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  • Mark Forsdike

The Man from Bremen

As the dreaded Coronavirus sweeps onwards, a high point in the tedium of lockdown came today whilst searching the Imperial War Museum’s online collections.

I came across a series of photographs taken in early May 1945 captioned ‘The Man from Bremen’ which told the story of a Belgian national forced to work in Germany and his journey home after the war to his wife in Aalst.

The opening two photographs show his capture in Bremen by soldiers of the Suffolk Regiment. In the photograph here, he can be seen having his papers examined by a Sergeant of 1 Suffolk - his Regimental red and yellow flash can just be seen on his sleeve, though his shoulder title and the point of his 3rd Division triangle patch is obscured by his scrim scarf. In the background is a bombed-out house and a badly damaged petrol station.

Though the official caption gives no mention to the Regiment, he is clearly a Suffolk soldier. There were no known photographs taken of the Battalion in Bremen at the end of the war so this is a first. The following day the Battalion left Bremen for Bramsche, and it was there that they celebrated VE Day. Shame it was discovered too late to be included in the book!

(Image courtesy IWM)


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