I’m posting the First World War memoirs of my grandfather-in-law, Sampson J. Goodfellow, a few pages at a time…
One of them put his fingers to his mouth giving the sign of a smoker. I nodded my head “Yes.” One came up and I gave him a cigarette and one after the other they came until I had given 100 away which the German Observer had given me, but also there were 5 soldiers left and then I remembered I had 5 cigars left. To these soldiers, I gave each of them a cigar.
There was a disturbance when they went back to the others, laughing and shouting.
It was a great joke that the last should get the greatest smoke.
A German Colonel saw the whole thing happen. He then gave the Sergeant-Major the dickens and ordered him to lock me in the baggage room, which he did.
I thought, “Now I will try to escape!”, but no luck, a guard at every door and window.
We got on a 4th Class Coach and traveled to Saarbrucken. A woman on the station broke through the guards along with others, shouting, “It’s Flieger, Fleiger! (Flyer! Flyer!),” and tried to start a riot and “hock, hock” and spit in my face.
The Guards pushed her away and then closed in on me Roman style to protect me and had their rifles at the charge.
The people quieted down as they did not want to be killed or clubbed.
We got another 4th Class Coach and got off at a platform siding at night.
The platform was crowded with soldiers going back out of the line.
One of our planes was returning home from a bombing raid. It was a beautiful sight. You could have heard a pin drop. The soldiers were so quiet and believe me I was quiet.
When you are in London, you go to the R.A.F. Club and see the picture in the Dining Room and you will see a picture of the scene I saw that night.
The Train was outside the station with a hood over the smoke chimney and when the plane passed, it was removed.
We got on the train and left at Solingen and crossed the town to another station.
The German Sergeant-Major took me into a wonderful station. It was fixed up as a Beer Garden and he bought me a Beer. It was just lovely on an empty stomach.
The station was crowded with soldiers who were very friendly to me and called me Flieger.
While there, a German Soldier who spoke fluent English came to my table and asked me if it was true that the British were confiscating all German citizens who had left England to fight for the Fatherland.
I said, “Yes, that is true.”
He said, “I am ruined. I own a lot of Property in Manchester.”
He asked me for a souvenir and I gave him my goggles. You could not see out of them for cracks. I guess I must have damaged them when falling through the trees at Dieuze.
We got on another train and finally reached Karlsruhe.
I was put in a Hotel room which had 4 beds, in solitary confinement.
They kept me there for a few days. I tried to scrape the paint from the window but no luck, the window was painted on the outside, but there was about 1/8” space before the paint touched the wood, so I nearly got cross-eyed looking through that space.
Then one day they moved me into a room with 3 infantry officers and before I could open my mouth one of them put his fingers to his mouth giving the signal that the room was wired.
We just talked about sports, etc. After a few days, they took me downstairs before a German Major.
He said as I entered the room in front of his desk, “Good Day, Sir,” and
I said, “Good Day to you, Sir.”
He then asked me my name which I gave him, then he asked me my Squadron.
I said, “R.A.F.”
He said, “I asked for your Squadron.”
Again I said, “R.A.F.”
“You won’t tell me your Squadron?”
I said, “No, Sir.”
Then I got it. His politeness disappeared. He called me all the names he could get his tongue on.
Then he said, “You Damn Canadians are all alike.” He pushed a Bell and said to the soldier, “Get him to hell out of here.”
They marched me along a hall to the outside front door, which was elevated from the street, and it was raining.
Outside in the street were Pilots and Observers waiting for me to appear and soon as they saw me, it was, “There is Goody, Goody,” and they stampeded. The guards had some time keeping them in order.
I went down the steps with my chest out a mile.