Diary of Cpl Schädlich

Diary of Cpl Schädlich

Wednesday, 07.10.42 Today two English officers and five men are delivered to us, under heavy guard and without prior announcement. The seven were dropped from an English submarine on the Norwegian coast and Norway (Oslo?) blew up a power station, also killing one German guard. Five men of this sabotage unit were able to escape into the Norwegian mountains, the others were caught. They were first taken to Oslo and from there flown to Luebeck. During their interrogation some of them stated they would grab any opportunity to escape – that’s why they have now been brought to Colditz. One Captain has two gunshot wounds (grazes) to his lower arm; three of the men are only twenty years old, one is twenty seven and the Staff Sergeant only twenty eight!

The officers are locked up in the town prison and the men in the canteen gate cells, as they have to be kept isolated from the camp until they have been interrogated again by the Wehrmacht High Command. In the camp there is of course a lot of speculation about these new arrivals. They have been sent food from the camp. In the camp there is of course a lot of speculation about these new arrivals. They have been sent food from the camp, and in a box of cigarettes we found the following message: “Which Regiment, where caught, who are you? Send reply under the tealeaves in the tea pot”. After we translated this message we let in get into their hands, inside a book.

Friday, 09.10.42 The five are again receiving a lot of food from the camp, also shaving gear etc. Everything for them is being packed by Captain Barry*, who also make their tea. Although we search everything meticulously, no new messages are found, despite Barry acting very suspiciously. Also, there is no message in the teapot on its return to the camp. The five are prisoners for the first time and behave very politely and decently. They call me – their special guard – “a good man”. In the morning and afternoon they are allowed to walk for one hour in the fenced-in part of the park, guarded by one corporal, three guards and one dog handler. They keep their cell very tidy and are very grateful for every kindness. 

Saturday, 10.10.42 The five are being photographed in their original uniforms and Inspector Teichert permits a chat with officers standing by the Saalhaus window, although this is strictly forbidden. Now they know in the camp that they are landed in Norway and were caught there.

Sunday, 11.10.42 Cpl Mudroch searches their cell while they are out on their walk, because noises had been heard during the previous night. He discovers that the iron grill on the outside of the window has been cut through in three places. The cuts are filled with chewed bread, very neatly and hardly visible. The five are immediately fetched back from their walk and searched very carefully. This produced a steel saw blade inside a comb sheath and a map of Germany inside a waistband. 

It is assumed that this unit has been really well trained and instructed for the eventuality of being taken prisoner, and were probably equipped with the necessary items as it was totally impossible that they were smuggled to them from the camp. During the last night the sentry claims to have heard noises again, but no signs of activity have been found.  

Tuesday, 13.10.42 This morning, very surprisingly, a coach arrived and collected the sabotage unit who are being taken under heavy guard and on the orders of the Wehrmacht High Command in Berlin. 

*Unknown to the Germans Barry not only ran the kitchen but was actually in charge of communicating with London!

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