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Were They Really Spies?

by Stanley H Jones

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Stanley H Jones
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Stanley Jones
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06 August 2003

Just a small incident - but a memory which is still very clear. This may now be one of the more amusing stories of the war but it happened in a climate of fear and was taken very seriously at the time. Union Street, Trowbridge, was in those days a very close knit community and in the evening families gathered at the front doors, sometimes sitting, sometimes standing, to talk over the news of the day. Very few houses had gardens - only small back yards. The older folk were gossiping - we were playing, when along came a motorcycle and sidecar - the two young men in army dress asked directions, in broken English. Off they went up Timbrell Street and the cry then went up that these men were spies!
Later we were reliably informed by the
'elders' of the street that they had been captured. In those days any such story - fuelled by rumour -was quickly blown up out of all proportion as it was passed from person to person. Since then having watched a lot of war films I now picture these men like characters from The Great Escape or
Dad's Army. Whether they were spies will never be known but it does really illustrate those days of war when we were being warned by the Goverment to watch out for German parachutists landing in our towns. Perhaps they had baled out from a stricken German aircraft and were trying to reach freedom. It was probably too early in the War to have escaped prisons-of-war. If there are two elderly gentleman - now of course our friends - reading this from the comfort of their homes somewhere is Germany you are not forgotten. The older folk of the Street have now passed on but there is at least one of the then younger ones who can still picture you riding off into the unknown!
Thanks for the memory.

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