] 22/05/1945 – Crossing the Rhine & VE Day | Yorkshire Square

22/05/1945 – Crossing the Rhine & VE Day

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1068529 Cpl Porter RG
616 Servicing Echelon
Royal Air Force

22 May 1945

My beloved Jane

Another day over thank goodness and a very miserable one as it has poured down all day long and I have been soaked to the skin twice. Never mind though, I got a nice letter from you today that has chased away my blues and I shall be able to retire feeling better at being in my sweethearts thoughts.

I did not write last night dear as I took a day off yesterday and went with a couple of lads to the coast. It was a bit of a flop through the weather being cold so we came back to Lubeck early, without seeing much and went to the film shows “Sensations of 1945” was the show. A real slap up musical and I enjoyed it very much. From there it was back to camp and straight into bed thoroughly tired out.

So you have a couple of rabbits now have you. I bet it did cause great excitement for the boys. They will be having a hell of a time to themselves now but how are you going to explain things to them in about a couple of weeks time when you find you have a couple of dozen of the little devils. A bit tricky eh darling? Peter especially will want to know the far end of everything and I can just imagine him bombarding you with the strangest of questions about the whyfore and wherefore of the phenomena of life.

Still no news dear but I have not given up hope and I don’t want you to either. If I had to tear this camp apart I’ll get some satisfactory information about my leave but the only consolation I have at the moment is that, while I am not getting away, at least nobody else is. At the moment they are weeding the poor unfortunate souls for Burma out and I have my fingers pretty well crossed. It should not affect me though being in such a low reliable group but one can never tell what will happen. I can only say that I am pretty safe as I see it.

There isn’t anything else in the news from this end my darling so how about me continuing my life story? “What again?” says you. “Must I suffer another chapter of that?”

Well you know what to do dear! Just consign the whole lot to the fire if it l???? you. On the other hand you could keep all this gen for when I come home. Then you could prompt me when I start shooting horrible lines the natives.

Enough of this nonsense. Where did I get to last tine dear? Oh yes, I know. Posted from 418 to the old jet squadron. I joined this outfit at Nijmegen on the Dutch border and within a few days we started off on the last lap – across the Rhine. The first hop into Germany was to be done in two stages, across into German territory then north into Holland again for the night, and carry on the next day. This was a safety measure so that we would not be skulking around in the dark, a prey to any gang of roving Wehrmacht. The first sizeable town we struck was of course Cleves or what used to be Cleves. It is no more now than a gigantic heap of rubble with a track cut clean through by bulldozers. In all the bombing and shelling I have seen there is nothing to compare with this ghost town where not one building stands or soul remains to show that it was once a habited place unless it was Emmerich, the next town up. But in Emmerich there were several houses standing over the far side of town in which a small detachment of Canadians had made a home.

Actually crossing the Rhine was a great sensation. It is terrifically wide and the pontoon bridge seemed to stretch for miles. I can well imagine the feelings of the first assault troops to cross this great barrier into Germany proper. Going north at this point into newly liberated northern Holland we passed immortal Arnhem where the airbourne boys put up such a magnificent show and pitched camp on an airfield at Twente where we ate bully and hard tack (the usual) and slept under the tail-boards for the night.

Next day we covered another 120 miles to Quakenbrück from where we hammered the retreating Hun until he pulled out of range again and then on to Nordhorn to catch up with him again. We were only there two days before moving on and at this period he was going back so fast that we were filling up kites and belting up to a more forward airfield to get it organised for the kites lobbing in as soon as the range was too great. In this way we gave the fleeing, terrified demoralised enemy no respite and the knowledge that the end was in sight had all concerned working like devils. It was a killing pace and many times I felt I could just drop where I stood but it was great while it lasted and two days after Nordhorn we pulled out for Luneberg. Not behind him this time but right slap bang in his midst.

It was the end. He could not move anywhere for Allied troops and our aircraft were strafing him not only from the rear but in front and on both flanks. Well darling, as you know we packed in at Luneberg. Our CO came down to the hangar with a stack of bottles and gave us the gen. I had a peg of whisky and went to bed for 36 hours. A fitting end don’t you think? When VE Day was officially declared we got 48 hours stand down and I spent the major part of that in bed too. I had hardly seen a bed in three weeks and believe me sweetheart, I enjoyed every minute of it.

After that, of course, time was not of any great consequence and the worst of battle having died down moved up to Lubeck at a leisurely pace passing endless streams of German Army battalions looking for POW camps to give themselves up. What a crushed, utterly broken shower they looked too, struggling from cage to cage unguarded, unwanted and only too eager to obey any command given by the first Allied soldiers who condescended to notice their presence. Such is the mighty German war machine today, irrevocably broken I hope for all time.

The day after we arrived here the Luftwaffe units still in existence flew down from Norway and surrendered to us, thus closing the chapter of history of this war as I saw it.

There sweetheart, that’s it and if it has not held your interest it has at least made one or two nice long letters for you. That’s what I was after dear and after reading this one you will realise how difficult to keep the letters going it has been.

Now having done very well for one night I think its time I was in bed dearheart. Still catching up on lost sleep you see. I love you darling as always, I think you know that now and my only thoughts are to be back home with you so that I can feel your caresses once more after so long away from your comforting presence.

Kiss the boys for me dear and keep holding out, it cannot be far off.

God bless darling and keep you safe.

Your ever devoted.


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