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The War of Two Sailors part One

by stow-hist

Harold Williams

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Harold Williams and Emil Weingaertner
Location of story: 
On the High Seas
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
08 November 2004

September 3rd 1939
Harold Williams was aged fifteen and thought the war would be over before he was old enough to fight. He had been scrumping apples from an orchard in Combs and arrived home to Poplar Hill to find people all out in their front gardens discussing the news that had just been announced on the radio.
Emil Weingaertner was working as a seventeen year old farm labourer at Banat, near Timisora, Romania when it was declared that Britain and Germany were at war.
November 3rd 1939
Emil heard that his father, Freidrich, had died in Teplitz, Bessarabia, Romania although Emil did not get the news until December. Emil returned home and got a job as an ostler to the Döbler family who were land owners.
October 20th 1940
Earlier during 1940 Russia annexed the Bessarabian district of Romania, so by October , Teplitz had to be evacuated. Everyone had to leave with all they could carry. Emil took a loaded horse and cart to Galattz, in Romania where German soldiers took the horse and cart. Emil was left with just a few clothes and a bit of food. He was then put on an over loaded boat and sent down the river Danube to Hubertsburg in Saxony. There he was held in a Transit Camp which held 5,000 people until March 1941 when he volunteered for the German Navy and was sent to Tuschiner Wald Transit Camp in Poland holding just 500 men.
January 31st 1941
Harold was seventeen and working at the leather glove works in Milton Road, Stowmarket. He had just left off work for his lunch break when he saw a German bomber fly over the town, turn at the far end of the town and as it flew back over the town he saw the bomb doors open and five bombs tumble out. Four of the bombs landed directly on the Congregational Church, the fifth landed on a house in Strickland’s Road killing a lady who had just return home from the station after seeing her son off to war. This was Harold’s first taste of war and he believes that if the plane had bee a few feet higher or just a few feet to one side a large part of the main street would have been devastated by the blast and that in many ways it was fortuitous that the bombs mainly hit the church, for although it was a fine old building it was probably the only one in the area solid enough to contain the blast.

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This story has been placed in the following categories.

Air Raids and Other Bombing Category
Childhood and Evacuation Category
Resistance and Occupation Category
Suffolk Category
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