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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

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Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Old 22nd Jul 2017, 15:07
  #11041 (permalink)  
 
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Centaurus continues with:


Quote:

..."Here is the story as relayed to the editor of Aviation Safety Digest, who entitled it 'From one of our readers – a valid message from the past' "...
Is this "reader" still alive ? (he'd be my age) If so, is it possible to contact him ? Googled "Aviation Safety Digest - Australia", plenty about the mag, but no contact details for it. Could "Centaurus" (or anyone else "downunder") follow this up for me, please ?
Centaurus here (in Australia). The Vengeance story was from a 1974 edition of the Australian Department of Civil Aviation flight safety magazine Aviation Safety Digest. That magazine was superseded by various other issues under a different name and is currently called Flight Safety Australia which is now digital. The format has changed significantly since 1974. Mainly gone flashier with graphics and to many of us oldies, not a patch on the former ASD. Editors have come and gone including McArthur Job who I think was the editor in 1974 and who died a couple of years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macarthur_Job

Mac would have been given the Vengeance story by its author who, if alive, would be in his mid-90's by now. Ppresumably this information would be in the current archives of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). PM me and I could try to find out but don't hold your breath.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 15:58
  #11042 (permalink)  
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ricardian,

Thanks - tried again on Google Chrome - success ! (No idea how to 'refresh a browser' - don't tell me, I am impervious to instruction, however well meant).

Danny.

PS: Thought at first you were in the same line of business as our esteemed contributor Geriaviator *, then did the sums and realised you would be 9 in 1951 ! (shows why PPRuNe should make it mandatory for people to state their true age on application to join).

Note *: if you have not already read it, and want a belly-laugh, look up Geriaviator's #3558 (Page 178 on this Thread).

Last edited by Danny42C; 22nd Jul 2017 at 17:09. Reason: Addition
 
Old 22nd Jul 2017, 16:42
  #11043 (permalink)  
 
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F5 key at the top of your keypad/touchscreen Danny best regards sir
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 17:38
  #11044 (permalink)  
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Centaurus (#11042),

Thanks for the most generous offer, but as the trail is so cold (1974), I do not think that we are likely to turn up more than we already have in Fleigle's link in #11004, and I would not want you to do a lot of research on my behalf for (probably) nothing.

Now, if George Duffee yet lives, and we can get hold of him ............... that really would be something !

Danny.
 
Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:05
  #11045 (permalink)  
 
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Danny - George Duffee was a Halifax pilot..!

I'll post another episode of George's evading saga..
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:09
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More from George:

I awoke in the morning to the sound of children's voices. The time I estimated to be about 8.50 a.m. From my position on top of the haystack I could see a small group of unaccompanied children, books in hand, making their way along a narrow road towards a small village a quarter of a mile away. Brushing the hay from my hair and clothes I decided to walk behind the children into the village, there to seek further help.

Children, I knew are instinctively inquisitive, but these were so busy chasing each other, they had no eyes for the shock-haired, unshaven, rather tired-looking individual following them. We passed a German soldier. I say we because in such a situation as this I hoped I would be presumed to be either the big brother seeing the children off to school, or else a casual farm-labourer on an errand to the village. The soldier took little notice and so we came into the village of Berlicum where the children disappeared into the school and I ... where? I decided to make a bold move and entered a cafe opposite the school.

Except for a middle aged woman the cafe was deserted. At first she took no notice of me, assuming I was just passing through – then ''What do you want?'' she said. I did not trust myself to speak, but instead made signs that I would like something to eat and drink. At this she was puzzled and suspicious but nevertheless extended a glass of water. She seemed kind and only a little frightened and having drunk the water I produced my phrase card (a useful thing this) and asked her if she spoke English. My pronunciation of Dutch was bad and I repeated it several times. No - she did not speak English but she would fetch the school teacher from the school who did. She left the shop and vanished into the school. Should I stay - I thought - would she bring back a school teacher or would she bring the police? She re-appeared accompanied by a scholarly looking young man (Martin der Kinderen).

"Good morning" he said in good English. His quiet manner, his friendly smile and his good English made me decide to tell him all of the story thus far. He listened patiently, without comment. "How am I to be certain that you are an English pilot?" he said. At this I produced the remnants of my escape-kit - maps, rubber water bag. A few horlicks tablets and a small compass. "No identity discs? No photographs? he asked. I said I had forgotten these in the hurry and excitement of returning from leave and mentally cursed myself for a stupid ass. I also produced chewing gum wrappers and chocolate paper which I had kept, purposely not throwing them away - thus leaving a trail. He spoke to the woman in rapid Dutch, looked across at me, smiled and said in English "Yes I believe you and shall help you".

I was overjoyed at gaining help so soon. He went on to say that I would be hidden on a nearby farm and would wait there until it was safe for me to proceed on my journey. Somehow even then I knew, that by some miraculous chance I had made contact with one of the many wonderful underground organizations in occupied Holland.

Martin den Kinderen told me (after I met him again after the war); that during my interrogation at pistol point, the general opinion was that I should be taken outside and shot. I was in civilian clothes with no identity discs, and could not immediately prove myself. Many of the escape organisations had been decimated by the infiltration of ‘bogus' pilots (or informers); and they would not take any chances. However the good news (for me) was that Martin found me a ‘safe house' while my identity was being checked. My interrogators had taken a vote on whether to take me outside and shoot me. I survived by one vote !
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:12
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Chapter 4 - Holland
Weeks passed. Weeks of waiting, weeks of tension. For one week I stayed and worked on the farm, sleeping at night in the barn and having my meals in the fields. I welcomed the work for it kept me from thinking too much. When I thought of home, the sorrow, the anxiety, I became depressed and impatient of waiting. After the week of fresh air and hard work I was moved to the confinement of a house in the village of Rosmalen (M. and Mme Volman).

Waiting there became an ordeal. Little exercise, no English literature, and a house full of children who must not know I was there. During the day wasn't too bad because the children were at school and I could move about the house but the evenings were torturous. The children would be downstairs and I would be lying on the bed in the spare room upstairs, keeping as quiet as humanly possible. All the time I was there the children only saw me once, when it was explained to them that I was a distant uncle who was a little 'wrong' in the head. Each night I would hear them say their prayers in the next room, before going to bed. Then I would breathe as quietly as I could and lie quite still until I thought they were asleep and then I would relax slightly. In those many hours of exasperating waiting I began making notes of the thoughts drifting through my mind. Weird, fantastic thoughts, some of them, I picked up the threads of religion, what I believed in and why. I even tried in my elementary way, to diagnose the cause of war, the rights and wrongs of bombing. Long weary hours they were and I began to indulge in day dreams of being whisked off the next night and flown back to England. I cut my own hair, for bringing a barber to the house would have aroused suspicion. The result was ghastly! Food was scarce.

The Germans had fleeced the country of most of its dairy produce and vegetables and most of the cattle, leaving the people in dire straights. The house I stayed in was occupied by a middle-aged couple who hated the Germans with a venom that astounded me. Afterwards I learned many things that to my mind justified such a venomous hate. That dear couple became afraid for the children's sake so I was moved to another house in the same village, where I stayed for a further ten days. Ten dreary monotonous days and nights - yes I was safe for the time being but would I ever get back to England? The monotony was broken occasionally by passing regiments of German soldiers – always singing their marching song ''We sail against England''. It was good - the singing, but right then I would have given anything for a good old ''Bless 'em all''!

Then one day a stranger called, announcing himself simply as a 'friend'. He provided me with a false identity card and a little money, then said I was to follow him. It was as simple as abrupt as that. Being glad to get away from the confinement of the house, I raised no objection and followed him. Following him on a borrowed bicycle fifty yards behind we rode into the town of Hertogenbosch. Leaving our bicycles in the bicycle shed we entered the railway station. My heart sank when I observed German Military Policemen at the ticket barrier checking travellers' identity cards. Our tickets fortunately had been purchased previously. After showing his identity card the guide vanished through the barrier.

Clutching my ticket I stepped up to the barrier offering my ticket to be clipped. The German policeman eyed me ''Identity card''; he said. I produced it and waited while he perused it. Would he notice any flaw? Would he pull out his pistol and arrest me? I did not know what to think, but just stood there transfixed. The seconds hung ominously. He gave me back the card and I passed through the barrier, quivering a little, but thankful that this first encounter has been successful. There was my guide waiting for me, and we took our seats in the train en route for Nijmegen in eastern Holland.

The train journey; the strange faces, the strange scenery; pretending to read a newspaper, pretending to be asleep, always avoiding conversation. The ticket barrier at the other end of the journey - the same tension, those same ominous moments and then the happy moment of passing through into the street. Then the ride in a tram with German soldiers on the platform. Many of those green and field grey uniforms. I was getting quite used to them and not feeling quite so nervous.

I was to stay in a room at the back of a chemists shop and wait there before continuing on my journey. It was there I met a young Dutch agricultural student, who because he did not want to go to Germany to work, was forced to go into hiding. He must have been about my own age, 19 years. We got along very well together and we talked of how little I knew about Holland and how little he knew about England.

I was sorry to leave there, but it was unwise to stay too long, for the Gestapo had a nasty habit of coming around periodically searching to see if a radio was installed in the house, and in this particular house there was. So I was moved to a monastery two miles into the country and about three miles from the German frontier. How ironic it was to think of all those many miles I walked at night - I was back again nearer to the German frontier, than I was before. But with a big difference, for now I had organized help.
More to follow.
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Old 22nd Jul 2017, 19:58
  #11048 (permalink)  
 
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ricardian
Re your post #11041 above of a manual DF postion in Germany. Looks like it's possibly the inside of a mobile VHF/DF vehicle (RV105?). As a VHF/DF operator for eight years (1951 - 1959) it looks vaguly familiar.
If you haven't seen it have a look at my thread about VHF/DF here:
http://www.pprune.org/military-aviat...ml#post9425527


...and here's an RV105 that I operated at Gan in 1958:
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 11:41
  #11049 (permalink)  
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sidevalve (#11046),

There's no getting away from it: I am going ga-ga ! I must write out one hundred times:

"George Duffee is a Halifax pilot whose escape story is told by sidevalve".
"An unnamed reader of "Aviation Safety Digest" (1974) quoted by Fleigel and Centaurus was an operational Vultee Vengeance pilot in Australia".
"Warmtoast" is our manual D/F man, not Geriaviator".

Should keep me out of mischief for a while.

Reference nice pic on #11049: our younger readers may not know that the "Xs" on the cab windows are no part of an aerial array, but sticky tape stuck on the inside to limit injury from flying glass from a bomb blast. Householders were urged to do the same in 1939. Old uncle (ex-trenches WWI) caustically remarked: "It's not flying glass you need to worry about , but flying scrap iron !"

Danny.
 
Old 23rd Jul 2017, 12:33
  #11050 (permalink)  
 
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Warmtoast, Sir. On the premise that the mobile DF didn't double up on snow-clearance, what's the (unidirectional?) array over the driver's cab about?
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 13:25
  #11051 (permalink)  
 
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An excellent article on the BBC website:-
James 'Ginger' Lacey: Battle of Britain pilot remembered
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 13:40
  #11052 (permalink)  
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Warmtoast,

Followed your link, and got a whole feast of pics and information about the Rotor system, on the periphery of which I worked as Adj of an Auxiliary Fighter Control Unit for three early '50s years. So this was the "hole" (ours was at Seaton Snook) down which I was not permitted to go (needed a Special Clearance, you see: I'm not entitled because No Need To Know).

Our primary task was to train local girls as Radar Operators and Fighter Plotters, and our 70 trainees were every bit as glamourous as these (Note their "A"s). Thing to remember: the Plotter is more on display, but each girl's headset is linked to another's as she sits in front of a radar tube maybe fifty miles away, and she should not be forgotten as she is not protected down a hole, but at the radar towers and so liable to be (and was) often bombed.

As most people know, the system worked perfectly on the day, and was the human heart of the Fighter Command's ground control of the Battle of Britain. Now the survivors are grandmothers and great-grandmothers, I take my hat off to them.

All Warmtoast's info stirred an ancient memory: the Spitfires and (odd) Hurricane I flew in 1942 all had a circular "Remote Contactor" on the RH side of the cockpit. They were not used and we did not bother about them. On a whim I Googled <Remote Contactot aircraft WWII>

Result:
<SpitfireSpares.com - warbird Instruments> has them for sale.<Pip-squeak - Wikipedia> gives a full account. Now I know.

Danny.

Last edited by Danny42C; 23rd Jul 2017 at 15:21. Reason: Typo.
 
Old 23rd Jul 2017, 14:13
  #11053 (permalink)  
 
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Back to Poona again ...



Geriaviator apologises for his latest contribution, but he was only five when he wrote it. I've been following up Ricardian's wonderful find of the 1924 Poona map but I cannot locate the site of our bungalows, which of course are long gone but I expected the quarry alongside them to be still visible on satellite as it was big enough to have a narrow-gauge railway climbing up from its floor. The Wagholi quarries still operating are a long way from Kirkee which was the original British cantonment and still contains the graves of many Army officers and their family members in the Holkar Cemetery.

I found my letter from the past in a long-forgotten book dating us in Poona 1946-47. We must have left for RAF Drigh Road, Karachi soon after it was written in May as Partition came in August and we were homeward bound before then. This explains why I remember so little about Karachi compared to Poona.
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 15:25
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Danny 42 and MPN11
Danny
Reference nice pic on #11049: our younger readers may not know that the "Xs" on the cab windows are no part of an aerial array, but sticky tape stuck on the inside to limit injury from flying glass from a bomb blast. Householders were urged to do the same in 1939. Old uncle (ex-trenches WWI) caustically remarked: "It's not flying glass you need to worry about , but flying scrap iron!"
After I'd painted it (with a 3-ins paintbrush!) it looked much better - and no XX's on the windows!




MPN11
Warmtoast, Sir. On the premise that the mobile DF didn't double up on snow-clearance, what's the (unidirectional?) array over the driver's cab about?
Antenna array folds down into this when the RV105 is driven around. ricardan's oririnal post shows what looks like the box that holds the rotating antenna shaft with the clamp that holds it upright at the top.


PS. Photobucket's playing up - i'll be back.
WT

Last edited by Warmtoast; 24th Jul 2017 at 10:47.
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 18:00
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Photobucket has crashed and burned, folks. Looking back on earlier posts I see that all our pix have been removed and replaced by a notice that membership must be upgraded to enable third party hosting such as pPrune. You won't be surprised to hear that 'upgrades' involve a 'subscription' of up to $400 per year.

This photo-ransom wheeze has not gone down well according to hundreds of posts out there. Given the plaster of ad popups etc I long ago quit Photobucket for Postimage ...
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 18:55
  #11056 (permalink)  
 
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"P-bucket" is, I suspect, a dirty word on various forums these days. I've been migrating some stuff to Imgur, but here I will just use the "Go Advanced/Link Images" feature from my desktop. There may be oddments that are actually worth preserving, if I ever encounter any! It's worse for me with numerous Trip Reports at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports-177/ ... I'm working back slowly, using Imgur.

For accuracy, P-bucket wants $399.99 per annum if you use it to link your own photos to 3rd Party websites such as this. I have not yet heard of any legal challenges, but then I guess they were doing it for free, and just getting advertising income. The danger signs were there months ago, as Geriaviator noted, when their website became smothered with overlay adverts.

Last edited by MPN11; 23rd Jul 2017 at 19:08.
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Old 23rd Jul 2017, 21:39
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sidevalve:-
Martin den Kinderen told me (after I met him again after the war); that during my interrogation at pistol point, the general opinion was that I should be taken outside and shot. I was in civilian clothes with no identity discs, and could not immediately prove myself.
How ironic if that general opinion had been acted upon! Such are the hazards of war, where friends can be mistaken for the enemy, and vice versa. Certainly the enemy would not have hesitated in taking such action. George obviously possessed that vital attribute for survival in such a very dangerous environment, he was lucky!

The enormous risks that those who sheltered him and shepherded him across occupied Europe cannot be doubted. Real courage and devotion to duty! War brings out the best and the worst in mankind.

Please keep it coming sidevalve.

Geriaviator, you obviously had the journalistic skill at a tender age that blossomed into the amusing raconteur as witnessed by this thread. Hurrah indeed!
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Old 24th Jul 2017, 08:12
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More from George:
Life in the monastery was anything but dull. Ample exercise was to be had In the spacious grounds surrounding the monastery. Many of the monks spoke a little English and one of them played the violin beautifully. On a clear day it was possible to see the industrial haze hanging like a cloud over the Ruhr valley, and on a clear night one could the flak barrage, the searchlights and the glow of fires.

Soon the stranger came again and I left the monastery, following him on a bicycle as previously, back to the railway station at Nijmegen. Leaving our bicycles in a shed outside the station, we entered the station and went through the ordeal of showing our identity cards before being permitted to go through the barrier. There were a few minutes to wait before the arrival of the train, so rather than walk up and down the platform I stood well back from the line, in the shadows. A minute afterwards I was sorry. A German soldier approached me and asked politely, on which platform the 12.07 p.m. would arrive. From my meagre knowledge of Dutch acquired at the monastery I managed to answer ''Platform eight''. He walked away apparently satisfied, but then turned to look at me, but by then I had developed a very keen interest in my pro-German magazine. On the train the same magazine stood me in very good stead for at the sight of a pro-German magazine no-one wished to speak to me. After looking through the magazine, scanning each page as if I were actually reading it and sometimes allowing a smile to play about my lips, I pretended to sleep.

Stopping at an intermediate station I was obliged to offer my seat to a woman. Again I developed a very keen interest in the magazine, never allowing my eyes to leave its pages. And so we, the guide was in the next compartment, arrived at the town of Tilburg in south west Holland. I was to meet a Dutch policeman at the station and had already been furnished with a description of him. Seeing him I shook him by the hand and greeted him like a long-lost friend. The guide had quietly slipped away, giving me no opportunity to thank him. Then followed a long, rather hectic, motorcycle ride along broad highways, through quiet lanes and along narrow dirt paths, finally arriving at a wood three miles from the Dutch-Belgian border.

Leaving the motorcycle hidden in the fringe of the wood we followed a narrow path leading to the more dense part of the wood in which was hidden a small shelter made of pieces of tin, old coats, branches of trees and one or two old sacks. Hiding in the shelter were six people, a Jew and five Dutch students. The Jew had escaped from a nearby concentration camp, the students had resisted going to Germany to work in labour camps. In spite of their rather primitive surroundings and the apparent lack of facilities they looked healthy and clean-shaven. They crawled out from the shelter one by one and shook me by the hand saying they were glad to have me with them. The policeman waved farewell and soon we heard the sound of his motor cycle fading in the distance.

I was to stay there three days, before walking across the frontier. Many hours were spent talking of England, of Holland and of the Germans. They were bitter and their hatred reached almost to the point of fanaticism. Food consisted mainly of oats and fresh milk, bread and occasionally cucumber. My knowledge of the Dutch language increased enormously and soon I was able to carry on a reasonable conversation. At night we would all sit round in the warmth of the shelter talking or reading ourselves to sleep. We were seven people whom the war had thrown together in unusual surroundings, now lying huddled beneath old coats and blankets. By a coincidence one of the students knew the student I had stayed with in Nijmegen, so I was able to provide him with some useful information. The three days passed slowly and on the morning of the fourth day a young man came dressed in the green uniform of a forester (Franz). His arrival was preceded by the sound of his motorcycle. He was to show me to a lightly guarded part of the frontier and pass me across to a waiting Belgian who would accompany me to Brussels. Bidding our ''Goodbyes'' and ''Good Lucks'' to the Jew and the five students we rode off along the narrow dirt road bordering the wood. Well ahead of us was another guide acting as our observer, warning us of any danger. It was well that he was ahead of us for we came upon two German soldiers resting by the roadside. He engaged them in conversation and offered them cigarettes and we were able to pass nearer the frontier without being stopped. We rode to within a mile of the frontier, dismounted, then pushed the motorcycle through fields and behind hedges, arriving at last behind a hedge beside a road. A few minutes later several German guards marched past. We had timed it to a nicety. Hearing their footsteps fade in the distance we dashed quickly through the hedge and across the road, vanishing behind the hedge on the other side.

The forester turned to me and said ''You are now in Belgium''.
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Old 24th Jul 2017, 08:22
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George in Belgium:

Chapter 5 - Belgium

So in that hurried dash across the road I had crossed from Holland into Belgium. It had been easier than I had expected. In my imagination I had envisaged a frontier heavily guarded by soldiers who would shoot at the slightest provocation. But no - only a few unobservant Germans who had passed by, chatting amicably amongst themselves.

We, the guide and I, were to make our way to a house within a mile of the frontier and contact an agent (Karst Smit) who was to accompany me as far as Brussels. Pushing the motorcycle on to a quiet portion of the road we soon covered the distance to the house. The agent I found was a Dutchman who had done the journey from the house to Brussels more than fifty times, each time accompanying either an allied aviator or a Dutchman escaping to England to join forces with the Free Netherlands Army. He was confident and assured me that all would be well.

We set off confident of little interference from the Germans. The motorcycle took us to the small town of Turnhout and from there we were to go by electric tram to Antwerp. On the tram, which was a little less private than a train compartment, I could relax and watch the fields of rich golden corn go sailing past, and the occasional platoon of German infantry. Sitting there as I did, I might well have been on holiday. My clothes were reasonably tidy, I had fed reasonably well and my face was tanned by the recent exposure to the warm summer sun. About me sat old men and old women, young farm labourers and young lasses. One could see in their faces the tiredness, the look of silent passive resistance, born of the long occupation by the Hun. One could see the light of defiance shining in their eyes at the very mention of or sight of the hated Hun.

In my stay in Holland I had come to know that no one said ''Thank you'' to the Germans. I had seen with my own eyes adults and young children burning the tunics of the German soldiers with the butt end of cigarettes and obstructing them at every possible opportunity. I had come to know of the savage cruelty of the ''German Green Police'' in Holland, and of the acts of torture that were perpetrated in the crowded Jewish concentration camp near Hertogenbosch.

My fellow travellers talked openly of the coming ''Second Front'', of their faith in it's success and the final destruction of the Nazi war machine. These were the people of a nation that had twice in a quarter of a century been violated by a powerful, relentless enemy. Such thoughts came to me as we rattled along the rails to Antwerp.

At a small village the tram was boarded to crowded capacity by people - mostly housewives and young people, going into Antwerp. As we had decided to alight before the centre of the town, we relinquished our seats and took our stand on the platform. The tram left the village and proceeded on its journey.

Suddenly it jolted to a stop and several German Military Police boarded. "Probably going into Antwerp" I thought "for a little pleasure". Then I looked at them again and realized they were not riding as passengers but were even now checking identity cards. I also realized with horror that I had nothing with which to identify myself and, dressed as a civilian, I might possibly be charged as a spy.

I glanced across the platform at my companion (Kass Smit) who did not look comfortable either, for his identity card was not a particularly good forgery. "What were we to do"? The tram was already moving at a fast pace and the Germans would surely see us if we jumped off. "We can't stay here and be caught so easily - we must try something'' I thought.

Just for a moment the policemen were occupied with a crowd of animated housewives, loudly protesting at the inconvenience. One had said, with an expressive shrug of her shoulders ''British parachutist indeed!" We saw our opportunity and much to the surprise of our fellow platform travellers, leapt from the tram on to the roadway, just managing to keep our feet. ''Had we been observed?'' We waited without turning round, to hear the squeal of brakes, the gutteral voices and then perhaps a pistol shot. But none came.

We turned then and saw the tram was already half a mile away. We walked to the nearest cafe and celebrated our good fortune by drinking lemonade. The remainder of the journey to Brussels was without incident. We boarded another tram, alighted a little way from the centre of Antwerp, walked to the railway station and were soon seated on a train speeding towards Brussels. It was strange to find that whereas in Holland there was a German control at the railway station, there was no such control in northern Belgium.

During my time in Brussels I stayed in many different places. A fish shop (Maurice Speliaert) the apartment of a Professor (M et Mme Rene Pirart) the house of a Belgian Intelligence Officer, another apartment (Mme Ann Brusselman) and also the house of an old woman whose husband had been murdered by the Germans for distributing banned newspapers. They were all brave and kind people who made me as comfortable as they possibly could.

I was able to wander pretty well as I chose about Brussels seeing the Germans who were on leave drinking the best wine in the smartest cafe and making advances to the unresponsive Belgian girls. I saw the changing of the guard at Military Administrative buildings, the heel clicking, the damnable arrogance of the occupying forces. The German soldiers with cameras taking photographs of the Palace of Justice and the tomb of the 'Unknown Soldier'. German soldiers queuing outside a cinema to see German films. I was tempted to see one myself called ''Stuka!'' but did not.

Speaking with the people with whom I stayed I heard many lamentable stories of loved ones suffering in concentration camps and others who were beyond suffering. I heard of the wandering ''White Brigade'' bands committing acts of sabotage and killing Germans. Mr Churchill broadcast about great things which would happen when the leaves began to fall and I saw the young children going about the streets shaking the trees and making the leaves fall in mid-summer.
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Old 24th Jul 2017, 11:57
  #11060 (permalink)  
Danny42C
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sidevalve (#11048),

What a gripping and fantastic adventure - and all so well written in a calm, matter-of-fact way! Reading George's Chapter 4, a line took my eye:
... So I was moved to a monastery two miles into the country and about three miles from the German frontier...
There is a bit of history to this: it seems that in the 19th century the religious orders in what was then Prussia had got up Bismarck's nose for some reason. He expelled them all; they moved over to the Netherlands, but kept close to the border with the intention of moving back when times were better.

What with one thing and another they were still there in George's time (1943) and in mine (1960). At RAF Geilenkirchen we had no RC padre, the gap was ably filled by Pater Gregor, a Bavarian Franciscan with perfect English. The RAF sent a car for him to his monastery at Watersleyde (a few miles over the border) every Sunday morning, we often had him to lunch before the car took him back.

I used to go over to Watersleyde one evening a week to improve my woeful spoken German.(Full story this Thread Page 246, #4912).

Cheers, Danny.
 

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