German NCO served with 1st Guards Foot Artillery Regt German Army on Western Front, 1917-1918
REEL 1: Background in Hamburg, Germany, 1898-1914: attitude to Jewish origins of family and memory of baptism; various childhood memories; education and question of military service; sporting and recreational activities; question of anti-Semitism in Hamburg; description of political situation in Germany and attitude to British; memory of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 28/Jun/1914; story of school trip to Bavaria, 7/1914.
REEL 2 Continues: memory of outbreak of war, 8/1914; question of patriotism and elimination of English words from language; state of German morale; opinion of Allied nations; question of propaganda and reaction to atrocity stories; question of recruitment; story of Jewish friend killed on Western Front; effect of war on education; involvement with military youth movement; uniform and training exercises; attitude to war; nature of employment with textile firm after leaving school, 1915; effect of war on business; attitude to sinking of Lusitania.
REEL 3 Continues: further memories of childhood and employment in Hamburg; effect of Allied blockade on business; question of rationing; reason for enlistment, and reaction of parents, 12/1915; applied to join Heavy Artillery in Hamburg; question of commission. Recollections of training as gunner at Neu Breisach, Germany, 1916-1917; opinion of accommodation; issued with uniform and kit; description of barrack room and sleeping arrangements; washing facilities.
REEL 4 Continues: opinion of food; attitude to army discipline; attitude to fellow recruits; opinion of NCOs and officers; description of training on field guns; guard duties and story of falling asleep; rifle and grenade training exercises; state of morale; promoted lance corporal and nature of duties; training on 1870 type cannons; daily routine; gunnery exercises; story of injury to finger; memory of ersatz coffee; recreational activities; attitude to local civilian population; question of pay; training as telephonist.
REEL 5 Continues: further comments on telephony course; promoted corporal, 1916; communication with family and question of censorship; story of passport; memory of firing guns only once; amusing story of riding lessons; role of drivers and gunners; story of carbines; attitude to being sent to front. Recollections of operations as NCO with 1st Guards Foot Artillery Regt on Western Front, 1917-1918: posted to 2nd Bty 406th Artillery Bn and issued with new uniform; kit; arrival in Vimy Ridge sector, 4/1917; organisation of 2nd Bty and description of guns and gun teams; description of role in observation post.
REEL 6 Continues: transferred to village behind lines near Bruges, Belgium; messing arrangements; opinion of battery commander; question of pay; description of rations; question of tinned food; method of cooking food; recreational activities; attitude to civilian population; question of venereal disease; transferred to Ypres sector, Belgium, 7/1917; description of locating guns and position of observation posts in concrete bunkers; range of guns; telephone communication; memory of British bombardment.
REEL 7 Continues: question of fear; use of camouflage for gun positions; casualties; billeted with farmer; story of guarding criminal; in line near Ypres; role with battery; method of ranging and firing guns; battery maps; types of shell used; memory of gas attack and wearing gas mask; identifying British shells by sound; story of boots; story of gun jamming; reliability of guns; question of morale and self-inflicted wounds.
REEL 8 Continues: description of conditions; problem of swollen feet; question of taking photographs at front; sanitary facilities; question of retreating; nicknames for Allied troops; attitude to British and French; story of potatoes; communication with family and food parcels; problem of lice and delousing stations; memory of contracting scabies; transferred out of line and billeted in Strasbourg, 10/1917; posted to Houthulst Forest, Ypres, 11/1917; location of guns; role in observation post and firing shrapnel shells.
REEL 9 Continues: question of differences between German and Austro-Hungarian troops; reason for being awarded Iron Cross Second Class; sleeping arrangements; memory of Christmas celebrations; period of leave in Hamburg; state of civilian morale and question of food shortages; recommended for commission, 5/1918; meteorological course at Mauberge, 1917; preparations for March offensive, 3/1918; role in preparatory barrage and effect of noise; use of creeping barrage; problem of trench fever; effectiveness of bombardment; memory of finding British food stores including corned beef and champagne; memory of Australian POW; story of setting up observation post at Mont Kemmel, Ypres, 21/Mar/1918.
REEL 10 Continues: further comments on setting up observation post; story of being wounded and treatment at dressing station near Wytschaete, Belgium, 4/1918; memory of returning to 2nd Bty; description of being in operating theatre and other casualties; removal of shell splinter from back and memory of singing; evacuated to Potsdam, Germany for further treatment; question of sending telegram to parents; description of wound and further treatment; memory of buying new uniform on promotion to lieutenant and period of convalescence; question of civil unrest in Germany, 1918.
REEL 11 Continues: further comments on civil unrest in Germany; opinion of new government and policies; posted to regimental garrison and duties training recruits, 10/1918; morale of recruits; effects of revolution in Berlin and question of soldiers' councils; demobilized, 11/1918. Aspects of post-war life and employment: suicide of father; reason for writing memoirs; effects of war on textile business; problem of inflation and currency; political situation and violence; reason for joining Freikorps in Hamburg and organisation of unit; attitude to1920 Kapp putsch.
REEL 12 Continues: further comments on Kapp putsch and role of Freikorps in restoring order; problem of increasing inflation and examples of prices; introduction of new currency; employment in Germany and Scandanavia; problem of contracting tuberculosis and treatment; opinion of Hitler and Nazi Party and rise of anti-Semitism; political views.
REEL 13 Continues: further comments on Hitler and Nazi Party; effect on family business and question of anti-Semitism; reason for emigration to Nottingham, GB, 10/1936; setting up new business; memory of returning to Germany on business and political situation and effects on other family members; attitude to outbreak of war, 9/1939; story of internment as enemy alien and description of treatment; memory of air raid; released from internment and further business activities.