Following my very basic, basic training, we marched out of the camp gates.  We do not know where we are going but we marched to the train station, roughly three miles from camp.

Lines of carriages, along with some open trucks, wait on the tracks surrounded by native Latvian’s.  Someone at the training camp must have known we were moving out before we did ourselves.  Without the aid of telephones, word of our marching orders went out to the village and surrounding farms.  Hundreds of people surrounded the railway, each calling out and crying for their boy.  Husbands, sons, nephews, cousins and fiancés, all were repented amongst our party and all had relatives fighting to say their goodbyes.

With some great difficulty, I eventually spot mother, along with my younger sister Valija. Neither my father, nor my little brother Vilnis, are anywhere to be seen but that does not mean they are not hidden somewhere within that crowd.  Regrettably, the dense throng of people make it impossible for me to get near to them.  I have to board the train without saying goodbye.

Our sergeants are keen to see us boarded quickly.  They prod, push and shout at us whilst all of the time looking behind them, hoping to see their own families I suspect.  After all, we are all Latvian boys under these uniforms.  We are all simple Latvian boys manipulated and manoeuvred at the will of outside forces.


Cloth Latvian flag to be warn on right arm of uniform

As teenagers, my generation did not have  None of us had a chance to improve our aim at before being dispatched to fight for our lives.