Scott, Michael Sefton (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 11203
Department
Sound
Production date
1990-02-27
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 450, Number Of Items 15
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

Purchase & License
Object description

British officer served with the 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry in GB, France and Belgium, 1937-1945; POW in Germany, 1940-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in GB, 1917-1937: family; education at Brightlands Newnham; education at Durham School; organisation of OTC training; later joining of the 8th Bn; OTC camp at Strensall; drills; Field Days; further details on education; colliery work. Aspects of period as officer with 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry in GB, 1937-1940: joining of 8th Bn at Gilesgate; went to D Coy at Houghton le Spring; officers of Coy; process of joining up; money allocated for uniform; sword issued. REEL 2 Continues: uniform bought; reactions to joining Bn; officer training; Colonels of the Bn; activities in Bn; horses; opinion of training; posted to Usworth Airport on outbreak of war; weapon shortage; time at The Bull pub; route marches; officers mess; anti-gas training; water survival training; weapons in Bn; make-up of 8th Bn; opinion of that not prepared for war; signs of approaching war; drill hall meetings; digging of Gort Line later in France; opinion of carriers; outbreak of war; reaction to war; posting at Sarsden House; accommodation in Dean; relationship with civilians; journey to France and posting to 151 Bde Headquarters as liaison officer; entrained to Fresnay Sur Sartre; role in unit; reception from civilians; duties; memories of Brigadier Jackie Churchill; later exhaustion of troops and threat of adjutant to shoot; advance into Belgium; events at Grammont railway gates. REEL 3 Continues: accommodation; story of visit to officers with Jackie Churchill; opinion of Churchill and relationship with other Commanding Officers; training; leisure time in Amiens; surprise at length of Phoney War period; posted to Gondecourt; relationship with Middlesex Regt troops; anti-tank ditch dug; crash of a Heinkel Bomber; duties and promotion to Lieutenant; troops' relationships with women in France; visit of Gracie Fields; invasion of Low Countries; journey to Tournai; reception from civilians; accommodation; stukas at Ath; accommodation in Grammont; events in Grammont; approach of German motorcycles and start of retreat; state of roads on retreat; adjutant's threat to shoot anyone asleep; sent to 8th Bn from La Bassee; meeting before Arras; capture by German infantry. Aspects of period as POW in transit, 1940: initial treatment by Germans; first impressions of German troops; time in ditch with Germans. REEL 4 Continues: reactions to capture; night in barn; talk with German officers; opinion a French Bofors crew had sent him in wrong direction; story of later meeting one of his captors; journey to Givet and on to Luxembourg and Triers; card sent home at Mainz; French African troops; suicide in latrines; accommodation; journey on to Salzburg; conditions on journey; rations; opinion of treatment; troops on train; attitude of Germans; officer shot; morale; attitudes of different officers. Aspects of period as POW in Germany, 1940-1945: accommodation and rations at Lauffen; conditions; escape of PR Reid; previous use of camp; boredom of life there; Red Cross parcels; organisation of camp; punishments given; work of escape committee; later escape at Eichstatt; length of time to get camp organised; transfer to Poland; attempt at escape en route; punishment when caught; problems faced by POWs; continual movement around camps; two occupations in camp; reason for not being allowed to continue studies; relationships in camp; code of behaviour; moles; memories of Colonel Duke. REEL 5 Continues: conditions on journey from Mainz to Salzburg; arrival at Lauffen; population of camp; accommodation; heath; morale and rations; death of Lieutenant Dease; memories of General Fortune; reactions of POWs to shooting; hunger; organisation of accommodation; greatcoats; morale and escape of PR Reid; troops at Colditz; social hierarchy in camp; guards and camp; break-up of relationship with fiancée; similar story of Colditz escapee; help from Padres; reaction of PR Reid to escape from Eichstatt; length of stay at Lauffen; relationship with guards; camps stayed at; money given at Mainz; potatoes at Lauffen; transfer to Poland; black market. REEL 6 Continues: journey to Posen; march through Posen; description of Fort 8; camp commandant; time allowed outside; thoughts of escape; escape of Peter Douglas in refuse box; reason for not trying himself; escape clothes; formation of escape committee; news of war; length of stay at Posen; rations and hygiene; exercise; changes in commandant; leisure activities; later visit to fort; washing facilities; emptying of latrines; morale; black market; camp radios; air activity; reason for transfer to Poland; attempt at escape from train on journey from Posen and anger from escape committee; lessons being learned in captivity; German troops dispatched to find Eichstatt escapees; troops with particular skills. REEL 7 Continues: arrival at Biberach Camp; time in solitary confinement; interrogation from Gestapo; transfer to Titmonning; status as marked men; escapes on journey; arrival at Titmonning; walks out from camp; rations; accommodation; security officers; football; news of next transfer; relationship with guards; details of promise not to escape on walks; contact with civilians; attempt at escape; journey to Warburg and arrival; memories of a German officer at Titmonning; opinion of Guards; opinion of reason for stay at Titmonning; tricks played on POWs later in war; complaints; opinion of Red Cross; mail; morning procedures; roll calls; activities; effect of stress on some POWs. REEL 8 Continues: conflict and comradeship in camps; teasing of guards; standard of turnout reflecting state of POWs; Polish spy in camp; position in camp as Lieutenant; Senior British Officer; theft among POWs and way of dealing with it; news of war; newspapers; health in camp; journey to Warburg; treatment of Russians nearby; reaction of British POWs; layout of camp; escape using ramp; International Rugby Match; accommodation; cooking of meals; lights out and electricity; tunnels dug at Warburg; opinion of Polish POWs; tools used; memories of Douglas Bader; orchestra concerts; pay. REEL 9 Continues: reason for move to Eichstatt; accommodation; journey there; escape committee; plan for escape; system of stooging; opinion of plan; numbers to escape; organisation of escape; concealment of tunnel; methods of dealing with spoil; lighting of tunnel; discovery of soil in roof; memories of camp commandant; escape of Colonel Brumhall; POWs behind tunnel; Canadians in tunnel; main features of tunnel; Durham Light Infantrymen he left with; measurements of tunnel; movement programme. REEL 10 Continues: route along tunnel; intention to cover up entrance; reason for not being water; men in niches for support; ventilation; exit of tunnel; German notes warning about use of tunnel; first men out; reactions upon exit from tunnel; role of Penman; documentation and escape clothing; length of time spent on plan; possible routes after escape; German reaction o escape; money; rations; stove made; route taken by him and Ken Herman; contact with civilians; disguise; opinion of why civilians ran away; time hidden in cornfield; capture; time at Police Station; return to Eichstatt. REEL 11 Continues: date of escape; last minute in increase of escapees; duties of those who stayed behind; parade on morning following escape; hunt for tunnel; German advantages they had needed to know about; two factions among POWs in camp; opinion of the sort of person who would be an escaper; vetting of escapers; story of guard baiting; rounding up of escapees; march to SS rest camp; conditions in camp; reactions of Germans; attempt at escape of three officers from camp; recapture; transfer to Colditz; changing attitude of Germans and treatment of Canadians caught at Dieppe; sentries at Colditz; war map; relationship with guards toward end of war. REEL 12 Continues: journey to Colditz; arrival at camp; accommodation; reunion with old comrades; criticism over Eichstatt escape; escapes from Colditz previous to arrival; Polish spies; vetting of new arrivals; population of camp; change to become all-British camp for escapees; prominent prisoners; Australians and Canadians at Colditz; escape of Miller; other prisoners at Colditz; conditions; parades and counts; memories of Colonel Todd; approach of Americans and near bombing of castle; life at Colditz; sports played; walks around courtyard; theatre; realisation that war was ending; talking among prisoners; frustration of some POWs; prisoners repatriated; rations; diagnosis and treatment for appendicitis; visit from Sergeant. REEL 13 Continues: reason for being sent to civilian prison; goading of guards during counts; standard of turnout; dummies used; discipline; quality of guards; camp commandant; German belief in special weapon; concern that war might not be won; activities of Red Cross; condition on return to Colditz; morning procedures; population of camp on arrival; removal of other nationalities; prominent prisoners; vetting of new prisoners; memories of Mickey Winn; arrival of important prisoners; refusal to move out as Americans approached; removal of important prisoners; rations; arguments; hierarchy among prisoners; listening to radio bulletins; learning to look after oneself; formation of groups; gambling; bridge. REEL 14 Continues: relationships among prisoners; audiences at theatre; types of shows performed; air activity; story of approaching American Artillery Regt; liberation of Colditz; journey to GB; story of American shot by boy; arrival in GB; lasting effects of imprisonment; leave; officers training at Ockshot; posting in Hartlepool; demobilisation at York; warnings of possible civil disobedience; reception from people at home; civilian work. REEL 15 Continues: lowest time in war; importance of religion and mail; discussion of conditions in GB; relationship with Germans; interrogations from camp officials; medical arrangements and health in camps; relationship with Germans during and after the war; Colditz reunions.

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