Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Eddie Cadman: Royal Engineers 1939-1945

I spent some of today searching for some missing keys. Inevitably they were inside the shed which was locked securely! What I initially found instead of keys during my scouring the house, was a large dusty green folder which I haven't set eyes on for decades.

The dark green "Surrey County Council" folder contained my Grandpa's medals from WWII, and a series of photos he brought back from the end of that war.

Some of the photos are unmarked, while several of them contain his comments in very faded ink, on the reverse side. The captions read things like, "Some of my mates", or ""Keil from the power station" describing a view of a war-torn occupied German city. Where comments appear, I have put these under the image, and where the ink is very faded I have also typed out what he wrote.

This appears to be an earlier photo, possibly taken on enlistment into the Army.

While the other campaign medals and stars are definitely his, and are well-known campaign medals, I am not sure about this last one. If anyone knows what this badge/brooch is, I'd be grateful if you could let me know.

My Grandma served in the Women's Auxilliary Air Force, before my Mum was born in 1943.

For the Royal Engineers, duties changed at the end of the war, once the Third Reich had fallen. The tasks of driving an army forwards over new bridges, and along new roads was replaced with many hours of guard duty. These young SS trainees were held by my Grandpa's unit in 1945. He later remarked that guarding Italian POW's in Scotland was much more fun, because while the young Germans were ideologically motivated and determined to cause problems; the Italian POWs were happy to sit in Scotland playing cards, cursing Mussolini and waiting for the war to end. 

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