In 1945 there were 400,000 German servicemen in the UK, rather than conquerors these people were prisoners of war, interred in camps throughout the country, including ones at Exeter, Plymouth, and Sidmouth.
Robin Quinn tells the history of these German Prisoners of War in his book Hitler’s Last Army. Using interviews with former prisoners, as well as archive material, Robin looks at the Britain’s German prisoners from the shock of being captured to their final release long after the war had ended.
Included is the story of camp interpreter Harry Grenville.
Harry was a Jewish refugee who had fled from Germany in 1938 to escape the Nazis. He became a lieutenant in the British army and was posted to a Devon PoW camp as an interpreter. In spite of the near-certainty that his parents had been killed by the Nazis, he experienced no problems with the German prisoners.
‘I was very young at the time, and I didn’t find it particularly difficult to deal with them as individuals,’ he said of his time working in the Devon camps.
Hitler’s Last Army, German PoWs in Britain is by Robin Quinn is published by the History Press