In 1945 just before Germany was divided into the four Allied Zones, the Duke of Brunswick concerned for the safety of the Family Stolberg appealed to the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) to see if anything could be done to help them. HQ BOAR decided to give this task to 5th Kings T Force because of their experience in dealing with all kinds during the War successfully.
Early on 2 Jul 1945 under the command of Lt. Taylor for Stolberg Castle, it was quite a long journey. The move had to be completed quickly as there a ban on troop movement for 2 days & Russian troops had to be out of the Western Zone, likewise UK troops had to be out of the East Zone.
Lt. Taylor & I went on ahead, in a Mercedes sports car, to warn the Prince that tpt (transport) was on its way so we had to load and move out soonest.
The Journey was eerie, we didn’t see a single civilian on the way, even when we arrive at Stolberg itself everyone was indoors and every dwelling had a red flag flying out of their Windows.
After arriving at the Castle, which stood at the top of a hill, Lt. Taylor met the family and was shown what was to be moved, I don’t know if Lt. Taylor knew, bit it contained all the Treasurers of the family, also a Library of 24,000 manuscripts dated back to the 12th century, the Castle and Family also dates from this time.
The trucks finally arrived and everything was loaded, we went down the hill and to our amazement all red flags had disappeared, replaced by white ones, presumably the inhabitants thought the British had returned to occupy the Town, again we saw not a single civilian on the journey back to Goslar.
When we arrived in Goslar, the treasurers and the Library were taken to Goslar Museum for safety, I didn’t see any of the family and others who were supposed to be with us, I
never found out why. I was told by Lt. Taylor we had to go back for them.
3 lorries, Lt. Taylor & I in the sports car went off to arrange evacuation of the family, on arrival the white flags had been taken in and replaced by red ones! but still no signs of life.
We went up to the castle again & all was ready to be loaded, the trucks arrived and the family was made as comfortable as possible but not before the Princess made us all accept gifts plus any else we liked, unfortunately we had no room, this was a very sad moment for the Prince & Princess because they had been told it was most unlikely they would return.
All the furnishing, old weapons fixed to the walls, oil paintings of British & German Kings were left and no doubt looted. Back down the hill again, red flags out again! Lt. Taylor though the Russians must be in the near. We travelled about a mile & then met the Russians in the Market Square, no way through. Lt. Taylor told me to stay with the car whilst he went off to negotiate with their C.O. eventually he came back and we could go past, the trouble they wanted to search the trucks, this he refused, good job for us otherwise who knows where we could have finished up, Siberia?.
We carried on to Goslar passing by Russian troops & convoys (we were surprised at the number of Russian female infantry). On arrival in Goslar the Prince and Princess where taken to a Hotel where we accommodated German VIPs.
Those are my memories of yet another Chapter in our T Force activities, now some 52 years ago. The Prince & I are still in contact.
Writen by Harry S. Henshaw.
(A Coy 5th Kings Regiment)