We turned in, the majority being too tired to growl at their lot, but there was precious little sleep. During the day, the heat at Sennelager in the summer is intolerable, but during the night it is freezing. Our arrival not having been anticipated, we had nothing with which to keep ourselves warm. A few days passed before the luxury of a blanket was bestowed upon us.
We, on the top had to give way to mirth. Although we were compelled to gather the hay, remake the bale, and reload it upon the vehicle we were so satisfied with our complete revenge as to perform the task with a light heart. Whenever we visited Paderborn, or the village of Sennelager, we never omitted to load ourselves up with whatever food we could purchase.
The brutal manner in which they were driven into the camp as if they were sheep going to the slaughter, made our blood boil. More than one of us clenched our fists and made a half-movement forward as if to interfere. But we could do nothing and so had to control our furious indignation. However, the moment the priests entered Sennelager we received a respite.
The old General was superseded by a man whose name will never be forgotten by the British prisoners of Sennelager Camp. They will ever couple him with the infamous instigator of the "Black Hole of Calcutta." This was Major Bach. Upon his assumption of the command he inaugurated what can only be truthfully described as a Reign of Terror.
But we divided up into small parties and succeeded in giving all the aid that was in our power. The soldiers were accommodated in tents. We had observed the raising of a canvas town upon the "field," and had been vaguely wondering for what it was required. Were German recruits coming to Sennelager to undergo their training, or were we to be transferred from the barracks to tents?
Sennelager camp carries a low death-rate for the simple reason that a prisoner is not permitted to die there. When a man has been reduced to a hopeless condition and his demise appears imminent he is hurriedly sent off to some other place, preferably a hospital, to die. By a slice of luck he might cheat Death, in which event, upon his recovery, he is bundled off to another prison.
Sennelager has the most evil reputation among the German prison camps for systematic brutality and unprecedented ferocity. But to levy such an accusation is to bring an immediate German denial. In reply they turn to the official reports and retort that conditions could not possibly be so terrible as they are painted, otherwise the camp would be certain to reveal a high mortality.
For this kindly action, of which I was apprised after my transference from Sennelager, I have ever been extremely thankful, but up to the present I have successfully evaded all the most insidious attempts made by my German captors to secure my premature decease by undermining my health. Before leaving me in hospital for the night Dr.
There was one man he said he was an Englishman, although I have my doubts about it who was brought to the camp. He had not a farthing in his pocket. He said his home was near the frontier, and that he often slipped across it for a ride on his bicycle. He related that he had been caught during one of these excursions, to find himself ultimately at Sennelager. That man was a mystery.
But the old General never came back to Sennelager, at least not during my period of imprisonment there. There was one party of British prisoners whom Major Bach singled out for especially harsh and brutal treatment.