Wally Layne’s POW Wartime Log (Summary)

On the flyleaf are Walter Layne’s notification of commission to Pilot Officer and further advancement to Flying Officer.  On gaining his commission Wally was moved from Stalag 357 a camp for NCOs’ to Stalag Luft III an officers camp.




Introduction page stating that the “Wartime Log” was a gift from the Y.M.C.A. Geneva.


Greek quote by Socrates, ο τροπος ςαομων τον ανθρωπον εστον   ’translates as The evil way is in a human’s nature.”  In the hand of R. Utteridge.


“Wally’s Book” in the hand of Roger Simmons.


A map of Europe drawn by Wally that shows his places of imprisonment and his home town.


Page 1.  The crew of Wally’s Lancaster shot down 23/24 September 1943.  Fletcher, Beesley, Layne and Nelson became prisoners and saw each other in various camps.  Foster McKinna and Page were killed.  Drawn by an unknown artist but I expect Wally later added the “Sparks” emblem to his entry.


Page 3.  “The Spirit Of Britain”  looks like Wally’s writing.


Page 5.  Entry by  Gordon  Waddington-Allwright.


Page 7.  Sketch by John Beesley depicting the plight of prisoners who had lost the slats from their bunk beds, the slats being used to shore up tunnels.


Page 9.  Entry by Jim Skinner.

Page 12.  “Starkle Starkle” penned by Wally Layne


Page 13.  Cartoon by Johnny Howes.  One prisoner is asking the other “Do you think they’ll think we’ve changed?”  The irony being, that they are dressed in assortment of clothing and footwear, one is bearded, both are unkempt and one is smoking a German Meerschaum pipe.


Page 14.  Contents of Red Cross parcels, penned by Wally Layne.


Page 17.  Sketch by George Hand of the cap badge of the “Lincolnshire Regiment.”  An Army regiment that George’s father John T. Hand served in during World War One.


Page 19.  Cartoon by L.F. Bean.


Page 23. Entry by Laurie Collins.


Page 24.   Wally was assigned to Block 22 “Room 3. ” at Tarmstedt with the prisoners listed. There were no separate rooms in the block, “Room 3” was a way of individualizing the messes as had been done at Sagan.    This was after the officers were evacuated from Stalag Luft III (Sagan) and endured the “Winter March” arriving at Tarmstedt on February 4th 1945 and departing on the “Spring March” April 9th 1945.


Page 25.  These prisoners were Wally’s “Combine” members at Stalag Luft VI and/or Stalag 357.  Wally and seven other NCOs’ from his mess formed a combine for self preservation.  They pooled all of their resources as a group.  They would barter and scavenge for food and fuel and share the cooking responsibilities.


Page 27.  Entries by Coulbeck (at Stalag 357) and Gurnell.


Page 28. William Trevor  McKeown, Royal New Zealand Air Force has made this entry in the Maori language. ‘E hoa, ka whawhai tonu ahau ki a koe, ake, ake!’ (“Friend, I shall fight against you for ever and ever!”)


Page 29.  Cartoon by Peter H. Griffith.


Page 31.  “If” poem entered by Walter Layne.


Page 33.  Entries by Gillman and Kenny.


Page 35.  Poem written by master forger Roger Simmons.


Page  37.  Caricature  of Wally, unknown artist.


Page 39.   Ian Alexander McDonald’s art work depicts a Hampden, the aircraft he was shot down in.  To get the searchlight effect the artist placed a piece of paper the shape of a cone and blew ink down a straw to get a night time appearance.


Page 43.  “Meditation” a self portrait by Wally Layne.


Page 46.  An unknown poets work is entered by Wally in his logbook.


Page 49.  A dream house sketched by Wally.


Page 51.  A cartoon by John Beesley.


Photograph of George Henry Layne and Isabel Forth, Wally’s father and sister.


Two photographs of Joan Layne, Wally’s wife.


Photograph of Wally and unknown friend on right, and lower picture is Wally.


Top picture is Wally winning a race at Brigg and three unknown men on motor bike


Top picture left to right, Isabel Forth, Walter Layne, Elizabeth Layne (Wally’s mother) and George Layne.


Bottom photo, three on left unknown four on right family group as above.


Top left G.H. Layne, bottom left Isabel Forth and Margaret Johnson.


Top right Wally and Father at Wally’s mothers grave.


Unknown couple.


Dorothy Andrewartha and her baby Derek Andrewartha, Joan Layne’s sister and nephew.


Joan Layne and baby David Layne


Watercolour of a Lancaster by Ian Alexander McDonald


The prisoners from left to right, Aubrey Niner,  George Hunt,  A.W.(Sandy) Simpson, and Tom (Titch) Lockyer.  Lockyer is in the bottom photograph.  The photos were taken at Oflag 21B at Schubin in Poland when they were temporarily taken from Stalag Luft 3 in late 1942.  Wally was with Tom Lockyer in Stalag Luft III.


Page 55.  Entry by George Calvert.


Page 56.   A sketch by Wally Layne of the Postern Base, S.E. corner Heydekrug, Stalag Luft VI Oct 31/44


Page 58.  Cartoon by F.L. Ringham.


Page 59.  A sketch by Les Calvert that depicts Wally’s tours with the R.A.F. the first tour being on Hampdens, the second tour being on Lancasters and the third tour being in German cattle trucks.


Pages 62/63. Prisoner of War camp money. Wally has listed the rules pertaining to its use. Text reads “This chit is valid as a means of currency for pow’s, and must be used by them for exchange only within the camp or on a working party in expressly authorized canteens. This exchange of this chit for actual money can only take place by the express permission of the accounts officer.  Contravention, forging or any falsification will be punished. The Chief of the Supreme Command of the defense forces”


Page 66.  Cartoon by W. Petch.  He is likening a gentleman who has lost his hat and is asking the policeman permission to retrieve it with prisoners asking permission of a guard to cross the wire and retrieve a lost item.


Page 69.  Wally was a great fisherman and drew this cartoon to demonstrate the frustrations of fishing.


Page 71.  Red Cross poem entered by Wally Layne.


Page 72.  Another dream house depicted by Wally.


Page 75.  Tom (Tich) Lockyer has sketched his Spitfire being bounced by 3 Messerschmitt 109 fighters and depicting his own shoot-down. Tom Lockyer he was shot down 22/02/41 flying Spitfire R6598 (1PRU) over Ostend, he was a  victim Obfw Hermann Staege 2./LG 2.


Page 76.  Bomber Command by Bob Beeston.


Page 78.  S.S. Kriegie entered by Wally Layne.


Page 79.  Poem entered by William Roe.


Page 80.  The South African National Anthem entry by Gordon Jack South African Air Force.

From the blue of our heavens,

From the depths of our seas,

Over our everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound,

Sounds the call to come together,

And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom’

In South Africa our land.”


Page 81.  Entries by Ringham, Hobsbawn and Walker.


Page 82/83.  “The Saga Of The Oldest Kriegie” in Wally’s hand.


Page 85.  A sketch of Wally by master forger  Eric Hudson Lithgow Shore.


Page 86.  “Suspense” in Wally Layne’s hand and entry by Nelson and Hanrahan.


Page 87.  Entries by Beesley, Benson, Denton, Allen, Seedhouse and Jackson.


Page 89.  The words written by Louis B. Gunter are from a poem by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus.  When translated from the Latin the words were most poignant for the prisoners of war. “Oh what is more blessed than when the mind, cares dispelled, puts down its burden and we return, tired from our travelling, to our home, to rest on the bed we have longed for?”


Page 90. Poem by F. Webster entered by J. Pryde.


Page 91.  “It Is A Melancholy State” word by Winston Churchill when a POW in  British East Africa  1899.  Entry by master forger Roger Simmons.


 Page 92.  “It Is A Melancholy State” in Wally’s hand.


Page 94.  Entry by Robert Hancock.


Page 96/97.  Map of central Europe drawn by Wally Layne showing camps he was in.


Page 98. “ Oh Feelthy Fly” in the hand of Philip Hyden.


Page 99.  Blown ink artwork of Jack Smith.


Page 100.  As members of the 80th U.S. Infantry Division were advancing on Wallendorf they were greeted with white sheets hanging from the upper windows of the houses in apparent surrender.  The Americans then came under heavy sniper fire and the order was given to fire upon Wallendorf.  The village was burned extensively and the civilians who had fled returned to see their homes in ruin.  Völkischer Beobachter was the “People’s Observer,” the official newspaper of the Nazi Party.  “Die Mordbrenner Von Wallendorf” roughly translates as “The arsonists of Wallendorf” and “Das licht der demokratie leuchtet ” translates as “The light of democracy shines.”  Who wrote this entry and why I do not know.


Page 102.  In an endeavor to form a British Unit to fight against  the Russians the Germans caused a pamphlet to be circulated in some of the P.O.W. camps, the content of which Wally entered in his logbook.


Page 104.  A patriotic German drinking song.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsOAkZgDXvQ&bpctr=1342110381&skipcontrinter=1


Page 106.  Another of Wally’s dream homes.


Page 107.  Mail extracts in Wally’s hand.

Page 108. More mail extracts.