14 July 2009
I've just been sorting through an old suitcase that belonged to my late father-in-law, who, by the time he landed in Normandy in 1944, had been promoted from Private to Major in the Pioneer Corps.
One of the things I'd never seen before was an official regimental Christmas card for 1944 (above). Inside, there's a map of their journey towards Lüneburg Heath, where he ended up running a refugee camp after the war ended.
But I'm not sure what the numbers on the back cover refer to. They start six months before D-Day and could perhaps be the numbers of soldiers killed during the different periods. If anyone can shed any light on this, do let me know so that I can pass on a fuller story to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
There's also a scrap of paper with his neatly written personal record of his journey to Lüneburg Heath:
Some of the entries include addresses, presumably of where they were billeted, and I was amazed to see a reference to La Hulpe, just outside Brussels - because, 45 years later, I went to the same place to give some lectures at an IBM training complex that's now become a hotel and conference centre.