Philip Healey Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1944-45 War Diary

Background

This war diary starts with Lieutenant Philip Marshall Healey 226559 of the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment landing in France on D-Day Sword beach and being almost immediately captured by 21st Panzer Division the following day.  

He eventually arrived at Oflag XII-B a German prisoner of war camp in World War II for officers. It was located at Hadamar, near Limburg in western Germany.

Philip used his Officer’s Record of Service book (Army Book 439) as his diary which records events as a Prisoner of War from the 6th June to August 22nd 1944 with a gap until the 17th September 1944, after which he writes spasmodically until finishing hearing gun-fire on the 10th April 1945 and impending freedom.

Philip was born on the 24th July 1918 which makes him only 26 years old at the time. The nature of his commission into the British Army on the 13th March 1942 was that of “Emergency”, he passed his Medical Board on the 20th March 1943 as category “A”.

His wife was Mrs Beatrice (Trixie) Healey and they lived at Ure Lodge, Ripon, Yorkshire.

I got the following extra information about Philip from his granddaughter Isabel Cave, now living in Edmonton Canada when she contacted me via Facebook messenger just before Christmas 2016.

Isabel’s mother Philippa was named after Philip & said that he never spoke about his war experiences but he was definitely altered by it & how could he not be?   Isabel remembers her grandfather having a wicked sense of humour and being warm and loving and she loved his visits when she growing up and that he was a very sweet and gentle man.

Philip and Beatrice had 3 children, Philippa, Catherine and Desmond who between them produced 6 grandchildren who have 7 children with one more on the way. Isabel knows her “Grandpa” would be delighted with this as he adored his children and grandchildren.

I’m very pleased that his original diary and medals arrived safely at the family home in Canada in time for Christmas 2016 to be reunited in time for his daughter Philippa’s visit.

It is my wish that all transcribed diaries on this blog eventually make their way back into their respective families, before this particular “old soldier” (me) gradually fades away…

POW Camp for Officers Ticket

Kriegsgefangenen-Offizierlager XIIB

No 00384

healy-3

Training Record

healy-4

June 1944

6th

Landed in France.

7th

Captured by 21st Panzer Division 2359.

8th

Taken to Caen during air raid (escaped accidentally owing to guards losing us during heavy bombing of Caen).

9th

Recaptured taken to Maltot, left 1645 arrived Alencon 1045.

10th

Settled in new camp, pleasant surroundings.

11th

Had our service in hut. W.P. took it sang GSTK with Germans looking on.

12th

Washed our clothes. Now have ? & ?, but no razor or toothbrush.

13th

Made our towels from piece of sheet, had the luxury of some real Camembert, 400 more prisoners arrived mostly American.

14th

American C.O. organizing everywhere: 4 more CLY officers arrived including Crawley.

15th

Would love to see an English paper. 67 officers here now.

16th

92 men were sent away. They left very early and were unable to say “Au Revoir”. After lunch we were told we were leaving. Left by truck at 4-30 arrived Paris at 11pm. Passed Versailles an impressive place. Drove along the Seine, saw Eiffel Tower, crossed into the Champs Elysees, a great thrill, although a sad feeling in my heart. Passed round the Arc De Triomphe, with the pathetic blue flames being blown in an ironic wind. Spent the night in the Hotel de Ville du Bourget.

17th

Left Le Bourget amidst a large wondering crowd. French people amazed & delighted. All give winks & sly V signs, then wave terrifically as we drive away. Left le Gare de l’Est (beautiful station) 1250 arrived at Chalons–sur–Marne approx. 4.15. Marched through town to huge empty barracks weren’t expected and absolutely nothing ready. No food. Hot herbal tea (?) brought by niggers, drew revolting blankets, really filthy. Outlook definitely bluer than it ever has been. Searched again.

18th

Tried to clean our cell. After breakfast of two pieces of Bauernbrot & jam and cup of “tea” really couldn’t drink it. Roll call told we’re being moved to Germany in a few days and that British Red Cross representative is coming to see us raises our spirits considerably. No more food coming today so shall feel hungry with only one loaf and two tins of meat amongst 8.

19th

They brought us a bit more bread which was very welcome. Awful night, couldn’t sleep, 19 more officers arrived. This morning an English speaking officer came and promised us many improvements. They also told us we’d soon be allowed to write home, how we all long to do that! Had our names taken officially for registration. Breakfast bread & jam, dinner soup & bread, supper soup & bread. Had bath.

20th

Another day dawns, wonder what it will bring forth? Breakfast 1 ½ bits of bread and jam. The only excitements were being able to write a letter home, hope it doesn’t take long to reach there. An air raid siren at approx. 1700.

21st

Another rotten night, couldn’t sleep. Breakfast as usual, two slices of bread & jam & tea. Lovely sunny morning. Everyone washing clothes and remarking they are wearing out. Drink cabbage, potato instead of soup. Tea cheese & beetroot. Washed my shirt – sunbathed and moved quarters – cleaner & brighter and with spring beds.

22nd

Rotten night. Siren about 10pm usual breakfast. Swept cell. Dull day, less food. Sunbathed in afternoon.

23rd

Rotten night. Cold this morning. Depressing day, not much sun. Read “David Copperfield”.

24th

Bell in night, cold morning again. Bells afternoon.

25th

Lovely day, had service and good dinner for which I thanked God.

26th

Not so sunny, rained, thunder & lightening in evening.

27th

Overcast. Nothing special to write about – bad night.

28th

Better day. Sunny – good night. Air raid siren 0100 – played cards with home-made pack.

29th

Sunny morning. 4.30 moved to solitary – interrogated. 7pm had a little better supper. Left 8pm terrible storm. Left Chalons 7am in goods wagon.

30th

Lillybet’s birthday. Truck boarded up. Breakfast bread & Nestles milk very good. Train just crawled along 5 mph stopping all the time. We weren’t allowed out. Very cold at night remembered to say rabbits.

July 1944

1st

Very cold. In small town siding Somme-Tourbe. Hope progress is a bit quicker today. 1600 Soup Trier. German women equally if not more sweet than French women. Most uncomfortable journey. I looked through the minute hole in the cattle truck and saw a lovely view, most wonderful scenery. Through Nassau and Laurenburg.

2nd

Arrived Limburg, detrained 1000, went to Stalag had shower, clothes fumigated.   1320 marched to Hadamar (Oflag) annexe. Civilisations gleams through the clouds – had 1st shit for approx. 9 days. Manky soap and lucky draw won use one of the 3 towels.

3rd

Did washing – read “Corduroy” sunbathed, received 1st Red Cross parcel, really wonderful. 1600 hot shower, supper, debate and a thunderstorm.

4th

Cold & icy day, breakfast egg, bacon, tea, porridge – cooks very clever. Read “Silver Ley” – poured with rain.

5th

Porridge, bread & treacle – raining a little. Did a lot of washing. Had an interesting conversation on post-war occupation.

6th

Bright morning, sunny, issued with 100 marks. Reading “A Passage to India”. Issued with shirt – 50 cigs – read “The Cherry Tree”.

7th

Lovely morning. Porridge. Went for hair cut – washed towel etc. First solid meal since 4th June potatoes, tinned meat, peas and pudding. Finished “Cherry Tree”. Went for walk 1630 to 1830 through Hadamar, beautiful village, like Grimm’s fairy tales.

8th

Pleasant day. Started “Seven Tempest” rattling good book, wrote my epistle, thunder storm at night.

9th

Sunny morning – breakfast millet, cold bacon. Service 11.30. I read Psalm 46 for the lesson. 1630 mess meeting – 1st real meal since 3rd June.

10th

Cold grey morning. Canadian Red Cross parcels. Wrote card to Trixie.

11th

Cold wet morning. Reading “And Now Tomorrow” wonderful book. Took over messing = better day. Peter & Alistair joined us. Film in evening.

12th

Prepared P & A’s supper. Started “The Dark Flower”.

13th

Busy day messing. Dull weather.

14th

Bit brighter weather. Busy messing.

15th

Busy day, still overcast. No sun.

16th

Usual routine. Alastair took Church Parade. Cooked hot dinner. Read “A Man About the House”.

17th

Sunny day.

18th

Sunny day. Walk, didn’t go myself.

19th

Sunny day. Washed clothes. Hot shower. Cooked food dinner.

20th

Sunny day. Reading “Three Friends”.

21st

Thundery day. Nothing special to record.

22nd

Awoke to very heavy rain.

23rd

Church Service taken by Scotty. Dinner party to celebrate 2 birthdays. Pleasant day.

24th

Sunny day. Potato cakes for breakfast. Red Cross parcels first for 10 days. Peter remembered my birthday & Alistair Waller gave me some sugar – gramophone arrived and records & nine officers arrived. Waller arranged 1st whist drive. Reading “Northanger Abbey”.

25th

500 library books arrived. Usual day. Sunny.

26th

Showers. Wrote letter (1st) to Trixie. Good dinner.

27th

Sunny day. Went for pleasant walk. Wrote to Elizabeth.

28th

Sunny day.

29th

Started voice prod under Alistair.

30th

Rained. Didn’t go to church – made first “cakes”. Talk with Peter. Very pleased – hard day in kitchen. Cards to Trixie & Douglas.

31st

Usual day.

August 1944

1st

Busy day. Changed linen. Read villages burnt in ? Very good.

2nd

Sunny day. Shower. 100 marks handed back. Wrote to Trixie.

3rd

Sunny day. Reading “Lincolnshire Landscape” Owen Hamilton.

4th

Lovely day. Reading “Treveryan”. A du Maurier. Wonderful. Very good.

5th

Lovely day. Nothing special to record.

6th

Lovely day. Alistair took lovely service. Made biscuits. Started “Fanny by Gaslight”.

7th

Sunny day. Sing song in evening.

8th

Sunny day. Wrote to Elizabeth, Trixie & Douglas.

9th

Cold day. Read “I Look Before I Leap”.

10th

Sunny day. Drew Peter’s birthday card.

11th

Went for walk. Very hot day.

12th

Had lovely fresh cabbage & new potatoes.

13th

Scotty took service – sunny day.

14th

Sunny day. Wrote card to Trixie.

15th

Left Hadamar – 4pm Limburg, 8pm Kassel, Gottingen.

16th

Peter’s birthday. Jerxheim.

17th

Brunswick. Air raid siren.

18th

Arrived Brunswick 1000.

19th

Lovely day. Wrote Trixie.

20th

Holy Communion Matins. Tea with CJB. Film “Girl Crazy”.

21st

Alan visited us. “London Pride” very good.

22nd

Lovely weather. Supper with PBW.

November 1944

17th

Letter to Trixie. Card to mummy.

22nd

Card to Trixie. Card to Auntie.

28th

Letter to Trixie.

December 1944

1st

Card to Flossie. Letter to Trixie.

11th

Card to Trixie.

14th

Letter to Trixie.

18th

Card to Trixie.   Card to Elizabeth (Joan’s)

23rd

Card to Auntie.

26th

Letter to Trixie.

January 1945

4th

Letter to Trixie.

10th

Card to Trixie.

12th

Card to Elizabeth (Hills). Letter to Trixie.

21st

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

February 1945

5th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Mrs Hill.

12th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills). Card to Auntie.

26th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Douglas.

March 1945

1st

Card & letter to Trixie.

13th

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

15th

Card to Auntie.

21st

Card to Mrs EO. Letter to Trixie.

April 1945

1st

Letter to Trixie. Card to Elizabeth (Hills).

10th

Very heavy gun fire all night.

Philip Healey Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1944-45 War Diary

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