British private served with Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in GB and North West Europe, 1939-1945
REEL 1 Background in Great Yarmouth, 1923-1939: family; education. Recollections of period with Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in GB, 1939-1944: enlistment, 1939; training as general fitter and motor mechanic; character of German Air Force attacks on Great Yarmouth; public morale during Blitz; work repairing vehicles; degree to which civilians in north of England affected by Second World War; transfer to Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1942; attachment to workshop of 113th Light Anti- Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery at Wednesfield; shooting down of German Air Force raider at Clacton, c1943-1944.
REEL 2 Continues: Recollections of operations with Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regt, Royal Artillery in North West Europe, 1944-1945: under German Air Force attack at Benouville; sight of dead Germans in Falaise Gap, 8/1944; work keeping convoys moving; problems of Germans flooding in Netherlands; contact with French civilian in Normandy; reception by civilians in Brussels, 9/1944; degree to which troops received information; role on Arnhem corridor; importance of Nijmegen bridge; reception of British troops by US paratroopers at Nijmegen; German determination to knock out Nijmegen bridge; move to Ardennes, 12/1944-1/1945; effects of cold weather on vehicles; disarming panic stricken US troops at Givet. Recollections of liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, 1945: orders to move to camp; smell of camp.
REEL 3 Continues: role of unit; DDT precautions against typhus; forcing SS personnel to bury dead in pits and use of bulldozer to speed process up; conversion of SS barracks into quarantine hospital; use of Poles as interpreters; reaction to camp; how some inmates were killed by chocolate given them by British troops; Bengal famine mixture given to victims; burning German vehicles to prevent spread of disease; confiscation of watches and rings from Hungarian troops attempting to bury them; British troops who contracted typhus; former French inmate who took revenge on guards; how troops were given holiday in Lubeck after work in camp; presentation of book on Bergen Belsen, 1948.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.