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German Hospitality

Heroes Remember

So I had to take a load of supplies up to a mess hall in Oldenburg so they give me rations in my vehicle to last me three days to go from Oldenburg, from Appledorn into Oldenburg. So I drove up, got up there into the base and off loaded and they said, "You gonna stay here on the base?" I said, "No, I?m going to try and get back to Holland." So I was driving back and I started getting tired just before dark and I thought I?m going to try and find a place to stay. Now I was in Germany and the war had only ended just about a month so I left the main road and I went down this narrow road and at first I see two, three kids going, a young boy and two girls, they must have been about 12, 13 or 14, and I stopped and I was trying to say something in German like where can I find a place to stay and they took one look at me and they "Chooommb!!!" - they took off down the road so we went along a little further and here was two women coming up and I stopped. I said, "I'm looking for a place where I can stay tonight." So the girl could speak English, she said, "Yes, you see that big house right over there, that's where we live, a big farm, a big crossroad, go down there and turn there." And they started running ahead of me and going and went up and drove up the driveway, went into the house, went in and when I drove up in the truck two men came out, they were around my age at the time and they could speak English and they had been in the army, they was in the army. They were talking there and we talked and they said, "Oh yes", and then the mother came out; short stocky woman. Oh she was some excited. "Oh yes, you're staying, yes,yes!!" This girl was explaining to her, ?Oh yes, you come, you come!" And I had my food in the truck, I took it out and said, "Here!" They said, "No!", I said, "No, take the food!" So the guys, they said, "Look, soldier I think you better put your truck over there behind the barn because if the military police come by and see that truck you might get in trouble." I said,"Alright!" Now they was Germans now; the war just ended so I pulled the truck up behind there went in there and sat down and I talked to them and sitting by the stove, there was a gentleman sitting there with a big goatee on, big man. He was just sitting there looking at me. I spoke to him, he kind of bowed his head. So they fed me and everything, see they were still living in the cellar and she took me upstairs, "Here, you sleep there." "Okay!"That was on Saturday. So I woke up Monday, Sunday, Sunday morning jeez the house was right quiet, nobody around. So I went downstairs and the old fellow was sitting there in the chair. And he was trying to tell me, pointing, that they had gone to church and I looked down and I seen the white church down there. I said, "Okay." So I went out and I checked around the truck see if anything was wrong and here they all were coming, they were just a going right out straight, they came in and made me sit down, have breakfast and everything and I said, "Well I got to go!" And as they came out this little girl that that could speak English said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, Mom got something for you!" And she had made this little round cake and she said, "Mom says you will be hungry by the time you get back to Holland, you have this!" I thanked them and away I went.

Mr. Cromwell experiences the kindness of a German family giving him rest and accommodation for the night.

Everett Sylvester Cromwell

Everett Cromwell was born on December 12, 1921 in Weymouth Falls, Digby Co., Nova Scotia. He was the fifth of ten children. At age twelve, he left school to work in the woods because his father, also a forestry worker, had fallen ill. Both of his parents were soon deceased, and the ten children stayed in the family home supporting one another. Mr.Cromwell supported the family by working for a local farmer and then in the local lumberyard. He enlisted in June, 1941 in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. After basic training in Halifax, Sherbrooke, and Camp Borden, he sailed aboard the Louis Pasteur to England, arriving on December 23, 1941. Two weeks after the D-day raid, Mr. Cromwell arrived in France with the 2nd Division, Motor Transport. For the duration of the war, his unit was responsible for transporting fuel, food and ammunition to the Front in support of the Allied advance on Germany. After being discharged from the army and returning home, Mr. Cromwell, recently married, reenlisted because it was ‘steady work’. He and his family were to experience institutionalized racism in Halifax, being denied accommodations because of their black heritage. This in contrast to the fact that he felt equal in all respects as a member of the Army. Mr. Cromwell and his wife, Elizabeth, currently reside in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Everett Sylvester Cromwell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

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