Grandad’s Diary 8th-14th April 1945

Entries for week beginning 8th April 1945

8th-9th April – anything German. Seen three pictures this week in old barn. Kept busy making wing comfortable. Scandalous behaviour of officers. They like this life and outsiders come for two days visits in rota from Antwerp and St. Nicholas to loot, look around and say they have visited Germany.

10th April – Returned refugees trying to repair their houses and of what little stuff is left. What a job. Jerry civilians holding aloof and making no more to fraternise. Probably know our ruling. Yanks repairing local trains and railways.

11th April – Some mail today. Heard we could return if officers so willed but they like it too much here, socially and financially, but won’t be long now. Regular half-way camp this.

12th April – Visited by ‘M’ balloon party looking for new sites near Munster for pamphlet distribution. Hellish numbers of bombers above. Yanks and ours pass each other near here.

13th April – Went to Orsoy. Civilians not allowed back there due to nearness of Rhine. Disappointed and surprised that river is as narrow as it is. Very fast current though. Can’t imagine the job the sappers had.

14th April – Yanks building another bridge. Bailey this time. Went across. Duisberg only captured this morning in the distance 2 miles away. This district end of Ruhr valley where there is still a big enemy pocket. Some of the lads going to Paris for a couple of days.

I register two kinds of disappointment from Grandad this week. He is disappointed that the officers are behaving so poorly and encouraging looting. And he is disappointed at the size of the Rhine. One makes the other quite supercilious and yet it is an interesting reflection on the normalness of this record. Why wouldn’t you be disappointed if you’d heard all about his magnificent river that was such a barrier into Germany and when you get there it seems smaller than expected?

Munster is not the place in Ireland (obviously) but is actually M√ľnster.

And a ‘Bailey’ is a type of bridge. I’ve found archive footage of an actual Bailey bridge across the River Rhine. I wonder if this was the one that my Grandad went across…