Right through the village, right away down and we used to go up to the station, over the railway line, cross over the line and on the other side. That was the brickyard. Got in there and there was one of the men in the brickyard he was detailed to look after us if the guard was away somewhere else. And then we went down to the clay pit and they give us this gear, this clay hacker and a shovel, a long shovel with a big long handle on and that was it. Instead of an axe, the blade was at right angles, used to hack it out with that.'

So you'd be digging clay all day?

'Sometimes sand, sometimes you'd have to get three of sand. There was a place where you could get sand. We had like skips, like little iron trucks and there was little railway lines down to the bottom. And there was a big chain. There was a big wheel at the bottom of the quarry and it had a chain on and the chain used to go up on top of the quarry and there was another wheel and the chain used to go round, it was going round all the time. Now, these little iron trucks they had, about four feet high, they had like, things, steel, on the back and front. They used to take a truck full of clay--why, it was all down bank to the bottom of the quarry and they had like woods to break its fall. Used to get it down there where the chain was going round, we used to push it so far up the bank and the truck used to catch on these things and it used to pull it up to the top. And when it got to the top, where the chain came out, it was going higher than the truck and the truck used to go along a little bit and stop. And there was a bloke on the top pulling them round. We used to get a few of them and then we used to put them on.

'And then another one and another one. And it used to take them up to the top of the brickyard and they had like a mill up there and it used to tip them in and make the bricks.'

Can you remember who you worked with?

'Oh, they were Jerries. Aye, they were all Jerries, there'd be about a dozen Jerries working with us. I used to know all their names, I've forgotten them. There was one, he used to like to work with me, Richard Petch, you used to call him. Glasses on. But he used to work the diesel at the top, the engine which used to pull the chain up. He used to say, "To-mas!" I used to go over with him. Because it wasn't running all the time this thing. But if they had a few trucks to pull up, he used to start the engine up--or I used to start it. It was like a compressor, a lever you pulled; you used to turn it round and then drop the lever over and then, "bup-bup-bup-bup-bup-brrrp-brrrp-brrrp-brrrrrrrrrrrrp!" And then the chain used to start going round.

'There was another one, he was just like Oliver Hardy, exactly the same, a great big fella. Little Hitler tash. He was always joking you know, one of them. Taking the piss out of you and that. But he was bloody spy that bugger if ever there was one! He was planted him, I'm certain of it. Bloody Busky we used to call him! Busky. A big bugger. He used to try and make out he was friendly and all that, but there something about him. I didn't trust him. He was always, "Too-mas!"

'Schneider, Paully. There was another one, Dietrich, Otto Dietrich. He was a canny fella, him. He used to come up and cut our hair, about once every three weeks or a month. On a Friday night he used to come up and give us a haircut. We used to give him a cigarette, chocolate, or whatever.

'There was about a dozen of them. They lived in different villages. Some of them lived where we were. They used to come to work on push bikes a lot of them. There was a lot of them were First World War men, they'd been in the First War. There was two or three of the buggers were idiots, man! There was something missing, why you'd expect that, working in a bloody brickyard! But the two gaffers we had, old Wingy, he was Prisoner of War in England during the First War and he lost his arm. I forget his name now.'

Looking at the POW photo:

'There's only Jim Britton missing. Big Jim. There was 24 of us. Taffy used to work in the brickyard.' Driver Ben Lewis from Dollgellau. 'Dunster, I forget where he worked. Danny did as well.' Guardsman Danny MacRae from Dunoon. 'That bugger did, Davis.'

What kind of place was Bad Schmeideberg?

'It was just like Sedgefield was before they started building all the houses. It was just like a little country village, Nice, lovely.'

You'd soon start to pick up the language?

'Oh, aye, wasn't long. At first we didn't know what the hell they were talking about. We used to go like this.' Gestures to arm. 'They used to tell us the time and we still didn't know what it was! We used to have to see it.'

None of the Germans in the brickyard could speak English?

'Why nor! There was half the buggers was half wits! But it's marvellous how quickly we got to know. For to say "what time is it?' you used to say "Wie spat ist es?" Or you'd just say, "Wie spat?" "How late?"

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