Fraternization with the locals.

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Owen, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Without wishing to distract anyone from the theme of this excellent thread. I must just say:

    JWP59; Doesn't that just encapsulate one of the great sadnesses of war? How normal, decent men ~ on all sides ~ are sent out by their 'leaders' to kill one another. Men who, like ye Dad and Old George there, would much sooner share a sing song and game of cards.

    Anyway. Just thinking out loud. Back to the Italian girls! :lol:
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Anyway. Just thinking out loud. Back to the Italian girls! :lol:

    Although the "Italian girls" might offer more interest/amusement to this thread it occurred to me that we, as members of HM Forces, also often "fraternised" with our English civilian counterparts.

    When, for a three month period, I was training to be a Driver/Wireless Operator in Whitby in Yorkshire, life was made considerably more comfortable for us by the redoubtable ladies of Whitby who set up tiny cafes in their homes to supply tea & cakes during our tea breaks.

    The premises would invariably be the front room of their homes and the Corporals who marched us around Whitby would know the location of every one of these "comfort stops" and no doubt used to get their own refreshments free for supplying these instant squads of thirsty soldiers.

    One such pit-stop was in a wooden garage that lay between our school at the Metropole Hotel and the dis-used swimming pool along the coastal road.

    As one entered you couldn't help hearing the small record player on a table near the entrance.

    It had one record only, namely "The sun has got his hat on" which played permanently and just like the ancient mariners who were drawn to the rocks by Scylla and the singing mermaids it drew us there every morning during the comfort breaks.

    If someone has a link to this evocative tune could you kindly let this old bloke in Cockfosters have it ?



    Urgent PS
    I am an idiot !...... I've just done what I should have done BEFORE I wrote this article and used GOOGLE to find this super, albeit modern, recording.
    Nemo – The Sun Has Got His Hat On – Listen free and discover music at
    Play it and go back with me to 1942 and a completely different world !
    Roxy likes this.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Roxy likes this.
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  5. vetralla

    vetralla Junior Member

    Anyone who was in the prison camp 68 in Vetralla, north of Rome? We are organizing a day of studies concerning the camp and the English "guests". Some of the older people have fond memories of the English people who were interned there and we want to give the other side of the story (the English side) too.
    Have a look at my website about Vetralla and its English connections.
    Mary Jane Cryan
    Elegant Etruria - Mary Jane Cryan
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Vetrallia -
    spent a few days around Orvieto - Todi et al a couple of years ago visiting a friend who was learning the language - great area to visit and the wine is the best !
  7. vetralla

    vetralla Junior Member

    Tom I am not a real "local" but came to live here 15 yrs. ago and found my niche for researching, no one else was aware or interested in the town's remarkable English connections that date back to 1512 with Henry VIII's ambassador being given the town, then the Stuarts followed as the bust to Cardinal Henry Stuart, Duke of York attests.
    The last period of English "protection" was during the bombings of 1944 but by that time the prison camp where many English pilots, sailors were imprisoned had been emptied. They seemed to get along well with the local population and I am collecting stories, photos, info on this human side of the war,
    Grateful to anyone who can add information.
    And to anyone who comes this way, the town would like to offer hospitality.
    Mary Jane
    Elegant Etruria - Mary Jane Cryan
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mary Jane -
    you picked an excellent spot to live - surrounded by those old crafts - and the craftsmen- we had a fabulous time for the few days we were there -

    I was also there in '44 as we passed by on the way to Fabriano to start the Gothic Line battles from Iesi - afetr we had done a scam march to Spoloto just to confuse the enemy

    the British servicemen always got along with most people especially in miserable conditions - they could share the misery !

  9. vetralla

    vetralla Junior Member

    I understand..its like an elderly neighbor told me in the shop the other day, "Diet...?!... I dieted in 1944"
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Vetrallia -
    Know what they meant as when we were around that area in '44 we were approached by an nearly old man who spoke broad glaswegian asking for food for his wife and six children - he was obviously a leftover from the first war who had married - and his children must have been at least our ages - we gave him an armful of tinned food and he went off happy as a lark - but those were desparate days for civilians and we I did try to ease their lives - but we had a job to do at the same time.

  11. sonofaddaydodger

    sonofaddaydodger Junior Member

    my dad often told thestory of when he was in germanyin the army of occupation,he had to drive a truck to fetch the rattions for himself and 7 others.they were billited in the only intact building in a place called bernstein i thnk near dusseldorthy lived in this building whch happened to be the police station !and a german family lived in the cellar, mother , granny and several kids,anyway it was easter and when he got to the stoores the quatermaster said 'do you want any fish?' dad said how mutch can i have ?the quatermaster said to his helper 'give him the lot! it will only go bad! so they loaded him up with five boxes of cod with a stone weight in each! [14 lbs for the young] and so he went back to the police station with it.he called down to the woman in the celler fish !and in no time it was gone in anything that they could carry it in!. he often wounderd what happened to the family ,and the fish. keith
  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I have just picked up a bargain A4 size softback book at a local store for 1 Euro!

    It is a publication for the Allied Museum here in Berlin and was first published in 2005/2006 called 'It started with a kiss'.

    It is the story of Allied soldiers who married German girls and is extremely interesting reading up to now.

    It is printed in German, English and French language.

  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I have scanned the front and rear of the book and a short story of a British soldier who married a German girl.

    The soldier, Thomas Bert was one of the founding members of the RBL in Berlin, who sadly passed away last year.

    His widow Helga lives about 5 kilometers from me and I take her to the RBL on Friday evenings.

    Imagine the shock when I read their history in this publication!


    Attached Files:

  14. myt1prod

    myt1prod Junior Member

    Quick on-line translation of ;-
    BOUVIGNIES. chez Demoru Gustave
    50-150 organise par Les Mousses
    au profit des coqueleux mobilises

    Dimanche 21 Avril 1940
    Tirage au sort 15 h - Mise au parc 15 h 30

    Free Translation and Professional Translation Services from SDL International

    Never trust a translationprogram :D
    This should be:
    BOUVIGNIES. at Demoru Gustave BIG COMPETITION of ROOSTERS 50-150 organized by 'Les Mousses' (must be a local club name, if translated it would be 'the foams') to the profit of the
    'coqueleux mobilize' (again possible local club name; 'mobilize' translates into 'mobilized' - 'coqueleux' can't be translated, probably dialect, could indicate small (baby) roosters)
    Sunday April 21 1940 Classification by sort (= race/breed/blood) 15 o'clock - Put to the park (meaning; putting the roosters in the presentation pen to be judged) 15 o'clock 30

    It is clearly a local initiatif open to military personel. (note they charge military personel but don't mention a entrance fee for the locals, a French rip off :D)

  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    reading this thread again has got me Austria Python was catching up with the regiment and so a we were down way past 50% of establishment....on the scene comes new Major - with white knees - never heard a shot fired - the whole war in the Uk....!
    He decided that as the discipline was very bad - and we had to agree - as it was a Cavalry regiment - riding would be taught and refreshed - and he would lead the column daily.
    So every early morning while the rest of us were still in bed the column marched through the village - all around and returning to muck out and feed the horses etc - before breakfast - this went on for a few weeks until a sergeant who shall remain unknown persuaded the new Major to try out another horse which came from another squadron

    Strangely ALL of the squadron was up early to watch this march out and it was very good marching through the village like the Horse Guards - turning to cross the river - at which point the new horse decided it was bath time - and lay down in the water depositing the new Major into the icy currents

    That was the last we saw of the new Major...
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards fraternisation with the former enemy,the Allied Powers were primary concerned with the threat of the Nazi underground organisation,the Werewolf, set up by Geobbels.I think that Goebbels took the concept from the pre Hitler defence force,the Wehrwolf,a similar defence force to the Stahlhelm (Great War veterans) but largely composed of working class elements.

    Esienhower thought that fraternisation would compromise security with Werewolf in mind and issed an anti fraternisation order to the Allied occupation troops.In the end it mattered little for the Werewolf threat essentially proved to be not a threat at all. The German civilian population had other priorities.

    For all the stories of the rape and pillage in the East, there appears to be similar fraternisation with the Red Army with many commanders in Berlin having "occupation" German wives.
  17. wangll

    wangll Banned

    EDIT: wangll has copy & pasted another member's post & added spam links.
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I started to read your comment No.57 and was at first a tad confused until I realised you were responding to my opening item at Comment No.2.

    To answer your query, you have to understand that in the hectic atmosphere of moving into a position previously held by the enemy and probably still under shell fire, the niceties of property ownership and the correct dealing with civilians becomes a little confused, to say the least.

    However, I will forgive you completely for getting me confused as you have just bounced this lovely thread and I was able to play, once again, that stirring ditty "The Sun has got his hat on" :)
    (see Comment No.42)

    Take some time off yourself and listen to Ambrose and his Orchestra because this was one of the wartime songs that livened up our training in Whitby in 1942.

    And thanks again Owen !

    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Not for the first time , I have responded to a would-be spammer only to discover that our ever-vigilant mods (in this case Owen) have consigned them to the internet refuse dump.

    Never mind...........,

    It gave me a chance to play "The sun has got his hat on " one more time :)

    Roxy likes this.
  20. sonofaddaydodger

    sonofaddaydodger Junior Member

    My dad while recovering from his wounds was sent over to Germany as a driver in the army of occupation in 1946, he was stationed at a place I think was called Bildesfeld [not sure of the spelling] there were 6 Men billeted in the only undamaged building in the town which was the police station, I think it was near to Dusseldorf, in the basement lived a German woman and several children, it was Easter and my dad had to go to the stores with his lorry and fetch Rations for the men, when he was loading up the quartermaster said to him, I don't suppose you want any Fish? There are six boxes with a stone of cod in each, so they loaded the Fish onto his lorry.
    To see When he got back to the police station, he shouted this German woman, and asked her mostly in sign language if she could use any Fish she went berserk, she shouted women and children from all over the place, to come and get a share of the fish, it must have fed half the town!, But he did say you couldn't help but feel sorry for these women, they had no idea where their Men were, and hadn't seen Fish or much else for about two years

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