- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Eric Richard Billington
- Location of story:
- Northern Germany
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 30 January 2006
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Sabina Tajbhai from WM CSV Action Desk on behalf of Eric Richard Billington and has been added to the site with his permission. Eric Richard Billington fully understands the sites terms and conditions.
“Victory in Europe Day” by Eric R. Billington (Seventh Armoured Division, Desert Rats.
Our tanks came to a halt for the evening well up into the Schlewig Holstein area of northern Germany.
This was apparently just another night of hundreds stretching right back to Normandy and the War would go on foe ever!
The supply lorries came up with ammunition, food and petrol, including spare cans to get us deep into Denmark on the next day.
With the column however there came a seemingly unbelievable rumour that hostilities would cease next morning.
Not waiting for any confirmation, we immediately tapped our supply of wines and spirits from the back of out tank; these had previously been liberated from the ruins of Hamburg.
My memories of the evening’s celebrations are rather vague, though I do remember climbing inside the turret of the tank. Unfortunately the urge to sleep was greater than my ability to get out again, so I snored away the night curled up amongst the internal mechanisms. Maybe I was posted missing?
I was awakened early next morning by an ear splitting barrage of explosions of guns of all types. I felt as if I was dying and was quite convinced that our tank had received a mortal hit from a German ‘Tiger’ tank!
Struggling to the top of the turret and peeping out, I discovered the firing to be all into the sky — the last shots of the European war from both sides.
Quickly I grabbed the Verey pistol and sent up coloured flares as my own personal salvo.
My recollections of the rest of that day are particularly vivid.
Our solidarity tank at the side of the road watching while thousands and thousands of beaten German soldiers, all still fully armed, marched back during all the hours of daylight. A most pathetic sight they were, but what an impressive experience it made for us to finalise the campaign and the European war.
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