My grandfather was a British merchant seaman during the war. He got sunk many times by the germans and he couldn't swim but he survived. He was also imprisoned, in italy (i think?) after being sunk once and was put to work on the farms there, but the security wasn't tight, and he escaped through a sewage pipe. He said he really enjoyed working there, that he liked the fresh air. He went all around the world many many times, and he was in alot of different war areas like the one with the canal near Egypt? whats that one? I have photos somewhere from on all the different ships, and they are quite amazing. He really liked the ocean, his ashes were scattered in the ocean when he died. He was one of the rulers of the waves. There is this one photo and the guy looks definitely American so i'm sure he was with americans at some point too. His wife back in Wales, my dads father, however, got with somebody else whilst he was away, my dad never knew his dad when he was younger because he was always at sea. He really travelled alot, he used to say that he had travelled completely around the world 9 times, but i don't know if that is true, i wouldn't be surprised.
My grandfather lived in Estonia when he was young and they had a huge farm, then the Russians came through when he was a teenager and killed and raped everybody and they took over his farm because it was on a little island and they made it into a temporary military base, and they also had a fleet of fishing boats, like a business, and the Russians destroyed all of that too. They got the farm back after the Russians went. My grandfather never liked the russians, if it was bad weather he would blame it on the russians messing with things. He could tell what weather it was going to be all the time, the old sea men could do that, if we were sitting inside he would be able to say it is going to start raining in ten minutes and it would. I guess you develop special skills if you live on the ocean. He used to say that we will all be living in domes on the moon.
I don't know exactly when he settled in Britain, but when he did he did the oath to the queen and all that.
Anyway, after the Russians killed everybody in Estonia for fun it was the Germans turn. The Germans came up and started killing everybody, like the Germans used to do, and you know selecting people they like to keep. And so they started recruiting soldiers for their army at force. I guess some must have been willing, since the Russians had been particularly brutal when they swept through the baltic states. My grandfather got out of there (not a good place to be with russians coming down and germans going up- both sides brutal and twisted- even though the russians were with us), he went on a ship and just left all together and joined the British. He kept in contact with his family after the war and visited them, even though he had just fought a war against his brother.
His brother stayed in Estonia, he didn't escape. He was recruited by the Germans and he was fighting in the other side of the war. He was in an SS death squad, meaning he would go into buildings and kill everybody. Apparently, he said to my grandfather after the war that it was really difficult going into every room shooting everybody dead, because i imagine it plays on your conscience, so in the end they didn't bother, in the end they just set explosives in the buildings and blew them up with everybody in. There are no excuses for that kind of evil, but the people were very much brainwashed, and for many of the people who were recruited from the baltic areas they had already suffered mind fucks from the russians. when my grandfather visited estonia when he was old i think there were real disputes with his brother. They had big families back then, i don't know what the others did. His brother went back to Estonia and then afterwards lived to old age somewhere in Australia.
I'm glad that my grandfather fought on our side, but from this story i understand how fragile humanity can be. And i hope that we learnt some lessons from the world wars.
Edited by king tut (06/06/09 08:57 AM)
"...until lambs become lions"
I love you, little lewis, and i will never leave you. We are the same. You brighten my day, and i will make sure that i brighten yours. Hugs and kisses.