The Danish Contingent

Canterbury, 1946
Photo: Leif Thomsen

When they first arrived in Canterbury few of the new recruits spoke English having had five years of needing to learn German and there were many other new things to contend with: one being saluting. They were told to salute anyone with a red band round his hat but when they eventually remarked that there were a great many senior officers in Canterbury it transpired that they had been saluting Salvation Army Officers who had been kindly returning their salutes.

Harry Henriksen

Their reasons for joining were many. After years of German Occupation some simply wanted to get out of Denmark, for others the reasons were deeper. Harry Henriksen, for instance:

"I was a member of the Danish resistance movement and transported people to Sweden in a two-seater kayak, mainly courriers and resistance people. I made approximately eight to ten solo trips, was caught by the Gestapo and ended in two Concentration Camps: Neuengamme and Dalum. In order to get rid of the trauma from these KZ-camps I figured it was a good idea to join the British Forces, indeed it was, the best thing I ever did. As a matter of fact, I was my own psychologist."
Letter from Harry Henriksen, dated 9th May 2010

Harry has written a book about his exploits.

Ove Neilsen
Leif Thomsen
Reunion Group
Photo: Gunner Pedersen

Every June in Odense the Association have a reunion; getting together for a meal and a chat about their service with the British Forces around the globe. They also sing, to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory:

Hvad er håbet og æren
Når man kommer til års?
Det på ære at lære
At bære alderens kors.
Venner lad os da hel're
Be den bøn om vi ku'
Du som gjorde os ældre
Gør os ældre endnu.

(Translations gratefully received.)