Friendly Flippancy

“In here, you wait.” The krout says to me as he shuts the door with little regard for the amount of noise made.

So I’ll wait here then.

After all of the Gestapo show, why are they not summarily executing me, as is their policy?

No decorations adorn the room, occupied, as it were with simply a gun-metal chair, matching table, and worn walls of peeling plaster and paint.

Simply more interrogation? Seems unlikely. They could have simply kept me in that stale, and now bloody, room.

As I contemplate what’s changing in my situation to require a new room, the door behind me flings open.

Does no one care about sound in this place?

“Captain Wooldridge, it’s a pleasure to meet you!” a stern voice projects.

I turn to see who it is before freezing in place.

Can it be?

“Field Marshall, fancy this!” I reply.

“Yes, last we met, you were stopping me from taking Cairo. Now we are together in France.”

“Indeed. Here we are, as if fate has more in store for us.”

Was my effort at El Alemain reported back to the Germans in ‘42? Or, do they keep track of those who were awarded the Military Cross?

“It must, indeed. Can I get you anything.”

Get me anything? Is he kidding? Yeah, the hell out of France!

“Certainly, Field Marshall, a single ticket back to the UK, a pint of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a really good meal would be splendid.” I reply with a quip.

The Field Marshall eyes me up and down before responding “I’ll see what I can do.” He then leaves the room.

Within minutes I’m invited into an adjoining room where a waiter in a white coat sporting a bright red Nazi arm band, stands before a set table adorned with a stein of beer, a packet of cigarettes, and a bowl of steaming meat balls with potatoes and sauerkraut.

This is for real. They buttering me up for the big interrogation finish?

Rather than question my fate, I dive in, gulping down the beer and devouring the meal before attacking the cigarettes.

This is the way to be captured.

I owe this story to inspiration provided by Dirk DeKlein

Captain Roy Wooldridge- The British soldier saved by Field Marshall Rommel.

Captain Roy Wooldridge, who was in the Royal Engineers, was taken prisoner during a covert night-time mission to examine submerged mines along the French beaches weeks before the D-Day landings. Mr Wooldridge, who was twice awarded the Military Cross, was sent a telegram ordering him to report to his unit just three days after his wedding in 1944.he lieutenant, who was later promoted to captain, was sent to the French beaches with a colleague to ensure there were no mines which could blow up the boats during the D-Day landings. Due to the secretive nature of the mission, he was not wearing a uniform or carrying identification. Captured by the Nazis and treated as a spy, Captain Roy Wooldridge was told he must reveal all about his secret mission or be shot dead.Despite being grilled by the Gestapo, the British soldier refused to talk. Capt Wooldridge, a hero of the Battle of El Alamein two years earlier at which Rommel was defeated by the Allies, was stunned when he was presented to the high-ranking officer.hen Rommel asked if he needed anything, cheeky Roy replied: “A single ticket back to the UK, a pint of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a really good meal.”

To his astonishment, his wish was granted when he was ushered into Rommel’s mess where all three items were waiting for him, with the exception of the ticket back to the UK. He later recalled “I was taken to the officers’ mess, where a waiter in white dress adorned with a ­swastika gave me a jug of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a meal. From memory it was meatballs, or faggots, with potatoes and sauerkraut.” Capt Wooldridge ate the food, drank the stein of lager and smoked the German cigarettes, but kept the empty packet as a souvenir.hat empty cigarette packet featured on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow on 23 November 2014.With Arms and Militaria specialist Graham Lay. Thanks to Rommel, he survived and was sent on to a prisoner of war camp, where he spent the rest of the war.

Captain Roy Wooldridge died in April 2017, aged 97.

Just like today

I came across this article with newly colored images from World War I and could not help but connect the faces to the faces we see today. These are people caught up in something far bigger than any one of them, yet making their way through as best they can. It's so compelling when seeing images in black-and-white to consider it a long and forgotten time ago. Yet, when color is added, the reality comes into perspective. Connecting with our past, with those in war, is the only way to come closer to realizing what it must have meant to be there.