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swiftly after that, deliverance in the welcome shape of a Sherman tank with its complement of American soldiers waving at us from the open turret on its top. They caterpillared through the gates of our compound – the guards obligingly pulled them open – showering everyone with Hershey bars – bars of chocolate in English – as the kriegies resorted to an unholy scramble to retrieve them. I refused to join in the scramble, but I did join in the genuinely hearty cheers we gave our saviours.


The Sherman was not with us for long, and went off to chase more Germans


further eastwards. We calmed down, knowing that we were free men at last, intent only on our next meal and awaiting whatever arrangements might now be made for us. Word came from the senior officers in the compound for us to stay put and carry on as normal, but it was evident that some of the inmates in neighbouring compounds were taking advantage of their new freedom and we heard later that some Russians had got into the township of Moosberg and created no little havoc, apart from committing some rape. We retired, all 640 or so of us, to our hard beds that night to await the morning’s developments. What developed with me was an exceedingly sore throat, and when an American army contingent appeared fairly early that morning they announced that there would be registration of the prisoners and that there was also a medical inspection for any who felt they should report sick. I thought it sensible to do just that, and so did the young American doctor I saw after waiting for an hour or so in the queue. He had a quick look at my throat and, without facilities for diagnosing the trouble, decided it was unsafe for me to remain for another night in the very crowded hut with another 639 or so inmates huddled together in close contact with each other. The American army was bringing up a field hospital to be established nearby, and I was to be shipped off to it just in case my trouble was catching – even diphtheria. I know the date was now May 2nd, for later that day I wrote a postcard to Margaret from my warm bed to tell her I was safe and, in spite of my address, really quite well.


* * * * * S


eeing that field hospital erected was quite fantastic viewing. I was put in a truck with several others who had been identified as needing hospitalisation and driven out, that rather cold May afternoon, to a grass field some miles away. There we were unloaded and asked to sit on the bundles containing our few possessions, in my case mainly my original and damaged blankets, until further notice. I had said goodbye to Jimmy and Jock and the others I knew, not sure as to when I would see them again. As I sat by the side of the field patiently awaiting developments, along the road came a succession of American trucks


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