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German POW in Egypt - anecdote


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#1 paulcheall



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Posted 02 October 2010 - 03:29 PM

I thought members might be interested in an anecdote from my dad's WW2 memoirs. He was stationed in Egypt for a period.

"For a while, we had to guard thousands of German prisoners of war, who had been taken at Alamein. They looked really exhausted and were almost all about the same age as us and wanted to be sociable; it was not their fault they were at war and they seemed very pleased to have been taken prisoner. We would take out small working parties about the camp doing maintenance. Two of the young Germans in my party spoke very good English and were quite well educated, wanting to make conversation and I, rightly or wrongly, obliged. Their names were Helmut Beckermeyer and Alfred Decker, both from Bremen in northern Germany. They told me all about their families and homes, giving me their address. I formed the opinion that not all Germans were bad, the same as not all English are good, because I had come across some awful characters in my time in the army. Granted, we were at war, but I felt that if I had been a prisoner of war I would have appreciated my guard showing me some kindness, so my favourable reaction to the young Germans was to give them little treats, like biscuits and chocolate. These were soldiers just like us – Wermarkt not SS. Eventually, I wrote a letter to the parents of those boys, telling them that I had met their sons and that they were alive and well and happy to have been taken prisoner.
If you want to learn more about Dad’s memoir, go to http://www.grimdetermination.co.uk/#/the-book/4535338132 where you can read the first chapter, located on the beaches at Dunkirk. The book will be published next year by major publishers Pen and Sword so this is not a vanity publication Unfortunately, you can't read the whole book but there is plenty of stuff on the site which is still of interest, including lots of photographs (incl one of Alfred Decker) and a really huge list of names of Dad’s comrades and contacts for those people seeking out relatives who may have fought in the war.

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Researching my dad's war diary, now published by Pen and Sword. Called Fighting Through - From Dunkirk to Hamburg. Dad was at Dunkirk and in the first wave of troops landing on Gold beach on D-Day. He was also in North Africa, Sicily, and Hamburg. He was a batman, cook, No 1 Bren, No 1 mortar, wounded in action. Regiments were Green Howards, East Yorks and East Lancs. For more info, pics and ephemera please visit Fighting Through where you can read the first chapter, located on the beaches at Dunkirk. Also, over 200 names of comrades and contacts are listed which may be of interest to geneology enthusiasts.

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