IN THE HANDS OF THE HUN [6,7 & 8] Behind the Lines

Behind the Lines

We were next sent to La Bassee and had to work at road making and railway work within 4 Kl (4,000 Yards) of the firing line. From our billets at night we could see the British artillery shelling the front lines. Three of our men were killed by British shell fire. We had to work from 6 am to 6 pm on one ration of soup and a slight increase in bread ration. We were always ravenous and would eat anything which was at all edible such as grass, nettles, dandelions etc. We were again sent back to Lille where we found the food slightly better, After 4 days we were entrained for our trip to Germany.

En Route for Deutschland

There were 1800 of us and we were placed in cattle trucks and locked in for 3 days during which time no bread was given to us. We passed through Brussels, Valenciennes, Namur (where we got a soup ration, the only refreshment on the trip), Liege, over the famous Rhine and through Essen. We saw what we could of these places through the bars of our cattle trucks. We soon found we were in Germany as instead of the sympathy of the French civilians we got only black looks. However we were thankful to get nothing worse.
We reached our destination, Dullmen, which was a concentration camp, on a Sunday as the people were going to church. By this time we had just about reached the limit of endurance and as we dragged along through the town our mates kept dropping down from exhaustion. We were in a terrible plight- starving; our clothes dropping off our backs, boots had disappeared or were tied together with rags and from the conditions under which we had been existing we were simply crawling with vermin. None of us had any hope of living beyond a few days longer. My arms felt too heavy to lift and my feet too heavy to raise from the ground.

At Dullmen Camp

When we reached Dullmen Camp we were given another ration of shadow soup but no bread. This made a total of two soups for three days. The soup was made from cabbage with a few gield peas and perhaps some other vegetable ingredients. I should say that if analysed it would probably give 98% of water. We also got a wash here, the second since we were taken prisoners. As our clothes had refused to remain with us any longer we were provided with thin a cotton shirt, a pair of wide Dutch trousers, second hand (probably third or forth hand), a pair of wooden sabots and a skull cap. On the morning of the forth day after leaving France we received a slice of bread.

IN THE HANDS OF THE HUN [6,7 & 8] Behind the Lines


Frankston, Australia

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Artist's Description

Great Uncle Alf and his comrades were not in the best condition leaving France. strange how the French near the German Border gave them a cold dark look instead of sympathy! and to work so close to the firing of the Allies! You cant think of that when you are fighting but how horrible if you found out you had killed your own men?

*This is why we remember them !

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 9 – Surprise

Artwork Comments

  • Jan Stead JEMproductions
  • Miri
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