WW II, a British focus



Memories of Flight Sergeant Harry Tenny

In the room the only furniture was a bed, a table with chair, and a bucket. There was a window in the stone wall with iron bars but no glass. At night time the local kids would come and yell obscenities at me, but since I did not understand what was being said it went straight over my head.

Every morning the guard would come and let me out to empty my bucket, and the latrine where I was to empty my bucket was about a quarter of a mile away from the jail.

It was embarrassing and to offset this I imagined the music hall song "there's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza dear Liza"

They brought me soup and bread twice a day and I thought if this was only for a week, I hoped, it was bearable and passed quiet quickly.

After the week was up they sent me back to the big camp at Muhlberg where we were interrogated once again to find out what we had been up to whilst on the run, and, or if someone on the outside had helped us either to get out of the camp or when we were on the run. Then we were issued with bright red Polish Army trousers and our heads were shaved to the bone. We both resembled very poor imitations of Kojack on todays T/V.

We were put in the punishment block where about a hundred other bad boys were being held. At a guess our weight dropped, and George who normally was usually eight stone began to look skinny.

We were given a bed and introduced to the senior man who was French, who informed us we were now the honoured guests of the French Foreign Legion since most of the inmates were Legionnaires.

They soon made us welcome which was just as well as we were destined to spend a few months in their company.

I made friends with one Frenchman named Pierre who told me he had been a cocktail shaker at the Savoy in London until hostilities had forced him to become a member of this elite band of men.

Every day something different went on and it was an education to us to see how the other half lived.

But on the whole they were a grand bunch of chaps, and very fair to George and I who would not have stood a chance if they had turned nasty.

The one thing I will always remember from that chapter of my life was when one day some food went missing from one of the men's bed where he stored it.

Everyone in the hut was under suspicion so George and I kept our heads down and kept very much to ourselves for a day or so.

A week went by, then, one morning, as we got up, we knew something was wrong.We went out of the hut but on returning at midday we found we were locked out.

Later when we were allowed in and we saw a man sitting near the table and each hand was pinned to the wood of the tabletop by a bayonet through the center of each palm that were facing upwards.

The thief had been caught in the act and after a short trial had been punished according by the standards of this tough fighting force.

We were glad we were not involved, and were informed by our friends in the hut that we were never under suspicion at any time.