The POW Diary
of Reg Beattie

Edited by Trevor Beattie

"Captive Plans" is the war time story of Reg Beattie from Brighton, who spent most of the Second World War as a prisoner and became part of a secret network passing information back to Britain. The book was made possible by the discovery of a battered diary that Reg carried through nearly five years of captivity and which spent the next sixty five years hidden away in the bottom of a suitcase. Trevor Beattie, his son, has edited the diary for publication and illustrated it with many unusual photographs of POW life, as well as placing it in the wider context of Reg's war service.

In September 1939 Reg Beattie left Brighton with the Sussex Yeomanry as part of the British Expeditionary Force which was to defend France and Belgium against the advancing German army. When France was invaded in May 1940 he became involved in heavy fighting and was captured whilst covering the retreat to Dunkirk. He was marched across Europe with thousands of other starving prisoners to the huge POW camp at Lamsdorf, Stalag VIII B. He later joined one of the work parties at the Blechhammer camp in Upper Silesia.

Reg was engaged in a range of covert operations at Blechhammer and played a key role in the creation of Genshagen, a unique "holiday camp" for POWs that provided cover for a complex undercover operation which passed information back to MI6. He was captured by the Gestapo and had to battle for survival in the notorious "Lamsdorf death march" as the Germans evacuated the camps ahead of the advancing Russian army.


An extract from Reg's description of his capture on Tuesday May 28th 1940 during the retreat to Dunkirk:

"After about half an hour of hell with our two Bren guns chattering back and our guns firing from Hazebrouck over our heads and Jerry planes dropping bombs around us I happened to look down the ditch and was horrified to see that a tank straddled it. As I looked so its turret started to turn round with two vicious looking guns pointing towards us. I shouted "for God's sake run" and ran with one other man up the ditch. Some instinct told me to drop and I did, just as the tank opened fire."

An extract from the diary for Monday December 2nd 1940, Reg's 189th day of captivity:

"Today was bitterly cold once more and we had a fire lit which we spent a quarter of an hour round in fives once every hour. The amusing part was that there were four other fires nearby and we spent five minutes round each one whilst taking one log so that we did five minutes work in an hour. This made the day go almost as quickly as the master's temper. Tonight we each had an issue of a pair of socks. I got a grey pair, very thin but still the first real covering I've had on my feet since the march. Soup tonight was weak cabbage and potato."

Tell Us Your Story

The diary mentions many dozens of fellow prisoners and Trevor Beattie would like to hear more of their stories and of others who were imprisoned in Lamsdorf, Blechhammer or Genshagen who might have known Reg Beattie. These will be summarised on this site and could be incorporated in a second edition of the book. He can be contacted at

Order Now

The book can be purchased on this site through Paypal at £15.99 (hardback, 253 pages and 30 colour and black and white illustrations) plus £4.85 postage and packing, a total of £20.84.

Alternatively please send a sterling cheque for £20.84 made payable to "Trevor Beattie" to LMNOP Studios, 17 Montpelier Place, Brighton BN1 3BF.

ISBN 978-0-9569563-0-9


Trevor Beattie
or post: LMNOP Studios, 17 Montpelier Place, Brighton BN1 3BF.

Photograph of Reginald Thomas Beattie

Reginald Thomas Beattie

Photograph of the prisoners Sunbathing at Genshagen, August 1944

Sunbathing at Genshagen, August 1944

Photograph of a Procession through Genshagen

Procession through Genshagen

Photograph of the prisoners Disembarking for swimming August 1944

Disembarking for swimming, August 1944