A description from my father’s diary of the Allied bombing of Oflag79 in August 1944 which caused the prisoners to use tiles for plates out of necessity, which in turn led to his realisation that the tiles could be used as lithographic printing plates as explained in The Brunswick Prison Camp Map Printers…..
“…Our new room was less crowded and very much better – only 10 people – the old team.
About this time I was stilling madly for Terence and Mike’s birthdays and made four bottles of raw alch(ohol). from raisin wine.
Late in August we had the big raid which was one of the most horrifying experiences I have had. Wave after wave of bombers came over dropping HE (high explosive) and anti-personnel bombs – we were very lucky about 5 HE’s dropped in the camp (in the open as opposed to on buildings) and countless anti-personnel and incendiaries. None of our buildings caught fire as we put them out but the German admin block blazed as did nearly all their buildings. 3 people were killed including poor old Kilkelly and several goons (guards).
I don’t know whether it was the caged in feeling or what, but I’ve never been so frightened before or after. Of course the camp was wrecked, windows shattered, drains completely finished, water off, steam for cooking off – nothing, nor have any of these things except drains (where the work was done by ourselves) have been completely repaired since then. It was this raid which made the coming winter so miserably cold.
The camp was in a very bad state for weeks after this – nerves all to pieces and the constant “reds” (alerts) sending everyone to the shelters”.