Karl Bethold Robert Schonwalder, a hairdresser and barber by trade was noted by early August 1915 interned at Handforth, possibly having spent some time in Wakefield Camp. He was then transferred with several hundred other internees to Knockaloe - a copy of his diary relating to his stay at Knockaloe is held by Manx Museum - his grandson notes that his grandfather though born in Germany in 1883, spent his childhood in Holland arriving in England in 1900, and did not speak German until forced to do so in the Camp. He had married an English-born wife and had two children by the time of his internment - postwar he and family would appear to have shortened their name to the less German sounding Walder. The diary is written in good English with a few, consistent, spelling mistakes (usually corrected here to ease readability) though with little if any punctuation - again added here and various abbreviations are also expanded.
Plan of Camp 3 - rotated so that North is towards the top
He was placed in Camp 3 Compound 5 - this Camp was the dumbbell shaped area to the north of Knockaloe Mooar farm - to the west of Camp 1 and north of Camp 2. Built on rising ground on the slopes of Peel Hill. An isolation hospital was later built to the north. Compound 5 is the west most compound and had from the adjoining recreation field views over to Peel and the sea - these views seemed much appreciated by Schonwalder.
He also had some hobbies involving carving and some woodworking, on one occasion he mentions slipping with the carving tool and cutting a finger, later he mentions finding time to complete two boxes.
The diary in the first few months contains considerable details though it grows considerably more perfunctory as the months of captivity go on - he notes the weather (usually cold, wet and windy!), letters sent and received as well as the quality and quantity of food provided - generally insufficient in his opinion. Somehow he manages to avoid the 2 letters a week restriction by sending letters in other internee's names (he does keep a note of which he has used - that of a Louis Willi/Willy seems common). He also becomes more religious - mentions of bible reading increase, he starts going to a daily bible class and by the time of his transfer to Bulford he is apparently noted as a "Christian". Yet he seems to have links with the Church of England - several letters home are to a Canon Dobson and he goes to services held by the Bishop.
However he displays considerable German Nationalism in his diary, although later in the diary he grows increasingly critical of the war, his remarks indicate that he thinks the British are losing and will lose the war. He paints a highly critical account of life at Knockaloe - the diary being uncensored paints a very different view of life in the camp than that obtained from those censored letters that could be sent back to any family. At the end of 1917 he requested that he be considered for work outside the Camp and on 20 December 1917 he noted that his name was in for tree felling - after some problems with the boat he left on a 4a.m. sailing on 22 December 1917 on the cargo vessel - probably the Tyrconnel - for Liverpool en route to Bulford camp in a party of 19 - there had been earlier parties sent to Bulford and there is an entry in the Knockaloe Arrivals register of a party of 58 from Bulford re-admitted to Knockaloe Camp on the 18 December 1918. There is a note in one of the surviving Knockaloe files that a Karl Robert Schonwalder's release was authorised 27 August 1919 - along with the diary is a photo of his postwar registration certificate issued on 12 December 1919 so it would appear that he was released toward the final days of Knockaloe Camp.
The section opens with the notification posted in the morning of the 11th August 1915 that he was part of a company of 300 to be transferred to Knockaloe the following day - giving short notice of such transfers was standard policy.
August 12: We had a busy morning we were formed into 6 companies of 50 just for the journey .. then all luggage had to go in advance then burn our strawsacks [ie those on which internees slept] then a lot of other nonsense to go through. 9 o'clock parade, for dinner we had mashed potatoes a very thick sickly looking soup and some bully beef the whole bally lot was not fit to give a dog. ... 2.15 p.m. we started off having to take our own bully beef tins with us to drink our tea out of on board. While walking to the station there were several people to watch us off one lady speaking a few kind words to us as we passed when the soldier in front of us shouted at her to stop that she stamped her foot and told him she would not and with a broken? voice she said "Cheer up Boys Good Day? and God bless you" it touched us all those that heard it. No doubt she must have seen us on several mornings. Well we started off at 2.45 first stop Preston where our soldiers tried to get us a drink. 5 o'clock we got [to] Fleetwood we got transferred to the "Duke of Clarence" and while on board another train of 300 came from Alexandra Palace. We were all packed in the back of the boat crammed like sardines no one allowed in front of the boat - the boat was registered to carry 644 all over. All the beds were taken away + we could not go to sleep only on the floor or on deck then there was no room to lie down. The boat started at 10.45 at high tide and a thunder of "Harahs" we all started to sing patriotic (German) songs and kept it up till I went below about midnight. There I huddled up between some others on the bare floor + no blanket just over the engine as thumping as the noise was I went to sleep with a bad headache + my cold at its worse. That evening we only got a cup of tea at 8 those who brought bread were lucky others had to go without. By the way we had a good sendoff the Singing Club of Handforth Camp singing songs of the Fatherland. One old Jew tried to jump overboard while we were waiting to sail - he got locked up on board.
August 13: We reached Peel at 5 a.m. after very smooth passage but it was an awful journey hundreds had no sleep all night and standing up. I got up on deck about 4 o'clock it was a beautiful morning and sunrise behind the mountains. As we reached the harbour we could see in the distance the lights from the Camp. We left the ship at 7 o'clock about 2 doz people being on the pier, 3 of them were there when our boat got into harbour. We then marched off in fours through Peel + Knockaloe Village [? Patrick Village] a very weary walk the streets here were lined with people and every body was worn out through no sleep, after walking about 2 mile we had a rest on the road having a sit down on the banks putting our parcels down. After about 10 minutes off we went again reaching Camp at 8.30. After the usual procedure we got breakfast bread + butter + tea, we were all ready for it this was at 9.30 after then some more rigmarole. It was lovely weather now very warm - 1 o'clock dinner then we had a good sleep, tea at 5 a game of chess and to bed at ten, after writing + posting a letter to Rosa [his wife]. I had a bad night our straw sacks are so narrow I kept rolling off + it was very cold + had only 2 blankets sleeping on the floor + no pillow. Knockaloe Camp is beautifully situated being in the valley, hills all the way round, just a narrow strip through which we can see the sea and the seagulls are very numerous.
The 600 newly arrived internees were placed in Camp 3 compound 5 as they completed the final 1000 to arrive in that camp - subsequent batches arriving from the end of August were placed in Camp 4.
August 14: Up at 6 set to work + canvassed for shaves + earned 1/4d then the usual camp routine + examined by Dr. Busy putting shelves up + a little cupboard, another chap in our hut laid up. Lovely weather
August 15: Morning routine, very warm. Dinner boiled beef, potatoes + cabbage. In the afternoon laid on the grass with shirt off, had a good wash down before tea after then felt in the pink. If only for a long holiday it is simply delightful round here watching the clouds breaking through the hills and the scenery and the sea. We have not seen any civilians since we have have been here, no one seems to admire beautiful surroundings. To bed at 10pm.
August 16: The morning opened very dull, have been awake biggest part of the night through the cold we all suffered from the same complaint. About 8 we had the first lot of rain, kept on till about 12, kept dull + cold all day. That chap is still ill and we have no hospital here.
August 17: Our first time at the Recreation Ground, a little warmer today. There are 400 from each compound going each day. Each compound has 1000 men and 5 compounds make 1 camp. There are 100 men in each hut which is divided in 3, that make 1 company. At present there are 1004 men in our compound and over 15000 in all 3 camps. [Camp 4 would start admissions at the end of August]
August 18: The morning opened splendid but it does get cold at nights + hot in the daytime. Not much doing shaving so started a laundry as well with 3 customers but money is scarce as most of them have been interned nearly or over? 12 months. That sick man kicked up a row with the Dr which frightened him no doubt, he being a sea captain and in the International Union so they send him today to some hospital outside. Our huts are very draughty, you can see through the cracks and we sleep on the floor. The day is very hot but nice in the evening. I was one of the party of 12 to peel potatoes for the our camp 1004 men, it took us nearly 4 hours and got a cup of tea for it. It is getting a bit weary here they don't seem the same sort of chaps as at Wakefield - if you speak English to any one they don't answer, or tell you that this is a German camp. I have sent another letter home but have not had my second from home nor my parcel I have ask[ed] for. By the way each time a party goes to the Recreation Ground, 2000 men, we are headed by our Camp Band which plays on the Ground and makes a collection - 3 parties go each day.
August 19: Another man is stopping in bed this morning. Had first time porridge but got our bread cut down to 2 loaves for 10 men instead of 2½.. At parade 1 man in the next hut refused to salute the Commander, his name and no. being taken for punishment. Grumbling about the Camp of not getting enough to eat. The day has been very warm but cold tonight.
No 32 From Smitz's Sketchbook
August 20: Scrubbing all out which is done on the 10th, 20th + 30th each month. A few showers but warm in the day. No news from home yet - it is very weary waiting for news. Letter came out at 1 + 5 p.m. parcel at 8. Shaving is very slow, about 20 barbers have their stalls about and so many shave themselves.
August 21: A lovely morning, our bread ration is getting shorter and none can be bought at the canteen, only 6d? cakes or biscuits and porridge in kitchen. Received 3 letters from home and Max [son] during second parade. That second chap is better but the first is still in Hospital. Am starting washing clothes + cleaning boots.
August 22: Dull morning; wrote letter home + [included] 3/6d. The weather turned out very warm. After breakfast done a nice lot of washing in the afternoon and darning out on the field. Am very sunburnt face + chest peeling.
August 23 : Nothing unusual...
August 24: Same routine. Another hot day. In the afternoon got our first newspapers"Times" + "Telegraaf" [sic] for our table at 1½.[d] per man per week. Sadly to say a big fight took place in our Compound between Austrians + Hungarians which was stopped by our police. Also a quarrel occurred in the kitchen which resulted in the kitchen staff being sacked also the Committee. No more Kaffee + Cocoa, rice + porridge to be sold nor butter. The truth came out that we were robbed by the staff of part of our rations + were sold + they divided the profits.
August 25: Received letter back from censor which I posted home on Sunday last[see 22 Aug] because I asked for goods to be sent to the camp and enclosed money re-written my letters home also to being allowed a second letter for the returned one. The chief feature here seems to be to keep you short of food and ordering you about. Every day there seems to be some alteration each time another order comes or they keep you waiting at parade for about 3/4 of an hour or an hour they [?other internees] say "they lost another trench" or "another ship lost" ...
August 26: Another order- all German names on huts to be taken down, in future any one putting up any name will be severely punished - some names were "Zepplin Str, Dardenell Str, Carpatian Str, U.9 Str, Wassau Str, Emden Ally, Turpitz Sq, Villa von Kluck, Villa Hindenburg, Kaiser Wm Ring, Zur Dicken Bertha" etc. I expect when we get the papers tomorrow the Germans will have taken another fort. ...
August 29: ... Attended Church service the first held since I came here. ..
August 30: A cold day again. Last night a soldier shot himself whilst on sentry duty. This is the second since I am here, the latter was a sergeant. Both had been ordered to the front. I was speaking to a sentry tonight and he told me the second one had shot himself because his wife had died and they would not give him leave to attend the funeral.
Schonwalder's account would appear to be mostly ill informed gossip. The soldier who shot himself whilst on sentry duty was reported in the press (see Mona's Herald 1 September 1915) as Private William Dean from Southport aged about 50 who in civilian life had been a bricklayer after leaving the army in 1898 - according to a witness who knew him well his wife had died about six or seven months ago but there was some domestic problem with a son and he had been despondent for the last three weeks - another witness who was on duty with him stated he had been in the post nearest Peel Hill and had shot himself about 2.45 a.m. on Monday 30 August. He was buried at Kk Patrick on 1 September. The earlier suicide was probably that of David Jones who was reported in the Ramsey Courier 27 August 1915 to have shot himself at home at Birkdale on the 24 August whilst on leave from Knockaloe, noted as depressed and told colleagues that "the Isle of Man got on his nerves".
September 1: A nice fresh morning. .. We had our rations increased by a sack of flour per day but all we have had up to now is what they call Flour Soup. We cannot go to the Recreation Ground this morning as that soldier who shot himself is being buried here.[buried at the adjacent Kk Patrick churchyard but probably many soldiers involved in funeral]
September 5: 1 doz men from our Compound had to go before the Commander because they put in their letter about not getting enough to eat + were threatened with punishment should it occur again. ..The Kitchen Committee informed us that for 1d per week they could give us porridge every morning - so that we jumped at a chance like that ..
September 6: Dinner we had a treat - suet pudding. .. Today we started that every day a few men should go + see the Dr + tell him we have a pain in our back so that we should get bedboards.
September 7: This morning on going on parade I heard that one man had died in Hut 4a rather sudden, no Dr came and his body was carried out of our Compound during parade to the mortuary. The Commander first stopped the bread cart + told the chaps to put the body on but they all refused + said they would carry it. Now we have some titled people in our Compound + they at once set to work + sent a prepaid wire to his wife offering to pay her fare here + back to Liverpool she being in the workhouse there. But the Authorities refused her a permit to attend the funeral. They know they have made a bad mistake in not sending a Dr when our chaps went for him 5 times between 6.30 + 9.30. This of course caused a lot of talk + at the finish it was decided that the only way to let Germany know + the world outside was to put the plain facts before the American Ambassador + the Censor is compelled to let it pass it being to the neutral power. We have held a collection tonight for a wreath + the surplus is to be sent on to the wife.
This death would appear to be that of Ernst Meerwold reported in the Peel City Guardian 11 September 1915 where Meerwold (named as Neerwald in the report), was noted as a 32 year old waiter from Berlin who had been admitted into Knockaloe on the 13th August, thus was in the same batch as Schonwalder - the witness Wm Richter stated that it was one of the Red Cross assistants who attended - the doctor was sent for at 7.45 but Meerwald was dead when he arrived at half past nine. He had previously had two attacks. Dr H E Kitchen said he was 5 minutes dead when he arrived - the jury acquiesced in a verdict of death from heart failure. There was no mention of his marital status in the report. The Head Captain for the Camp was Paul von Marchtaler, possibly one of his "titled men", their attempt to inform Meerwold's wife was refused as the PoW.I.B. would do it, but they did send a letter of condolence together with the surplus money (later noted as £3 16s 1d)collected for a wreath to which she replied that this letter was the first she heard of the death of her husband, the Captains then wrote a detailed complaint to the POW Information Bureau and informed the Neutral Power (the USA).
September 8: By coincidence in the same hut a chap was taken ill in the night, they immediately sent for the Dr + he came at once, after examining him he was taken straight away to the hospital, evidently yesterday's case livened? them up a bit. .. Second parade got letter from home. About 20 minutes after this parade the bugle sounded quite unusual we all wondered what was going to happen, while standing all our Captains (12) were called before the Commander who was present with about doz Officers then about 200 soldiers came in our Compound and made a ring around us, then our Captains came back and told us the barb wire had been cut and they wanted to know who [had] done it and if no one came forward we would all be punished. Well 6 chaps came forward + under escort they were marched off to the barracks, then we were all locked in the big hall, then the soldiers searched all our luggage and all pinchers [pincers?] and tools likely to damage or assist us to escape were taken away, the whole thing lasting about 2½ hours...
September 9: We were kept a long time on parade and when the Com [?sub-Commandant] came all the Captains were called up to him + they were told that through a foolish act of a few men we would all have to suffer + the punishment would be, for 2 weeks no letters, parcels, newspapers + no outings, so our Captain Graaf von Marchtaler told the Com that as the men came forward of their own accord, it would not be fair that 1000 should suffer + he advised him to reconsider his decision, at the same time he resigned as Head Captain if the punishment would stand then all 12 Captains resigned. The Com then gave way + told them that the men had been court-marshalled [sic martialled] this morning + he let them off with a light sentence because they had not cut the wire to escape + as we had been locked up all the afternoon he thought we had been punished. Then at second parade inspection + every hut where the chaps had made bedsteads of any old wood + wire they was ordered to pull them to pieces + pay a 1/- fine for the wood.. ..
September 10: Today has been a funny day, we had no water, no tea + no light til 9.15
September 11: We had to fetch some water for our tea (breakfast + no porridge. We had our photo taken again, no light until after 9 o'clock and had to fetch some more water.
September 20: ..In our hut the wind cuts through like a knife + we are starved; we are getting porridge free every morning as though not being able to utilise the extra flour the Government is buying it back + the Kitchen Committee is buying other other food with the money. Those 6 men who cut the wire have come back- they had 8 days imprisonment.
September 22: ..Our water is running again and we are all glad of that as we can stay in bed until 6 in future also have a bath again.
October 4: American Representatives have come to inspect the whole Camp but they did not come any further than Camp 3 Compound 2 and a good job for the Commander as we had a long list of complaints.
October 27: This morning we receive checks [?brass tallys] so as to do away with one parade namely the one in the afternoon.
October 28: Instead of doing away with an extra parade we all have to stand whilst the soldiers collect the checks at 8.30 in the morning as well.
November 2: Today another letter was sent to the American Ambassador as we have no reply to our previous one [re the death of Meerwold etc] enclosing more complaints such as having no fires, leaking + draughty huts, no clothing + shoes the camp being like a mudpool + unhealthy + lots more [they had a reply on 20th that complaint passed to English Government].
November 6: While walking around this morning I happen to go near the wire by the Parcels Office + on being told it was Compound 3 waiting for their parcels I looked through the crowd to see if I could find Schmidt [a friend whom he met on some Sundays after getting a pass to go to church there] when I spotted Carl Herzig after having a chat arranged to meet next day at his compound during church service. ..
November 7: excused myself to Schmidt and went to see Carl Herzig. He offering me a cigar we had a chat for about an hour telling me about his 2 businesses smashed in Birmingham + afterwards going to Oxford where he was taken [arrested] in the first week in June, his wife going to London to friends. [Carl Herzig can be found in 1911 Census as a 36yr old hairdresser, wigmaker + chiropodist born Hamburg with English born wife married 4 yrs (no children) at 120A Balsall Heath Birmingham]
November 10: It is very cold and we are walking about in the house [sic hut] with our overcoats on. This afternoon we have 2 stoves put in, to warm 2 huts or 6 rooms + me being in the middle hut which has no stove the fire makes no difference. Our huts are built 2 next to each other and each is divided in 3 rooms, each room to sleep 30 men. The first room on one side has a stove & the last one on the other, each room has 6 windows or frames but no glass in so that the warmth, should there be any, can go through in the next hut. This makes the rooms very draughty + cold.
November 13: The rain has stopped but the wind is still howling and has dried the ground a bit, the hills around are covered with snow + it is very cold. I got a bedstead today + made myself a ships blanket of it and it sleeps much warmer.
November 21: As we have destroyed all our milk, jam + other tins for some time, the Commandant has offered to sell them for us if we stop to destroy them but we refused + told him we had a suspicion that all tins were used for hand grenades against our country men at the front + we could not save them.
November 24: Today there is an article by a neutral party in the Morning Post who supposed of visited German + English Camp. This person writing how badly the English are treated in Germany and badly clothed and here in England plenty + good food plenty of underclothing, good overcoats, suits, boots + 5 blankets, mattress + bolster. I don't know where he has been but here at Knockaloe up to date a great many sleep on a mattress or rather a straw sack which lies on the floor, the damp penetrating, not one has a Govt bolster + only 3 blankets are allowed + no more fires have been put in huts. As regards clothing I myself have been waiting and am on the list ever since I have been here for a pair of pants, vest + clogs (boots we don't get) but have not seen any, nor anyone else, only one shirt + one pair of socks + a pair of slippers which can be bought anywhere at 1/11½d. There are dozens in our Compound who cannot go outside their huts when raining, no boots + trousers all patched together with all sorts of rags. Overcoats have not been seen yet but a few suits have been given to the very worst cases. The material of these suit is about the worst I have ever come across as one only has to touch it + it tears. Several of our Comrades have written to the sub-Commandant pointing out the article to him + asking for all we are short. As regards the food we get a cup of tea + 1oz of marg for each man + 2 loaves for every 10 men, we also have a basin of porridge but pay for that. For dinner a ½ pint of soup, 2 dumplings in a piece of meat + 2 potatoes, also 1 loaf for every 10 men, for tea 2½ loaf + a cup of tea. We can exist on that but not live on it. I myself have to go begging every day for a bit of bread, as we have a lot of pork butchers + have a lot sent them, consequently have a bit of bread over.
November 26: Last night we [have] been ask[ed] to our names in those who want to make Mail bags for 1/- per sack + I have given my name in. It must be something out of the ordinary as up to now they have always offered 3d a day to anyone who wants to work, nobody ever stuck it for more than 1 or 2 days, for instance some chaps out of our hut once went 4 of them and they had to empty 6 railway trucks of coal spoiling their clothes for 3d, they never went again.
November 27: Yesterday 6 Ps/W + 4 soldiers from our camp went to Douglas to give evidence in a case at Court + coming back they all got drunk at Peel + 2 soldiers got so drunk they was left on the country road helpless so our own chaps took their rifles + belt with ammunition off them + brought that back into Camp. Now they, all 10 of them, are in the cells waiting to be court-martialled. The case arose out of the two sailor chaps fighting each other with knives in compound 1.
There is some significant problem with verifying this and again it seems based on gossip. There was a court case held at Douglas Court House at which witnesses interned at Knockaloe attended and did involve a stabbing, though the jury decided there was no intent to wound following a heated argument, neither party was a sailor though both had previously been interned on the Saxonia - also the case was heard on Tuesday 23rd November. Four witnesses were called for this case and a further 8 for a second case involving theft of mail (see IoM Examiner 22 Nov 1915). Thus no immediate confirmation of Schonwalder's statement - most breaches of discipline that could not be handled by the Camp authorities were held at the High Bailiff's court in Peel. There was however an interesting twist to the court case, in that the court sat from morning from 11am to around 7pm and although the jurors were treated to a midday lunch at the nearby Talbot Hotel it would seem that no provision had been made to provide any refreshment for the internee witnesses. One of the witnesses called in the second, postal theft, case appeared so cold and tired that when he came to swear he stated he did not feel well - it being 5pm and on inquiry by the Attorney General of the escort it appeared that the witnesses had not eaten since 7.30am and no provision had been made for them - the internee witnesses and their escort were at the end of their depositions treated at Government expense to a meal at the Talbot.
July 5: Tomorrow there are 2000 prisoners coming from somewhere - we are to get 4 in our hut as we are only 86...
July 6: They arrived at 10pm last night + was marched on the small field and was kept there till 2 a.m. and it was a cold night  they also had not enough to eat for them, they came from Stobs(Scotland) 1000 men
July 7: last night another 500 came at 10pm + the same trouble
These were the two large parties transferred from Stobs when civilian prisoners were decanted and Stobs became a military PoW camp. The Knockaloe Arrivals register notes two parties each of about 1000 men admitted on the 6th and 7th - the first group was split 494 going into Camp 1, the rest into Camp 2; the second group was again split between camps half into Camp 3 and the rest into Camp 4. Possibly the 500 or so destined for Camp 3 had already been moved into adjacent compounds.
July 14: This morning half our Compound got up at 5.30 as some doz Officers who were taken in England were being transferred to (somewhere) + as they had to give their civilian clothes up yesterday they had to go in their uniform Naval + Military + all their uniforms were new - the Navy a light blue grey with red braid, I tell you they they looked smart + put the sentries in the shade. This was the first time they seen a German Uniform + they stared.
These were German Reserve Officers who were being transferred to Castle Donnington - they had to acquire their uniforms prior to transfer.
July 25: Today some fellows have been found out that made a tunnel from Compound 4 into a cornfield. They been at it since last Jan & had only a few further yards to dig
July 27: Two of Compound 4 who gave away about that tunnel are now in hospital + all the men had to fill the tunnel up again. We have been having our sports this week lasting 8 days consisting of running, jumping, cricket, football etc. The weather is lovely.
August 12: Parcel from home also letters. This was the first time the form was filled in by censor for one payment of parcel. Today notice is posted up that all those over 45 can go to Germany & it is probably that after every one can go & be exchanged man for man but those that dont go remain interned, there is great jubilation.
August 15: I have not put down lately when one cleared out[escaped?] as tried to, as these are very frequent cases but this one different as we have been counted again as the one who clear away last Sunday has not been found. Good luck to him if he gets away. A notice has been posted up with all particulars about him also that the Com[Commandant] thinks he is being hidden by one of us & is still amongst us & he threatens to punish any one doing so.
September 10: Last night about midnight some other poor fellow has gone out of his mind and was taken away, he is only 22.
September 13:... Bible Class photographed
September 30: There has been trouble in [Compound] 3 - some 2 doz soldiers have been sent in - this was yesterday.
October 1: .. The trouble has spread to I, II,III + IV - in III they smashed all the glass house, hooted officers + sub-commandant. When the sub-Commandant came in [Compound] 4 this evening he ask[ed] one officer what was the matter & he[the officer?] told them they want their liberty. He[the sub-Commandant] gave them a speech and after he had gone they broke the canteen open, 2nd time this week + practically cleared it. It is only 5 yards from the wire and the chaps in [compound] 5 watched them carry the stuff away. I heard tonight that they want the soldiers from the other camps drafted up here + then they start in other camps, they have been talking about setting the hall on fire. I trust they will do nothing of the kind, but a few cannot blame them giving trouble after 26 months behind wire.
This was a serious outbreak of trouble involving Camp 3 - a report of the
October 3: Evening was called to Sub-Commandant's office + was allowed a business letter. A sentry is on duty at each canteen, they emptied the canteen in [compound] 2 yesterday too.
This business letter appears to be to 'the Union' from which he had a reply on 5th November but no inkling as to what the business was
October 9: A proclamation has been posted up in each compound that it has come to the knowledge of the Head Com [?Commandant] that the prisoners intend to combine + cause trouble, it is pointed out that such an act amounts to mutiny + anyone so doing will be court-martialled + likely to be shot or sent to penal servitude for life.
October 18: Alt Heidelberg [a play by Meyer- Foerster Larger Echo #2 has a review premiered 15 Oct 17] was played last Sunday + last night I went each time, it is lovely + Katie played well, burning hot tears rolled down my cheeks.
November 25: We are getting more food now 4 sacks of coarse oatmeal (3.5 cwt) + 1 cask of syrup per week also vegetables every day instead of twice a week. This is the outcome of the Swiss Dr who has been here, we proved to him that we did not get enough to eat as during the Sept month our kitchen bought £209 worth of extra food from the stores, that is not counting what is bought at the canteen or from the kitchen in cakes + parcels we get from home
December 2: This afternoon about 3 o'clock the sentry in front of our gate suddenly got so enraged because of what one of the men of IV said, that he fired 4 shots in succession all 4 going through the hut, 1 poor fellow got a bullet in the side + another fellow in the arm, 1 man who was lying in his bunk jumped out as soon as the first bullet went through the hut, the second bullet stopped in his pillow - he can thank the Lord that it was not the first otherwise it would have gone through his head. Of course it caused a commotion + they tried to break the gate down (1000 men) to get at him but just then 50 soldiers with fixed bayonets came up, by the way it was a darky + it is not the first time he tried this game as once before he tried to bayonet a man.
The Knockaloe Arrivals/Departures register shows 1 man transferred to Noble's Hospital on the 2nd December from Camp 3 possibly the one shot in the side - though Schonwalder notes on Jan 6th one PoW involved got 2 years there does not appear to be any matching transfer to Douglas or Liverpool prisons.
December 24: Went to my usual Sunday Service.. written a few poems in my book, read my Bible + a few books.. at 6.30 the Xmas tree is to be lighted. I have just come back from the hall, our tree was lighted, a few popular carols sung + a little speech by our Head Captain
December 25: Attended Holy Communion in Compound 1 by Pastor Poekock [sic Pocock - noted as 'Old Catholic' ? Lutheran elsewhere]. For dinner we had pork + sauerkraut + cornflower pudding with stewed figs + dates which was bought out of the Kitchen fund (2 figs) It was a nice quiet Xmas
January 6: One of those chaps who spoke to that soldier as shot [? referring to December 2nd] has got 2 years hard labour [? was the soldier racially abused to provoke him]
February 1: This morning went to the funeral of Max Schmidt, I found to my surprise that all the graves of our comrades who died were well cared for, 5 in each grave, a marble slab on top, with name, age and date of death written on, there were several wreathes of men who have died in the last few days with the German colours on. When I came back the Dr had held an inspection in the Compound, the result was that the Compound was isolated and about 30 men under orders for hospital, 10 out of our hut, I went with one of our dear brothers to the hospital + another went at 4 o'clock, there was about 10 stretcher cases + there was only one to carry them + 1 ambulance pushcart, we took them about 6 on tables which is a disgrace to the hospital (Isolation) which is on the Hill. This epidemic up to now is only confined to our 5 compounds. The Hospitals are full up.
February 2: There were some men laying in bed complaining [?] there has been no parade, I expect the officers themself are affected. We all got some stuff to gargle our throats and sniff up our nose so that we shall not inhale any germs. After dinner the Dr, the sub-Commandant + Adjutant came round 10 more men were sent to the hospital (3 out of our hut making 13 in 2 days. No beds left in Hospital.
February 4: About 2in of snow which fell in the night with a continual frost made it possible to have some sports. The country looks beautiful. Dinner time started to snow again and by 7 o'clock another 4in had fallen - splendid sport. It is now 9pm and they are still out with bob-sleighs down the hill + with a full moon it is very light.
February 5: A few more gone to hospital - still freezing hard but nice.
February 6: One part of [hut]5b cleared for 8 men who came back from hospital because they are full up. Two more gone up there
February 7: It has started to thaw
February 8: Teudt + Stalsmidt? back from hospital
February 12: I have the flu coming now
March 1: Given up smoking
March 4: Dinnertime our new diet came in taking immediate effect - A telegram has been sent to the Swiss Embassy to come at once and see our new rations
March 5: Today all our stores has been confiscated including some flour we had saved. According to Scripture The Lord will feed us ..
March 7: .. I may say the reduction in rations does not agree with me. Last night I woke up about 4.45, I was cold + hungry + I could not go to sleep again.
March 11: In the afternoon was called to Sub-Commnadant along with others with a view to starting Adult Classes again but strongly opposed it on the grounds that the teacher Dr O. does not believe that the Bible is God's word + yet he quoted out of it. Mr Baily, the Quaker, came especially with a view of starting it, telling me that atheists attend the school in London + that there is some very honest men among them but I told him that many a honest man will never see the kingdom of God. We meet again Thursday.
March 13: ..Spoken to Mr Baily again
March 20: Went to work in the Quarry
March 21: .. I went to work in the quarry yesterday - it was beautiful to see children + people again + no wire.
April 2: Had a terrible cold night, was starved, it is bitter cold again, dinnertime started to snow heavy. Yesterday, Sunday, we have had for dinner rice soup, swedes [he writes sweets but elsewhere obvious what he meant] + salt-herring - again the worst we have had since here.
April 12: Our exhibition opened today ...
April 27: Franke died in 2 hours
May 1: Buried Franke
This was Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Franke internee #15829 who would have probably arrived in the same group as Schonwalder and was possibly a hut-mate - age 40 watchmaker arrested Bristol 30 Aug 1915 - died camp 3 hospital 27 April - single - died heart disease - buried 19170501 - the witnesses called to identify him were also watchmakers - one knew him in Bristol for 10 years.
May 5: Today the representative from the Swiss Legation has been to visit us - several complaints were lodged
June 12: Last night poor Troller swore at a soldier which aggravated him that he loaded his rifle to shoot but Tr. had run behind a wall. The soldier who was drunk was led away. It all started through someone in [compound] 4 using a bucket of water
August 5: Today an Airship circled around our camp it came within 150 feet from the ground + took photos, rose again + dived again etc. S.S.Z.11 the name; Last night at 11.30 the band (soldiers' band) played at the anniversary of the declaration of war. Disgraceful to rejoice at the long desecration of such a cruel war when they know they are hopelessly beaten.
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2019