I recently came across this small event in Patrick Delaforce’s book, Churchill’s Desert Rats*. It illustrates how, sometimes, there can be brief moments of honour & decency – even involving the SS – in the midst of total war.
It was during the opening stages of Operation Market-Garden in Holland in September 1944. The 5th Royal Tank Regiment, together with 71st Infantry Brigade of 51st Highland Division were tasked with taking the village of Middelbeers to the west of Eindhoven.
It became a house-to-house battle with SS troops armed with bazookas** and mortars that would last for two days.
However, Sergeant Bob Price remembered:
“While the fighting was at its height a white flag was waved and an SS man came forward [and] asked for a MO [Medical Orderly] to assist with a difficult child-birth taking place in the house they were defending. All fighting ceased and then recommenced when the child was born.”
That’s all there is. Does anyone else have any more info? Assuming the baby survived, he/she would have just celebrated their 75th birthday.
Image: Sadly, not 5th RTR Cromwells at Middlebeers. These are 8th Hussars, the armoured reconnaissance regiment of 7th Armoured Division, massing at Brunen in preparation for the next stage of the advance into Germany, 29 March 1945. (Photo: Capt E.G. Malindine, No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
** I’m guessing they mean Panzerschrecks not Bazookas.