WW II, a British focus



Memories of Pete House

email: pete_house@email.msn.com

My Army Serial Number (ASN) is 34546765. My German Number is 23824. I was a Private First Class (Pfc.) at the time of capture although My Battery Commander told me the morning of December 16 that I would be the new Supply Sergeant (Staff Sgt.). That afternoon he was killed by enemy shelling. And by daylight the next day we were totally cut off from the division. I was a machine gunner in A Battery, 590 Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm howitzers).

I was held at Stalag 9B near Bad Orb when on March 20, 1945, 2047 British Non-Coms arrived from Breslow. All of us at Stalag 9B were actually starving to death. Red Cross boxes were non-existant. Most of the newly arrived Brits had been captured at Dunkirk (1940) or North Africa. They had been working in the mines. I visited them right after they arrived. Three of the guys had a small contraption that one of them turned a handle, a second inserted bits of twigs and wood. This was a forced air stove they had made and were making a pot of tea! And they had a tin of Carnation milk, sugar, and of course tea. They explained that while working in the mines they received more food and a Red Cross Box each week. They had so much food that they were able to trade food to other POWs for watches, pens, and money. They learned to make all sorts of things with the empty tin cans. They removed the solder from the tin can seams, used the canned orange juice for acid and were able to solder all sorts of things. When we took over the camp from the Germans April 1, 1945, I was a camp MP and was assigned to a post with the Brits. After my guard duty I went to the command post where they offered me a cup of tea with Carnation milk and real sugar. I was a pig and quickly took a mouth full and badly burned my mouth, but I was free!.

Pete House