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.

Addendum

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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