A 9th Lancer in Occupied Paris

Discussion in '1940' started by pensioner1938, May 27, 2012.

  1. pensioner1938

    pensioner1938 Member

    I have my Regimental Journals on DVD and having read some extracts from the War Diary of W.R.Chrystie who was Guardian of the British Embassy Paris, the question I would ask is what happened to the German Embassy in London?

    “About 15th May, 1940. Asked by the
    Foreign Office (through the then Ambassador
    Sir Ronald Campbell) if I would be willing
    To remain as "Guardian" in charge of the
    Embassy in the event of France falling to the
    Germans. My reply-"Yes, with pleasure."

    11th June, 1940. His Excellency and the
    Minister (then Sir Oliver Harvey) and the
    rest of the staff leave in cars about 7Pm-
    12th June, 1940.

    German Army (part of) arrives in Paris. About mid-day a
    German Colonel and a guard of about twelve officers
    and men enter the Embassy gates. Upon which:-
    Chrystie present. Stand to a attention and
    salute (I was in civilian dress).I Salute
    respectfully returned by the German Colonel and officers.

    Captain of German Guard (in perfect English
    reading from a list) : "Your name is Chrystie?"
    I reply : "Yes, sir."

    Captain of Guard : "You have been left
    in charge of the British Embassy and as
    long as you behave yourself no harm will
    come to you and you will be respected."

    I reply : "I have behaved myself for
    many years. I shall endeavour to continue
    to do so."

    Everybody stands to attention (including
    myself). The German officers click heels and
    salute, I in turn salute. The Germans then
    leave the Embassy grounds.

    I should explain here that Abetz knew
    me and my name because when he was the
    German Ambassador in Paris for a short term
    before the war he used to visit our Embassy.

    About a fortnight later Abetz comes to my
    lodge at the Embassy gates and addressing
    me by name says : "There is a book in the
    Ambassador's library which I want to refer
    to. I know where to put my hand on it so
    please allow me to go up to the library and get
    it." I replied politely, "Your Excellency, I
    much regret that all the doors in the Embassy
    have been locked and sealed by the American
    Embassy authorities and you must therefore
    apply to them for the keys."

    This is a complete invention on my part as I have the
    keys myself. "Very well," said Abetz, "I will
    go to the American Embassy and will be back shortly."

    I later asked the American Embassy if
    Abetz had applied to them for the keys and
    they said he had but they had given him the
    `right about.' Sartorial note: Abetz is
    dressed in plus fours and a cap-quite the
    English gentleman!

    At a later date Abetz comes to the Embassy
    with Goering in uniform, and an escort of
    twenty officers and men,all armed.

    Abetz tells me that Goering (giving him his full
    rank, titles, etc.) wishes to enter the Embassy
    to look over it with a view to making it his
    residential H.Q. when in Paris . I give him
    the same reply as before, that I must refer
    them to the American Embassy who, as
    neutrals (as the Americans were then) were
    looking after our interests and property.

    Abetz says, "What if we force our way in?"
    to which I reply, "Your Excellency, over my
    dead body only." (I do not know how those
    words came into my mind on the spur of the
    moment). Goering, Abetz and their escort
    then leave, saying they are going to the
    American Embassy. They do not return.

    One evening later. I am in a nearby bar having
    my evening aperitif, standing at the
    counter peacefully reading the evening
    paper, when the gamon, who was serving
    drinks at the tables behind me, comes up
    and says, "Mr Chrystie those three German
    officers sitting behind you, request you to
    join them in a drink." I turn round facing
    them and standing to attention say smilingly,
    "Gentlemen, do you realize I am an Englishman
    and an enemy subject?" "Yes," they
    reply, "that is why we request you please to
    join us."

    So I go and sit down with these three
    German officers and we spend three-quarters
    of an hour talking together about England,
    France,etc but not a word about the war.

    All three of them had been to England;
    two had been to Oxford and the third had
    been a salesman at Selfridges, and naturally
    they all spoke good English.

    (I had several other experiences of a
    similar nature, but it would take too long to
    include them here.)

    5th November, 1941 (Guy Fawkes Day)
    I am interned by the Gestapo (not by the
    army authorities) at the St. Denis Concentration
    Camp for keeping Goering and Abetz
    out of the Embassy.

    17th March, 1942 (St. Patrick's Day)
    Released from the Concentration Camp,
    having been interned for four months and
    twenty-one days. I return to the Embassy as
    "Guardian" again, a pardoned man! (My
    wife bravely carried on at the Embassy
    during my absence.)

    25th August, 1944. Paris relieved-good!
    Allied troops march IN, Germans quickmarch
    OUT.

    loth November, 1945 . I am decorated with
    the B .E.M. at Buckingham Palace (friend
    Corbet present) and am congratulated by
    His Majesty on my exploit with Goering.”
     
    Chris C likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just had a look for his BEM online at Kew. It doesn't appear to be listed.
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I find this bit fascinating.
    Ordinary chaps just wanting to have a chin-wag .

     
  4. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  6. Jana

    Jana New Member

    This Mr. Chrystie was my grandmothers grandfather. Therefore my grate grate grate grandfather. I have some photocopied doc that I will share with you. My Grandmother is still alive and living in Cape Town South Africa.
     
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

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