Binding the Wounds of War
Clifford Barnard was a CO in WW2 and joined the Friends Ambulance Unit. This book is a collection of his letters home to his parents and tells of his experiences in training and then in the newly liberated Europe, including the Sandbostel camp for political prisoners that is more fully described in his previous book "Two weeks in May." The letters are delightful, even if the subject matter is often sad. There are elements of biography and the touching romance with his future wife is cataloged
Some extracts from Binding the Wounds of War...
Bedburg, 25 Feb. 1945
… Then just to make it worse the Luftwaffe paid us a visit, and the newspapers said the Luftwaffe was finished! David, Roger and myself were taking a look at a damaged building to see if it could be used as a temporary hospital when a plane dropped a bomb which fell, very fortunately, just outside the building. What was left of the windows came in and a bit more of the damaged roof was dislodged. We were knocked to the ground by the blast, but otherwise uninjured…
Sandbostel Concentration Camp, 3 May 1945
Very many unburied dead lying all over the place and living dead crawling through the muck, mostly brought about through starvation and illness – typhoid, typhus and TB. There had been no food whatsoever for the last 8 or 9 days, and it was estimated that 150 inmates were dying every day. A fearful stench, impossible to describe, drifted everwhere, and there was no sanitation whatsoever.
British Red Cross, Lübeck, 15 December 1946
At a rehabilitation centre for limbless German soldiers, I found many had been making wooden toys. A group there wished to send a sack to children who had been bombed out in London. With such an expression of good will I went off to Mil.Gov. to see how it might be arranged, but I was told it was quite impossible with mumbles about export permission and transport at a time of great shortages, etc. All just excuses I felt and was so deflated…
British Red Cross, Kreis Eutin, north of Lübeck, 9 February 1947 It is harrowing. Many people are trying to eke out an existence in any building that they could find at the time of the enormous influx following the mass expulsion from the eastern areas. Too many are in a bad state of repair and quite unsuitable for people to live in. For example, I found two families sharing a disused petrol station.