Leslie Vickers POW, the story of the end of the War from his memories
My Dad, Corporal Leslie Vickers was one of 1400 POW’s marched back into Germany from Lamsdorf POW Camp 344 formerly Stalg VIIIB, he was in Dresden on VE day and he tells me they saw an American plane shot down just before they heard that the war was over.
The column then started singing “Land of hope & glory” followed by “God save the King”. After this they were left to fend for themselves, they all split up and made their various ways home.
Dad and some of the other POW’s hitched a ride on a German truck, heading East and eventually found their way to Aussig near Prague and hid out in a farmhouse there.
After a few days, 2 cars drew up, they held the local Doctor and Dentist, who took 2 each of the men back to their homes to help them get stronger.
Around 20th May 1945, they discovered a railway engine, which dad being an engineer set to work on, they got it going as 2 French POW’s arrived, they just happened to be railway engine drivers.
Dad and his friends then told the Doctor and Dentist they would be leaving next day to try to get to the American zone and would take anyone who wanted to leave, the Russians were still advancing at this point I believe. Anyway, the next morning they arrived at the station to find about 300 women and children with all their worldly goods, waiting for them and they set off, arriving several days later in Bayreuth, East Germany at an American Army/Air Force base. The only proof I have of this is below, a posting on a German Website in 2007, I tried to make contact without success.
‘[Aussig Mai 1945
Ein englischer Kriegsgefangener, Leslie Vickers, organisierte zusammen mit zwei französischen Kriegsgefangenen auf ihrer Odyssee nach Hause einen Eisenbahntransport von Aussig nach Bayreuth (amerikanische Zone). Sie sollen etwa 300 Aussiger Frauen und Kinder mitgenommen haben, die vor der heranrückenden Roten Armee flüchten wollten.
Wer war damals dabei, wer hat eventuell davon gehört?
Bitte teilen Sie Ihre diesbezüglichen Erinnerungen dem Hilfsverein Aussig e.V. mit!]’
‘Ústí May 1945
An English POW, Leslie Vickers, organized a rail transport from Aussig to Bayreuth (American Zone) along with two French POWs on their odyssey home. They are said to have taken about 300 Aussiger women and children who wanted to flee from the advancing Red Army.
Who was there then, who might have heard about it?
Please share your memories of this with the Aussig e.V. aid association!’
After 3 days there, Dad was flown in a Dakota, with injured US personnel to Rheims, in France, and then onto Brize Norton airfield in UK. From there he was taken by train to Mount Vernon Hospital in Northamptonshire.
My mother had had no news of him since Christmas 1944 and did not know if he was alive or dead. She received a telegram from Mount Vernon, to let her know he was there and was safe and well.
They were married on 27th June 1945 and celebrated their 60th, Diamond Anniversary in 2005.Sadly Dad passed away on 8 April 2008.