Here’s an intriguing bit of offbeat local history from blog stalwart Andy Dennis, relating to a friendship his father, Derrick Dennis developed immediately following the war, during military service.
It’s a fascinating relationship I (and I’m sure readers) would love to know more about; German POW and British serviceman, brought together by the Second World War, and separated by the Cold War.
I’ll let Andy explain…
Something quirky, though I’m not sure whether it will be of interest for your blog. This isn’t really local history, but it does relate to a local lad.
The coverage of VE Day reminded me of something I was going to do years ago, but things got in the way and after Dad died there didn’t seem much point. After the war Dad did his national service in the RAF. After basic training he was posted to Llanbedr, on the Welsh Coast, near Harlech, but was promoted Corporal and transferred to Tangmere, near Chichester. While there he befriended a German prisoner of war named Heinz, who worked as a mechanic. Obviously, relations between British and German personnel had become more relaxed by then. I don’t know why a POW should still be there so long after the war ended. Eventually, Dad came home and Heinz went back to his home, which I think was in the Leipzig area. They kept in touch by exchanging Christmas cards and such, but when the Wall went up in 1961 they were unable to continue.
The two chaps in front of the lorry are Heinz (left) and Dad (Cpl Derrick Dennis). On the back it says simply ‘July 47’ and ‘Heinz & Self’.
The two other images are, perhaps, more intriguing. I imagine there was once another piece of paper for the sole, but the object was that Heinz wanted some new boots ‘2 pair’ and didn’t know what size. My father dated it 19/2/48.
That is all I know.
This really has fascinated me. Can anyone help with this? I know it’s a long shot, but the mystery and sad termination of the friendship really has piqued my interest.
Please comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers to Andy for a very thought provoking and interesting contribution.