George Sands
Rank: Sergeant
Name

George Sands


Nationality
British

Unit
D Company, 5th Battalion
Location
Vught, The Netherlands

Date
October 26, 1944

Survived the war?
Wounded but survived
51st Highlanders Division
51st Highlanders Division

Liberating concentration camp 'Kamp Vught'

26th October found us riding into action atop Sherman tanks towards Vught. We were delayed at the start line due to the tanks and carriers getting bogged down in the mud, we were greeted with anti - tank and machine gun fire but we had gained all our objectives by midnight.

When we cleared the cellar of the Burgomeisters house not only did we take the resident Germans prisoner; we released the Burgermeisters wife. She hugged and kissed me and did not want to let me go. It turned out that she was from Scotland and I told the C.O. He managed to get a message to her family in Scotland to let them know she had been liberated and was in good health.

The people were so grateful that they gave me a simple wooden plaque engraved with the picture of Vught Town House. It is inscribed, ‘Vught Gemeente Huis’.

Next day the local civilians emerged from their hiding places and gladdened our hearts. It was good to see their obvious enjoyment and relief from enemy fire and occupation. Vught contained the first concentration camp to be liberated by the Western allies, and gave us an insight into some of the more ghastly horrors yet to be revealed. Its liberation is officially credited to the Canadians, but 5th Camerons were fighting under command of the Canadians at the time. We were chasing a few German straglers through the woods and came up against a fence. We got one of the carriers and smashed it throught the fence, near where the railway line entered the camp. We at first thought we had entered a scrap yard, with heaps of metal everywhere. The light was failing and we went and dug in along the edge of the road by the camp. Next morning we found what the true use of the camp was.

In the afternoon we were once more on the move, we had been tasked with “mopping up” near the Aftenvaterings canal. The C.O. had told us that we were not killing enough Germans. From now on we would drag them into the street so he could see how many we were killing. After the concentration camp at Vught we didn’t really need telling. Any German wearing a black S.S. uniform was never given the opportunity to surrender. If any others refused to surrender at our first request, they were never given the option again.

Queens Own Cameron Highlanders

The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders or 79th (The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, raised in 1793. It amalgamated with the Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's) to form the Queen's Own Highlanders in 1961.

 Schijndel & Vught - Holland 1944

On the night of 23rd/24th October 1944, Alamein day, 5th Camerons took part in the attack on the small town of Schijndel. It was here that Major Nigel Parker, "D" company commander was killed. The attack resulted in the south end of Schijndel being liberated, with 5th Camerons finally settling down in pine woods just west of Schijndel. As a result of casualties in 24 hours fighting, "D" company was disbanded to re-inforce the other companies, with Major Eric Mainwaring returning to command "A" company.

Total casualties for 23rd to the 24th October, 8 Officers and 63 other ranks.

Kamp Vught

5th Camerons entered "SS Kamp Vught", in Vught, the first concentration camp the allies had come upon. Terrible cruelties were perpetrated there. It was to give its liberators a in-sight into some of the more ghastly horrors to be revealed at subsequent concentration camps, later in the war.

Veteran's personal accomplishments
  • The Military Medal citation George received
  • The Military Medal handed out to George by Montgomery
    The Military Medal handed out to George by Montgomery
Veteran's personal medals
Military Medal
Military Medal
1939 -1945 Star
1939 -1945 Star
Africa Star
Africa Star
Italy Star
Italy Star
France Germany Star
France Germany Star
War Medal
War Medal
Veteran's personal file
5th Battalion, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders
5th Battalion, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders

Nickname: Pro rege et patria (For King and country)

Personal photographs

Click on a picture for enlargement

  • 2005

Veteran personal video

Remember each and every sacrifice, made for your freedom!

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