Private First Class

Jochen (Joachim) Nubel


Musikkorps, 743th Grenadier Regiment
Normandy, France

June 6th, 1944

Survived the war?
719th Infantry Division

The power of music

I would like to ask you for your help regarding a WWII episode that I witnessed in 1944 as a German soldier during WWII. In August or September of 1944 a comrade of mine, Herbert Schmidt, and myself found a wounded British soldier our age ( 19 at that time, I am born in 1925, thus 82 years of age now) in a Belgian wood near Merxem leaning against a tree. His legs were both wounded, he was wailing and he could not walk any more.

He shouted to us: “Don’t kill me!” And we replied: “We won’t kill you!” We were all very scared of getting killed. Then he sang the German national anthem composed by Haydn based on a poem by Ferdinand von Freiligrath. And we sang the British hymn “God save the King” in order to calm him. Then he said: “I am a flutist of the London Symphony Orchestra.” We answered: “We are also musicians!” He seemed to be glad about this.

When we put the boy on the saddle of our military tandem bicycle and his feet onto its pedals he cried out loud because his fractured legs hurt him very strongly and he clutched the handle bar firmly. He pointed to his military knapsack that he had forgotten on the ground in the wood and we fetched it for him. All German soldiers hadt received the order to transport wounded enemy soldiers to the German mobile army surgical hospitals to be operated on or to be aided in any other way.

Yet, we did not know where a MASH could be found and were afraid that our company commander might think we wanted to desert. We pushed the bike for about one and a half hours across the flat Belgian landscape. Fortunately there was no shooting or bombing. As our English was extremely bad and the Englisman couldn't speak any German either we didn't talk much.

Still, we said we were musicians which we both could understand. In German it is Musiker. Perhaps this created some sympathy among us. Finally we found a hospital, left the soldier there and trusted that he received help there. We got into some trouble with our platoon leader but explained to him what we did and he okayed it. It would be really interesting to find out if the comrade was in fact operated on and if he could use his legs and feet again afterwards.

Unfortunately we never heard of him again.

Some time later I lost my company and my commander sent my parents a telegram with his condolences informing them that I had died and they published my obituary in my hometown newspaper but this is another story.

Then I found an interesting photo of myself and my mate with whom I discovered the British soldier.This photo was taken by the British Army when we got into captivity. Now I can give you our British prisoner of war numbers.

They are:
Jochen Nubel: 600 806
Herbert Schmidt: 600 805

Veteran's personal file

A British POW photo showing my mate Herbert Schmidt and myself. We were taken prisoner on 29/9/1944. Herbert Schmidt died in 2002.
A British POW photo showing my mate Herbert Schmidt and myself. We were taken prisoner on 29/9/1944. Herbert Schmidt died in 2002.
My Music Corps Paybook
My Music Corps Paybook
The obituary send to my parents stating that I had died.
The obituary send to my parents stating that I had died.

Remember each and every sacrifice, made for your freedom!

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