Binding the Wounds of War by Clifford Barnard

Binding the Wounds of War by Clifford Barnard


Letters home from the Friends Ambulance Unit and British Red Cross 1943-1947, by Clifford Barnard. 

ISBN 978-0-9556183-6-9

Letters home from his service in the Friends Ambulance Unit, culminating in the liberation of Sandbostel concentration camp in May 1945, and later with the British Red Cross, working with displaced persons.

A valuable eyewitness account of northern Europe in a time of massive change.

Published by Pronoun Press in collaboration with Friends Historical Society on 1 July 2010.

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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 everywhere, 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.