World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                         David Quarrie 

My Father's War; 1939 - 1945

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: David Quarrie.....Captain R.G.M. (Don) Quarrie.
Location of story: W. Europe, N. Africa, Crete, Germany and Leighton Buzzard (Beds).
Unit name: West Yorks Reg. and 11th Scottish Commando
Background to story: Army


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of David Quarrie.

My Father’s War 1939 – 1945
David Quarrie – Re: Captain R.G.M. (Don) Quarrie

Although originally trained in Scotland, my father was on the Dunkirk Beaches. He was taken prisoner in Crete during June 1941. He was injured, but well cared for by the Germans, and flown to Greece. Then, in the cattle trucks of a train, he was taken to Germany via Yugoslavia. He spent time in three P.O.W. camps at Lubeck, Warburg and Eichstatt. He escaped six times but was recaptured on five occasions. He was at one time with Douglas Bader. During one escape attempt, he reached Cologne (Koln) where he was betrayed by the French and handed over to the Geheimes Polizei. They sentenced him to death for alleged sabotage, blowing up the bridge over the Rhine at Cologne. However, he managed to prove who he was by phoning the Camp Kamandant from the Gestapo H.Q. in Cologne. Eventually, he escaped in February 1945 after being shot at by American planes when he was on a forced march to move westwards, away from Russian forces. Along with his best friend Don Taylor (later to be his best man), at the wedding with Joan Bushell (my mum), they found a farm belonging to Herr Und, Frau Meyer and their daughters Anni and Racci aged 21 and 18.

My father returned in 1960 to visit this lovely German family. This family looked after my father and Don Taylor for about 2 weeks, hiding them from German soldiers and the Gestapo Officers. They were taking huge risks in doing this. Eventually, the Americans arrived on April 26th 1945 and they began interrogating them and the local people. They mainly wanted information on atrocities and who the prominent Nazis were. My father was taken to Nuremberg and eventually flown to Le Bourgeot Airfield in Paris. There, they were accommodated in a nice hotel; from there he was taken by train to Le Havre and after days of hanging about, took a flight to England on a Dakota C47 Transport plane, which belonged to the Canadians.

He arrived back in Leighton Buzzard on May 2nd, 1945. Home at last! Whilst in the P.O.W. camps, he had made scale model ships. On the 31st of may 1945, two Australian fellow P.O.W.s brought these ships back to my father. I still have them.

Men do not appreciate their freedom until they have lost it. My father was never physically abused by the Germans, but it was tough, always cold; he was always bored and hungry, but compared to the P.O.W. life under the Japanese, it was relatively good.