Interview with George Hextell

Title

Interview with George Hextell

Description

George Hextell joined the RAF as a flight engineer and flew operations with 51 Squadron on Halifaxes. After being shot down over Holland, he became a prisoner of war. Gives a detailed account of how his capture, imprisonment and liberation. Describes various episodes from the POW camp Stalag VIIIB: living conditions; food barter; witnessing an attempted escape.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2016-01-04

Contributor

Peter Schulze

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

00:55:04 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

AHextellGJE160104

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

GH: Yes well, I’m [unclear] Hextell, Hextell, I was a WO, my number 1141319.
MJ: So, how did you manage to get into the RAF then?
GH: How did I manage to get into this? Well, as I say, I was conscription, in 1940, all called up, all the people, the young people, and then I was [unclear] going to be dragged into the army, I thought when I got into the RAF I couldn’t be a pilot, cause I thought, I haven’t got the education for that, I going underground staff cause I worked in a factory, Morris motors, in Birmingham and I went into Birmingham and signed up one Saturday lunchtime, I hadn’t finished my job, and I wanted to know what happened to me cause I was called up after two or three days and posted to Warrington Padgate RAF training station where I did my square bashing and all that stuff and as I say, I hadn’t packed my job and eventually my mother had to get into the factory and tell the bastards I had joined, what did he do that for? They said, you know, there was a job here for him, if he wants it, I thought, no, so I trained as a flight mechanic, cause I was interested in wheels [unclear] and cars and engines and I went to after about three or four months at Padgate I was posted to number 5 school of technical training at Locking in Somerset and I went on a course on engines and aircraft there, you know, and I was there till end of 1941 and I passed out after that was posted to Scotland, Castletown, right up in the north of Scotland, you could almost see Norway, from where we were but we were only there about two or three weeks and [unclear] library, not doing much, any odd jobs and then we were eventually posted, as I say, to number 5 school of technical training Somerset, big long train ride down from up in Scotland and, I was there till the end of 1941 as I say when I got posted to Scotland and all I did, I worked and see all these different engines and aircraft, you know, worked on the Merlin engine, you know, and when I’d finished that they sent me to a maintenance echelon in Kent, [unclear] End, I worked on the maintenance echelon, squadrons came and went but I, we’re always permanent there like, you know, and Spitfires and all I could remember during there the Battle of Dieppe, when they landed in Dieppe in 1942, that was in September, that was disastrous, I remember that morning and I got up early, about five o’clock as something was on but nobody, oh, the second front started but that’s what it was, it turned out to be, Dieppe and they after the German [unclear] headquarters at Lorient and of course a lot of casualties, a lot of Canadian soldiers took part, a lot got killed, lot got captured and [unclear] after that we went to, so Dieppe, we just servicing the Spitfires that’s all, I was an engineman and we just served the Merlin engine up you know and it was good but, stop there for [unclear]. Well it was [unclear] at Gravesend but one day the engineer officer called us all in and wanted to know who wanted volunteer as flight engineers on the four engine aircraft that were coming into service, the Lanc, Halifax and the Stirling and of course there was three of us there, I put me name down for it, and I said, oh I can’t do any [unclear] but I was the only one who passed the medical, we had to go up to Euston House in London, aircrew candidate selection board and they explained to us all about how to fly, you know, [unclear] up and dark nights and flying over the oceans and that, you know and [unclear] and all this kind of thing you know but I went through with it and I was sent to St Athans in South Wales near [unclear], Cardiff and I did a course there and these four engine bombers would come in and they what they wanted to know was, there was a great big crowd of us volunteered and all the chaps going in for the Lancaster, you know, cause it got a famous name but and the squadron leader, I remember, he got us all lined up in the hangar, a big long queue of us and he said to stop any argument about who wants to go on, which was the best aircraft. He divided us up into three and he said that’s it, Stirlings, Halifaxes, Lancasters. Well, I got the Halifax, I went into the Halifax, and that’s how I came to be trained, trained at St Athans. And that’s a while I was posted to Marston Moor into Yorkshire and that was a conversion unit, number ten conversion unit and where pilots and aircrew met up and cause you see the crew I got in eventually had been flying on Whitleys then at St Eval in Cornwall on Coastal Command but they all stuck together and of course I was coming up [unclear] a conversion unit so it was there I turned up with them and became the flight engineer and of course there was seven of us in the crew, pilot, navigator, bomb aimer, rear gunner, mid upper gunner and all like that and that’s how I came to be with 51 Squadron. But it was only [unclear] I don’t know what they’d done before but, quite a bit before we went on our operations but the first operation we went on was mine laying off the Dutch coast, dropping mines in the sea and we used to have a naval officer explaining how important it was just [unclear] dropping it in the right place and the right height and all this kind of thing, that was the first flight I flew but of course I did many, we did many hours [unclear] circuit and bombs training, I mean the pilot was, all the crew was getting trained and I was getting trained as well in [unclear] that’s how I came to be with them but as I say the 51 squadron was only like just four men, and there was not many before, you see, you know a lot of names but I didn’t know many because I wasn’t there that long and I went there in the end of January ’43 and we went on, I went on two bombing raids with a crew, with our crew to Lorient in France and one night I went with my own crew and another time I stood in for somebody who was absent for another crew, they’re all officers, pilots, navigators, they was all officers, and I flew with them and I remember the first night we went on, we got back at about three o’clock in the morning and we couldn’t get back to our [unclear] I was stationed at Snaith in Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and couldn’t get back on our own drome so we had to land at Stowe-in-the-Wold in Gloucestershire and everybody, I think it was the first time I’ve seen these giant four engine bombers, you know, and all the people came out and looked at it, they were a big aircraft it was and after that I came to be [unclear] but as I say we did two operations in Lorient but that’s all I did and I just saw the operation mine laying, two to Lorient and on the fourth operation we did on Dusseldorf on the 27th of January ‘43 and I thought, oh, blimey, that’s done it, cause the briefing officer told us it was a heavily defended area, well we knew that because of all the Ruhr and all the places around there, Essen and all those places, I mean, it’s taken a heavy toll of our aircraft but of course it, well, it didn’t bother me and you know, but I thought we’ll get through it alright. But we were shot down over Holland, got over the North Sea alright into Holland, never heard a word, everything quiet and then next thing, I was sitting, I was standing in the middle of the fuselage, putting a flare in a flare shoot for taking photos with the cameras, you know, when the bombs dropped and whilst I stood there all of a sudden on the starboard side, right that at [unclear] machine gun bullets you know [mimics machine gun fire] couldn’t believe it, you know, couldn’t understand it, [unclear] one side or the other, he caught the port engine which controls all the hydraulics and pumps and that and the aircraft and I thought, oh, that was, looking into the astrodome it caught fire, the wing caught fire and I was horrified and the pilot was trying to save it but the aircraft you know dodged about and that but we were going down and we were all rushing, putting our parachutes on and the next thing I knew was I was flying through the air and the second pilot was a New Zealander, he explained it he could he’s written a little book about from where he came from in New Zealand who landed off, and as we were blown out, I was blown out, there was three of us out of the seven and three escaped, the New Zealander, our wireless operator and myself, the other four chaps got killed, pilot, navigator, the bomb aimer and rear gunner. I’ve never heard a word from them at all. And it was in Mill in Holland, place called Mill and it was five past six took off and from up in Yorkshire, ten past eight I was in a prison cell in Holland. Germans wanted to know, you know, why come bombing our women and children, and all I said, well, for the simple reason that you are coming and bombing our women and children and then of course they [unclear] interrogated me and I was there about a week I think and we went to the Dulag Luft interrogation centre and were there a while. Then they sent us to Amsterdam in a big prison, a big prison or whatever it was, big [unclear] and we were locked up in solitary confinement and had a lot of questions asked, you know, and were there about a week and one Sunday they transferred us from Amsterdam onto a train to take us to in [unclear] was Stalag VIII-B but they renamed it later Stalag 344 because Sagan, the Stalag Luft 3 where the air, the air people, where the aircrew prisoners went, they were full, the two, to many, so I had to go to a Stalag but this was at Lamsdorf in Upper Silesia near the Polish border, what’s the name? [unclear] I think or something like that and that was where I ended up but I know the night we flew, we had a brand new aircraft, it had only come from the manufacturers the day before but it hadn’t got a mid-upper turret [unclear] you got [unclear] hadn’t got a mid-upper turret on this particular one, the wing commander said it will give you more speed and all the rest of it you know and [unclear] he didn’t need a mid-upper gunner, so Taffy Jones, our mid-upper gunner he didn’t fly with us that night, he got away with it but as I say, I mentioned a second pilot, but I forgot to mention that before we took off at six o’clock at night from Snaith and staff come up and the group captain came up with this chap and he was a New Zealander, Jack Cardey and he said, I want this chap to fly with you tonight, he said, it’ll give him a bit of experience and that was the first time we met him and he got on board and that was his experience, he became a POW, and I’ve heard from him once or twice but not lately but yes, that’s how I came to be in Poland. Yes, capacity of the Halifax I think it was eleven hundred and ninty gallons but the first flight engineer, the idea was to run the engines as quickly as possible, to have the throttles open all the time, you know, to give, put [unclear] and get the engines to performing properly and another thing before take-off you were testing your engines before one by one and ramp them up to about three thousand ribs [unclear] a minute and then switch one of the magnetos off, there’d be a drop of one of the rears, I think, what was it so many percent, five percent was it, you were allowed if you that went below that [unclear] was faulty, yes, all the four engines [unclear] two magneto on each side of the Merlin was a marvellous engine [unclear] this is a backdrop somewhere ok, ok for take-off. Yes, it was quite an experience but we got through it alright and as I say with Jack Cardey, second pilot who flew with us, he didn’t act as a pilot, as I say, he was only a passenger, he was more than a passenger than I was. But he was in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and I think he’d come from Wellingtons and flown Wellingtons before. And of course at Snaith where I was stationed, 51 Squadron, they’d done all our operations from there and we hadn’t been there for long, as I say, there was only like just four men squadron up and I didn’t know any of the people that went before, you know, I mean, you just mentioned I knew a lot of people who [unclear], well I wouldn’t know, I think I knew about two, a Canadian, [unclear] Stewart or somebody like that and I know I went to Berlin one night and back or something, Slim Stewart, he was a Canadian, but no, as I say, I didn’t have enough time there to get to know anybody, I knew the group captain Grey, he was a station commander, I was in b flights squadron leader Moore, [unclear] Moore, h flights was name Russell, squadron leader Russell, and quite alright, yes I was, but as I say, we didn’t do many operations but [unclear] good the Germans were, night fighters, defences and that and as I say, we didn’t know this fighter was creeping up on us, never heard a word, never heard a word from the rear gunnery and I was horrified as I stood there and saw the tracer coming through the fuselage, you know, it caught fire, but as I say, we were blown out, that how [unclear] Netherland the cottage to walk up to the door and by [unclear] you do see these [unclear] but I was found myself floating through the air, and I saw lights going out in front of me going round and round a big roulette wheel, always remember it, and I was [unclear] I better pull this, the ripcord and I landed as I thought was a field but it was a bit of a built up area than that and I laid there for a bit I thought [unclear] a fine death or [unclear] something like that you know people come running up the Dutch farmer and he came up to me and I said, where am I? Where am I? And he said, Nederland, Nederland, I thought, where the hell is that, suddenly dropped the Netherlands, you know, and up to his house, he’s got two young daughters, they’re all clever [unclear] they brought [unclear] and money and souvenirs and [unclear] but they said that there was a couple of priests there who [unclear] quickly, they said, we’ll hide this, you know, that [unclear] a parachute and I said, we’ll have to notify the Dutch police, I presume they had to do it with any prisoners, there was a Lancaster shot down in the same area at the same time cause they picked the crew up with us and we were in this Dutch policeman’s house, he’s a Dutch police and I said notify them and he said, well, we’ll have to notify the Germans and they sent a minibus and when they opened up the doors, there was George Farmer, our wireless operator, he was a member of our crew and he’s a New Zealander and also a Lancaster crew as well, I think they were all intact, they picked them up in the same area and next thing I say I was being interrogated at a local station wanted to know where I’d come from, what the squadron was, bomb load was carrying, what [unclear] was and everything else, where you’re stationed, you know, and all that kind of business and yeah and as I say, I spent the night [unclear] and fetched up in front of this chap of the Luftwaffe, he wanted to know every day where we come from and what we were doing and all the rest of it, next thing we went to Dulag Luft [unclear] interrogation the treating of all the and then Dulag Luft, went to Amsterdam and I saw the big army place there, our second pilot, he’s been since the end of the war [unclear] travel I don’t know but I mean [unclear] we’ve been to Holland and we’ve sorted the place out with the war graves commission, we’ve been to the scene where our four chaps were buried because we had to identify them, cause the Germans said, you have to come and identify your crew and that got to [unclear] a church or somewhere and they took us down and there was four wooden coffins and there were the bodies lying in there and I said early, most of identify to let the people know, you know, but I couldn’t look at them because it upset me but [unclear] Farmer, our wireless op, he was thirteen years older than me, a bit more mature and he identified them, apparently they are buried in an air force base but after a while we in Holland that they buried them in this place where we went on a weekend in May and May is a big [unclear] first two or three days in May there were all flags flying out in Holland and, you know, as I know you come from England they will treat you well and really good. [unclear] Well, what I would like to do is to, you mentioned one chap [unclear] where he went to, I want to know how many miles we did from when we came after the camp in 1945 on that march, I mean, the names of the first, we went to Lamsdorf on the 22nd of January 1945, we could hear the Russian gunfire on the Eastern Front [unclear] and an Anson came over the Channel to evacuate the camp and we got ready to move out, we got nothing, bits of food stored up, which we took with us and out to the dark then they found us a barn, they herded us all in this barn, that’s where we slept and that’s we did, [unclear] months and months and as I say, it was the 22nd of January and [unclear] about April time before we never knew where we were like you know, I didn’t know then, I should have loved to know, I know the name of some of the important towns as Gorlitz, went from Lamsdorf to Gorlitz, oh, that was a terrible place, [unclear] Russian prisoners there, they treated them like, well, dogs, [unclear], never forget, filthy place [unclear] about a week and then moved us on the road, we never went to another camp, we went to, I can remember Jena, you know where, there are the famous optical lense [unclear] and what is the other place, where they did the porcelain? In German, Meissen [unclear], Meissen, heard about Meissen ceramic wares, marvellous, innit? [unclear] To plot the route we took and what we covered many miles [unclear] I said, end of January in April ’45 and the Germans got to be [unclear] you know and they used to catch you every morning, every night but I was with three of the [unclear] family wireless operator and we met up with another chap who was a [unclear] bloke some kind of destroyer in the Mediterranean and he decided to leave the company [unclear] like you know and we stayed, they put us in a barn one night and we stayed up there all the next day until it got dark, then we headed across the fields cause one got a compass, we could hear the Russian gunfire on our right in the East we could hear the Allied gunfire, the Americans and British on the left and we headed towards them and I know it was a terrible cold [unclear] in the [unclear] it was one of the coldest winters that I experienced.
MJ: Did you have a coat this time?
GH: Pardon?
MJ: Were you lucky enough to have a coat?
GH: A coat?
MJ: Yeah.
GH: Yes, I had a grey coat, yes, had a grey coat and one of us got a [unclear], a little [unclear] or a little saucepan. And I remember, the next morning when we woke, we [unclear] in this forest, we woke up, decided to have a cup of tea, [unclear] now we had a cup of tea, we lit a fire, made this tea and after a bit we sent a German, young German officer coming across, we thought, [unclear], this is the end, you know, [unclear] come around and put you hands up but all he said, he knew we were British and all he said was, don’t forget to put the fire out when you’re finished cause the smoke will attract aircraft in [unclear] always remembered saying that and we thought, oh, we got away with it, he got his Luger on the side, you know, he could have shot us easy, there’s four of us and the next day we saw a bloke, we were near a village, we saw a bloke with a big loaf of bread, a big cart with a loaf of bread, and we wondered where this bread had come from and we stopped him and asked him and he says, American tanks and troops so many kilometres down there, is the Third American army, the sixth army division, the Third American Army, General Patton and it was they who took care of us, they wanted us to go with them, they got a spearhead going through towards [unclear], come with us, they said, I said, no, we want to go home, we want to get back to England and they took us day by day, with these big six wheeler transport used to bring the supplies in, they took us back a few miles each day towards Paris and that, that’s where we finished up in Paris, one [unclear] did the time, that flew us from Paris to, forget the place now, I remember we had lunch [unclear] fish our fish is the best of all the Sunday lunch I’ve ever known, interrogated as quarter [unclear] as regards the performance of the aircraft, any spies, any stool pigeons, anybody like that, it was a bloke, forget his name, dammit, he was notorious but then I knew all about him and I don’t know what happened to him. But yes that was Lamsdorf for [unclear] yes. As I say, German officers sent for us, sent for me one day and in the main office and there was a German guard behind me walking with his rifle always walking behind you [unclear] shoot me but he wanted to know what my attitude was to the Russians, what my attitude was to the Russians, now they were dead scared of the Russians, yes, dead scared of the Russians, what do you think? I said, [unclear] if they attacked England, you know, I joined up and attacked them like to defend the country [unclear] saying that you know, wanted to know what my attitude was [unclear], I don’t know If I was the only one but they sent me two or three times and I, he was American cause he said to me, he said I’m a goddam American in the German, the German army, you know, and I could say, what are you doing in the German army [unclear] and things like that [unclear] I don’t know but that did happen, yes, want to know what your attitude was, what the British attitude to the Russians were, was alright, the Russians were alright, yes [coughs]. [unclear] to the camp, the barb wire, look out through the barb wire, see the typical German trees and the greenery enough in the spring and summer was nice, in the winter was bloody awful, I mean, there’s a [unclear] and you could hear the dogs patrolling the outside of the guard [unclear] you know, and there are all lights [unclear] and you went in the door of the hut, was a great big bulk kind of thing that they used in the night in case you had to [unclear] you know you couldn’t [unclear] the compound the [unclear] conditions were bloody helpless, just a [unclear] shed with a lot of wooden seats with [unclear], no cover, it’s not awful in the summer, terrible at [unclear] you know and it was whilst speaking earlier about the Dieppe prisoners, the Canadians, a lot of French Canadians killed and I reckoned, the Germans reckoned that our people took the German prisoners and chained them up with the result that we finished up in chains, you could just get under your pocket, handcuff [unclear] and you walk about like that, you sat, you sat [unclear] every morning, detail two or three blokes [unclear] big [unclear] all the chain across and bring them up from the office and then put them on you know, you walk about like that all day and if you wanted to tend to the nightshift, you get somebody of the German to unlock them, [unclear], we did all that, did all that and the parcels, [unclear] they were coming through but of course had always blame the RAF for bombing the railways or the Russians, was always blaming them, [unclear] the parcels, what you expect, we can’t get the transport, you’re bombing the railways and all that business but when we did get them, I mean, used to go down and I mean, I forget what country [unclear] parcel [unclear] us but perhaps put a pair of socks inside, just a pair of socks and [unclear] chocolate and cigarettes and of course the Germans all that when they used to go in the office and collect the parcels, this is a private parcel [unclear] that I [unclear] and cigarettes had stuck in [unclear] any messages inside and things like that you know and yeah and oh there’s a lot of chocolate, well of course that was the currency, soap and chocolate, you could get away with it, if you could bribe the Germans with that definitely and one of the blokes did and then another thing, you could go out on a working party if you wanted, if you felt that way inclined, go out on a working party, you’d pick somebody who looked you like [unclear] same way [unclear] and all this stuff and [unclear] identity, I’d go and [unclear] you [unclear] on a German farm, you know, work on a farm, get food and all that, get as much food as I wanted, you know, [unclear] like that, yeah, but we had the chance to do all that but [unclear] what you do to your [unclear] and I [unclear] by going, you know, to work you’re helping them, if you’re not, you’re not helping them and that was the idea but the parcels obviously they [unclear] parcel pretty good and milk and all that kind of stuff and there used to be one [unclear] every week was the M & V meat and veg bourse, they decided the cook house, the British blokes working in the cook house [unclear] German, they take a tin of meat and vegetable out to you parcel every week and cook it up for you kind of business that used to be great but of course there was a lot of racket going down there with blokes pinching more than one tin and all that, you say lot of that going on meat and veg always [unclear] and but we still lived alright work in twos parcel you get a parcel two a week [unclear] Tuesday or Thursday I think he does and collect the parcel and two of us living on the one parcel for two or three days and they try and get another one [unclear] part of our beds, there’s a little, have a little cupboard and a shelf and tins of this and tins of that and tins the other and cause I remember when [laughs] we had, came over the tannoy that we got load the camp at two o’clock in the afternoon the German commandant came over and he said that, you know, you gotta be ready for two o’clock, it was all queuing [unclear] all blankets and all that, you know, and we got tins of condense milk and all that kind of stuff [unclear] you know I remember I was sick of the bloody[unclear] wouldn’t let it fall under the Germans or under the Russians and, yeah, we took all this food and when they threw us, the first night when they threw us into this barn, great big barn, with straw on the floor and no lights and anything, no [unclear] and nothing like that and I felt sick and I wanted to be sick and I remember I got some new handkerchiefs had been more than seven days before and I was sitting all these handkerchiefs and that, you know, I’ll always remember that, sick as an [unclear], get up the next morning, you don’t know where you are going, what you were doing, I asked for a drink of water, no one would give you one, someone would give you drink of water, others wouldn’t, had promised you some [unclear] potatoes, cooked potatoes in big wicker baskets at the end of the day but you never got at the end of the day, you never got them, cause I [unclear] one or two of the German officers I reported it [unclear] one of them books down there I mentioned his name [unclear] what his name was but what happened I don’t know but they weren’t very, as I say, they never treated us, they never treated us too bad, anybody getting beat up or anything, cause lots of people, as you say, [unclear] to us, French Canadians captured at Dieppe, there were Sikhs and Indians and all kinds of, Palestinians [unclear] a year, the interrogator, he was a Palestinian, [unclear] Zelba, I don’t remember his name, and he used to do all our deals for [unclear], he used to get us a bit more coal to put [unclear] brickets to put on the stove, in the [unclear], you know to keep warm and we used to give him cigarettes and [unclear] and he used to bribe the German guard, he could speak German, he was born in Hamburg, as I say, he joined, he was with the RAF in Cyprus, and when Cyprus fell of course he was captured [unclear] Germany [unclear] collect cigarettes and all that, that’s how we used to get our stuff, listen to the radio every night [unclear] the bulletin come round, anybody caught with radios [unclear] every so often they would come and have a search they turn you all outside on a day like this, they turn outside early in the morning and they’d be out there all the bloody day, turning all your bed was ripped out, all that, you know [unclear] and put in detention, you know, and he ran away and the Jerry guard on a, it was on a Sunday and we was all lined up outside we saw all this going on and he ran away the chap did and the German guard got down on his knees and shot this bloke you know, he told him to halt and all that but he wouldn’t and that was going out on working party, yeah, but of course we gotta a senior British medical officer in the camp and he used to look after and he complained [unclear] and the leader of the camp was a regimental sergeant major [unclear] during some [unclear] and he had the badge at the back of the camp because [unclear] artillery [unclear] once and they always wore the at the back [unclear] he’s a camp leader but, you see, he outer perimeter [unclear] look at the people strolling and on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, I was looking and also he was looking [unclear] and former [unclear] and they had a dance round there and you could study, got to night school and [unclear] did a bit of that but [unclear] a bit smoking and could have a bit of walk now and again, you know, yeah, waiting for the news every night how far the Russians had got, how far, yeah, it was an experience, but as I say, really [unclear] one thing trying to get [unclear] more to do a book on the great escape or something but it was written by the one of them Tornado pilots or navigator who got shot down and of course [unclear] the forty’s war was lighter and he [unclear] but [unclear] I can’t read properly although I do a lot of reading. I met a German air force officer and he stopped and talked to us, spoke perfectly English and he said he was sorry for what we’ve been treated and he got us for that night, he got us in his barracks kind of place, like a German naffy, we [unclear], we could eat a German eat [unclear] in their naffy and he got us some brickets to put on the stove and there was straw on the floor, pallet on the floor, and pack of ten or twenty Polish cigarettes [unclear] concession [unclear] for what we’ve been through and we’ve be going through cause that was a [unclear] German, I remember I loved to know where we went and how many miles w covered, I never got to know that [unclear] laughing but I was a bit more serious on that and of course I combed me hair and do myself up but when our working party went out that was the main gates past the office where all the girls worked, checking identities and that cause look at your photo and, you know, oh that’s not you, you’re somebody else and used to be play the band and then march out and I knew a couple of guards, officers, forget what I was in, was in the cavalry, I was six foot, very look smart when I went out and that was to intimidate the Germans cause I looked a real scruffy lad. I think it was on the route to, perhaps on the route to Lamsdorf and they put us in a waiting room and there was all German soldiers in their uniform sitting, all [unclear] drinking and eating but we had to head up the corner, was about half a dozen or more of us and I remember the pipes was on, was warm in there, I mentioned it was warm and this one German, he says, we’ll make you sweat before long, you know, make it hot for you, always remember that, we were there cornered up in the corner, no sitting at the tables, long long waiting [unclear] the station in the waiting room, no, they wouldn’t let us sit at the table, on the chairs [unclear] on the floor and when they took us to one Sunday lunch on they took us to get on the train to go to across to this camp, all the Dutch people was crowding round us cause we stood there in a circle, was guards there with the rifles just waiting for the train to come and the Dutch people would inquisitive, you know, and I was given just a [unclear] and laughing at the Germans backs, you know, [unclear] that them kind of things, you could see [unclear] definitely.
MJ: On behalf of the International Bomber Command I’d like to thank George Hextell, Warrant Officer, from Squadron 51 for his recording on the 4th of January 2016 at one thirty. Once again, thank you again.
GH: Right.
MJ: And that was one hour and

Collection

Citation

Mick Jeffery, “Interview with George Hextell,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 3, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11111.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Can you help improve this description?