Sunday, 4 December 2011

A Meal of 5 Boiled Sweets - Dec. 1944: Military Monday

This posting  is taken from notes that my father John Weston (1912-2003) made on his war experiences.  He often talked about them and I am afraid it often did provoke the reaction “Not the war again, Dad”.  It was only later that we came to realise what a life-defining period it was and I persuaded him to write down an account.  This is his story from winter 1944.  

“I served in the RAF Codes & Ciphers Branch and was indoctrinated into the mysteries of Enigma and the One-Time Pad code.  I was seconded to General Bradley’s US 12th Army Group HQ and landed in Normandy in 1944 for the advance on Paris.

From Paris we went onto Verdun and then Luxembourg.  I made friends with a former member of the government and was invited to his house.  He produced champagne from his cellar and served them with lovely cakes with kirsch in them.

It was now December and bitterly cold – lots of ice and snow.  Out of the blue at 4a.m. on December 16th came a major attack on the American front. There was pandemonium as the Germans broke through the US lines, troops retreating and the populations streaming back from the German advances.  The GIs ran out of ammo. and threw their rifles away – some 8000 were taken prisoners of war.  We were cut off in Luxembourg city as the Germans had separated the 12th Army from the US 1st Army further north as they were making for Brussels.  We carried thermite bombs in a safe in our operations vehicle to be used to destroy our codebooks and machines.  We had rifles fully loaded with us at all times. 

We were dropped supplies of food and more important the GIs got further weapons and ammo. supplies.  At one stage we were being served up five boiled sweets for one meal!"

This meal of five boiled sweets became an apocryphal family story!  

(See Advance into Paris for an earlier story from Dad's memoirs)

Copyright © 2011, Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

 
Military Monday is a daily prompt from http://www.geneabloggers.com/, used by many bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

1 comment:

  1. Such a pragmatically told story-perhaps contributing to your youthful reactions-but what amazing events and experiences underlie it. He must have been such an interesting man, with such a low key telling of his important role.

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