Certainly unaware of any political sensitivity concerning the matter, but I nevertheless went (as a day out!) to GHQ at Hamburg to report the situation to my superior Staff Officer, a major in the ATS. It subsequently became clear she had not done enough about it.
I had heard that the Army Commander was visiting the Holding Camps at Belefield (where I was attached to the Camp Commandant's staff) but had not been told it would involve me. Apparently the Commander of the Rhine Army, the G.O.C.-in-C., had arrived 15 minutes before the time he was expected. I was given this information after speaking to two sentries about the 'Present Arms' salute which they extended to me but not entitled to receive. I assumed as I spoke to them that they were on edge waiting for the G.O.C.-in-C. to arrive but to my amazement they exclaimed "He's here, Sir!: earlier than expected", adding "Caught everyone on the hop!" I quickly reasoned I was too junior to be missed, and leisurely walked through the barrack gates and as I did so I saw in the distance a group of officers standing outside the Camp Commandant's office. When they saw me coming they signalled me to 'double-up' but I thought it was a leg-pull; however, I increased my pace as I began to sense their panic. When I reached them I was told you are wanted in there and was bodily pushed through the door of the Nissen hut. The room was dark, crowded and seemingly jammed full of red-tab generals, brigadiers and full colonels. The Colonel Commandant of the Holding Camps on my arrival, turned to the G.O.C.-in-C. and said 'Sir, this is Captain Brown!'
I saluted the Army Commander and apologised for keeping him waiting, which he just brushed aside. He then asked me about the hold-up being caused by the RAF and what had I done about it. When I had put him in the picture, he reached for the field telephone and asked to speak to the Chief-of-Staff at Rhine Army Headquarters and in angry tones he outlined to him what I had just told him. Question after question was fired at the Chief-of-Staff about why GHQ had not taken action on the report made by Captain Brown. He paused in the middle of his tirade to confirm a brief point and then ordered the Chief-of-Staff to have a full report on his desk by the time he returned to GHQ. As he abruptly terminated the telephone call he turned and looked in my direction and grunted his thanks. I saluted as he stormed out of the Nissen hut followed by his retinue of generals and brigadiers.

 


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