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MEMOIRS - Leonard Mosley [1913-1992]:- The push to Wismar on the Baltic.
TOO MANY PRISONERS TO COUNT
CONVOY SIX MILES LONG IN DASH TO SURRENDER
By Leonard Mosley [1913-1992], a civillian eye witness news reporter's account:
published on 5 May 1945 in the Aberdeen Journal
On the Baltic, Thursday
It has been the greatest day in the lives of all Montgomery's men. They will never know its like again.
The Desert Rats, the veteran tank unit of this war have driven into Hamburg to-night with a German general leading them ~ General Wolz taking them into the great city, which he unconditionally surrendered to us at General Dempsey's headquarters.
Up on the Baltic beaches the first men to invade the Continent ~ the paratroopers of the sixth Airborne Division ~ are fraternising with their Allies from Russia at their meeting place to the east of Wismar.
And in between and everywhere around us as we drive in Germany to-night there are thousands upon thousands of German soldiers and officers waiting to be shepherded to the cages.
There are so many we just cannot count them. A conservative estimate is half a million. It is probably scores of thousands more. They beseige you pathetically every time you pull up.
From the Baltic coast down to the Elbe there are convoys of them six miles long driving themselves south in their own transport to surrender to the British.
We have at least ten generals and more coming every hour.
The roads started to clog like sewers with Nazi forces making towards our rear areas. Finally we sent out the blanket order "All prisoners must stay put and wait further orders."
They are obeying, in barns, houses, ditches and woods they cover the earth like logs all the way from Wismar to Luneberg in the greatest mass surrender of all time.
From Wismar to Lubeck and from Lubeck on towards Denmark it was a mad and unbelievable scene. You saw fifty German troops for every one of our own.
German girls ran out with jugs of tea, which they handed around. The man with the most harassing job in the Army was a rifleman stationed on a bridge leading into Lubeck from the north.
He had orders to let no one but members of our Army come across. When I drove up to him there were four queues waiting to speak to him.
One was a queue of German other ranks and that stretched out of sight up the road. The second was a line of German officers. The third was composed of our own prisoners of war. The fourth of laughing and shouting displaced persons.
They were coming at him in every language to get across the bridge.
"We have been marching for days" said the Germans when I questioned them. Our officers said we would be taken by the Russians if we did not hurry ~ but they said nothing about the British.
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