POW Diaries 1945 March 31 1945 J.H.Hallam Stalag VIIIB

Maart 31 1945 Saturday


Cold, but much brighter

. It is my turn to get the coffee. We have toast too: one slice each. I made a new pipe stem this morning, also a cig holder. News. Biggest Bang of the war, mosquito pilot bombs V-2 firing point in North Holland. Another one flew from Newfoundland to England at the speed of 612 m.p.h. Soup not bad, Allied released p.o.w’s land in England, with wives, etc. we had sardine soup for tea, with slice of bread and butter. I turned in early, nothing to do at night.



Editors comments:

It is interesting to note, that in "liberated" Europe, life was progressing back to normal, and the war was happening elsewhere.  Because Trooper Hallam mentioned the  speed of the Mosquito fighter bomber, I was prompted to add this small backgound peice of information...

It is a French weekly publication called " Les Ailes ("Wings") and is dedicated to the world of aviation, and aviation of the world.

This particular edition was published on the 31 st of March, 1945 and is No. 1002 and is the 25th year of publication. It is of great interest to me, that the publication date and the date of trooper Hallam's diary coincide. What a contrast! He is starving, while the journal carries adverts for making models from plans of "lightnings", "Typhoon" "Spitfire" and albums of drawings of all the aircraft of the Royal Air Force!

Les Ailes hebdomaire31 mar 1945

photo: Les Ailes weekly / hebdomaire 31st March, 1945. ( Collection Eric Hallam).


To give justice... this is a weekly journal devoted to the world of aicraft, however, on page two, there is a column on the aerial war - "La Guerre Aerienne".

Here we will read that on March 22nd of the night of 21/22 March, Berlin was bombed for the 30th successive night by Mosquitos. The weight of bombs dropped was around 2000 tonnes.  Airborne  forces continue to pound the triangle West of the Rhine and the routes leading there. In the Frankfurt zone 100 locomotives have been destroyed or damaged, and more than 1,000 rolling stock. The most important attacks were in the Ruhr. All available aircraft were involved.

March 23. the bombardment does not diminish, without cease. The state of Munster which the Germans wanted to develop has been rendered unusable by Allied bombing.

March 25th

6,300 Allied bombers including heavy & medium bombers have attacked supply  depots, centres of communication, petrol refineries and fighter bombers have been straffing retreating convoys.

More tha 250 Liberators have attacked the big installations near Brunswick and Hamburg. THe Liberators were attacked by a small formation of jets, some were destroyed and the Liberators suffered little losses.

(My next source of information is missing, but continues again on the : )

2nd of April 1945  when Allied aircraft based in the Mediterreanen attack Austria, Yugoslvia & italie with 2800 sorties.

3 April, Kiel Magdebourg, Berlin anchorage of Sabjefjord on the Norwegian coast were principal objectives. 750 Fortresses escorted by 650 Mustangs have attacked the submarine yards of Kiel. At Nordhausen, Lancasters focussed on bombing troops.

4 April more than 1000 Fortresses and Liberators renew their attacks on Kiel. 15 German aircraft destroyed including 11 jets.

This, I hope... gives a little insight to the backdrop of Trooper Hallam's diary. An anxious time.

Les Ailes 7 Avril 1945

photo: RAF Mosquito: Victor of the battle of Berin. "Les Ailes" 7th April, 1945 ( Collection Eric Hallam)

Bataille Berlin Victoire Mosquito 1945

photo: The Battle of Berlin. The victory of the Mosquito. ( Collection Eric Hallam.)

The article makes the point that aerial warfare was pivotal in defeating and breaking the will of the Germans. Trooper Hallam was a not-so-distant witness to these epic times.