Armstrong, Herbert Huie (Bombardier, b.1918 - d.1996)
Collection relating to the Second World War service of Bombardier NX3112 Bombardier Herbert Huie Armstrong, 2/3rd Field Regiment, Australia and Germany, 1942-1945.
Collection consists of:
Contains: 29 x Letters, 31 x POW cards, and 1 x airgraph spanning 1942-1943. Bdr Armstrong writes what he can about his life as a prisoner in Stalag VIII-B (later renamed Stalag 344). The letters and POW cards spanning the period 1942-1943 discuss Bdr Armstrong’s experiences such as going on work parties, receiving Red Cross parcels, enjoying Christmas time, watching rugby games, and having all of his hair cut off. He also expresses his hope to obtain land after the war and responds to news sent to him from home. The letters and cards spanning the period 1944-1945 discuss life as a prisoner in Stalag 344 and Stalag 357. Some of the experiences he shares include moving camps, receiving parcels, watching rugby games and cricket matches, having Christmas in camp, and missing his family. He also shares his hopes for the future and responds to news sent to him from home, including the news of the death of his father. Also included are 2 x Red Cross parcel receipts; a leave pass dated 18 March 1941 for Crete; and a surrender leaflet.
Contains one brown-covered faux leather French diary with ‘AGENDA’ embossed on the cover, and dates in French. The diary begins with some short administrative notes, and then continues with several pages of other soldiers’ contact details. The diary was evidently incomplete when Bdr Armstrong received it, as the pages for the dates up to 18 February are missing. Instead, the first entry has been recorded on the page originally intended for 1 April, with the new date of 1 January 1945 written.
In his diary entries, dated between 27 December 1944 and 10 April 1945, Bdr Armstrong records details of his life in German Stalag 357 (NB the entries for December 1944 are in the back of the diary under the ‘correctly aligned’ dates from the initial published diary. Some of his experiences include receiving Red Cross parcels on Christmas day, seeing many Allied planes fly overhead in air raids, having furniture taken away by the German guards as retribution for the way that German prisoners of war were treated by the Allies, making plates and furniture from used tin cans, rations being cut, becoming very hungry, and hearing rumours about the war. In April 1945, as the fighting came closer to the camp, Bdr Armstrong and other prisoners of war were marched out of the camp, and his final entries record how long they walked for and the limited food that they received. The remainder of the used pages in the diary include entries from letters sent to POWs, a list of key Australian dates, a list of members of ‘Mess 29’, and other miscellaneous notes.
Also included in this folder is a typed transcript of the diary (formerly PR01274) for ease of reading.