November 2nd 1919

I n   G e r m a n y   ( 1 9 1 4 – 1 8 )

123456789 Part 10

This is a continuation of Cyril King‘s entry for October 28th 1915, marking the first anniversary of his stay at Ruhleben.

“Thirteen new wooden barracks have been built – six behind the grandstands, four just beyond one end and the rest in various spare places. The American YMCA has put up a big wooden hall, which is used as a church, a reading room, reference library and lecture room;  and camp carpenters have built several sheds – mostly about 20 ft. x 6 – behind some of the stone barracks. These are used as rehearsal rooms, artists’ studios, canteens, tailoring, watch-mending and boot-making shops, hair dressing saloons, clubs and ‘boiler-houses.’ The latter supply hot water for 5 phennigs at almost any time of the day, and there is enough coal even to do some cooking, such as boiling porridge or frying potatoes…

One of the new wooden barracks is used as a parcel office, staffed chiefly by public school people, who appear to lead very idle lives but really do a lot of work and sometimes issue as many as 2000 parcels a day; while another has been made into a kind of convalescent home (the actual hospital being outside the camp) and contains two very comfortable ‘wards’ and a surgery, kitchen, waiting and medicine room. Anyone who is ‘run down’ or recovering from an illness, and many of the older people, are allowed to sleep there, with better food and more rest.”

The two German doctors are quite nice and very efficient and the Englishman in charge of the barrack is a perfect heroic marvel. About 300 of us have had German measles in May, but there were no very serious cases and the camp is on the whole very free from illness – everyone leading such an open air life that nerves and general weakness from insufficient food are the only serious maladies.”

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