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William Jowitt - Operation Wilhelmshaven

As the frontline moved on, Bill moved north and on 17th April was at Borne near Hengelo. During this time, in addition to serving the patrols, he was involved in various missions, and it was what he called  “Operation Wilhelmshaven” on April 25th that he must have remembered most, as he wrote in detail about it.  


Canadian Lieutenant Wilmot selected him to accompany him on a daring 5 day mission behind enemy lines, to covertly sabotage telephone exchanges used by the German Army instead of wireless communication, by removing the main input cable - in such a way that they could be easily reinstated once liberated. Bill would drive the “Gin Palace” radio truck and was told not to speak German to the enemy but to shout loudly at them in English.


Their objective was Wilhelmshaven the location of the Kriegsmarinewerft or Naval Shipyard a a major manufacturing facility for U boats and ships.


Their first night was spent with a Phantom patrol at Oldenburg and from there they passed right through the front line, sabotaging exchanges and post offices as they went.


On the third day after a night in the truck, they spotted a brick built searchlight tower, and burst in, finding 8 german soldiers, telling them the war was over and to wait for further orders.  After passing a Russian forced labour camp, they saw a further camp possibly Neuengamme with 2 German sentries - Wilmot demanded to see the Camp Kommandant and left Bill while he sabotaged their radios.


On arriving at Willhelmhaven, they drove along the streets almost unnoticed, to the submarine pens, where they rushed a sentry gate  manned by 6 armed men, with Wilmot swearing loudly to force them to let them through.

​At a guarded tower, while Wilmot was inside, two Germans came over to Bill and asked him if he was English - Bill talked to them and found out where their arms depot was located as Wilmot had set his sights on acquiring a Buretta Pistol as a souvenir.   Wilmot returned with a Naval Officer and they headed to the armoury where they helped themselves to a Colt 45 with ammunition and a German 1920 Mauser but no Buretta. 

As they were leaving the docks, they came across a group of 30 exhausted, unshaven Germans with weapons that had rusted in the rain. On their way back they passed through another camp where Wilmot comandeered a citroen car from a German Corporal which on meeting a Military Policeman had to give up as it was a civilian vehicle.


They eventually returned via Oldenburg and for the rest of his life Bill was grateful that Wilmot had not got him killed.


3 days later Wilhelmshaven was liberated.  

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