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“Camp 30 Word of Honour”

(non fiction)

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First Review

“Action, adventure, suspense, intrigue and mystery, all packed into one amazing book, made even more amazing because it happened in our own backyard. Camp 30 - the P.O.W. camp in Bowmanville Ontario - was ‘home’ to some of the highest ranking captured Germans in the second World War. Word of Honour, takes the real events, as only these two experts could, and weaves a thrilling narrative that will keep you turning pages as you feel like you’re there, watching, being part of the action.”

Eric Walters

Author of the ‘Silver Birch’ award winning ‘Camp X

Excerpts from the book:

Camp 30 Word of Honour

“Up periscope!” As soon as the periscope pierced the water’s surface, Kapitänleutnant Frederick Schumacher commenced rotating the viewing eyepiece, slowly scanning the grey North Atlantic horizon. He drew away for a moment, impatiently, to wait until the waves washing over the lens subsided, then resumed searching. Seconds later, Schumacher slapped the handgrips upward into the instrument’s shaft. “Steady, steady, stop engines!”

“There is a target, Kapitänleutnant?” asked Oberleutnant Gerhard Hoffmann.

“British convoy, HO Category, small, twenty merchant freighters. Escorts: three Canadian destroyers, two frigates. Speed: fast. Exactly where the Wolfpack Leader predicted,” he smiled. “We have permission from Base to take a run at this one on our own. Very well, ready torpedoes one, two, and three!

“The identification manual, quickly if you please, Oberleutnant!” Schumacher ordered, while peering intently into the periscope’s Zeiss optical viewer, inspecting the convoy. He sharpened the focus and selected a freighter, then glanced sideways at the silhouetted outlines of Allied vessels in the binder held out by Hoffmann. “Turn the pages, keep going, Oberleutnant. British manufacture, hurry! Good, that’s the one! Yes, Ocean class.” He paused to consider the table of specifications: tonnage, draught… “Set running depth: two metres,” he ordered Hoffmann. Making slight adjustments with his wrists while he locked in the cross hairs of the rangefinder, he stated, “Range 1,600 metres!

“Range 1,600 metres…depth two metres. Ready torpedoes one, two and three!” Hoffmann shouted. “Torpedo one ready, Sir.”

“Fire torpedo one!”
“When will they come?” Karl wondered aloud. “And from where? From the rear and above, or from below, trying to pick off a bomber like a lioness searching out the weakest and slowest in the pack?” He had the greatest respect for the vaunted RAF Spitfires, but did not fear them as much as the Hawker Hurricanes; despite accounts of the Spitfire’s superiority in speed over the older Me 109’s, it was the slower, but more manoeuvrable Hurricanes that he dreaded.

“A Hurricane slips in behind you before you can react,” an old hand had advised him over a beer at mess one evening. “The only thing for it is to go for the ground, or he’ll chop you to pieces with his cannons. Remember this, if you want to survive: Fight Spitfires, flee Hurricanes. Against them, a ‘Gustav’ (Messerschmitt 109) is a flying tin coffin.”

‘There was much truth in that, Otto, old man,’ Karl thought, as he recalled the veteran fighter pilot’s fiery demise in an explosion of flame, billowing smoke and metal fragments. Karl had watched in disbelief as Otto fell victim to his own prophecy in an uneven dogfight with two Hurricanes only the week before.

‘Beware the Hurricanes,’ Karl repeated to himself as he scanned the skies for signs of British defenders. ‘Soon they will come, but from where?’

In reply, three hammer blows thudded against his back. The Messerschmitt shuddered violently as though the wings and tail section were being torn from the body. Then, the overhead canopy shattered, spraying his goggles and facemask with flying shards. “Ambush! Scheiss! A Spitfire, which had come blazing out of the sun, flew directly at him, its 50 mm cannons spitting tracer fire through its propeller blades. In narrowly avoiding a collision, the British pilot tipped up his nose at the last moment, the RAF body roundelles and registration number clearly visible only inches above Karl’s exposed head as it rocketed past the 109, shells stitching the top of the Gustav’s fuselage.

His mirror now gone, Karl struggled to take command of the wildly oscillating control column while craning his head portside to see what had hit him from the rear. “Godammit! Hurricane!” Karl caught a glimpse of the British pilot’s face as the Hurricane dipped nimbly below the 109’s tail, in preparation for administering the coup de grâce into the Messerschmitt’s vulnerable, robin’s-egg blue underbelly.

“Now what, Otto? You never mentioned a goddamn Spitfire and a Hurricane together!” The vibrations in the steering yoke rattled Karl through to his spine, although the Messerschmitt’s heavy armour plate appeared to have stopped the slugs from ripping into his back.
As Schumacher stepped down from the train, he shaded his eyes against the sudden brightness of the April sunshine. The air was brisk but refreshing, and wonderful to breath, after the cigarette smoke-filled coach.

“Alright, fall in. Line up, single file facing that way!” the sergeant announced, inclining his head southward. “Now, let’s start marching smartly, we haven’t got all day.”

Frederick strode along the dirt road, dodging puddles from the spring runoff. He looked to his left toward a field where a farmer was driving his tractor, ploughing neat furrows in the rich black earth. ‘We must be a merry sight. I wonder if the old boy thinks this is an invasion?’ He chuckled inwardly, and then reconsidered. ‘He’s not even so much as glancing in our direction. How many PoWs have trudged this road so far?’ he reflected grimly.

In single file, the men marched through the gates of what was evidently to be their new home. Schumacher glanced around, sizing up the layout. There were two fences, enclosing a strip of open ground roughly six metres (twenty feet) wide. He estimated the inner and outer fences to be approximately five and one-half metres (eighteen feet) high, topped with barbed wire. Guard towers were situated at thirty metre (one hundred foot) intervals. The gate closed behind them: Schumacher and the long line of PoWs were now inside Camp 30.

“Okay men, straight line along this pathway, by the right…dress…and halt! Eyes front!” the Adjutant barked.

“Sir, all prisoners present and accounted for, Sir!

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