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15 October 2014
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We Were Lucky Not to Be Bombedicon for Recommended story

by Benjamin Hardcastle

Contributed by 
Benjamin Hardcastle
People in story: 
Benjamin Hardcastle
Location of story: 
Arnhem, Holland
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
25 November 2003

I was based at Arnhem Headquarters, near the Belgian border to Holland. From the base we supplied petrol, water and arms to the front lines.

One evening, a group of us were sat around the field. We had a fire with a steel funnel and a petrol blower which had a big flame, on which were placed four dixies where the cook was preparing a meal for us all.

Suddenly there were German planes flying overhead. The RSM shouted, 'Put that fire out!' I picked up a jerry can, thinking it was full of water, and threw it on the fire. The flames shot up to the sky. It was petrol I had thrown on by mistake. We quickly covered the flames with sods and soil to put out the fire. The planes just flew on - we were very lucky not to be bombed.

The RSM asked, 'What's that man's name?'

'Benjamin Hardcastle,' I replied.

I was told that I would be on charge the following day. I honestly thought I would be shot in the morning.

The next day I explained that there was no way of telling which jerry cans contained water and which contained petrol. I was let off the charge. Afterwards all the cans that contained petrol were marked in red. All the cans that contained water were marked in white. A lucky escape!

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British Army Category
Arnhem 1944 Category
Netherlands Category
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