From shelling to secret allies - Brampton veteran tells his story

Vic Speers, from Brampton, with his war medals,

Vic Speers, from Brampton, with his war medals, - Credit: Archant

As the country stops to pay tribute to those who gave their lives during the line of fire, a Brampton veteran has told his story of “the war to end all wars.”

90-year-old Vic Speers was conscripted to join the 11th Armoured Division in 1944 after his job to repair American soldiers’ boots had ended.

“Most of them had all gone home so my job had dried up and there wasn’t anything left to do but be called up,” said Vic.

After being drawn into the forces Vic followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as he was immediately recruited to become a driver in the Royal Army Service Corp.

“It was natural for me to take up that position as both my grandfather and my father had done this job – it ran in the family.”

Vic, originally from Aldershot, was thrown into training and then sent out to drive ammunition to the troops in France.

“I was very relieved because my training finished three days after D-Day, so I was sent to France after the war was pretty much over.”

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However this didn’t stop Vic from experiencing a few scary moments throughout his time on the continent.

After driving through France the great-grandfather of 13 was transferred to Germany as a part of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945.

“We were not allowed in the camp itself so I didn’t see the devastation that occurred there but when we got to the other side there was German troops there waiting for us and they began shelling at us, it was time that the fighting actually affected me.”

Although the war was almost over Vic still felt there was a potential for something disastrous to happen and the married man of 70 years felt that the most in Flensburg, Germany.

“Me and a couple of other vehicles had dropped off the troops and we were sat in Flensburg – we must have been sat there for about half an hour when an SAS soldiers came by and went into the woods behind us.

“We didn’t think anything of it until hundreds of German Home Guard troops came out from the woods and drove past us – we think that they had given up by that time but if it had been a few months early anything could have happened.”

After the end of the war was declared on September 2 1945 Vic’s driving duties didn’t finish as he had missions to complete.

“I was still in Germany at was ordered to go up to the border of Denmark to collect some men and take them back to their homes, I wasn’t told who they were but that I should take them wherever they asked.”

Following the war Vic continued to think about the men and has always believed that these men were working for the British army.