Here is what happened, On good Friday, March 30th 1945, the night was real quite when I collided with a German tank on a small dirt road near the front line. After the collision either the tank backed up or we bounced back but either way there was about 2 feet between me and the tank. It was real dark so all we could see was the vague silhouette of the tank.
So I got out on the left side of my jeep. Major Bellinger and General Rose got out on the right side. We went to the front of the Jeep with our hands in the air. We stood right in front of our Jeep all three side by side with our hands over our head. The man in the tank said something, we don’t know what is was, and General Rose said: “No fersteh”. And he just got the words out of his mouth and brrrrrrrrr (Makes gun sounds). NO other words were spoken. We did not reach for our pistol or anything we were standing with our hands in the air. I would say the gun went of three times maybe more then that because all you could hear was “ratatat” of the gun. And that was the end of the conversation. I hollered: “RUN!”. The general started dropping and before he hit the ground I was gone.
I don’t know if Major Bellinger said anything or not I doubt it I did not hear him make a sound. So I jumped tight against the tank, went down to the left side of the it, around to the back and then off to the right. My leg being not in a very good shape slowed me down. Next down in a ditch to the right and then into the field. Major Bellinger must have gone the same way to the right cause but we could not have been to far apart there for a little while for we never bumped into each other. The they fired first like I said, tracer bullets coming through the air and then flares.
I started digging in the ground and I buried all the papers and documents I had with me, cause I heard before you should never give up all that. Then I dug a new hole, with my hands, right beside the hole I had dug for the papers, to burry my helmet as it was too high and too easy to recognise when the flares came up and covered the whole with dirt again. Then at the same time the flares were hitting the ground and they knew that I got away they started to spray the ground with machinegun fire. I could see the dirt pop up around me when the bullets hit the ground and I knew what that was.
I passed out for while. A little later I heard three or four guys were talking and I knew they were Americans for they were talking English. So they helped me along to find cover for the night where a few tress grew and we stayed there all night. Early in the morning they said they were going to get some help. They were going to try and find something what exactly that was they did not know at the time. They asked me if I could make it but I said no I cannot crawl as fast as you guys can walk. I said: “you guys go ahead and try and find some help and come back for me”. So off they went and I crawled to the top of the hill and behind a big stump, I was up there all day long looking down upon the road where were the night before.
Came the night I knew I had to do something. So I started crawling and I crawled to where I thought our artillery came from because they made a different sound than the German’s. So I crawled all night and on towards morning, and I came to a road which was probably about 8 miles from the place our vehicles were driving maybe a little further then that. I had a piece of white parachute cloth around my neck I ripped that off and got up behind a tree there. Since I heard a bunch of soldiers up the road and I did not know if they were American or German. I did not want to stick my head around the tree before I was sure who they were and I waved my white flag. Luckily they were Americans they picked me up who brought me to some headquarters of some sort and I was on my way back to England.
I was send an obituary of Major Bellinger whom I have been trying to get a hold of for the last 15 years, Unfortunately he did in 1979. I would also like to know what happened to Colonel Brown and his driver. They were riding in front of us…did they meet tanks too? I would sure like to ask them. Also I would like to know what happened to the armoured car that was behind for I did not have the time to look back, was he captured too? I remember the driver of the armoured car being a new guy for the regular driver was send home on a furlough. The General's party, which consisted of three jeeps, two motorcycles and an armored car.
The driver of the armored vehicle was believed to be lieutenant Colonel Wesley A. Sweat. He was taken prisoner along with other men on that night. One month later, Sweat was liberated by Bristish Forces from the concentration camp Stalag XI-B located in Fallingbostel, Germany.
This is what really happened on that night, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Driver of General Maurice Rose