that filled the air, and also our hearts with unbounded joy. It really seemed like a strange dream, almost unbelievable and we felt afraid to even rub our eyes in case it was so.
The ships bad had turned out on the forward deck, and I think they played their instruments as they had never been played before, and this mob of ours seemed too full to cheer for it was a very weak attempt that was made for there were tears of joy in everyone’s eyes.
We were immediately allowed to file on board, the Sergeants being ordered to fall out to one side until all the men were on board, and finally when it came to our turn we were placed in quarters with the Royal Marines.
We had not been on board a quarter of an hour when it was announced that a meal was ready for us and would we please be seated. Well it all seemed too good to be true, for on sitting down to a beautiful table with snow white cloth, and on that cloth a bottle of Bass beer, also a plate with roast beef, green peas, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. It is impossible to define our feelings, but we did not need any second invitation to eat, but were told to go steady because after the utter starvation we had experienced in the last few months, it would perhaps not agree with us it we gorged ourselves, which we felt very much like doing.
The marines waited on us as if we were lords and were very kind to us indeed, in fact one would imagine that we were the actual people who had ended the war for them. After a good meal, one of the Corporals of the marines seemed to take to me, and asked if I would care to have a look over the ship from top to bottom, I say that because we started at the fighting top, or crows nest as it is sometimes called, working by stages and all the while the Corporal showing me how this worked and that was for so and so, and altogether it was a very interesting tour. On our return to quarters we were just in time to partake in an issue of rum, so having taken my ration I wandered up on to the after deck, because after this time we had moved off and were speeding down the river Oder, and I wished to see all that was to be seen while the chance lasted.
By this time it was getting dusk, so I took up my post up against one of the gun turrets, because by this time that small bottle of beer, and the rum ration together were beginning to have their effect on me, and I was feeling a little unsteady, however I interested myself in one of the officers standing beside this particular turret, who with a large sketch book was rapidly sketching everything along the banks of that river. He just seemed to take a glance well ahead and start work with his pencil and almost before we were level with his object he had everything down in detail. He was a very clever man indeed.
Night came upon us, and it was time to turn in, so my friend the Corporal gave up his hammock for my use, and others followed his example, so undressing I made an attempt to climb into it, but try as I may I failed each time, amid roars of laughter from the crew. It really was funny to see about twenty or so men endeavouring to get into those hammocks. At last the Corporal assisted me in and pulling the beautiful white blankets over me, bid me a good nights sleep. I think it was the most comfortable bed I ever had slept in, for I hardly seemed to have been asleep two hours when it was time to get up again.
Sgt. Thomas William Chisholm (POW),
The Northumberland Fusiliers
5th Battalion, B Company
Lager 3A, Barrack 126,
Lamsdorf O/Sch., Germany.