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People in story: Ernest H Foard MM
Location of story: France, Eqypt, Italy, France, Belguim, Germany
Background to story: Army
Article ID: A6773006
Contributed by: ClareTom
The War of Ernest H Foard MM, 1939 to 1945
That really was the finish of the war in Germany as far as I was concerned, until we were sent to occupy the part of Berlin the Germans had been occupying. The area we were to occupy in Berlin was called the Spandeau area, but we only got as far as Brunswick before we were told that the Russians, who occupied that area, would not let us through. We were therefore held up there for 2 to 3 days whilst this debate went on. Eventually we were let through and went into Berlin as a unit of the 7th Armoured Division. A major victory parade was then held in Berlin attended by Montgomery, Churchill and Anthony Eden amongst other senior figures (about 30 lined up). The British Army went down the autobahn 8 vehicles abreast. It was a fantastic sight.
A few postscripts now as Germany was the end of the war for yours truly. A few points of interest, in the previous year to the end of the war, Field Marshall Montgomery had instigated a 7 day leave to the UK which I had in February. This leave was drawn by a lottery, separately for troops and officers. I drew February 1945 and had arranged to get married during that time. When I got to Calais there was no troop ship to take me over the channel but one of the officers told me that the Canadians had a ship heading over so I was to walk through, give my name and number but not to say too much. This I did and came back to the UK as a Canadian! I think they must have known but turned a blind eye.
When my time came to be demobbed, one could choose either a letter called Lilop (Leave in lieu of Python) or you could have Python, 8 weeks leave and then demob. I chose to be demobbed and was sent to Catterick for assembly and then down to Guildford. From Guildford I was released in December of 1945. I got a taxi up from Farnham station to Boundstone as my wife and I had the previous year bought two cottages. After we had been there for about a year, my wife bought the book of Field Marshal Montgomery’s Memoirs. I wrote to him and explained that I had a letter from him with a signed photograph of him presenting the Military Medal to me and asked if, at his convenience, I could take the book over to his house at Isington Mill for him to sign it. He wrote back a nice letter in which he said his letter would be far more valuable pasted into the inside of his book, which we have done.
I would also like to add that all the military medals (Military Medal, Africa Star, Italian Star and several others), a signed photograph from Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery and letter, a signal from the 7th Armoured Division Commander, a jerboa flash and compass have all been forwarded to the Military Museum in Aldershot. They have been given them to keep, providing that they will not be sold and that any of the family can view them at any time.
By Ernest H Foard M.M.
Royal Engineers No 2 Bridge Company RASC and 7th Armoured Division
Born: 5 September 1915 (now aged 90)