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 German Veterans

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Teabag
Maj Gen
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 960
Age : 67
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: German Veterans   26/5/2010, 11:41

Has anyone got any experience of WW2 German Veterans? I met one in a pub once who said he was in U-boats but never sank any British ships. I believed him honest!!

I visited my brother in Germany before I joined up myself and he lived in a private hiring at the time. His landlord was an ex para and fought in every theatre of the war. France, Crete, and Russia (still had the frostbite) to mention some. He showed me his medals, some that had swastikas on and said he was proud to have them and did his duty and had nothing to be ashamed about.

Can't say I blame him and he was certainly no nazi. Him and his wife thought the world of my brother and his wife and they remained friends for many years.

Any other like experiences anyone?
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TonyE
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Number of posts : 112
Age : 86
Localisation : Woodbridge Suffolk
Cap Badge : RASC & RCASC,later CF Logistics Branch
Places Served : Hannover, Bielefeld, Camp Borden, Camp Petawawa, CFB Kingston, Korea, Soest, Cyprus, Lahr.
Registration date : 2009-01-09

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   26/5/2010, 23:15

When I was in Lahr i lived in Ottenheim,my next door neighbour was ex SS.He joined the 3rd SS Totenkopf Div in 1937,started out as a private and finished as a Lieutenant because he was still alive.He claims that they just considered themselves a an elite unit like the Marines or Paras and got all the crappy jobs handed to them.He used to lend me the SS Old Comrades magazine and they had a large section looking for old friends and covering reunions,the remains of a whole battalion would be a handfull in one corner of the room.Although he never said it he obvoiusly spent his time trying to make up for the past,he was friendly and helpful to all and sundry, and a very good neighbour.
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PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   26/5/2010, 23:39

When i was a child,neighbours of an aunt had a POW assigned to them.(something to do with gardening)I got to know him quite well and when he was leaving for home,he presented me with a mouth organ.When i was stationed in Germany in the early 60s i paid a visit to Hannover where he had a large coach company.I was treated like royalty for a whole weekend and when i was leaving for Herford i offered to return his mouth organ,which he refused,and i still have it to this day.(Still can`t play it)

I never met any vets who faced the British forces. They all claimed to have been on the Eastern front
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Let Gen
Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1026
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 04:07

I met various former WW 2 German vets. Also some WW 1 vets. My landlord down south I found out from his brother (lots of beer that day) spent the last 3 or 4 months of the war up in the woods back of the village. One vet in particular when I lived in Kippenheim was wounded by the Canadians on D-Day on the beaches of Normandy. He openly admitted that he got some Canadians before he was wounded. He blamed us for becoming a POW of the Russians as he had been sent to a hospital in Checkoslavacia for recovery where he was captured by the Russians. Still he had no enemity for us. Admired the Canadian Army and was a good neighbour to have. My wifes uncle was in the German army and dissapeared on the Russian front and another one served in the SS (Uncle by marriage). One vet in particular I met in Deilinghofen (up north) who admitted he was with a civilian police battalion in Warsaw. I had the foolishness to ask if he assisted in rounding up Jews. He denied any thing to do with that. While on leave once in 66 in the Canary Islands I stayed at a Hacienda owned by a German. One evening on coming in late he and some other German gents his age were having a quiet eveing to-gether. I was introduced as a Cdn soldier from Germany. In the course of the having a visit I asked when they came to Spain. One of them said 1945. I didn't feel that I should ask to much more on that subject. It was still Franco's Spain and if you got to Spain in 45 from Germany, you obviously had some sort of special reason to do so.

Another interesting thing I would learn about, was from a German friend of mine who moon lighted in roofing. Often they would find bundled up uniforms with weapons and sometimes papers in the eaves of older homes. Also some WW 1 kit now and then.
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PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 04:54

I was on exercise in the Kassel area ,south of Paderborn. We went into this pub one night ,and many locals, mostly matured German men were there. Instantly I was singled out by a trio of Germans sitting at a table for special attention. I am West Indian and my mates were English and Scots. The were not too receptive to my mates. Then we found out why. They thought that we were Americans. During the war they were serving with an infantry unit in France, ran out of water,and had to surrender. At the American POW Camp, they were treated like dirt by the regular Yank MP's, but were treated more humanely by the Black MP's.

On Border Patrol not too far from Helmstadt, we were accommodated at one of the local pubs,sleeping in the back room by the bowling alley. We decided to pay a visit to the other pub in the village. The Landlord refused to let us in. Then we were informed by a local that he was ex SS....and still bitter.
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Teabag
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Number of posts : 960
Age : 67
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 09:42

Not strictly on the same lines but on exercise once the Canadians turned up. We were a bit surprised to find them still driving Jeeps from WW2. They had to use a dirty great chain around the steering wheel to imobilise them.

I got chatting to one lad (lad? they were all a lot older than most and I was told they were very well paid and no one left?), and he said when they were coming through Southern Germany on the way to us, they were stopped in a town and an old guy started laughing and pointing at them. They asked him why and he said that one of the jeeps was the very one he was transported in when he was captured at the end of the war.

How true this is I don't know and how anyone would remember after such a long time is another thing but it is a nice story.

WW2 jeeps they might have had but their big articulated cook houses were brilliant. Steak all round boys.

Never met much anti Brit feeling to be honest and unlike Gallahad, most landlords were counting the cash rather than feeling bitter. One guy in the Moselle kept getting one of our blokes to do his Hitler impression which was very good, much to the horror of some of the other pubs customers. Happy days.
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brum
FM
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Number of posts : 2808
Age : 76
Localisation : Sandbach Cheshire
Cap Badge : RA/QOH
Places Served : JLRRA (Hereford) Nienburg Paderborn Colchester Munster Maresfield (Cyprus) Hohne Hemer Op Banner x4 Woolwich
Registration date : 2010-03-02

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 13:22

Three examples stand out in my memory.
In the 70's the idiot driver of a Coke/Fanta wagon, that made deliveries in our camp, used to crow about how the Churchill tank was no good and how easily it used to catch fire when they engaged it. The fool called it the "Tommy Cooker." I had to dissuade some blokes who planned to find out how well his truck would burn.
Living in Private Acommodation in Paderborn, my landlady used to complain that certain kinds of weather would cause her war wounds to hurt. When I asked her if she was injured in the bombing she said that a British soldier had thrown a grenade into the cellar where she was hiding when she'd been a soldier, in the Army.
My earliest memory was in '59. We were supposed to be on driving instruction. The Jock who was "instructing" us used to get one of the six trainees to drive the Austin 1 tonner to a pub in the woods outside Nienburg. We had to sit drinking with him for several hours then one of us would drive back to camp. One day a German said "Kuch mal hier", pulled his trouser leg up and plonked a wooden leg on the bar. On the leg was written "Stalingrad, 1942". I was suitably awestruck !
I don't think I ever met a German who bore a grudge towards us, if they disliked us it was because we were drunken squaddies. Can't blame 'em for that.
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Teabag
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Number of posts : 960
Age : 67
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 15:12

The coke fanta wagon driver was an idiot. The Shermans were called Tommy Cookers by the Germans not Churchills as far as I know?
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ciphers
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 966
Age : 84
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 15:46

It depends when you served there, in 1952 there was definitely a 'chip on the shoulder' attitude on the Germans part, and it took some time for me as an individual who had lost two uncles in the war ( Army and Navy) to feel anything but antipathy toward them. In those days we were occupation troops and non fraternization was still the unofficial policy.
Len (Ciphers)
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Let Gen
Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1026
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   27/5/2010, 19:44

Teabag wrote:
The coke fanta wagon driver was an idiot. The Shermans were called Tommy Cookers by the Germans not Churchills as far as I know?

Think you're right on that one Teabag, it's what I read to.
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PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   28/5/2010, 02:55

I seem to remember a pub across the tracks opposite Buller Barracks in Loddenheide Muenster, that was run by a very friendly German vet who had lost an arm during the war.
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mjm34
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Number of posts : 262
Age : 67
Localisation : Gtr Manchester
Cap Badge : R.Signals
Places Served : BAOR, UK, Mid East, Far East, Cent America
Registration date : 2009-02-21

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   28/5/2010, 14:53

ciphers wrote:
It depends when you served there, in 1952 there was definitely a 'chip on the shoulder' attitude on the Germans part, and it took some time for me as an individual who had lost two uncles in the war ( Army and Navy) to feel anything but antipathy toward them. In those days we were occupation troops and non fraternization was still the unofficial policy.
Len (Ciphers)

Len
Was there still a non fraternisation policy in 1952? Strange, because my Mum (German) and Dad (still serving) got married in 1947 and I was born in BMH Iserlohn in 1950.

Surely the non fraternisation rule had been relaxed by then. I do know however that the Yanks continued with their non fratenisation rule long after it was relaxed in the Brit Zone.

Incidently I had 2 German and 2 Brit uncles all of whom served in the forces during WWII.
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Teabag
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Number of posts : 960
Age : 67
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   28/5/2010, 15:31

mjm34 wrote:
ciphers wrote:
It depends when you served there, in 1952 there was definitely a 'chip on the shoulder' attitude on the Germans part, and it took some time for me as an individual who had lost two uncles in the war ( Army and Navy) to feel anything but antipathy toward them. In those days we were occupation troops and non fraternization was still the unofficial policy.
Len (Ciphers)

Len
Was there still a non fraternisation policy in 1952? Strange, because my Mum (German) and Dad (still serving) got married in 1947 and I was born in BMH Iserlohn in 1950.

Surely the non fraternisation rule had been relaxed by then. I do know however that the Yanks continued with their non fratenisation rule long after it was relaxed in the Brit Zone.

Incidently I had 2 German and 2 Brit uncles all of whom served in the forces during WWII.

It was stopped quite soon after the end of the war but Len did say unofficial. We were still an army of occupation though and I suppose no one likes to be occupied. Mind you, the Germans did enough of it a few years previously so can't really moan.
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ciphers
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 966
Age : 84
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   28/5/2010, 17:07

Yes MJM, as Teabag states I did say unofficial .. and you are right the non frat rule was rescinded, but believe me still endorsed. I had a couple of buddies who were magically posted overnight when they became over friendly or engaged. Looking back on it I wonder if when the SIB started looking at certain cases if the 'political dogma' of the parents had anything to do with it. Don't forget in 1952 the Cold War was at its height, and many Germans had family in the Eastern Zone .. possible coercion by the Reds on Western families may have had the security boys a little paranoid. Look at my Army trade, I can guess what would have happened to me had I taken up with a fraulein.

Len(Ciphers)
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Teabag
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 960
Age : 67
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   28/5/2010, 21:13

That's a whole new topic Len. Who were the spies on your camp? They used to say the powers that be knew who they were but never bothered them too much as the Russians/East Germans would only replace them with someone they didn't know about if they were removed.

Wonder how true that was?
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Themaadone
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Number of posts : 270
Localisation : Near London
Cap Badge : RAOC/RLC/AGC
Places Served : Bielefeld, Guetersloh, Viersen, Bracht, Falklands, Aldershot, Leconsfield, NI, Rwanda, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan
Registration date : 2010-09-02

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   2/9/2010, 16:51

I went to a German secondary school. My old man was the RSM of 25 tpt & Mov Regt RCT up until 1977 and stayed on working for the Army until final retirement. I on the other hand chose to join up in 1990 and went on travels courtesy of HM Government.

Anyways, back to the story...

At school, I was 11 or 12, we had hitory lessons like the rest of the free world but these were with a difference. We were laboriously ploughing through the third reich, Hitler, his cronies and what a terrible thing the war was (and I am sure that it was).

On the curriculum was talking to eye witnesses. The first was a survivor of the holocaust. She was 12 or 14 (i can't exactly remember) when her family, Jewish, were interned.... at Dachau. She was the only survivor, an amazing feat given the fact her family was 30+ in size. She described the conditions, work, food, guards, treatment and so forth in painful detail. An amazing story to hear but also scary and upsetting. I was amazed and still think back in awe.

Our second eye witness was a hitler youth and subsequent SS veteran. I believe he was in the 'Das Reich' Division comprising mainly tank troops. His variation was equally amazing and unbelievably open, truthfull and graphic. What you need to remember is that Germany after the 2nd WW became a state cocooned in defence not aggression with the Bundeswehr adopting the slogan 'Buerger in Uniform' - 'Citizens in Uniform'. Any glorification of war was severly frowned upon and there we had a real life war 'hero' telling us how much he believed in what he was doing, how much he wanted to win and their collective distrust (not necessarily hate) of Jews, Romas, Gays and other non National Socialists.

I loved both accounts and felt strangely sory for the man who believed and lost his belief - one thing he never did however, was deny the fact that many knew what was happening in 'The Camps' - he simply said 'If you thought of arguing with the state, then you were a fool, a dead fool'.

My ex wifes grandfather was in the SS, mainly hunting partisans in Russia, had the blood group tattoo and was very nervous about talking about the war but when he did had the same sort of stories you and I may have - a good guy in the end.
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jim
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Number of posts : 1291
Localisation : Sutton Coldfield
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Dad, Hamburg, Bad Oeynhausen, Iserlohn, Bury, Osnabruck, Worcester. Me Detmold, Bielefeld, NI, HK
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   3/9/2010, 09:14

ciphers wrote:
It depends when you served there, in 1952 there was definitely a 'chip on the shoulder' attitude on the Germans part, and it took some time for me as an individual who had lost two uncles in the war ( Army and Navy) to feel anything but antipathy toward them. In those days we were occupation troops and non fraternization was still the unofficial policy.
Len (Ciphers)

I'd agree with that Len, I certainly remember that as a child in BAOR in the '50's.
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ciphers
Maj Gen
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Number of posts : 966
Age : 84
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   3/9/2010, 17:02

Jesus Jim, I posted that on May 27 .. talk about a slow reader .. lol

Len (Ciphers)
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jim
Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1291
Localisation : Sutton Coldfield
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Dad, Hamburg, Bad Oeynhausen, Iserlohn, Bury, Osnabruck, Worcester. Me Detmold, Bielefeld, NI, HK
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   6/9/2010, 10:29

ah yes, but it wasn't flagged as a new post until Martin posted above Len. Very Happy
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Tony Miller
WOII
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Number of posts : 76
Age : 68
Cap Badge : RCT
Places Served : Bielefeld,Osnabruck,Leibenau,Munsterlager
Registration date : 2010-10-03

PostSubject: German in the Brit Army   3/10/2010, 13:24

Hi Matey
Whilst serving in 14 Sqn RCT in 167 We had a Cpl called Heinz Traxler who served in the German Army during WW2. He told me some amazing stories about his past years. What a smashing guy he was. Very Happy
Teabag wrote:
Has anyone got any experience of WW2 German Veterans? I met one in a pub once who said he was in U-boats but never sank any British ships. I believed him honest!!

I visited my brother in Germany before I joined up myself and he lived in a private hiring at the time. His landlord was an ex para and fought in every theatre of the war. France, Crete, and Russia (still had the frostbite) to mention some. He showed me his medals, some that had swastikas on and said he was proud to have them and did his duty and had nothing to be ashamed about.

Can't say I blame him and he was certainly no nazi. Him and his wife thought the world of my brother and his wife and they remained friends for many years.

Any other like experiences anyone?
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Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1026
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   4/10/2010, 01:24

On my two tours in Germany I met many German vets of WW 1 and WW 2. Every thing from a Police Battalion in Warsaw, Airborne inCrete,Rommels Army in Africa and those who served in France, Russia, Norway. Also have met those in Canada who immigrated after the war, that includes my father in law. Kind of funny that, first father in law a vet of the the Cdn's in WW 2 and second a vet of the Wehrmacht. All of them fine men.
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Norman
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Number of posts : 47
Age : 81
Localisation : East Yorkshire
Cap Badge : RASC/RCT
Places Served : Farnborough, Aldershot, Sennelager, Hildesheim, Hannover.
Registration date : 2009-10-19

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   24/1/2011, 16:10

While I was at Hannover (1955-57) I knew a German storeman who had served in Russia where he had contacted TB and was sent to France before DDay, where he became a POW.
Every year he had two weeks in the Baverian Alps because of his condition, paid for by the German government. He was very surprised when I told him that the British Government had no such scheme. or anything like it.

Another civvie I worked with had been called up aged 17 and was in U-boats. He spent some time off the coast of the USA and told me his boat sank several Yank transports as they moved up and down the coastline. He said they were so easy to see off any built up area as the Yanks had absolutely no blackout regulations and the outline of the ships stood out so easily. He eventually got sunk but was rescued and spent his time as a POW in Canada up to 1948 where he said he had the time of his life in a lumberjack camp 500 miles from the nearest town.

Noch ein bier,

Norman.
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Let Gen
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Number of posts : 1026
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
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Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: Re: German Veterans   24/1/2011, 20:12

My landlord in 67 out side of Iserlohn on the way to Bergaltona had been a POW from 43 on. So his tale went, he was in communications working a comm site in France on the coast line of the channel. Was doing a sentry duty one night and woke up in the UK,the next morning. Never gave us any more details.
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