Return to my unit.

Once my leave time expired, I tried to return to Riga military camp but it has disappeared, it no longer exists.  Whether the area was obliterated by Russian guns, or else demolished by a German strategic explosion is unclear but the base is no longer where it should to be.

1944-riga-embankment

I arrived in Riga by train to be greeted by total devastation.  As the train drew closer to the city, neither my fellow passengers nor I can quite believe the extent of war damage.  I especially cannot believe how much destruction has been caused in just a few weeks.  When the train finally came to the place where my army camp should stand, the driver refused to stop.  He refused to go any further along that track, insisting he reverse his engine back out from Riga.

I do not now know what to do; I do not know where I should report.  Crowded on to the train beside me are ordinary Latvian working people, mainly elderly.  They insist I stay with the train; the old people say I should not get off until I see another military unit.  They convince me it is not safe outside of the train.  Not returning to my unit on time is very serious but if there is no unit to return to, what then?

As the train reversed back along its track, the driver repeatedly stopped to pick up more passengers.  These were stray travellers; dirty warn out people walking beside the track.  They are all grateful to be allowed onto our train, everyone is relieved to leave Riga behind them.  I did not see anyone ask these new passengers for money, none paid the fare because from the look of them, no one has any money.  Our driver is a good man.