A Wooden Horse and Cart

Contributed by Sam Woollard

A Wooden Horse and Cart

I was 5 years old in 1944 when I noticed a body of men marching past our house on Dovercourt Green each day. My Gran explained to me that they were German POWs marching to and fro to Tollgate where they were building their prison camp. As they marched I used to slip in between their ranks and hold hands and march with them. One among them was a naval interpreter and he befriended me when my Gran used to pass on home-made cakes and sweets for the prisoners to share. In return he would make me small gifts, at first they were simple things made of grass such as a cross or a windmill. Then he made me a wooden revolver in a leather holster and a clown attached to an H frame so that when the handles were squeezed the clown tumbled over and finally for Christmas 1946 he carved out this horse and cart which was his repatriation present to me. It came with a handmade card bearing his name, Karl Ringlemann and an address in Berlin but sadly when I contacted it some 15 years later there was no reply. Over the years I have played with it, my children and my grandchildren and it is a wonderful testament to a very kind man whose name I will always remember.

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