Monday, 14 November 2011

Cousin Werner

The bookshop in Gardelegen was run by the Manger family. Their son Werner was at school with me.

During the war, Werner was injured, and luckily for him woke up in a Canadian army hospital in France. So he was taken prisoner and ended up as a POW in Norfolk. Werner was always pleased about that because if he hadn't been taken prisoner he would have ended up on the Eastern Front.

There was one officer in charge of fifty prisoners. And he made them go and out and do exercises on the beach every day. They didn't run away, because, Werner said, there was nowhere for them to go. Besides, he quite liked it.

After the war, we found out that Werner was a POW, and Roger tracked him down to Norfolk. We wanted him to be be nearer to us, so we could make sure he was being looked after. So Roger told the authorities Werner was my cousin, and he was moved to Croydon, where he helped rebuild the airport.

When he came to see us at Wallington, he would go to a hedge on the outskirts of the airport, and change out of his prison uniform into a suit, then he would come over to Wallington and have a meal with us, before going home and doing the same thing in reverse.

Before he left for Germany he took us to have a meal at the Savoy. But the waiter wasn't very good, so when we left, Werner only tipped him a penny.

Werner went back to Gardelegen, where he continued to run the bookshop under the Russians, before eventually moving to Berlin.

When the Wall came down, he and his wife came over to Wallington again. Cousin Werner, reunited with his family.

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