Tom Smith: 7th Battalion King?s Own Scottish Borderers, who had been a prisoner for 7 months as a result of Operation Market Garden, had been a forced labourer at the Herman Goering Iron & Steel Works in Germany . This is his account of the end of the war in 1945.
"POW's mostly Arnhem veterans, we had been marching for five days through the Harz Mountains in Germany. We were starving, our guards tried their best to get potatoes which we ate raw. We had left the work camp (the Hermann Goering Iron & Steel Works) because the Americans were approaching. Our clothes and skin impregnated with iron ore which we had shovelled daily. We wore sabots (clogs) as our boots had worn out. We never knew what day it was - but this day was a day of great elation for us, but of great sadness for millions. I will always remember it" ? "We heard a bugle playing the charge very faint but then louder. Being a Western fan, I know it was the Yanks, and sure enough, along came a column of Sherman Tanks 'Old Glory' flying and bugle blowing!..."
"Our guards hopped it and we were free, free!.. a lot of hand shaking and back slapping went on as they gave us all the food and fags they had. The officer in charge, a Major, stood on the leading tank and said 'we are delighted to have liberated you, but, today for us, and the American people, this is a sad day. We have just heard over the radio, that today 12 April 1945, President Roosevelt Died. Will you join me in a minute's silence?'? Four of us decided, firstly to find some food and then head west for home and beauty and off we went into no man's land"?