19th May 1945:  "I have my carbon copy..." by quietpurplehaze

19th May 1945: "I have my carbon copy..."

LEAVING DUX AT LAST

"We were up early the next morning, Sat 19-5-45. The weather was grand, brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky. The 3 Americans came along about 9 a.m. and brought with them two German women. I gathered these two ladies had ideas of getting to America - they spoke our language quite well. There was an elderly man too, who wanted to get to Pilsen where his home was and the Americans agreed to take him as I believe he had given them food.

We loaded our food and a few belongings. I had taken two little figures and two ash-trays from the factory which I brought home. Our truck had a hood over the back and so the two women and the man were concealed inside. In all, there were 11 or 12 of us on the vehicle and we left Dux at
9.45 a.m.

The driver kept up a good average speed. The three Americans sat in the front seat and four of us behind them and there was one chap sitting on each front wing. I recollect we ran out of petrol at one stage of the journey miles from anywhere. We piled out and had a stretch and a little food. After an hour or so along came a lorry driven by a German civilian. He stopped and offered to tow us along. His lorry was driven by wood gas which was a common thing out there.

We started off again and covered many miles. Eventually we reached a town where we got some petrol. We felt that going into Pilsen under our own steam was much more thrilling than being on tow and so we thanked our lorry driver most heartily and soon left him behind. We reached Pilsen in the early evening and it started to rain. However, that did not damp our spirits as we discovered the aerodrome very easily.

Bill Peryer and I remained together. We discovered a building with a notice telling newcomers to report there. Inside we were shown into an improvised office and an American N.C.O. asked how many our party numbered and he then sent someone off for rations for us. He directed us to another building and told us to find other chaps to make our group up to 27. We discovered later that each plane had seating capacity for that number. We eventually made ourselves up to 27 and were given a group number, which alluded to the order in which we were to leave the aerodrome. We had to fill up a form in duplicate. I have my carbon copy; the top copy, I imagine, was sent on to England.

After completing the form, we were subjected to a brief de-lousing. This consisted of a kind of bellows which blew out some dust, which I imagined to be D.D.T. or similar, into our clothing, up the sleeves and inside the tunic and down the neck. It wasn’t altogether very efficient but I suppose it had a purpose.

We returned to the office and received our rations - what the Americans call their ‘K’ rations. They were very compact and as far as I can remember consisted of such things as a small tin of meat and veg., a small tin of biscuits, paper carton containing 3 cigarettes and a very small carton containing enough Nescafé for one cup. I cannot remember everything but I have given a few items here.

We were shown a building and told to find a room to spend the night and to be on the aerodrome field in the morning in our group ready to go should our turn arrive. We had to sleep on the floor and were glad we had brought our blankets along. We were decidedly more settled now and went to sleep hoping tomorrow would see us on our way home."

from my dad Bert Martin's diaries, now ex-PoW I guess

n.b. the quality of the reproduction of this form is the best I can do - it's probably possible to read that my dad was captured at Tobruk on 21-6-42 and 'returned to military control' ( of the third U.S Army) on this day in 1945.

©SWWEC
what a great text. thank you so very much for sharing
May 19th, 2016  
Amazing Hazel ! thanks for sharing !
May 19th, 2016  
Wow, what a piece of history.
May 19th, 2016  
So full of interest Hazel
May 19th, 2016  
really enjoying this amazing piece of history. Thanks Hazel :)
May 19th, 2016  
Compulsive reading.
May 19th, 2016  
Interesting form and details of your Dads journey to freedom at last.
May 19th, 2016  
This is so very interesting - what a great book these accounts would make. As always, thanks for sharing.
May 19th, 2016  
The fascinating saga continues.
May 19th, 2016  
Great shot and your dad was a great, descriptive writer...so interesting, Hazel
May 19th, 2016  
Great story and capture of this historic document.
May 19th, 2016  
Fascinating.
May 19th, 2016  
Such an interesting document and continuing story Hazel:)
May 19th, 2016  
@pcoulson

One more week to tell! Thanks for your interest, Peter.
May 19th, 2016  
An infinitely interesting past!
May 19th, 2016  
This is a very interesting writing. Your dad had a nice way with words.
Great piece of history.
May 19th, 2016  
Thank you for sharing very interesting indeed
May 19th, 2016  
Great story. I can only imagine how he must be feeling on his journey home.
May 19th, 2016  
Wow! My husband and I are thrilled with each entry! Thank you for sharing!
May 20th, 2016  
Fascinating narrative ...Wonderful that you have preserved this piece of history!
May 20th, 2016  
Wonderful picture and story. Congratulations on making the Trending Page and the PP . Well deserved.
May 20th, 2016  
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