Dropped In It
Dropped in It
Memoirs of a WWII veteran.
Colin Hall was born in 1921 and narrowly escaped being flung into a river as a newborn baby. He was rescued and adopted to live his childhood in the beauty of the Cotswolds in the village of Broadway. The idyllic upbringing ended abruptly with the tragic death of his adoptive mother and his father re-marrying in haste with sour consequences.
By 1939, as the Second World began, Colin was committed to full time military service after being tricked into uniform just a few months before.
After four years in the RASC, Colin trained with the Parachute regiment in the 10th battalion of the 1st Airborne Division. Here he made many great friendships and sadly lost many others when posted to Arnhem to take part in one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, Operation Market Garden.
Colin was injured, captured and imprisoned - at the notorious Stalag XI-B - and watched many more friends and colleagues suffer and die through the winter of 1944-5.
This true story continues with Colin's exploits after the war in trying to build a life for himself and family first in the Forest of Dean and later in South London running a chain of wallpaper shops.
Colin never forgets that he is lucky to be alive and throughout all his hardships he bears no grudges but shows a determination to 'just get on with it'.
This heart warming biography concludes in describing his quest to track down his natural parents who abandoned him at birth, as well as his return to both Holland and Germany to confront the dark memories of the war.
Colin Hall's life story shows a journey of an ordinary working man through the twentieth century without complaint or bitterness and the honestly expressed thoughts and feelings of a reluctant soldier who had nothing but his own sense of spirit to face adversity.
The working parties laboured in salt mines, sugar factories, some went to collect wood and some to mend roads. It was hard physical work and not something any of us were really fit for with our lack of nutrition but some of the blokes chose to go as they saw it as an opportunity to maybe get there hands on something to eat - perhaps a swede, a potato or a mangle-wurzel that they might be able to snitch from a field that they would pass on the route. Sometimes a guard would call out “Get me one too.” The times that I went it was once to collect fire wood from the woods and once to help out with road building - all I could manage that time was lifting bricks into a wheelbarrow one at a time with my left hand, and I only went as it meant seeing some greenery for a change of scene. I found the work exhausting, we all did. There was one other excursion for me, and that was a trip on a horse and cart to the station to fetch something with Harry and a couple of Germans. When we stopped, the guard took out a lump of stale bread that must have been at least two months old, to give to the horse. We begged the guard to let us have it, we were that hungry. He gave it to us and we thought it the best meal we’d had in a long time.