From D-Day to the Watches Project

This Hanhart Military watch was commissioned by Joe Savage.

I asked him about the story of the watch and all he gave me was this link from the Daily Mail. Honestly I thought it was a bit lazy but as I began reading I was immediately intrigued.

The account told here is taken directly from the article in the Daily Mail written by Mark Duell.

The premise of the article was looking at four German Military watches that were being placed at auction.

My father was an RAF intelligence officer and his job was to interrogate German airmen who had been captured.

He spoke German and pressed the men for worthwhile information such as the equipment the Luftwaffe were using.

He had to search them and one prisoner had his watch wrapped around something that wasn’t his wrist because he was so desperate not to lose it.

My father ended up having it and kept it as a souvenir or as part of the spoils of war. When my father died over 20 years ago we had a clear out of his things and acquired his four watches.’

Auctioneer Richard Bromell said,

‘The vendor’s father, from Manchester, was of Dutch origin and spoke fluent French, German, Dutch, and towards the end of the Second World War Russian too.’

‘As an officer in the RAF, and as a linguist, he is believed to have worked in MI19, the division formed from MI9 as the enemy prisoner of war interrogation department.

‘He arrived in France 11 days after the D-Day landings and interviewed rounded up German prisoners, which is when it is believed he “acquired” these four Luftwaffe pilots’ watches.’

The vendor, who is from the Somerset area, said,

‘If you wind them up they do start to tick but they would need to be repaired as they haven’t been properly used for 70 years. These watches have been locked up in a drawer for many years.

You can’t go on hoarding things forever and I don’t have any romantic association with them, so I think it is best to pass them on.’

Mr Bromell, of auctioneers Charterhouse in Sherborne, Dorset, which is selling the watches, said,

‘They are four high quality wristwatches used by German pilots and navigators in the war.

They need some work doing to them to get them going again. However, with all the watches being quite similar the vendor isn’t sure which one was recovered from the PoW’s underpants.’

The owner’s father worked in Lloyds Bank before the war, and after it had ended he joined the family business which supplied animal feeds.

To read the original article and see photographs of the four German watches that were at auction then click HERE.

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