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15 October 2014
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Driving in Germany, Italy and the Desert

by Wakefield Libraries & Information Services

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Contributed by 
Wakefield Libraries & Information Services
People in story: 
Arthur B
Location of story: 
South Kirkby, Italy, The Desert, Berlin
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 December 2004

Collected at Bullenshaw Day Centre, Hemsworth, by Val Hickin, Centre Manager, this story was submitted to the People's War site by Christine Wadsworth of Wakefield Libraries and Information Services on behalf of Arthur B. and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

It was in 1939 when I was sent into the desert, I was there for three and half years. It was when Montgomery said “Today we go forward not one step back”.

I was in Berlin and saw Stalin, Churchill and Eisenhower sign the agreement.

All our letters home were censored. I was a driver, driving a wagon which was fitted with a propeller to the back, so that it could go into water. It carried eighty 4 gallon cans of petrol and we followed the tanks to keep them filled up. I also drove in Italy and from a distance I saw the Pope. All our food was in tins and had to be eaten out of the tin. We had to eat and sleep in our wagons.

When I came out of the army I went back to work at Kirkby Colliery later I went driving for St John’s Ambulance.

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Message 1 - Re: Driving in Germany, Italy and the Desert

Posted on: 13 December 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Arthur

You say that you were "in Berlin and saw Stalin, Churchill and Isenhower sign the agreement". I'm afraid there never was any such meeting.

Perhaps this is an opportune moment to clarify who met and where, regarding the surrender of the Third Reich.

The first document of unconditional surrender by the armed forces of the Third Reich in Holland, north-west Germany, and Denmark was signed by Admiral Hans von Frieberg at 6.20 p.m. on 4 May 1945 on Luneberg Heath, to Montgomery.

At 1.41 a.m on 7 May a further document of unconditional surrender, signed by General Jodl, of all German forces, was signed in Eisenhower's headquarters in Rheims. Bedell-Smith signed as witness on behalf of the Allies, General Suslaparov on behalf of Russia, and General Sevez for France. Eisenhower remained in an adjacent room and refused to meet or shake hands with any Nazi.

Despite the unconditional surrender, some German units continued fighting on the eastern front, but on 8 May, the Germans surrendered to the Russians at Karlshorst.

On 16 July, after the Potsdam Conference, Churchill did visit Berlin, but Stalin was never there.



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