gallery Denmark 1944/45

With Danish soldiers when on Military Mission For my final tour of duty, I was sent to Denmark; I found myself aboard a Dakota airplane heading for Copenhagen where we were billeted with the Danish Lifeguards. The Guards Armoured Division supplied a military mission to Denmark, the purpose of which was to instruct and train Danish armed forces in the role of the Bren Carrier.

We were honoured guests; Danish hospitality knew no bounds. One highlight was a dinner hosted by George, Prince of Denmark. I still have the menu, in Danish, somewhat tattered and a mere 45 inches long. I believe the Germans regarded Denmark as a larder to be cosseted as a supplier of goodies to the Reich.

Certainly, the food parcel that arrived at my mother's home took her breath away; after years of rationing it was a veritable cornucopia.

We on the mission enjoyed a variety of entertainments. I was taken to a performance by Victor Borge, and quite recently I was given video set of 'The Best of Victor Borge' which brought back other memories such as a visit to the famous Tivoli Gardens and a visit to a sauna where, thankfully, I was not beaten with twigs.

The castle at Elsinore I also recall being taken by train to a picnic at the seaside. On the journey we passed the castle at Elsinore where, in Shakespeare's play Hamlet soliloquised whether, "to be or not to be".

What a strange irony of war was Denmark. It had been invaded, conquered, and occupied yet emerged virtually unscathed; whilst Germany the invader lay ravaged and defeated.

I was demobilised into the Army Reserve on February 8th 1946. However as a regular, I was still liable to recall until my 12 years had expired, and it was not until May 14th 1948 that I could walk permanently in 'Civvy Street' once again.


It was not my intention to continue my account beyond my demobilisation. However my grandson, on whose website this account appears, asks: what were my feelings on returning home after demobilisation?

How does one explain the unexplainable?

A youthful soldier of eighteen set out on a journey that lasted for ten years which encompassed many experiences including a world War. As a man of twenty-eight he returned to an unfamiliar world. How did he feel?

The word 'uncertainty' sprang to mind, so I looked it up in my Roget's Thesaurus and found a column of comparable words and phrases such as 'perplexity, which way to turn, unsettled, afloat in a sea of doubt, on the horns of a dilemma'. I quote this last phrase because I was sorely tempted to return to the life I knew and make the army my career.

However I did not. I made use of that Army First Class Certificate of Education I had studied for whilst in Egypt and applied – successfully – to join the Emergency Teachers' Training Scheme, designed to replenish the acute shortage of teachers caused by the War. I taught for thirty-five years and retired twenty-five years ago.

I hope my grandson is satisfied. The well is now dry!

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