Diary of Pvt. James L. Wynn (A.S.N. 34917752)
German Prisoner of War Number 314927
"I kept a notebook diary in my long-johns and they never found it.
Of course it was pretty ratty, so Alice typed it up for me."
July 15, 1944- Left New York on the Queen Elizabeth
July 21, 1944- Arrived in Edinboro, Scotland.
July 22, 1944- Arrived in Southern England, at Yoeville, then I
moved on to Warminister, August the first.
August 31, 1944- Debarked at Omaha Beach, France.
September 3, 1944- Arrived at 38th Regiment Headquarters and was
under artillery fire for the first time.
September 8th, 1944- Moved off on my first attack which was at
September 18th, 1944- Brest fell and I captured a German flag and
many other souveniers.
September 31, 1944- Arrived in Paris, and moved into the select hotel
November 1st, 1944- I left Paris for the front.
December 18th, 1944- I was captured by the enemy at about eight thirty
A.M. by elements of the Panzer division, about 40 tanks- Four days
later I received my first food, three small boiled potatoes.
December 25, 1944- I ate cabbage soup with a few pieces of fat meat
floating on top of the water for Christmas dinner, ten kilometers
January 4, 1945- I arrived at prison 4-B at Magdeburg
January 20, 1945- I left 4-B, to go to a work camp.
January 22, 1945- Arrived at Heidrenau with forty nine others men
to start to work.
January 25, 1945- My birthday- I worked digging a ditch.
March 17th, 1945- I moved to Perna,
and started to work unloading
and loading coal and other things.
April 17, 1945- I left Perna because the fighting was moving in
April 29, 1945- well here I am with approximately 160 other POW's
in a small barn close to the Checkoslovakian border about 25
kilometers from Perna. Jerry has told us that we wi11 be exchanged
any day now that the truce has been signed. We are very anxious to
get back to our own lines, because we are slowly starving here. We
have been living on approximately three medium sized potatoes and
250 grams of bread, now for four days. We received 150 grams of sugar
last night, and it was the first I had tasted for a long time.
I sure will be glad to get some new clean clothes again, the clothes
I have now are dirty and the body lice are about to eat me up.
They told us we have about 50 or 60 kilometers to march and some of
the boys probably won't make it because they are too weak.
May 7, 1945- well we are still here at the barn, and we found out
for certain that the war is over, but it is still going full blast
and Russian artillery is getting very near.
May 8, 1945- We moved out this morning at four o'clock, and it is
now almost six P.M. with about three kilometers to go. That will
make almost forty kilometers we have walked today, on 250 grams of
bread, two spoonfuls of meat, and some boiled potatoes and a little
bit of sugar. We are trying to get to our lines but we may run into
the Russians first.
May 9, 1945-Arrived at 5 A.M. Have been
Walking twenty four hours now. It is after 7 A.M. and I am very
well filled up on butter, meat, honey, etc. obtained from trucks
strafed by Russian fighters. I have eaten better this
morning than I ever did since I have been a prisoner of war. They
just said our boys would be here in an hour. I hope it is true. It
is now late in the evening and the Russians have come through.
May 10, 1945- It is now 9:30 A.M. and
I have just completed a good
night's rest and I feel much better. I hope we leave today for our Lines.
May 11, 1945- Well it is now 7:00 P.M. and another day has passed
and we still haven't heard when we are to leave. My buddies and I
are staying with a Chechoslovalkian civilian family. We are still
getting plenty to eat and getting along just fine, but I want to get
started home soon because I know you are worrying about me, but I
know it won't be long now. The Russians are treating us just fine
but I hope an American officer gets things organized soon.
May 12, 1945- It seems we missed a train late this evening but there
should be another one tomorrow.
May 13, 1945- It is now 11:30 A.M. a beautiful Sunday morning and I
am on a train waiting to pull out for a point 180 kilometers from
here. I am writing this sitting on top of a box car. "I AM On My Way."
It is now 12:30 and we are moving along slowly and everyone is vary
happy, and all the civilians are waving and shouting at us as we go
May 14, 1945- 12:00 o'clock noon. Well I am still on top of a box
car and the train has stopped all morning for some reason. We are
somewhere near Karlsbad. If the train moves at all today, I hope to
see our boys because we are getting closer to where they are supposed to be.
May 15, 1945- It is now almost 2:00
A.M. and I just finished my first
C ration in about six months. They (GI's) unloaded us off the train about
Midnight and brought us here in this building in Karlsbad and fed us.
I also saw my first American soldier a few hours ago. I sure feel good.
May 15, 1945- Midnight. Well I am now
in Newmburg Germany. We were
brought here to an airfield from Karlsbad by truck. I sure have seen
some pretty country and am now well on my way home. I am feeling
much better now, too.
May 16, 1945- It is now twenty minutes past noon and twenty seven of
us are waiting to get on a plane and fly to Reims, France. We started
out in a plane about an hour ago and it blew out a tire so now
we are waiting on another one. It is now ten minutes until two and
I am in a C-47 on my way to Reims, France. We have just taken off.
4:10 P.M.- Just arrived at Reims France.
7:30 P.M.- Well I feel much better now that I have had a good hot shower
got a new set of clothing from socks to cap and just finished my first
G.I. meal of turkey, corn, lima beans, peaches, and my first white
Bread and butter in five months. I am waiting to leave for Le Harve
To get on a boat. I wish I could send you a wire, but I can't.
May l7, 1945- It is now 2:45 A.M. and I am on a hospital train bound
for Le Harve.
8:30 A.M.- Just finished breakfast (in bed). Even when I was in
Germany starving, I never knew white bread could taste so good. It
tastes better to me now than any kind of cake or pie did before I was
10:00 P.M.- Just arrived at a big camp about five miles from Le Harve.
May 18,1945- It is now 10:00 A.M. and
I have had breakfast and have
written to you and Mom. It seems I will be here for about a week and
then leave for the states. I tasted my first fresh eggs this morning
in about six months.
12:00 Noon- Just returned from the Red Gross tent where I sent you a
cablegram to let you know I have been liberated. You are supposed to
get it in 56 hours.
May 22, 1945- Still at camp "Lucky Strike" about 40 miles from Le Harve.
3:00 P.M. Just saw Eisenhower. I was
over at the Red Cross tent
and he drove up with some other big shots, got out of his jeep
and moved on up through us asking questions and cracking jokes. He
stopped and talked to one of my buddies a long time.
June 5, 1945 - Well it is now about four P.M. and I am well on my
way out in the old Atlantic on my way home. I was sick most of the
day yesterday and this morning, but I have been feeling better this
evening. The boat I am on t s a navy transport. I tasted my first
fresh bananas yesterday morning in over a year. They sure tested
good. I also ate my first orange in about six months too, here on
the boat. Now that I am practically back home, the whole world looks
brighter, just like a very sweet dream coming true, and as usual I
have God to thank for making it all possible. He has watched over me
continuously now for many months. Without His help I would have lost
faith many times, when the days were as black as the nights and an
empty stomach continuously turned my thoughts to food. I have lost
time in studying and my work I want to do, but I have learned that
God has blessed my country with gifts too numerous to mention, that
Does not exist anywhere else.
June 9,1945- It is late in the evening and I have just finished
Supper and come out on deck for some fresh air before turning in.
Well they say we will dock tomorrow night, so I guess this will be
my last Saturday night outside the states for awhile. I hope it is
my last forever. We sure have been fed good on this boat, two
hot meals a day and a K ration for supper. It is so much better than
we were fed on those English boats. The sky is rather cloudy and it
doesn't look like we will have a very pretty sunset. I have been sick
only one day so I guess I am lucky because the water has been rather
rough all the way.
June 11, 1945- Well it is now 10:30
P.M. and we are in New York
harbor. We pulled in about 7:00 this evening. We are still anchored
out in the harbor. We have been told that we will tie up at pier
#88 early in the morning and then everyone gets off. Boy! Oh Boy!
the lights sure do look good. It has been a long time since I last
saw a city all lit up, and I didn't realize it could be so beautiful.
Well it won't be long now until I am
at some camp where I can get to
a telephone, so I guess this will be the last of my short, but rather
rough diary. Thank God I am able to finish it in such a way.
NOTE: James reached home on June 18, 1945.
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