4. The 7 December Division

I had signed up for the “Expeditionairy Forces” which meant that I would be serving for a unknown period wherever in the world I would be required.

I was enlisted in the Seventh December Division on the 2nd of January 1946.

We would receive training for the war against Japan but when they surrendered our destination was changed to the Dutch Indies.

I was called up into the 1st Division in Colchester (England) and received my training by English military officers who had been on active duty in Birma. This training lasted 6 weeks. During this training a hand grenade exploded close to my ear and damaged my left eardrum. Out of fear that I would be discharged from the forces because of my hearing problem I did not go to see a doctor. It was later that I discovered that the hearing in my left ear had as good as disappeared.

After that we had to provide military training to the 2nd Division. Of memory they used to call that the Palm Tree Division (Palmboom Divisie). Part of our group went to Donnington where we received training by the Royal Signals Division. It was there I learned Morse code.

There were ten of us Dutch soldiers in that camp occupied by approximately 5000 British soldiers and 6000 ETS-Girls. These girls would be called “Milva’s” in the Netherlands. It was there I learned to play table tennis and had overall, a very enjoyable time.

There was only one thing I could not figure out and that was why all my postcards I was sending home ended up back with me in Donnington.

We stayed in Donnington for approximately 6 months and were shipped back home to the Netherlands. It was there that I was shifted from one to the other military base and they were unsure as to do with my training and me.

(foto: Liverpool Street Station 26-9-1946 Londen)

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