Charles Victor (Charlie) Garland
Charlie’s son, Peter writes...
I am researching my father’s experiences in World War 2. His name is Charles “Charlie” Victor Garland. He was present at the action fought near Amiens in 18-20 May 1940. Dad is over 90 years old now and has always been reluctant to talk about his experiences, he says he spent a long time trying to forget what happened to him. However recently, with some gentle prompting, he has given me a bit more detail of what happened.
He was called up into the Dorset Regiment and was posted, along with some others, to the 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. I believe that this was in mid-April 1940. As soon as he arrived he was asked if he had taken his embarkation leave, he had no idea that the Battalion was going overseas, but obviously took his leave. His Army number was 5727523, his rank was Lance-Corporal (unpaid he told me!), he believes he was in “A” Company. I see that his name is not on the list of men on your website, perhaps this was because of his late arrival in the Regiment? Also, he didn’t have much chance to get to know anyone very well, although he did remember Jack “Smokey” Funnell who did not survive the battle.
At the battle he was wounded in the hands, had the epaulets shot off his greatcoat, a bullet dented his helmet and one of the buckles on his pack was shot off, the bullet coming to rest in his tin of “iron rations”. Jack Funnell was shot through the chest and was asking for water but Dad’s wounds prevented him from opening his water bottle, although he says he eventually got it open with a knife. Sadly, poor Jack died where he lay. There are many other incidents that he can remember, a bayonet charge, the spotter plane, the bombing of the train at St. Roche etc.
After the surrender Dad, as walking wounded, eventually got treatment in hospital in Amiens, this may have been Chateaudun Hospital?
He cannot remember which prison camp he was sent to only that it was in Poland. Because he was in the hospital for a few days would he have been sent to a different camp to the other survivors? I believe that most were initially at Poznan, then Stalag XXA, Thorn. From what Dad has told me, I think he spent most of his time attached to work camps near Stalag 344, Lamsdorf. He was in timber mills and coal mines. Do you have any information that could help me identify which camp he was in? He cannot remember the “E” number of his Arbeitskommando, or his prisoner number. I have contacted the Red Cross to see if they have anything in their records that could identify where he was held.
His memories of the march across Europe in 1945 are very dim, he can remember the cold weather, being shot up whilst on a train by allied aircraft, some of the prisoners died in these attacks, being liberated by American soldiers who were about to shell the farmhouse where they were sheltering.