Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:13 PM
An extract from Cd 9106 Miscellaneous No 19 (1918) Report on the Treatment of by the Germans of Prisoners of War taken during the spring offensives of 1918
At Prowy, about 20 kilom. behind Cambrai, where as many as 1,500 were confined in a disused sugar refinery, the men suffered terribly from cold and want of food. One of the witnesses, now among the escaped himself, fainted from starvation.
"The food consisted of 1/4-loaf of bread and coffee and vegetables given very irregularly, and very little of it."
Another witness says;
"We slept on cement floors, no blankets, no straw, and fires were not allowed. Our bread ration sometimes failed for thirty-six hours. Lots of men fell sick and fainted frrom exhaustion. There was a lot of dysentery, and the only medicine we got was nettle leaves boiled in water. One man of the R.M.L.I. died here from exhaustion... The guards were very offensive, and used their rifle buts on us"
"On the 17th April 200 of us were marched to the Canal du Nord, about 10 kilom. this side of Cambrai; we were not under shell fire there. There were dug-outs on the canal banks to sleep in, and we worked at laying railways, loading wagons etc. There were already 200 men there before we arrived; they were in a shocking condition."
This extract relates to Sailly;
".... The men were like wild animals with hunger, and scramble for any piece of food which may be lying about, also for cigarette ends. The water we had to drink was drawn from a filthy marsh near the camp. Besides much dysentery there was a lot of dropsy, men's legs and bodies swelling terribly. There were about sixty men permanently sick, and five or six going to hospital daily..."
NB Denain was primarily a distribution centre for PoWs.