The principal punishment imposed on us was starvation which was enforced for the slightest offenses.
Our party of Russians were often confined to quarters for a few days starve. But they were not altogether unprepared. Whilst working on the farms they provided themselves with potatoes, never coming home empty handed. These they concealed under the flooring boards of the hut and when the starvation began they simply lived on their supply of potatoes.
One morning the Russians were lined up to go to work. We marched off to our work and for some reason the Russians struck so they were stood to attention. When we returned in the evening the Russians were still standing in the same position- 14 hours at attention.
A pane of glass was broken in a window of our hut. For this we were fined 60 marks (3 pound) ($6). Value of the glass was about 6d. (5c).
Several punishments were metered out to those who attempted to escape. One of our number-a chap named Spargo- made 3 attempts to escape but each time he was recaptured. The guards knocked him about terribly and he was given 14 days solitary confinement on German bread and water for each attempt.
We often got kicks from the guards for the least provocation but these were all in a days work and we took no count of them as it was impossible to retaliate. Several of our men took things to heart and often had fits of melancholia which soon began to tell on them.
As if Great Uncle Alf and his mates had not suffered enough!
Mind you when only a few scrappy meals ever came your way anything was better than nothing! So yes starvation would be a punishment!
*This is why we remember them !
LEST WE FORGET !!
NB This is NOT my Fictional Writing this is an actual account written by my Great Uncle Alfred Gray following his experiences in the "Great War – 1914-1917
I take no responsibility for any offense taken by the reader of this view be that in the language used or the opinion of my Great Uncle.*
Great Uncle Alfred’s Great Adventure
In the Hands of the Hun 1 – Prelude
In the Hands of the Hun 2 – Bullecourt
In the Hands of the Hun 3 -Starved and Frozen
In the Hands of the Hun [4 & 5] – Lille
In the Hands of the Hun [6, 7 & 8] – behind the lines
In the Hands of the Hun 9 – Surprise
In the Hands of the Hun 10 -Congenial Mates
In the Hands of the Hun 11 – Camp Life
In the Hands of the Hun 12 – Farm Work