9 Dec 1918: Graudenz

Monday. Dec. 9.     Great excitement today ending in hopeless bathos.  This morning, as we were eating our frugal breakfast of biscuits and sardines, an interpreter, a very decent fellow named Fleming, rushed in to say that a telegram has been received to announce our departure tonight.  Rousing cheers, gradually spreading all down the block as the rumour passed along.  Everyone packed up.  Great meetings in town to have a last drink ‹Bon voyage et pas de retour›  Myself I drank half a large bottle of champagne and umpteen liqueurs at fabulous prices before I staggered gaily back to barracks.  Since then we have been waiting, waiting, till at last came the news that a train cannot be supplied at present.  Doubtless the boat waiting at Danzig will be filled from other camps.  We are unlucky sods.  Oh hell!

Balby suggests, in all seriousness, that we were sent this wire to stand by solely to cheer us up – and then he wonders why I laughed.  ’Elp!!!  Short rations seem to deprive some people of a sense of humour.