VE Day account by Lt Vivian Jenkins

VE Day by VEJ

Just before VE day units of The 6th Airborne Division met the Russians at Wismar on the Baltic coast. This was the first meeting of the British and Russian troops (the Americans had met them earlier in the south).

I was a 25 year old Lt parachutist in The 6 Airborne Division.

The Russians were obviously surprised that we had penetrated so far into what they regarded as their territory and they insisted on dividing Wismar into two sectors. I was appointed as liaison officer and instructed to set up some means of communication between the two sectors. The first Russians that I saw were very drunk, "bomb happy", and they shot at anything that was not Russian. As I went into their sector I saw a German woman and her dog, lying in the gutter, shot to pieces. German women were streaming into our HQ to get away from the Russian. A German hospital train had been caught between the two lines; all the wounded were killed and the nurses were either killed or raped. This was not surprising as the retreating German troops had committed terrible atrocities in the Russian territory. The Russian HQ was chaotic and I was unable to find any officers interested in setting up some means of communication between the two sectors. 

Later in the day one of my fellow officers arranged to have a party with one of the Russian front line tank crews. Six of them turned up in our sector. One was a woman in Russian uniform and we were told she was the driver of the tank! Communication with them was difficult but one of our officers spoke German and one of the crew also had a good knowledge of that language. I merely had a smattering of German from my university degree course.

They drank our whisky and we drank their vodka. The whisky went down in single gulps. I don't remember what happened in the late stages of the party, but when we awoke the following morning, the Russians had gone, taking with them a few of our revolvers as souvenirs.

On VE day itself Field Marshal Montgomery and his staff, General gale, GOC 6th Airborne and his four brigadiers met the Russian commander, Marshal Rokossovsky at our HQ. I had a German Contax camera with a telescopic lens which I had taken from a German Propaganda unit which had surrendered to me one week earlier. However the Russians did not want to be photographed, probably because they resented the degree of our penetration into "their" territory. Anyway, I managed to get pictures of the meeting from some distance away. I saw no-one else taking pictures and so mine are probably unique.

Written by VE Jenkins

Article kindly supplied by John Jenkins, son of Vivian Jenkins.

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