And after the Armistice
So, my grandfather and some friends set off for home, meeting many Germans coming the other way – individually and in groups, on horseback, walking or on wagons. The first entertaining incident took place in the town of Wavre:
We went to look for quarters for the night. We were standing near a well where two or three lanes joined the main street when Archie got into conversation with an old woman, who offered to put us up. Another three were also in her house. She spread straw on the floor of an attic and gave us sheets and blankets. We put our kit upstairs and then came down again for a cup of coffee. In the kitchen was a parrot which screamed out “Boche! Boche!” whenever the servant of a German officer, who was billetted in the house put his head into the kitchen. He discreetly withdrew when he saw six British soldiers in occupation, and later in the evening Madame amused us by telling how the Officer had enquired whether she thought he would be safe to sleep in a house where six of us were.
I think this incident captures the mood of the days after the Armistice where he was. The playing field is suddenly even. Everyone is in it together, in this case – at least two Germans, a French woman and six British soldiers all sharing accommodation. There is suspicion on both sides – although this quote only shows the German’s unease.
More to follow, when I’ve read ahead 🙂