A letter from Major Paull in THE ARNHEM VETERANS' CLUB (1944) Newsletter 1983.

‘An unpleasant incident.’

‘I wonder if there is any record of the following incident, I would be interested to know if there are any members who were involved.

Shortly after capture by the S.S, I was taken to a group of more captured Airborne types in a clearing in a wood. The group consisted of about thirty other ranks and two Officers, a glider pilot named Captain Ian Muir and an R.E. Lieutenant named Skinner. With the three of us at the head, we were marched down the road toward a German H.Q. After we had gone about a couple of miles everyone was tired and very thirsty, so I asked the Officer, an S.S. type if we could be fallen out and get the chaps something to drink. He agreed to do this at the next opportunity, which he did.

Just as we were halted a German with a Schmeisser jumped from one of the slit trenches lining the road and opened fire. Captain. Muir and Lt. Skinner got riddled and a number of chaps behind either killed or wounded. The strange part about it was that although I was immediately between Muir and Skinner, in fact shoulder to shoulder, I was not touched!

In the confusion I shouted at the S.S. Officer and asked what the hell he was doing and he thereupon snatched a rifle from a nearby guard and shot the German with the Schmeisser stone dead. He then apologised to me, and said the reason was that all the troops were in such a panic that at the sight of a ‘Red Beret’ they went berserk!

He asked me to give instructions to those remaining alive to remove their berets, which they did. Captain. Muir was still alive, but in a pretty bad way and pointed to his tunic pocket. I took out his wallet and he pointed to a picture of a person I took to be his wife and he endeavoured to make me understand to let her know what had happened.

At that moment two rather fat German Officers arrived in a staff car. One jumped out and gave me a kick in the ribs, snatching the wallet from me. Captain. Muir then died in my arms.

I attended as quickly as possible to any that were wounded and fortunately a German First Aid unit arrived and did what they could. The only people I can remember in the party were a Sgt.McIver and a Bdr. Monteith, the latter was badly wounded in the shoulder and I can remember tearing off a piece of his shirt to bandage it. I can also remember a Sergeant in the Cooks?

Being badly wounded in the mouth, but he was quickly whisked away by the Germans in a car, before I had a chance to do anything further.

Apparently very few people knew about all this. When I came home after the war I saw a notice in the Daily Telegraph from Captain Muir’s wife and parents, seeking information. I replied and still have a letter of thanks from them both. But as I say, I have never met or heard of anyone who was involved in this unpleasant situation except reading about it in one of the books written on the Arnhem Battle. Someone must have passed it on.’

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