- Contributed by
- Robin Warne
- People in story:
- Lt. Leslie Warne
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 01 June 2005
My father, Leslie Warne tells this story....
During WW2 the majority of V1 and V2 missiles were targeted on London and SE England, but nearly as many were targeted on the comparatively smaller area of the port area of Antwerp (and the nearby residential area). During a period of of about nine months, night and day, seven days a week, some missile, V1 or V2, struck the taget area of Antwerp about every twenty minutes. I was an officer in a Port Construction and Repair unit of the Royal Engineers and Antwerp was my worst experience of recieving enemy fire, but on only two occasions did I come face to face at short range with armed Germans, and being outgunned made quick retirement.
Many of the citizens of Antwerp left the town for the country at night time. but to a large extent came into Antwerp to work during the day. With one or two exceptions the British and American and Canadian troops stood up well ( except my immediate superior officer who was killed, and nearly 1000 killed in one V2 which hit a cinema, and about 400 civilians and troops killed when a V2 hit the main square at midday on a Saturday).
I appreciate that front line troops confronted the enemy at short range on many occasions, but such occasions were more memorable to me than the hundreds of times we were targetted by V1s or V2s.
The first occasion when I faced up to armed Germans at short range was when I was carrying out a reconnaissance along the East bank of the river Ijssel in Holland near the north end of the river near the Ijsselmeer or Zuyder Zee.
It was thought at the time that the Germans had moved back to the West of Holland, the area of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and our forces generally were still well to the East of the river.
I was driving a jeep on a road on top of the East embankment of the river when I saw an armoured car on the West bank. At first I thought it was one of ours, but as more of it appeared from behind the West of river embankment, I recognised it as German and also that the turret was swinging round to point the gun at me.
I turned off the road down the slope of the embankment, fortunately without overturning, and moved south, being thankful for the river between us and the enemy.
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