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Doubtless some of the guards had been involved and bribed to cooperate, but the risk of discovery had to be avoided. What we wanted was the news. So at the appropriate hour each day no more than a dozen or so kriegies would repair to our hut and there huddle round the receiver to listen to the voice of Britain. A greater gathering would have alerted our captors, and the few who had heard the news would then quietly disseminate whatever information was relevant or interesting to the rest of the compound. The concealment of that receiver was a useful lesson. Some of the more common bits and pieces scattered around our hut were the cardboard Red Cross parcels which lay on the floor and, open and half empty, on the top of beds. The set was simply parked, completely unprotected and uncovered, in an open Red Cross parcel, the last thing the Germans would have thought of searching. On this particular day a rumour had gone round that the Germans were intending to move a number of RAF officers to the remoteness of the Bavarian mountains, there to hold them hostage as bargaining counters should the ultimate disaster befall their military forces. We were not amused. Such action was against the terms of the Geneva Conventions and boded no good for those who might be involved.


It was with the greatest relief, therefore, that we heard on the air via our little set that Mr Churchill himself, who had somehow been made aware of the threat, had issued a stern warning to the Germans that any of them involved in such an exercise would be most severely dealt with when the inevitable and imminent end of the War would permit. In the event we were not threatened further and heard no more of it.


In fact, the next thing we did hear was the sound of gunfire, for the American ground forces had advanced to our very doorstep. The steeple of the small church in Moosberg nearby was visible to us and we saw it was occupied by a couple of German soldiers with their rifles or machine guns – they were too far away to tell exactly what. They were not there for long. An artillery shell removed them and the steeple in one blast. The gunfire came nearer, obviously moving towards us at a fair rate of knots,


and the adrenalin began to flow as our anticipation grew. Our guards were a sight to behold. A number of SS Stormtroopers appeared at our compound gates, and it seemed they were in fierce argument with our Wehrmacht friends who were charged with looking after us and who were apparently in no mood to abandon their responsibilities! We learned later that, even under threat of being shot there and then as traitors, the vast majority of them refused to budge and were determined to stay behind with the prisoners and trust to the mercy of the advancing enemy.


The SS men disappeared, taking with them only one or two of our guards, and it was just in time. The gunfire was now to the east of us as well as coming from the west from whence we could expect deliverance. And deliverance came


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