This is a record of events in diary fashion from the time of liberation until I ran out of paper and/or enthusiasm. Due to the original writing having faded I have rewritten it exactly as it was in the first place but have added notes to make it clearer.

As written by Flight Sergeant David Berrie, RAF
POW in Stalag 3A near Luckenwalde in Germany.


Sunday 22"d April 1945
Day of liberation. At 6am this morning awakened by the cries of "The Russians are here". It was an officer in a staff car who carried out an inspection of the camp then returned to his H.Q. Between 8am and gam we were visited by an armoured column who were loudly cheered by all American and British personnel. The Russian P.O.W's left the camp to join their own forces whilst we stayed in our compounds awaiting developments. Our C.O General Ruger left camp to arrange matters with the Russian authorities. Wing Commander Collard was thus left in charge. British and American personnel behaved in an orderly manner but French and Italian's were a disgusting mob causing our authorities no end of trouble. Gunfire continued all day and German aircraft put in several appearances but did no damage as fire from the woods close by quickly chased them away. Went to bed expecting to be awake all night.
(Note: General Ruger (Norwegian) was the senior camp officer and W/CDR Collard became senior officer primarily for the RAF.

23' April 1945
Spent a poor night's sleep chiefly because of aircraft strafing and gunfire from heavy artillery as well as mortar and machine gun fire. Was on picket duty from 9am until 11am. Still gunfire all around and many Russian aircraft overhead. Received half a cup of really good soup and 1/10 loaf of bread as well as a ration of butter. Russian officer promised us a good supply of food for remainder of our stay here. Water problem not too good as the only pump available was being beset by a huge queue. Took a long time to get off to sleep tonight which is very unusual for me.

24th April 1945
Still awaiting the link up but news was reassuring as it was evidently only a matter of hours. Still lots of Russian aircraft overhead mostly Airocobras. The Offlag, American and our own compounds were opened to us all today which gives us lots more freedom. Much appreciated this fact. Good soup, today again half a cup but potato ration much better indeed.

25th April 1945 Wednesday
Most monotonous day so far. Kept waiting for things to happen but uneventful.

26th April Thursday
As Wednesday only Russians say link up has taken place.


27th April Friday

S.B.O (Senior British Officer) goes to see Russians to request our transport to Allied H.Q. This is not possible. Informed that the Russian permanent staff are in charge of us now in place of the operational units. Told by Russians that because of a large German unit retreating this way we were nearly evacuated during the night. Much heavy artillery and small arms fire all around camp. American war correspondents observed in Luckenwalde on their way to Berlin. They promised they would visit us on their way back. Major of the Russian repatriation board arrived in camp this morning and officers of the U.S First Army reported to be in Luckenwalde. Going to bed much cheerier tonight.


28th April Saturday
Russian girl Doctor arrived at 2215 hours last night and wanted particulars of sick by 0600 hours this morning. Some of the lads went out on a walking tour this morning and all received plenty of support from Russian sentries and patrols whenever anything was required. Don't think much of the officers conduct but I expect they are as fed up as I am and some are younger than me which is maybe the only excuse I can offer. A fair ration of soup today but according to paper there is supposed to be a lot of meat in it but I didn't find a bit. Still I enjoyed it very much as it was good thick pea soup. My trousers ripped across the seat so I had to put a light blue patch right across. On the whole a wet and miserable day.


29th April Sunday
Late last night a convoy of 50 lorries carrying food and clothing arrived with a staff to look after our camp headed by Captain Medvidw. Lorries were still being unloaded this morning. He decided our quarters were intolerable and said he hoped to move us to a better camp. This camp was found and evidently is a beautiful camp but lacks water and lighting as yet. This news seemed to prepare us for a longer stay than we expected. Our government has been informed and the next move must come from them. The N.C.O Lager containing Stalag Luft 7 personnel beat the Offlag 4-2 at football.

30th April Monday
General Famen from Marshall Koniev's H.Q says he hopes to move us to the Adolf Hitler Lager as soon as possible it being a much superior camp and would be worth the difficulties if we stayed here for any length of time. This news seemed to indicate a long stay here which has us all fed up but the General says it has to go thro'

Diplomatic channels and we must bide our time. Wally and Pat are thinking of leaving and making for home.

1" May Tuesday
Pat and Wally left at 0710 this morning. Had breakfast with them and after giving each my address bid them good luck and all the best. Wally didn't seem so keen but away he went. Had to go to the funeral of a Polish Officer this afternoon.* Uncomfortable all thro' as it was an R.C service and all commands were in the Polish language. Choir was very good. Camp being thronged with Italians and I would gladly be rid of them. Peas have an adverse effect on me as they are blowing me up with wind. Trying to walk it off. Listened to the six o'clock news (7 o'clock our time) and it seems Germany is ready to surrender. Fairly large battle going on all around us today and artillery fire has been heavy the past 24 hours. had my first hot shower since Feb 8th today. What a joy it was too.
(*Note: Because we had been members of a Polish Squadron it was assumed we could speak Polish hence the reason I had to go to the Polish officer's funeral. The young American officer in charge of our squad was in a somewhat similar position but couldn't even understand the commands so we had to whisper them to him. The Wally mentioned was actually a Pole real name Waclaw Dworokwsky who wasn't keen on giving names etc. to the Russians so I supplied him with a route to the Elbe at Wittenberg from a large scale Wehrmacht map I had acquired earlier.

2nd May Wed
Listened to British 9 o'clock news and couldn't help laughing at all the arrangements for V day. After listening to the tirade for a few days ago of how quickly P.O.W's would be got home it is rather a let down to find we are still here after ten days of liberation. First thing when I awoke this morning was to hear that Hitler was dead and Doenitz was in command. Big battle raged all around last night and this morning but it seems to have finished now as the Russians are all moving west and have taken 120,000 prisoners from this area. Heard the Germans in Italy had surrendered and that Lubeck had fallen. Our advance guard had to be withdrawn from the Adolf Hitler Lager because of the refugee trouble and the danger of our men being hurt as they have arms and we are not allowed by our own C.O to possess them.

3rd May Thurs
More Italians arriving and the lads are buying their horses for a song. More Russian columns passed westwards mostly horsedrawn. Lager has become a mass of horses of all kinds. B.B.C news good. Best news so far is the arrival of two Yank war correspondents who said nothing was known about us until 4 days ago when four Yanks from this camp reached the Elbe. They couldn't get thro' sooner because of the big battles taking place all around us. They are taking all particulars and flying them to General Eisenhower and London tomorrow. A war correspondent P.O.W Captain Beatty is leaving with them and taking nominal roles etc. Glad to see something might happen at last. Rations for today very poor indeed and most boys are thinking of striking out on their own. Can't blame them as life here is far from good.

4th May Friday
Spent most of the morning in bed and cooking. We made scones out of an issue of flour. More American officers arrived this morning and said we would be evacuated within the next 3 or 4 days. This news has greatly increased all our spirits. However greatest news of all was when I heard on the six o'clock home service news that we had been liberated. What a relief after waiting for 12 days to hear it on the news. Go to bed highly jubilant as we expect first removal lorries in the morning.

5th May Sat
Eagerly awaiting lorries - George has to go to Luckenwalde to bake bread. First time we have to split up since P.O.W's which was unfortunate as we wished to stay together until we reached home. 1300 hours first American ambulances arrive. Four trucks arrive later with K rations. Made scones in the afternoon. Did a night shift of work from 12-2am.

6th May Sunday
George arrived back at 0800 hours. French had taken over bakery. Evacuation of Americans begin with us standing by. Evacuation stopped by Russians and some trucks sent away empty. Everybody as mad as hell as the Russian instructions haven't reached them. (Note: George had been selected to go to the bakery because he had some experience whilst on vacations from college with a friend's father's bakery.

7th May Monday
Registered with Russians. Negotiations still going and more trucks arriving. Finally this evening an American Officer and Russian officials set off for Marshall Koniev's H.Q. Awaiting their return. Caustic remarks made against BBC commentators nattering about V.E day and so on.

8th May Tuesday
Boys streaming to trucks but nothing official through yet. Russians order trucks to return empty. Boys leave camp in all directions. Some return later, others are interned etc. Barracks well below strength. Heard Churchill and the King.

9th May Wednesday
100 Russian trucks arrive. Don't know who for but seem to be either for the Norge officers or ourselves. Camp being cleared up by ourselves but French and Italian quarters still in filthy condition. Must close narrative because of lack of paper. What I thought would be a little story of wonderful happiness has gradually deteriorated into a gloomy history of several thousand Allied ex P.O. W's.

David Berrie


To complete this story I should say that we eventually ended up in the Adolf Hitler Lager which was at least first class accommodation for us. It was stated to have been quarters for S.S troops. For myself I was admitted to the camp hospital on 18/5/45 because my left knee had blown up once again. It had given me a lot of trouble on the march from Stalag Luft 7 at Bankau near Kreuzberg to Luckenwalde ie from 19/1/45 - 8/2/45. Our own medical officer was going to remove my knee cap and pin the leg straight but suggested I allow he Russian M.O to do so as he was very much more skilled than'9 was - I agreed and the operation was fixed for 1pm on Sunday 20th May 1945. However, the Russian trucks arrived at 0500 that morning and took us to the river Elbe at Wittenberg where we were handed over to the Americans. We were taken to Halle by truck and then to Brussels by Dakota. We finally arrived by plane in the South of England on 26/5/45 and were taken to Cosford near Wolverhampton for medicals, kitting out and so on. We arrived there at one o'clock in the morning but the staff did a fantastic job and I was on the train for Scotland at ten o'clock that same evening. I arrived home finally shortly after 9 am on 28/5/45.