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Sandbag Reminiscences of Rene (Acker) Dee Sandbag
Operation Christmas Goose
This is a tale of daring do and a secret mission never before revealed to anyone in the past 40 years other than to a select few Intelligence Corps oppos and Scouse Dave Wakelam who was part of the mission called, "Operation Christmas Goose". I will let you know what I remember and I know that Scouse will want to follow me to elaborate on the bits that I have forgotten, misinterpreted or left out.
It was fast approaching Christmas 1962 in Block 146 of Knightsbridge Platoon "A" Company. Visual recce patrols had identified that a farm lay due North NorthEast of our Block and in that farm were some mighty scrumptious looking Geese. Since both rations and spirits were low,a secret meeting of those who needed to know was convened, an action plan devised and timings given.
At the appropriate time in the early hours of one evening with only the light of the moon and the stars up above to guide us on our secret route, a select few of three (or was it more) left Tonfanau Camp crossing the wire (whilst avoiding the searchlights) with bayonets in our teeth, looking like insurgents from "The Guns of Navarone", our faces and hands blacked up with the best that Kiwi Polish could provide. On we went until we came near to the Farm where the Geese were clearly restless in their penned in area. At this point we were on our stomachs, crawling forward motioning to each other with pre-arranged hand signals and panic stricken faces. I believe that I was the one that made the move to rush in one lightning strike on the penned area where one of the several Geese met its untimely fate by a swift coup de grace with my trusty WD issue bayonet. This was not, as you can imagine without some considerable screeching and flapping and then it was action stations as we had to make our hasty retreat with the bird in the bag, so to speak, before the WelshFarmer discovered that his farm had been penetrated and his bird violated.
We all got back to the Camp safely and without further mishap, once again avoiding the Obergrippenfuhrer patrols and Verey lights that were threatening to reveal our mission.
Once inside the Block it was a messy business. One of our team was a butcher or his Dad was or his Uncle knew one so he was designated as the person best suited to pluck, skin, cut up and cook our Christmas treat. However, how the hell do you hide the feathers and down and muck and entrails that result from such an operation, especially before inspection the next morning? I believe that the feathers went into pillows. God knows what happened to the rest and how we kept the meat. I think we also lopped off the top of a pretty big Xmas tree during the same mission and this was duly set up and decorated in our Block (Scouse, you have to help me here please). How we ever gor away with it and why we never got caught still baffles me today and I have always lived in fear of this bloody angry Farmer catching up with me one day and wanting to give me a good Goosing, if you know what I mean!
So there you have it. One of Tonfanau's best kept secrets for 40 years revealed. Can anyone offer up any other daring do missions undertaken during their time at Stalag Tonfanau?

More On This From Dave Wakelam
The lad who did the butchering was called Mick Spong, who had been an apprentice butcher in Leicester. (Spunky bought himself out and went back to being a butcher.) The bones and some feathers went into the stove, but the feathers stank so much we put the remainder into our pillows. The remains were buried behind the blanco room. Also on the raid were Woody Woodmore and Scouse Roberts. Helping to dispose of the feathers were Marjy Marjoram (now a very senior police officer) and Gally Gallimore.
The christmas tree was decorated with footpowder snow, and silver baubles made from the silver paper in fag packets. I still have a photo of the feast. You have a chocolate swiss roll on a bayonet!
The platoon sergeant, Clobber Cleaves, was very suspicious, but didn't enquire too far into what had happened.

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