BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

24 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Madame Butterfly

by derbycsv

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
derbycsv
People in story: 
Christopher Robin Gottschald, Paul Werner Gottschald, Dorothy June Gottschald (Elliott)
Location of story: 
Nottingham
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A6002047
Contributed on: 
03 October 2005

This story has been submitted by Alison Tebbutt, Derby CSV Action Desk on behalf of Christopher Gottschald. The author has given his permission and fully understands the site's terms and conditions

This is the story of how my parents met. My father, Paul Werner Gottschald, was born in Meissen, Germany, in 1920. He was apprenticed to a watchmaker and was a keen member of the sea scouts. When the scouting movements were taken over by the Hitler Youth, he was asked to swear allegiance to the Fuhrer, which he refused to do. A friend of the family arranged for him to be called up for the Navy to save him from a Hitler Youth Tribunal.

During the war he had been a rangefinder on the Scharnhorst, but later was serving on an armed merchantman and had attainted a rank equivalent to Chief Petty Officer. This ship was sunk and my father was brought to England as a prisoner of war.

Whilst he was in a P.O.W. camp near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, he would repair watches for the English soldiers and got paid for the work. The camp commandant was a collector of antique watches, so he did quite well out of the work.

He bought a bicycle with the money and kept it hidden in the bushes outside the camp, having provided himself with a hole in the fence. The bicycle was used for trips to the theatre in Nottingham. After one trip to see Madame Butterfly at the Theatre Royal, he decided to go for a coffee before returning to the camp. My mother, Dorothy June Elliott at that time, was managing the coffee bar where he went. They were married in November 1947 and my father spent the rest of his life in this country. He opened his own watchmakers shop in Nottingham after working three years as a face worker in a coal mine to raise the money to get started.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Family Life Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy