“I’ll never forgive those guys Churchill, Attlee for ordering those raids. We were supposed to be the good guys.”
On 13 February 1945, 70 years ago this week British rifleman Victor Gregg, 25, was being held by Germans in a makeshift prison in the city of Dresden along with hundreds of other condemned men. Like the townspeople of Dresden, Gregg did not believe the city would be bombed. he was convinced that dresden would never be an allied target because of its cultural heritage.How wrong he was.
Gregg now 95 never got over the stunning saturation bombing which immolated over 25,000 people.
He didn’t laugh for 40 years. “I was a nut case.”
This was no naive soldier.
But he did believe there were some rules of warfare.
Churchill didn’t and neither did Arthur “Bomber” Harris who ordered the bombing as Head of Britain’s bomber command. He’d do it again.
Harris lived to 91, having snuffed out thousands before they had a chhance to live.
“I do not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier”
Such a lovely man.
In his memoirs he writes, “In spite of all that happened at Hamburg, bombing proved a relatively humane method”.
Victor Gregg had another take.
“It was evil” he told BBC TV on Feb 13.
I wasn’t new to murder and bloodletting, he told London’s Daily Mail. I had enlisted two years prior to the outbreak of the second world war and by the time I was 21 I had taken part in one major battle and various smaller ones. I had been in fights where the ground in front of me was littered with the remains of young men who had once been full of the joy of living, laughing and joking with their mates. As each year of the war went by, the fighting got more ferocious, new weapons were introduced and fresh young men became the targets. How I remained a sane person through all this I don’t know.