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moon, when we were walking south on a road on which we met two endless queues of pedestrians. They had bundles with them, barrows, pushbikes, suitcases, and half of them were going one way, half the other. Their faces, clearly seen in the bright moonlight, were those of exhausted, weary and frightened men and women. Some had left their villages ahead of us and were seeking comfort behind us. Those going our way were on the same mission but in the opposite direction. They were lost in every sense of the word. And when, by daylight, we got to the next small town, we understood the reason for the emigration. Civilisation had ceased. The WC basins were full and overflowing. The water supply, sewers, electricity no longer existed. And civilisation does indeed cease when the sewers stop running. There were few remaining houses and the roads were cratered mercilessly. What these sad people did not realise was that it would be exactly the same wherever they went.


On we went towards Nuremberg, and there we hoped that our long trek would end and that we should find a safe haven and some food, for we were still hungry and the little ration store we had between us was fast disappearing. It was some time on the morning of April 6th that we arrived on the outskirts of the city, and we were greeted with the news that the British had bombed it during the previous night. I know the date, because my own 77 Squadron was on that raid on the night of the 5th. The guards, no more natives of that district than we were, had to make enquiries about the site of the PoW camp and discovered it was on the far side of Nuremberg, as far from where we were as it could be. We suggested to them that we were in no hurry, with no desire to follow the shortest route to it, for that would be right through the centre of the city which had just been bombed. We assured them that we were in no way tired, and that to walk right round the outskirts of the city would give us a little desirable exercise. They seemed to smile, which we took for acquiescence. Then they marched us straight into the city, straight for its centre, straight through the area which had been devastated by the RAF just an hour or two earlier. We tried to look neither to right nor left and kept our eyes lowered and on the road ahead. Fires were still burning in the houses on either side. Fire brigades were trying to deal with what they could. Old ladies were sitting outside what had been their doors on the remnants of what had been their furniture, most of them in tears and all of them in evident distress. We were afraid – afraid of what the populace might do and of the attitude of our guards who could quite easily have taken us around the city and whose refusal to do so had been a very deliberate choice.


But no harm befell us as we walked slowly and with downcast eyes past all the destruction and the only accident was when a boy, up on a damaged rooftop, hurled down a slate which hit one of the guards a glancing blow on the shoulder. We got to the gates of the PoW camp. It had closed the day before. We were glad to leave Nuremberg behind us and get out into the quiet of


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