The First World War Memoirs of Sampson J. Goodfellow, Part 25: Armistice

I’m posting the First World War memoirs of my grandfather-in-law, Sampson J. Goodfellow, a few pages at a time…

(Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13. Part 14. Part 15. Part 16. Part 17. Part 18. Part 19. Part 20. Part 21. Part 22. Part 23. Part 24.)

When the Armistice was under negotiation, we were allowed to go into town and our Senior Officer gave his word of honour that we would all return. It was kept except one Officer tried to escape. They caught him and he was kept in camp.

We had some German money and we went into a German Restaurant called Odgen. The waitress asked us what we would like; of course, we asked “What do you have?”

She said, “We have some Canadian Club Rye.”

I nearly fell off my chair and we all had it along with a piece of German Pie. It was awful.

I looked around and there at a table were the Officers who questioned me at Dieuze.

They brushed me off when I tried to speak to them.

The next day we were informed we were going into the Black Forest.

We got on a train and went to Mannheim which was the opposite way, but finally we landed at the Black Forest.

The Camp was a dirty disgrace. We only spent a few days and then departed for Basil, Switzerland. Of course, Nov. 11, 1918, had passed while we were in Karlsruhe.

A Swiss Citizen was put in charge of each one of us. I was lucky. The Gentleman who was looking after me was the Chief Engineer for the Switzerland Railroad and he took me around showing me all the different Locomotives and he was very proud of his trains.

The Swiss put on a lovely dinner for us and we had a wonderful time.

What a change from just across the Rhine, But I must state here it was wonderful coming down the Rhine in the train, seeing all the different Castles, Ruins, etc.

We left Basil and went through the beautiful Valleys and I noted how the Swiss farmed on the sides of the fertile hills and mountains.

The sides were cut out in huge steps, the flat part about 25 feet then a rise, and another 25 feet and on up the side of the hill. You could see they were growing all types of vegetation.

We got off at different towns and cities walked, rode in trucks and then on trains again. Dijon looked very Turkish. I don’t know how we ate.

We landed at one town and my Pals said, “Sam, you will have lots of money when you get to London.”

I said, “I hope so, My Lieutenant Pay, 10.6, and my pound a day flying pay. I hope, anyway.”

We were hungry.

We were in front of a French Bank and I went in and asked for the Manager. He interviewed me and I told him I would like him to cash a cheque.

He said, “Have you the cheques?” and I said, “No, but I know the number of my account at Cox Bank in London.”

He said, “We have no cheques.”

I said, “I will make one if you will give me a piece of paper and cash it.”

“How much do you want?”

I said, “10 pounds.”

He said, “Very well, I will cash the cheque.”

He gave me a piece of Brown Wrapping paper and with a rule, I made out a blank cheque, put my Cox Bank number on it and signed same.

He then gave me Francs to the value of 10 pounds.

The fellows were all delighted. We had enough money to get to Boulogne.

When I got to London, I explained the whole thing to Cox’s Bank Manager, and when I came to Canada, I left 10 Pounds in my account.

Years passed and Cox Bank asked me to close off my account as the cheque had not been cashed. The Manager thought the French Bank Manager had it framed and was keeping it as a souvenir to show his customers how he had helped out hungry British Soldiers.

I said,”Close out the account but if the cheque ever turns up let me know and I will send you the money.”

I gave them my address in Regina, but so far it has not been cashed.

We went through Paris and they gave us a tin of Rabbit.

I said to the Australian, ” This is certainly lovely chicken.”

He said, “Damn fool, it is rabbit.” I didn’t know the difference.

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