You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » In the Army Now - The joy of the Armed Forces » Post 51206 | Search
This is a question In the Army Now - The joy of the Armed Forces

I've never been a soldier. I was an air cadet once, but that mostly involved sitting in a mouldy hut learning about aeroplane engines with the hint that one day we might go flying.

Yet, anyone who has spent time defending their nation, or at least drinking bromide-laced-tea for their nation, must have stories to tell. Tell them now.

(, Thu 23 Mar 2006, 18:26)
Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

« Go Back

Not me, but my grandad
It all begins in early 1942, somewhere in North Africa, probably in Egypt. Tea had just been brewed when all hell broke loose. The Germans had bomabarded a detachement of C company, who were overwhelmed, taken prisoner of war. Two-thirds of the battalion were lost.

The POWs were marched 4 days with little food and water, then handed to the Italians. Transit camp (near Tripoli) had awful hygeine, lasted 4 months, and many men died.

Transferred to Naples, then a POW camp near Sforzacosta, there he and his mates stayed, as always, undernourished. News gets through - Allies land in the South, but the Germans started taking over Italy from the North.

Did I mention that my grandad was Jewish? Well, plans were made in case the Germans arrived first. The day came that the Italian sentries were looking a little agitated, so he and two mated bolted out of the open camp gate. They ran for two hours, into the hills.

People in the first village were helpful - gave them clothes (a Navy blue pinstripe suit in my grandad's case) food, and a map. The journey South was hard. Not everyone was helpful, some were Fascists. Paths were avoided. British commandos were met, but a rescue rendez-vous never came through. The German forces passed them, and help became rarer.

Reliable info about Allied forces locations led to a last ditch attempt to cross the front lines. The three men were to run across a valley, at 5 minute intervals, meet at a specified tree. My grandad was the last across, but he didn't meet his comrades. He found a NZ forward post who gave him a rather welcome cup of tea.

He returned home after rehabilitation. His two mates did make it back. He never, ever talked about this story - he wrote it down once. It all seems a bit Hollywood, but it's true. My grandad had to be a hero, just for staying alive.

Apologies not for length or girth, but for lack of humour.
(, Sun 26 Mar 2006, 19:50, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1