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Private H Eastwood

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 8th January 1919

Another prisoner who experienced a rough time during over four years in captivity is Private H Eastwood, 1st West Yorks, son of Mr and Mrs Eastwood, of 25 Newnham Terrace, Knaresborough Road, Harrogate, who was in the Regular Army. He was captured on the 20th September, 1914, along with Lance Corporal Middleton, of Knaresborough. He had the misfortune to be one of the party selected for the Russian reprisals in respect to an allegation against the French regarding Germans sent to Le Havre. Four hundred and fifty soldiers and fifty sailors were sent to Mitam. They had no idea where they were going, and had to walk 26 miles with full kit, often up to the knees and waists in snow, Uhlans on horseback acting as guards. They arrived at the above-named place at 4.30pm, and were put into a frozen cavalry tent. Their treatment was most inhuman, and for five weeks they never had a proper wash, all that was available for this purpose being the snow. Their ration for two days was a piece of bread about 3in. long and 2in. wide, and a small quantity of coffee, and on this allowance they had to work. Some of the men had their overcoats, but others were without either these or blankets, and were starved or frozen to death. Eastwood was a month at this camp and then had to go into hospital. After five weeks there he and five others were sent to a second camp, where they had better food and accommodation. They were also fortunate to commence receiving parcels, and a week later were allowed to smoke. They were next taken back to Labau, from where they were allowed to write home every day. Returning to their original camp at Doberitz, the men were sent to work in the coal mines in East Prussia, the hours being from 6am to 6pm. After eleven months there Eastwood was one of 15 men sent to Mickendorff, and two or three days after their arrival the armistice was signed.

The prisoners then refused to work and began to think of the best way of getting home. They found their parcels were stopped at Doberitz. They managed to book through to Berlin, and from there went to Hamburg, and then to Kiel, where they were eight days. No one interfered with them, and after inquiries they made their way to Copenhagen, when they met other Englishmen from Doberitz, and ultimately embarked for Leith and home. Eastwood was evidently still suffering from the hardships he had endured.

 

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