BAOR - SRY - Grandpa what did you do after the war?

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ramiles, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There is some interesting BAOR detail in here:

    Alan Lazarus (IWM interview) : Lazarus, Alan (Oral history) (19939)

    British NCO adviser in Finland, 1940; officer served with 61st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in GB, Middle East and North Africa, 1940-1943; served as staff officer in Italy, 1943-1945; served as military governor of Brunswick, Germany, 1945-1946

    ...joining 30 Corps in North Africa; POW interrogation training in Cairo. REEL 3 Continues: principles of interrogating POWs. Period as staff officer with 13th Corps in Italy: role as G2I to General Horrocks; opinion of General Horrocks. Recollections of period as Military Governor of Brunswick in Germany, 1945-1946: role and duties; problems of developing infrastructure; contact with displaced persons arriving from Russian occupied zone; development of relations with Russian authorities in Magdeburg; treatment of Russian drunk; problems with Polish displaced persons; attitude to confiscation of German property. REEL 4 Continues: visits to Berlin and Hitler's Chancellery.

    (bit in BOLD in the above starts at about 14.30mins into REEL 3 there)

    Re... "treatment of Russian drunk" the Russians requested that the British shoot him, the British said "no we don't do that" and the Russians say - "Well we do - give him back" - British give him back and Russians shoot him... as told, it sounds all very matter of fact...

    (bit in Bold starts - 21.10mins in. 22.10 Told by Russians to “shoot him” 22.25 “well we don't do that” 23 can’t shoot him.
    23.20 Russian arrive to take him away and shoot him by the truck before taking the body away.

    At around 24mins Alan Lazarus mentions that they "have the Wolfschmitte Kemmel Factory liquers", with which to "trade with the Russians".

    Which is still made in Germany. And I assume is this (above) - "Originally created in Riga, Latvia in 1847, Wolfschmidt Kummel is the brand leader in this small but growing sector. It is a classic liqueur made to an old Danish recipe with caraway and aniseed flavours combining to give a distinctive taste. It is an ideal aperitif or after dinner liqueur as well as a cocktail ingredient."

    Producer: Wolfschmidt
    ABV: 40%
    Brand: Wolfschmidt
    Country of Origin: Germany
    Liqueur Type: Herbal

    Wiki however seems to have Kummel first distilled in the 16th Century by the Dutch: Kümmel - Wikipedia

    And: Kümmel: A Little of the Muirfield Spirit

    Seems to say it is popular with golfers since: "Some say it began when a prominent Scottish regiment fought in the Low Countries, where the drink was popular, during the last stages of World War II"
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There is some detail about 30 Crops and the BAOR in this:

    Quoting from the autobiography of "General Sir Brian Horrocks – Corps Commander" - mostly from about half way down the webpage there.

    Brian Horrocks (Wiki) :

    Sir Brian Horrocks - A Full Life - Published by London: Collins, 1960, London (1960) :


    “Monty laid down the priorities as 1) food and (2) housing; he then, as always, gave us a free hand to look after our own districts until such time as proper military government could take over from us. It was a fascinating task. I found myself to all intents and purposes the benevolent (I hope) dictator of an area about the size of Wales. At my morning conference, instead of considering fire plans and laying down military objectives, we discussed such problems as food, coal, communications, press and so on. I soon discovered the merits of a dictatorship. I could really get things done quickly. One day in the late autumn a staff officer reported than the output of coal was dropping every week in our corps district. That was very serious with winter approaching. The reason, I was informed, was that the miners lacked clothes. I immediately ordered a levy to be carried our in certain nearby towns to provide adequate clothing for the miners, and sure enough a few weeks later the graph showing coal production began to rise. I smiled when I thought of what would happen in dear old democratic Britain if the Cabinet ordered clothes to be removed compulsorily from Cardiff, shall we say, to clothe the miners in the Welsh valleys.”

    “To start with a great deal of this work had to be carried out by British troops and quite naturally this caused resentment. I remember being asked by an intelligent sapper corporal, ‘Why should I now have to work hard and repair bridges for the so-and-so Germans who have caused so much misery to the world.’ As he was obviously voicing the doubts of many others, I collected the company together and explained to the best of my ability that the war was now over, so Germany must take her place again as a European state. Many of the people were on the verge of starvation and if food couldn’t be moved freely into the towns they would die that winter. And this would cause great bitterness. Furthermore it was essential for our own British economy to start trading again with Germany and we would never be able to do this until communications had been repaired. Whether I convinced them or not I have no idea, but they went back to work at once without any further questions.”

    “The British soldier has often been described as our best ambassador and this is particularly so if he forms part of an army of occupation because one of the most difficult things in the world is to occupy a foreign country and yet remain friendly with its people. If left to himself the British soldier will soon be on the best of terms with the local population. Unfortunately this time he was not left to himself and all sorts of regulations about non-fraternisation with the German population were issued. No doubt there were good reasons for this policy but it caused endless trouble at our level. What happened was that our troops were prevented from getting to know the ordinary, decent families in an open and normal way, and were driven to consorting on the sly with the lowest types of German women.”

    “In spite of the non-fraternisation rule I was determined somehow or other to make our occupation as palatable as possible for the local inhabitants. This may sound sloppy, but I had experienced the difficulties of occupying Germany after the First World War. I knew very well that nobody will ever keep the Germans down for long because they belong to a very rare species which actually likes work. I also understood the menace of Communism better than most – thanks to my time in Russia. So, without claiming any particularly brilliant foresight, it seemed to me that the Germans were the sort of people whom it would be better to have on our side than against us. I therefore ordered all units in my corps to do everything they could to help the German children. Nobody could blame them for the last war, and they had obviously had a bad time. Some of the children had never even seen chocolates in their lives. Units were told to open special youth clubs, and camps in the summer, and organise sports, etc.”

    He gave a tea party for 150 German children, but “unfortunately the party was also attended by some reporters from the British Press … inexperienced, callow, young men who were concerned mainly with getting an angle to their stories … It soon become obvious they were hostile” and the next day headlines appeared in the press “British General Gives Tea Party for German Children”. He received “an enormous number of letters in which the kindest comment was “that I had obviously gone mad.’”
    “These were of little consequence, but unfortunately owing to all the adverse criticism I was ordered to cease my activities with the German children at once. Orders had to be obeyed but I still feel that this was a serious mistake. Instead of mixing with the civilian population on a friendly basis we were driven back into ourselves and when I returned to Germany some three years later to take over the appointment of commander-in-chief, I found that the B.A.O.R. was an army of occupation in the true sense of the word, living quite apart from the German people.”
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In a documentary I recently saw about Hamburg during and immediately after WW2 there was some interesting (to me) black and white footage re. BAOR coal truck convoys and Operation Coal Scuttle. So I took a look for a source and found this:

    A DEFEATED PEOPLE : a film about the government of the British Occupied Zone of Germany
    The problems faced by the military government, both practical and moral, in the British zone of occupied Berlin.
    A DEFEATED PEOPLE : a film about the government of the British Occupied Zone of Germany [Main Title] (CVN 252)

    (Nb I've not often seen films actually to view on the IWM site, perhaps I just haven't looked enough yet ;) and so usually at this point I have to say something like "not currently available to view online" - but in this case it is!!! :) )

    Commentary describes the German defeat, over footage of the damage inflicted upon Berlin and the refugees left over. "The Allied Military Government cannot afford to leave the Germans" and must "prod [them] into getting their house in order." Reconstruction - railways etc. The housing problem; thousands living in deprivation in bombed streets. Krupp mansion, Villa Hügel, in Essen occupied by coal control who have taken over coal distribution on the Ruhr; "Operation Coal Scuttle". Forestry. The Hamburg Central Postal Enquiry Service registering missing persons. Movement and processing of refugees. (Reel 2) Law and order: military government courts; new German Police Force. Health: RAMC and Red Cross. Education: the need to tell the children "that there are other things in life than Nazism and war". Ruins: school, Reichstag - "Berlin still has the aspect of a battlefield". Krupp family singled out for criticism. Demobilisation of Wehrmacht; each soldier interviewed, and Nazis are winkled out and sent "back to the cage". Night-time curfew; people disappear into air-raid shelters. New judges seen being sworn in; children playing; implied vision of a new peaceful Germany.

    There was little more info. I could readily find about "Operation Coalscuttle" (at first) but I see from here: Germany 1945-1949: a case study in post-conflict reconstruction

    It says... "A similar project, ‘Operation Coalscuttle’, was less successful, with around 30,000 former soldiers released to work in the coal mines, far fewer than were needed to restore output to pre-war production levels."

    BTW. in the IWM film "A DEFEATED PEOPLE" mentioned and linked to further above there are some pictures of the British army's coal convoys and trains etc. circa 7.40mins in and at around 8.27mins it says "all this has to be supervised by our sergeants and our MPs"

    I've put this on the thread: Operation Coal Scuttle - Post War Germany

    (Since it is quite a bit beyond the topic title "sry-grandpa-what-did-you-do-after-the-war" for this thread above)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. 27th June 1945...

    "Remembering Today

    Sgt.Daniel Weir - Casualty Details | CWGC

    Sgt.Weir, aged 31 of Recce troop Sherwood Rangers, lost his life when his Dingo hit a truck and crashed down a railway embankment in Oschersleben, outside Magdeburg, Germany on Wednesday 27th June 1945.
    While Sgt.Weir was killed instantly, L/Cpl.Bradley and Tpr.Crowhurst were both injured.
    The Regiment had just moved to Magdeburg where they first met their Russian allies who controlled the far side of the river Elbe which runs through the city.
    Sgt.Weir now lies in Celle War Cemetery, north-east of Hanover, Germany.

    Loyal unto Death"

    Unfortunately the SRY War Diary doesn't seem to specifically mention much for the 27th June 1945.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've also seen lot of early post-war paperwork and the real drop-off across the board in terms of quality and quantity of information is 1950.

    A fair number of units maintained moderately detailed diary-like records and duplicated instructions, orders and communications (especially those fighting in Malaya and Korea), but when 1950 arrives, you begin to see only Historical Statements or Historical Records, which at worse are a year of dates on a single sheet of paper. When a 'real' diary comes around, it's like manna from heaven (6GR's from Malaya is a full narrative) By 1954 or 1955, the paper trail usually fades out—even for major deployments like the Canal Zone and Cyprus little survives prior to actual hostilities.

    Somewhat unhelpfully, one of the main things that does tend to be faithfully recorded are visits by VIPs and Senior officers: names, ranks, decorations, dates and postings!

Share This Page