Until recently I did voluntary work in Liverpool and was asked to try and trace living relatives of Peter Sharman. Tried radio and the newspapers, did some research at the libraries but couldn't find anyone for him. I've done a few of these things and sometimes have been successful but many times not. It really gets under your skin to try and locate someone who will mourn these men or in Peter's case virtually a boy at 19. I read last week that Peter does have a sister who lives in France so no wonder I couldn't locate anyone.
At the risk of sound corny I feel that everything should be done to remember guys like these. The Dutch put us to shame a lot of the time and there are still thousands of airmen unaccounted for. The memorial at Runnymede commemorates those with no known grave.
not quite all. As a teenager in Hamburg, we held a dinner party. Civs and Army were there. A very successful businessman mentioned that he spoke Russian, and as my dad did too, they had a great old chit chat, in Russian, since the bloke had no English, and they both preferred Russian to the usual German.
It turned out that the chap was Dutch, so Dad asked how the war had treated him, imagining tales of occupation and black market coffee.
Said old boy replied that he had been on the eastern front. Turned out he was in the SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade Nederland, which was a volnteer unit.
The conversation was a little more frosty after that.
of course it does, the point I suppose I was making is that by no means all of the people in the countries liberated by the Allies wanted us to cross the channel, as evidenced by the cold welcome recieved in the south of France, certain Belgian towns etc etc.
But in the spirit of the thread, it is good that these men may now rest in peace.
They only managed to recruit about 20 at most in the British one. Most of them were of low intelligence or thought it was a skive. Probably about three of them did it for ideological reasons, although after the war they said they were spying on the enemy, or trying to escape and all that rubbish. A lot of blackshirts were locked up, some served in the British forces without resorting to Nazi methods. The Dutch Nazis as with other occupied countries Nazis were worse than the German one's if that is possible. Think it was them who caught Anne Frank but am not certain on that before anyone gives me a hard time.
Digressing slightly, There is a veil of secrecy about the occupation of the Channel Islands I understand. I'm not saying everyone joined the SS or anything but there was a lot of unforced collaboration that is on record but hushed up to this day.
Then there is the biggest black shirt of all Edward Vlll who would have been put back on the throne as puppet king had Hitler won. Right behind the advancing allied armies in Normandy there was an elite little group whose job it was to gather any incriminating documents that referred to him and Mrs Simpson so that it did not embarass the royal family. The guy leading this group was Anthony Blunt. Now you know why he wasn't arrested years earlier when they knew he was spying for the Russians. He had too much on the Royal family and cut a deal in the end. Allegedly.