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We eventually pulled out for a destination unknown to us, but we later learned from our guards that it was to be a big PoW camp at Nuremberg, many miles to the south. Our relationship with the German Wehrmacht guards was mixed. One of the half dozen, a middle-aged , slightly built soldier, was reasonably courteous, and he was the one who would try to get you a drink of water if you complained of being thirsty. Yet it was he, so he told us, who had lost his wife and child in a raid on Mainz. The others were almost as one would have imagined them to be without having met them – cool, stiff, very German and not in any way friendly. The NCO in charge of them was fairly young and a devout Nazi. He was not particularly unpleasant, perhaps because he was absolutely convinced that the Germans were going to win the War, mainly on account of a new secret weapon which he was quite sure Hitler was going to produce, and which would turn the fortunes of war in their favour overnight. He must have been foretelling the deployment of the V2 rockets, about which he himself at the time had heard nothing. So our relationship was not too unfriendly, but not in any way warm, even after we had all got to know each other reasonably well during a couple of weeks on the road. We had been reconciled to travelling by rail at night, but on this leg of the journey we had an experience which made us think again. Our train came to a grinding halt in the dark, early hours of the morning as we heard the thud of what we realised must be bombs dropped within yards of the carriages. There was fair panic, because it was pitch dark and we had civilians aboard as well as ourselves, and there was a rush for the doors. As in other raids, we were now on parole and free to escape to safety and on our honour to return, so Jimmy and I scrambled along the corridor to the carriage door, to find a German woman on the verge of hysterics, or even over it. She was wringing her hands, moaning in language we could not understand. We grabbed her and, between us, got her down on to the track, trying hard to soothe her with assurances that whatever had been attacking us had gone. ‘Nix mair!’ we cried repeatedly, hoping that we could convince her that there would be no more, if that’s what our German meant.


As we shepherded her off the tracks and through a dimly discerned hedge into a field, whatever had bombed us returned. It was a fast twin – that much we could deduce from its sound – and it strafed the carriages, now empty, from end to end before it disappeared in the darkness. It had been a marauding Mosquito, and we were told that this was a favourite sport of that aircraft. The guards were less than pleased when they saw the two of us return with our lady, but reluctantly had to accept our sign language protestations that our intentions had been completely honourable – from our point of view, nothing more than simple survival.


The next days passed mainly in footslogging and we saw little of actual air activity, but plenty of its results. There was one eerie night, now lit by a brilliant


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