I like to share some of the stuff I read with ya’ll
This was a letter written by Josephine Pearce, a member of the French Fourth Army’s Ambulance Unit 282 after the armistice was signed between France and Germany during WWII.
France was just one mass of different regiments, different generals, hither and thither, none knowing what the other was doing. And it wasn’t until we got into the Champagne territory that we began to realize that we were retreating. Sometimes we got proper instructions, and when we got to where we were told to go, they had gone. And it was constantly so. We were going to set up a hospital there. They’d gone. Till in the end we found no one and we realized we were on our own.
Then came the terrible day when the armistice was announced. And then we were the enemy. And if it hadn’t been for the medical orderlies, medical students, staying with us, and the medicine chef Dr. Gosset saying with us, as long as they did, I think we would have been taken prisoner. They stayed with us as far into the south of France as they could possibly stay. And in that way we managed to get petrol, until came the day when we were siphoning petrol from one car, one van or one lorry into the next car, all the time saying “But where are our own soldiers? Where is our air force? Why aren’t they here?”
After the armistice, we knew that we were the enemy. and the most dreadful thing to us was that as we passed through villages, they would throw flowers at us thinking we were the British, coming to save them. That was the state that France was in. Nobody knew what was happening at all.
You felt so futile when you saw a granny hugging a baby that was absolutely dead, sitting on top of a cart piled up with furniture and being machine-gunned. And the baby had got the bullet. And the granny swaying backwards and forwards with the baby, holding it to protect it. And she didn’t know she was protecting a dead baby. One saw so much that was utterly unbelievable.
-World War II: The People’s Story