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Monday, 23 September 2019

Wismar 1945 and 2019: The mystery location solved

Gerard-Jan Gerritsen has pointed out that the last photograph that I used in my original blog entry has a building in the background that shares the same characteristics as one in the preceding photograph.





Thanks to his keen observational skills, the mystery of the location of the photograph of the surrendering Luftwaffe NCO is solved.

10 comments:

  1. My father served in the royal signals in Germany immediately post war, 1945 to 1947. during the winter of 47 while in Dusseldorf he stopped his jeep and went into an abandoned building for a pee... he looked up and saw a circle of stars through the missing roof. On leaving he found he'd been looking through the dome of a Planetarium!

    anyway in 2017 we were able to relocate the building, now a concert hall and show him the pictures...

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    1. Ed Griffiths,

      What a great story ... and I am so pleased that you were able to locate the building and show your father what it looks like now.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Hi Bob,
    So good for you and special to visit Wismar and part of your Father's History. My Dad served at Morati for four years- NW of New Guinea - I've looked up Morati about WW2 on Wikipedia and read a lot about who was there and what had happened...most interesting information- as the only thing I knew about my Dad's service was that at some point in the AIF that he was an Anti-Aircraft Gun Operator...Dad didn't talk much about his Service at all...though he did say that he was there for the Japanese Surrender. Best Wishes. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      My father had a spell in the Burmese jungle after the war in Europe ended, and he hated it. Having to spend four years in NW New Guinea must have been tough.

      In the UK we are able to apply for a copy of a parent's service record, and I got my father's last year. Does the Australian government have a similar scheme whereby you could get a copy of your father's record?

      We got a copy of Sue's dad's service record, and it filled in a lot of gaps. We knew that he had served as a Lineman with the Royal Engineers in the UK, installing telegraph cables in Scotland, and that he had then been sent to India, where he was a cook. What he never told us was that he had become a Signaller with an infantry unit that was sent to Singapore, but was posted away for training as a cook when he got to India. (He had been acting as an unofficial cook before then, and the Army decided that he was a better cook than he was a Signaller.)

      In some ways he was very lucky, as his original unit was captured when Singapore surrendered ... but his new unit was sent up to NE India, and he was wounded during the Battle of Kohima, when they were so short of fighting men that even the cooks and clerks were sent into the frontline!

      After he came out of hospital, he was sent to GHQ Delhi, where he worked as the cook for the Brigadier's Mess. As a result, he ended up cooking for Lord Mountbatten, a fact of which he was very proud.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Hi Bob,
      Thank you for the reply. Excellent information on your Father's Service- you are very fortunate to know this History...yes, I think you are correct that the Australian Government must have 'Service Records'...it would be interesting to see what information is available....I know that Dad was asked if he'd be part of the Occupation Force for japan after the War- he declined the offer and returned home via Air Transport. Dad passed away in 1993- I have his Medals and some photos. All the Best. KEV.

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    3. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      It cost me £30.00 to get a copy of my father's service record, and it was money well spent. I'd certainly recommend that you do the same, as you will no doubt find out stuff that you would never have guessed.

      My maternal grandfather was on troopships that went to Japan to collect POWs for repatriation, and I understand that it was quite an odd place to visit in the aftermath of the war. MacArthur ran it like a personal fiefdom, and set up the institutions that became the model for the current Japanese way of government.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Hi Bob.

    Your father-in-law was one of the famous cooks pressed into front-line action at Kohima. Alongside the Dirty Half Hundreds? Then worked for Mountbatten. Not surprised he was very proud. Wow.

    Just found this quote from Lord Louis on the subject of Kohima: "probably one of the greatest battles in history... in effect the Battle of Burma... naked unparalleled heroism... the British/Indian Thermopylae."

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    1. Nundanket,

      After the war my father-in-law refused to accept any medals. When I asked him why, he told me that he had seen men who should have won gallantry medals given nothing except the campaign medals everyone got. He felt that by accepting them, he was somehow demeaning their gallantry.

      Mountbatten was right; the Battles of Kohima and Imphal secured India from invasion, and were as much a turning point for the British as El Alamein ... but nowhere near as well known.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I just came across this too: https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/52/a2389052.shtml

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    1. Nundanket,

      Thanks for the link. It made interesting reading, and reminds us just how extraordinary ordinary people can be when events make it necessary.

      All the best,

      Bob

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