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Panzerfaust joust

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  1. Not all of my grandfathers experiances were bad though. Just after the war ended, he and a few of his friends from the workshop "found" some zundapp patrol motorcycles in bits, and proceeded to re-assemble them to use in and around the towns and villages near the workshop in Germany. Although most of the major towns were flattened, some of the villages were pretty much intact and were just like you would expect a picturesque German village would look like. The Germans themselves were by and large apparently quite freindly, and just wanted to re-build their country. My grandfather was quite an accomplished runner, and he won many awards of which I will post a picture of later. One of the more amusing stories he told me concerned a workshop in Belgium, and a crocodile tank. Basically the tank was just refurbished, and needed to be tested somewhere so a section of concrete hard standing backing on to a park was selected, and a flame shot was sent on its way across the concrete. At this point I should point out the the grass in the park had not been cut in quite a while, and was quite tall. Unfortunately the grass caught fire, and from out of the grass came American soldiers with their trousers down, and local girls with thier skirts hitched up, he had inadvertently set fire to the local "meeting place " for lust struck soldiers. Nobody was hurt and my grandfather did say he was sorry before closing the hatch and driving off.... My grandfather met my grandmother in 1944 at the Tottenham Palace dance hall. They were mid way through a dance when my grandfather said "I am very sorry, but I must get up early tomorrow to go fishing with a friend,". Lucky for me he got my grandmothers number before he left.... After he was de mobbed he thought about buying and selling surplus diamond t's, but ended up working, then eventually taking over my great grandfathers general store in Tottenham (Bruce Grove). I arrived in 1981, and some of the know large that he learned in the REME he passed down to me. I eventually became a qualified mechanic, before working for my father as a painter and decorator. His knowledge he passed down to me will serve me well on my friends dingo project ( one of the vechicles types he worked on). I probably have more of his recollections in my head somewhere, but here is what I remember most of all.
  2. My grandfather worked in the building trade before the war, and rose from tea boy to site foreman. Just before the war he worked on building air raid shelters around north London under a government directive. On the outbreak of war, he became an apprentice tool maker which was a reserved occupation at the time. He did this for a while until about early 1943, when as he put it "became bored" and decided to volunteer for the services. He got his permission to leave his job, and ended up training as one of the first REME personnel. As I said, he was attached to the 79th armoured division, and worked mainly on the Churchill Crocodile flamethrower tank. The upgrade for the Churchill was supplied as a kit, which had to be assembled in the REME workshops, he eventually arrived in France in late 1944, then moved to Belgium and then into Germany in 1945, moving with the workshops. After assembling the crocodile kits, they were maintained, along with all the other oddball vechicles that the 79th armoured division consisted of, as well as doing other tasks, such as repairing the dockside cranes at Antwerp. He mentioned that while he was in Germany in the dying weeks of the war, he was part of a REME LAD ( light aid detachment) assisting infantry units that were low on numbers. During one such patrol, he came across a lake in a forest, with a large house next to it. There were some German lads by the lake who told him in broken English that the house was occupied by fanatical Nazis and to prove his point, there was a call from the house that the occupants were ready to fight and die for their fuhrer. As there were so few of them, my grandfathers NCO decided to return to base and gather more men to investigate, and it was decided that an investigation would be made on the next morning. When they returned to the house, there was no sound, they entered cautiously to find that the house was full of bodies of young boys in German uniform, the youngest must have been about eleven, and the oldest around 16-17. They had all shot themselves in the head during the night. My grandfather never forgot what he saw.... As I have said, his main job was to repair and construct the crocodile flamethrower tank, and here is something that I am not so sure about. He stated quite a few times that he drove crocodiles sometimes on operations, he was not prone to boasting, and he was honest to a T. I wonder if this was the case sometimes with REME Personel operating them? He described the sound the flamethrower made as a screaming sound, and the jet being almost laser straight. What would happen would be that a Churchill AVRE with the petard would smash a hole in a blockhouse, then the crocodile would come in , fire a wet shot to saturate the blockhouse, then do a flame shot setting the interior on fire. He described seeing the effect on an unfortunate soldier which I won't repeat here. Will add more soon.
  3. Thanks for the kind words lads. I have some stories to tell of his service if that's ok?
  4. Here are the pictures of my Grandfathers time in the REME. his name was Herbert Stracey, and he joined in 1943, and was demobbed in 1947. He was attached to the 79th armoured division, specificaly he worked on the crocodile flamethrower tanks. Belgium 1945. Germany 1945. The trailer is the fuel tank for the crocodile flamethrower tank. Germany 1945. The REME used turret-less german tanks as tugs to tow disable afvs for repair. Germany 1945 Belgium 1945. My grandfather helped to repair the dockside cranes at Antwerp. Belgium 1946. My grandfather was a great athlete during his time in the REME, winning many awards for running. Unknown. Training? dated 1943 Germany 1945. My granfather, along with others reassmbled a few zundapp motorcycles to use as runabouts for germany. De-mob 1947
  5. And some more.... This particular Dingo spent a long time in a garage in Wales before being moved to its current location in North London in 2006. When completed it will have markings for the 2nd Household Cavalry in North West Europe, 44' 45'.
  6. Here are the promised photos of the Daimler dingo that I am helping out with.
  7. Hello everyone! My name is Henry and I come from Essex. I am a reenactor (please don't lynch me please....) with a group called "follow the Sapper", we portray the divisional Royal Engineers from the 50th division (Tyne Tees), as well as XIII corps RE. My grandfather was in the REME in ww2 attached to the 79th armoured division. He worked on the crocodile flamethrower tanks as well as other armour, he also taught me the basics of mechanical engineering from a young age, when I get a minute, I will post some photos that he took during his service if anyone is interested. I am currently helping a friend restore his daimler dingo in time for the 2013 show season, and have some pictures of that as well. So hello all!
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