My camp in Denmark was not a real camp. It had been an old base of some sort, possibly a small run way. There were no buildings left standing to provide us with any shelter from the weather or the night cold. There was no where to wash or to eat, there was nothing.
We were interned on a strip of land that had water to three sides. There was only one way in and one out of that camp, requiring a very small guard.
When it rained, we got wet. When the wind blew, we got cold. There were not even any trees to shelter under. Eventually, canvass tents were delivered but as the ground was concrete, it was impossible to erect them. The Americans had not thought of that, or maybe they just had not seen our concrete camp. The best we could do was shelter under the loose canvas like kids playing under a blanket.
Every now and again, a group of American soldiers would drive out to look at us. They came in Jeeps with music playing loudly from a radio. They would shout out and holler, just having a good time because the war was over. We envied them, driving up and down with their legs dangling out of the Jeep. Our officers would never have allowed us to act like them. We would not have been allowed music or to muck about whilst in uniform. We always had to be serious. We were never allowed to be boys.
I saw my first black man outside that camp. He was an American. He came with a group of Yanks to look at us.
At first, we thought he was a burn victim. We thought the man had been caught in an oil fire, thought he had been in the water when a ship went down. We thought the burning oil had stained his hands and face. None of us had ever seen a black man before. When our guard told us the man was born that way, everyone wanted to see him. Someone was always looking out ready to shout if a black man came near. We were as curious about black American’s as they were about us.