Letter from the War Office, 22 AUG 1940 Sir, I regret to have to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office to the effect that No. 922211 (Rank) (Name) Gunner Thomas Milton Clifford (Regiment) Royal Artillery was posted as missing on the 'date unknown' The report that he is missing does not necessarily mean he has been killed, as he may be a prisoner of war or temporarily separated from his regiment. Official reports that men are prisoners of war take some time to reach this country, and if he has been captured by the enemy it is probable that unofficial news will reach you first. In that case I am to ask you to forward any postcard or letter received at once to this office and it will be returned to you as soon as possible. Should any further offical information be received it will be at once communicated to you.
- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Thomas Milton Clifford, David Thomas (His son)
- Location of story:
- Shropshire and Derby
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 August 2005
This story has been submitted by Alison Tebbutt, Derby CSV Action Desk on behalf of David Thomas. The author has given his permission, and fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
This letter relates to my father, Milton Clifford Thomas (known as Cliff to everyone) who died in 1994 aged 74. His parents received the letter whilst living in Shropshire, however Cliff lived in Derby from about 1953 until his death, bringing up a family of eight children with his wife, Olive.
Cliff always spoke highly of the German people despite fighting against them for the duration of the war, including being evacuated from Dunkirk when injured in 1940. He only related a few stories about the war that I remember, so perhaps this one is the most relevant.
Cliff was in the back of an ambulance along with a number of of other injured troops after being wounded on the battlefield. In the chaos of the fighting, the driver of the ambulance strayed onto the German side of the line. The ambulance was then stopped by German soldiers. Cliff said that at this point he thought he would die, as did the other injured men in the ambulance, but to their surprise, the German soldiers directed the ambulance driver back in the right direction, escorting them part of the way.
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