World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                         Ron Hornsey 

A DAY FOR VICTORY - V.E. DAY 1945

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Ron Hornsey
Location of story: Gremany
Unit name: 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Reg't.
Background to story: Army

                                                Ron in Wismar, Germany - May 1945

 

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ron Hornsey.
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It was the day everyone waited five long years for - and feared would never come. On May 7,1945, German radio broadcast that General Alfred Jodi would sign the official surrender of Nazi Germany the following day. Winston Churchill ' announced May 8 would be a national holiday to be known as the Victory in Europe day. On the 60th anniversary of V.E. Day, Ron Hornsey recalls:

"I was a 19-year-old soldier serving with the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment. A week or so before VE Day we were advancing through Germany when I helped to liberate a British prisoner of war camp. As I talked to some of these soldiers and airmen, some of them told me that they had been prisoners since Dunkirk and it brought a lump to my throat as I saw the relief and happiness in those men's eyes - more so as I was just a teenager.

"We could not stay for long as we had to move on and we then linked up with the Russians at Wismar on the Baltic coast - the first British troops to do so.

"On the morning of Sunday May 6, I attended a thanksgiving service in the church at Wismar, along with many other soldiers from the 6th Airborne Division. I still have the order of service and at times that brings back some memories, some good and some not so good, as I lost a few of my comrades. Some were only teenagers like myself.

"On VE Day we were given a day's holiday, part of which was spent having a few drinks of cognac, which we managed to obtain from somewhere, but my most memorable day was the liberation of the POW camp and the happiness that it must have brought to those men.”


Pr-BR



 

 

He'd Had Enough And Was Walking Home

By actiondesksheffield

People in story: Ron Hornsey
Location of story: Wismar, Germany
Unit name: Reconnassance regiment
Background to story: Army

                                                        The Farm in Wisbar

 

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Ron Hornsey.
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I was in the Reconnaissance Regiment and we were pushed right to the front as we headed towards the Baltic coast; we were moving too fast, I think. It was early morning, about 7 o’clock. I was driving and my mate said, “Hey, look across there.” I said, “Where?” He said, “In that farmyard.” There were some Germans soldiers enjoying their breakfast, and having a wash and a shave. They couldn’t believe we were there; they didn’t shoot us, probably because they were so surprised at our being there. We just drove on; it was quite a shock to them I think. But it was just about the end of the war by that time, which they knew, otherwise they’d have just shot us.

I had a box camera that I’d pinched from a factory as I was going through Germany. I used it to take pictures of the farm where we stayed. I’ve even recorded the dates they were taken: May the second, 1945. We were put up there; we knew the war had virtually finished. We had to link up with the Russians then. Originally, we were going to liberate Denmark, but we were then told to go up to the Baltic Coast to stop the Russians who were travelling down – which we did. We operated from Wisbar; we stayed at the farm there for about a week, then they flew us back to England. Of course, the war had ended by the time we got there. When we’d linked up with the Russians and one of them gave me a Russian bank note. I don’t know what it is exactly, it’s a bit tatty now.

The Germans were all over the town and people were frightened to death of them. They would rape and murder, that’s all they were good for. One time, we were advancing through Germany, we stopped; we saw Germans in an observation tower. I said to the sergeant, “What shall we do?” He said, “We get the 4.2 motor and a Jeep with two trailers.” So we got them out, we found a spot; it was like a big mansion house with a lovely lawn. He said, “We’ll have it here.” A German, probably the owner, came out and told us we couldn’t put it there because it’d spoil his lawn.

We had a chap who spoke German, he’s lived in Germany – he was a Jew and he’d come to England, a few years earlier to get out of the way – he was a big help. He told us what he said, he said that we can’t put it there. We said that he ought to shut up, otherwise we’ll put him down the paddle and shoot him.

We were going up to Wismar and the Baltic, and as we were driving, we were on a big roundabout where there was an old German soldier; he had a rucksack on his back. This lad who could speak German had a word with him, and he said that he’d come from the Russian front. He’d had enough and he was walking home, he’d been walking two days and he was only about a mile and a half from his house, so we told him to get home quick.

We got a message to say that we were near a POW camp, and I was driving. I said, “Oh, it’s down here.” The gates were wide open, so we drove in. there were German officers on the right hand side, I can remember them; the British, some air force, some army, were on the other side. They came and shook our hands and we had a chat with them. I was speaking to one Scots lad – he’d been a prisoner since Dunkirk. It brought a lump to my throat, but we couldn’t stay, we had to move on. We said, “We can’t give you any food, but we can give you some cigars.” We’d pinched them the day before from a factory.