Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Part 1:Mons-Doeberitz-Libau 25th Sept 1914-May 14th 1916, an account by Pte Joseph Driscoll 7314 Ist Norfolk Regiment

Joseph was captured West of Mons and after treatment for a gunshot wound at a hospital in Weries he was sent to Doeberitz camp  in Germany, travelling there by horsebox.

Joseph goes on to describe the harsh conditions at Libau and mentions by name one of the men who is buried at Jelgava's St Nikolai Cemetary. Here is more from his statement....

Reference National Archives WO/161/100/361

more of Joseph's statement to follow.......
"At Libau work was hard and treatment severe. Very long hours, frequently till 9 p.m. Started work 6 a.m Very wet month and we had to work in continual downpours. No provision for drying clothes. Cases of Pneumonia and pleurisy were caused by this treatment. A man named Irvin, East Surreys, died from this cause"

"On Monday May 7 or 8, 1916,  a party of about  1,000 men, including myself, were paraded and taken away by train by 4th class railway carriage to Frankfort a.d. Oder- no idea where we were going. Disentrained there and stayed for 3 days where we found another 1,000 men drawn from the other lagers in Germany. None of us had any idea what was to be done with us. The whole 2,000 were English. Then detrained in horse boxes and travelled about 4 days and 4 nights to Libau. Exceptionally cold in train and very crowded. Took our blankets with us that we had from home and our food. Landed at Libau at about 4pm. Travelling through Courland half the number were separated from us and taken off to Windau. The 2,000 were divided into 4 companies 500 strong each and were called E.K.1,2,3 and 4 Company, I belonged to E.K.4 Company which was to work at Libau"