A collection of Smith family stories: Chapter 8

Spies on the Marsh

 “We spent a lot of the time out on the marshes in what we though where pointless exercises” Dick was reminiscing again.

“One night they had us out looking for spies”. “We spent all day tramping around the marsh in the freezing cold like a bunch of head less chickens”.

“Eventually we billeted in an empty cottage in the middle of no where”.

Having settled in for the night we set up watches incase one of the spies approached the cottage looking for shelter. A thick freezing fog had crept in from the sea and you couldn’t see more than the end of your rifle. Those who weren’t on guard settled down the best we could around a make shift fire we had lit in the fireplace. There was the usual banter about things going bump in the night a ghostly figures creeping around in the dark. Soon we had all been convinced that we where going to be attacked by some fanatical Nazi 5th colonist. To take our minds of things we started a game of cards and began to settle down, when Chalky crept in and whispered that some one was creeping up the path towards us. “Listen he’s just coughed” OK Chalky your right. As the sound of gravel crunching could be distinctly heard on the path in front of the cottage. “There he’s coughed again”. Chalky cock his rifle and aimed it towards the sounds in the fog. “Quiet he doesn’t know we are here, or else he wouldn’t be coughing”. Dick retorted. “Shut up it could be a decoy while his mate creeps round the back and cuts our throats”. Chalky spins round and points his rifle at the cottage. “Watch where you point that thing it’s loaded”. Dicks is getting nerves.

“Halt who’s there?” Chalky has resumed pointing his riffle into the fog. The footsteps kept on coming and then there was another coughing sound. “Halt identify yourself or we will shot”. The rest of the patrol have crept out and taken up firing positions. “Smiffy lets shot him before he rushes us?” Steady on not so fast he might not understand English. “Do you know any German then?” Chalky was itching to fire his riffle in anger for the first time. The sound of footsteps coughing and even a sneeze was only a few feet away by now. “Go on Chalky shot ‘im!” still he didn’t fire. Then the approaching spy started to bleat and a shaggy Romney Marsh Sheep appeared out of the fog. “Nearly got ourselves a Lamb dinner Sergeant.” Chalky relaxes his grip on his riffle. “Stand down lads funs over for the night, I beat there aren’t any spies out here anyway”. Dick swaps places with Chalky and the rest of the patrol return to the cottage to continue with the game of cards. “Chalky, look after my hand while I’m out here”. Dick shouts as the other return to the cottage.

They had all been convinced that they had been on another fools errand part of the so-called phony war.


My research found:

September 3rd 1940 Four spies landed on the Romney Marsh. Carl Meier, Rudolph Waidberg, Charles van der Kieboom and Sjord Pons. All were captured within days of landing.

Like many of Dads, and Georges stories that we thought where a bit far fetched on line research has proved to be true.




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