|Stalag VII A: Oral history|
|Lee E. Tinker||
Before he died, I tried to get my father in law, Major Lee E. Tinker, to talk about his experiences in World War II. He was captured in early January 1945 in the Vosages (Phillipsbourg, France) during Operation Northwind when he was but a 2nd Lt. in charge of a section of mortars. He spent several months in Stalag XII A in Limburg. Already having lost 30 pounds, he was moved to Stalag XIII C in Hammelburg from which he escaped with two others when the tank column sent by Gen. Patton hit the camp. He was so weak at that point however, he was recaptured within a week.
Next, he was taken by train to Nürnberg with a group and then marched down to Moosburg. He talked of being straffed along the way by US Fighters (despite the fact that the POWs were not wearing helments) and of many men collapsing along the way. He said they would forage in barns and try to scoop up the grain on the floors to eat. He collapsed a couple of kilometers from the entrance to the camp.
Like a lot of veterans, he did not want to remember or talk about the worst aspects of his experiences in the War; instead he would talk about events he remembered as humorous. Every holiday, my mother in law would make a congealed salad using green jello. He laughingly referred to this as "Green Hornet". After several years he told me that the guys in the camp used that name for the thin beet soup they would receive because the maggots in the horsemeat (what little there was) would float to the top - dyed green.
He said that on the day of liberation, it was his and another guy's turn to fetch the rations for the day. Even though there was shooting, he said that they were so hungry that they ran to the kitchen and ran back with the pot. The men cheered when they came in with it, he said.
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