WW II, a British focus



Memories of Flight Sergeant Harry Tenny

I remember little of my decent except for the cold at 20,000 ft and incomplete darkness.

I could hear the roar of bomber engines above me and the thudding of the ackack guns below me. I became aware of a voice talking and realized it was me saying my prayers.

At last my downward jaunt came to an end as I landed in a dirty big tree.

I recall swinging from side to side many times before I finally managed to free myself from my chute entangled in the branches above me and clamber to the ground.

We had been told to hide our chutes on landing, but since my chute was hidden in the middle of a big tree I saw no sense in tempting fate by trying to get it down simpley to bury it in the ground.

It was also time wasting if some one had seen me come down I wanted to be away from this area.

I hurriedly left the scene and hid in another part of the wood as best I could.

I remained on the loose for three days before dropping a clanger by trying to go through the village where a dog became very interested in me and it aroused the interest of it's owner who just happened to be a member of the Volksturm (home Guard)

I then became officially a Kreigsgefangener (POW).

An amusing incident took place after my capture. After a good nights sleep I was some what knackered after my experience and not a little apprehensive as to my immediate future I was placed on a wooden form on the back of a wagon and eight soldiers were placed on forms at each side of the wagon.

Each was carrying a rifle and a spade, which did nothing for my piece of mind.Then an Officer with a pistol sat in front of me and although nothing was said one can imagine what was racing through my mind.

After about five miles the soldiers got out and the Officer and I carried on until we came to a barracks where I was locked therein for the night.

The next morning I and two other aircrew were taken to Berlin which was still burning three days after our raid.

The Officer guarding us was very nervous should the civilian population see us and decide to take reprisals. In fact we did see they had already hung some of the flyers.

After a brief interrogation we were rushed along with about another twenty airmen to a coach that took us to a station and we were told if any one spoke a single word every one in the coach would be shot as the guards would not be able to protect us should the civilians decide to attack.

I could understand why, but on remembering Manchester blazing I thought an eye for an eye, and they started it any way.

The train journey was uneventful until we arrived at Frankfurt am Maine and every one was crowded onto a tram that ran down the center of the main street and we were surprised to see a Woolworths at the bottom of the street on the station.

A branch of The Salvation Army who were giving out a kind of ersatz coffee which tasted pretty horrible until one aquired a taste for it. It was acceptable but not looked forward to.