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Reunions with the enemy

My Grandfather had regular reunions in London and Bavaria after the war with his former adversaries (the Afrika Corps).
by all accounts they were friendly and liquid affairs. This started about half a dozen years after the war.

I stand to be corrected, but the same thing has happened to many ex servicemen since the war, Falklands veterans for example?

My only op was Belfast in the early '90s, albeit a residential tour for two and a half years.

However, I'd rather stick needles in my testicles, put my wife on the game and subject my 3 year old son to a harem for paedophile Arabs, rather than meet former members of the IRA, and their sympathisers for a beer.

Am I wrong in thinking this? Was my granddad wrong?

Or should we forgive and forget?
Could be a bit difficult to organise a future reunion with Terry

"so fancy a beer?"


"got any pictures of your missus?"


"so how does it feel to be president of Afghanistan?"
Despite this being the NAAFI bar I couldn't begin to give even an opinion, My Godfather served in the desert and France, as did my grandfather. They never seemed to regard the Germans as anything other than the enemy at the time. After the war they ignored them, or weren't bothered one way or the other.

To balance this out my other grandfather disliked the Germans quite a lot;

'I've spent eleven years of my life fighting them.'

Fair point.

I have been lucky. outside of my Godfather's son nobody I've known in green has been WIA/KIA, if they had been I don't know how I would feel. and I've only been on the periphery of war.

What I have noticed is the reluctance of soldiers who have been in action to comment on their experiences.

On a side note, we had an old codger who came into our offy wanting Asbach for his 90th birthday party, bit of a character, turns out he is German. I wonder what you did in the war? Thinks I.

He was on Rommel's staff as a liason type. I would be happy to see him again.

As far as the Irish component goes, I would suggest, too close, and too dirty, with so many betrayals for political expediency. I can't ever see a reunion dinner.
I can't imagine many POWs captured by the Japanese wanting to have reunions with them after the war ended...

If any former combatant felt hatred, contempt or distain for the enemy they fought; how on earth could I tell them that they are wrong?

It really has to be a personal decision, totally up to them.


Book Reviewer
The war in North Africa was by comparison an honourable affair, the PIRA were a bunch of child murdering shit, who I would happily kill without thought.

Mind you the population of some German cities probable feel the same way about the Crabs, I know my father didn't hate the Germans after WW1 but he did after our house was bombed in 1943, killing his first wife and kids


Book Reviewer
To balance this out my other grandfather disliked the Germans quite a lot;

'I've spent eleven years of my life fighting them.'
He fought in both wars? Cant be many who did that?

(I am not trying to be funny, just in case it comes across like that).
Honourable foe or dishonourable by any means. The ones who would meet you on a field and fight you as a soldier might earn your respect. The one who uses subterfuge and children as his weapons can only earn contempt.


the bastard that blew up one of instructors in Iraq, he stood there laughing with his video team filming it. hope dies a painful and long death.
My Grandfather god rest him probably would have found it awkward in the extreme as he flew all but one mission of a late war tour with bomber command as a tail gunner.

On the up-side they think they may have dropped bombs on Glen Miller one morning.


Book Reviewer
My old man (RUR) told of one orf two of his blokes, when leaving, used to say that the next time they saw each other would be over the sights of opposing weapons. Funny thought that we might have had a hand in training the IRA.

Those Irish reunions, eh!
went to work in Georgia(country-not state),and 2 of my mates there were in the red group faceing my lot in BAOR around the same time-so kind of done it.

once they were all going all it was better in the old days on me and I pointed out they were trying to kill me,no we wernt,you were trying to kill us.

turns out they all thought we were agressive and posturing(doesnt include sennelager on a friday night)

happy days
Adolf galland organised a reunion for the luftwaffe in Munich some time in the 50's and asked Johnny Johnson and several other RAf types along. Douglas Barder was reluctant to go but was eventually persuaded by JJ. Standing at the top of the beer keller steps looking down on the assembled ex Luftwaffe pilots Douglas barder said to Johnny Johnson "Christ I had no idea we left so many of the bastards alive"!
Well, perhaps the 8th Army and Afrika Korps felt that they could socialise, as have the RAF and Luftwaffe types, as they all thought themselves to have fought in honourable wars, where soldier fought soldier. My father, as a Bomber Command type actively disliked the Germans. Once, memorably and well after the war he, as the Ops Tower duty officer refused a German AF aircraft permission to land as there was no way he was allowing them onto an RAF station. (I think he had a certain antipathy against people who devoted a great deal of time and effort to killing him - he took it very personally.) Equally. one old boy in my village who had lost a leg whilst interned in Malaya by the Japanese would cut you dead if you drove a Japanese car. His loathing was intense - but certainly understandable as his wife had been interned, separately, at the same time. And no, he never said what had happened to her, but one can surmise. Hatred and forgiveness cannot be institutionalised - look at some of the earlier posts with regard to PIRA and the Taliban to see that - it can only be decided by the individual.


Book Reviewer
Quite a lot of men saw active service in both wars (even more from WW1 came back in and were employed at home) including most of WW2's senior commanders. One of my great uncles was at Jutland in HMS Warspite as a midshipman and later in the invasion of Madagascar in 1942, and in 1944 spent "three days in a hole in the sand waiting for the Americans to sort themselves out" on Omaha Beach. His turret officer at Jutland later commanded the same ship off Salerno. My neighbour's father was in submarines in both wars.

Personally I feel that all this chumming up with Krauts is out of order and ignores the difference between our people fighting for democracy, freedom and the rule of law on the one hand, and every German trying to plunge the whole world into a thousand-year Nazi night on the other.
My Grandfather met up with his German workcamp 'Guard' (he was sent to a work camp in Bavaria where there were a handful of POWs and one German in charge) after the war - I have a great picture of the whole family (him, my Grandmother, mum and aunt) with this chap in some German town somewhere. No issues with him - on the other hand the Italians who dealt with him during his early time as a POW I don't think he had any good feelings for.

Personally I feel that all this chumming up with Krauts is out of order and ignores the difference between our people fighting for democracy, freedom and the rule of law on the one hand, and every German trying to plunge the whole world into a thousand-year Nazi night on the other.
Did the average German (or Brit) have any choice in fighting in the war? I'm sure there were many (if not most) who would have rather stayed at home with their wife and kids then do Hitler's dirty work.
An elderly couple I know tell an unusual war story.

He was RAF bomber pilot. She was teenager serving on AAA crew of his target.

They met after VE day when he was interpreter for her internment camp.

She still talks of her pride in doing her best to defend her city, regardless of the politics.

He still talks of his pride in being on target.

Bet that gets more heated than the usual domestic.

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