Lindsey, John (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 30641
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 180, Number Of Items 6
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


Purchase & License
Object description

German schoolchild living in Dusseldorf, Germany, 1922-1937; emigration to GB, 1937; living in GB, 1937-1940; internment in GB and Australia, 1940-1941; served as private with 229 Coy, Pioneer Corps in GB, 1942-1943; served with 8th King's Own Irish Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps in GB and North West Europe, 1943-1945; served attached as interpreter with Australian Military Mission, Berlin, 1945-1946

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of background in Dusseldorf, Germany, 1922-1937: Jewish family background and Christian upbringing; education; development of anti-Semitism following rise of Hitler, 1933; social circumstances and mother's small scale business activities; education; background to emigration with assistance of Inter Aid Committee, 5/1937. Period as boarder at Magdellen College School, Brackley, 5/1937-9/1939: reception and question of learning English; holiday in Germany, 7/1937; question of academic progress and sports activities; absence of anti-Semitism; lifestyle; family situation in Germany and their attempts to emigrate; one pot meal legislation; sister's emigration; holidays in GB; reactions to outbreak of war, 3/9/1939. Period at Doddington Hall, 9/1939-1/1940: initial work in sawmill arranged by Inter-Air Committee; move into Doddington Hall and privileged lifestyle; shooting parties. REEL 2 Continues: studying engineering at Lincoln Technical College. Period in London, ca 1/1940-6/1940: accommodation in boarding house in Primrose Hill; work in John Lewis Store, Oxford Street; question of registration as enemy alien in category 'B'; internment by police at Albany Barracks. Periods at Lingfield Racecourse and Huyton Internment Camp, Liverpool, 6/1940-7/1940: relationship with internees; conditions. Voyage aboard Dunera to Sydney, Australia, 7/1940-8/1940: prior torpedoed ship; treatment by guards n boarding ship; messdeck conditions; seasickness and latrines; theft of personal possessions; route; escape from submarine attack; PT; classes; food. Recollections of conditions of service, lifestyle and daily routine in Internment Camps at Hay, New South Wales and Tatuna, Victoria, Australia, 9/1940-10/1941: reception; friends; hut accommodation; state of morale and complaints over conditions; relationship with Australian guards; question of contacts with family; volunteering for service with British Army; move to Tatura, 5/1941. REEL 3 Continues: volunteering for Pioneer Corps. Voyage aboard Ceramic to Liverpool, 10/1941-12/1941: conditions; route; new of Pearl Harbout, 12/1941. Kitting out at Pioneer Corps Depot, Ilfracombe, 1/1942. Period with 229 Coy, Pioneer Corps at Ogbourne Maisey and Bulford Camp, 1/1942-7/1943: stable billets; relationship with Austrian personnel; role building rods for use of tanks in Swindon area; recreations and rented room; question of military training; volunteering as glider pilot and provisional acceptance; volunteering for service with Royal Armoured Corps; background to changing name to John Lindsey, 4/1943; question of fate of parents; move to Bulford Camp; work on sewage farm and building shed. Period of basic training with Royal Armoured Corps at Farnborough Camp, 7/1943-12/1943: drill; Morse code and wireless; PT; learning to drive lorry. Recollections of period with 8th King's Own Irish Hussars, RAC at Brandon and Worthing, 12/1943-6/1944: reception and state of unit; re-equipment of unit with Daimler Scout Car, Cromwell and Sherman; nature of Daimler and crew roles; prior training on Bren gun; opinion of Sergeant Pick commanding 'Harkaway' Daimler; waterproofing. REEL 4 Continues: training exercises; move to Worthing, 5/1944; speech from Montgomery; cinema visit; tank damage to roads; D Day briefing, 1/6/1944l; embarkation on Tank Landing Craft at Portsmouth, 7/6/1944. Recollections of operation in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, 6/1944-8/1945: Channel crossing and landing at Gold Beach, 7/6/1944-8/6/1944; move inland into bocage country; dead cows; compo food rations and foraging for food; relationship with French farmers and question of looting; refuelling and supplies; attacks from Allied aircraft; confusion and tank losses action at Villers Bocage, 14/6/1944-16/6/1944; minor leg wound; cooking arrangements; personal morale; rum and cigarette rations; advance on Falaise, 8/1944; question of reconnaissance role as scout cars; opinion of Honey Tank; opinion of officers; relationship with ORs; role assisting in interrogation of German prisoners; mobile showers; absence of lice; smell of corpses; advance towards Arnhem, 9/1944; advance into Belgium, 12/1944. REEL 5 Continues: move to Maseik, 12/1944; advance into Netherlands; period occupying trenches as infantry, 12/1944; painting tanks white; advance towards Rhine; crossing Rhine, 3/1944; liberation of Fellingbostel POW Camp; advance to Fishbeck, 4/1945; entry into Hamburg, 5/1945, including prior negotiations, bomb damage and reception from German civilians; question of VE Day celebrations, 8/5/1945; question of death of parent. Recollections of period in Germany and Denmark, 5/1945-8/1945: disarming German POWs at Itzahoe; organising display of concentration camp photographs; move through Soviet Zone to Berlin; cleaning out billets in Olympic Stadium; victory parade in British Zone, 21/7/1945, including reads extracts from Churchill speech and unit role leading parade; attending interpreter's course and promotion to corporal. Period attached as interpreter with Australian Military Mission, Berlin, 8/1945-12/1946: composition of mission; role tracing Australian POWs and property; recreational visits to Brussels; awareness of black market activities; flooded underground station used as air raid shelter and left full of corpses; visits to Soviet Zone and contacts with Soviet troops; question of non-fraternisation policy with German civilians; promotion to staff sergeant; collecting gramophone records; relationship with German woman; relationship with Australian personnel; enjoyment of posting. REEL 6 Continues; compassionate leave to visit Düsseldorf including attempts to investigate death of parents, discovery of their letters/literary works and visits to remaining family and friends; Christmas celebrations, 25/12/1945; taking correspondence course; question of extending service, 12/1946. Return to GB and demobilisation, 12/1946. Post-war career: work for import/export firms; correspondence course; question of naturalisation as British; further education; career with insurance company; attitude to Germany; decision to conceal German nationality; question of resignation of membership of 8th King's Royal Irish Hussar Assoc.

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