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Dinner with a German

Heroes Remember

Dinner with a German

When we took over a camp in Germany, a regular German army camp, the Canadians moved into it and it was a very, very nice set up we had there. Mess halls and everything. And a little story goes with that too. My countless trips in and out every day on the motorcycle, I got to know the caretaker of the camp who lived in a little cottage at the gate of the camp. The Canadians kept him on because he knew the routine of the camp and he was a general handyman so they kept him on, left him in his little house and give him rations and pay. So I got to know him pretty well. One day he said to me, “Good food in your camp?” “Fairly,” I said, “not real good.” “You come to my house for supper?” “Yes.” “Ok, when?” So we decided on a day to go to his house for supper. So I went in this day and put the motorcycle away, tidied up a bit and come back out to his house and he had a young daughter about 18 or 19, around my age. So we were introduced. I wasn’t in the house five minutes til I spied a guitar over in the corner. “Somebody plays?” And the old gentleman said, “My daughter! You play?” “Yes!” “Ok, you play now?” “Yes!” So, I played a couple of tunes, army tunes of mine. “Now, my daughter will play.” Well it was one of my most embarrassing moments when the daughter took the guitar. I never in my life heard a yodeler like her. I never heard a much better guitar player. She done all the Swiss yodels you could imagine back in them days and she was top notch. If she was alive or around today, she’d go to the top of the charts. “You play again?” “Not today,” I said.

Mr. Downe tells the story of having dinner with a German caretaker after the war ended.

Russell Downe

Russell Downe was born on February 26, 1924 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He joined the army when he was just seventeen, following in the footsteps of his two brothers, Edward and Robert, who were already overseas. His training took place at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Mr. Downe worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider for most of the war where he was responsible for delivering urgent messages.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
January 1, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Russell Downe
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Dispatch Rider

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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