What am I doing now?
Map of Germany showing border changes following WW2
I Have recently completed my latest book, working title ‘Run from the red tide’.
It is based on the true story of a working class family living in Brieg, in the far east of Germany.
The story begins in the latter years of World War 2 when Germany was suffering reversals of their previous successes on the eastern front.
At this time, they are a family seven inclusive of the parents. The key parts of the story revolve around the father Erwin Schröder, a Wehrmacht soldier fighting on the eastern front, his wife Elisabeth and their eldest daughter Lena.
Knowing that the Russians are advancing rapidly towards the border the ruling Nazi party forbade people to leave the area, deeming such acts tantamount to aiding the enemy by spreading panic.
This is exactly the situation they achieved when the population was only allowed to flee at the last minute when for most it was too late for trains as the rail infrastructure in the border area was severely disrupted by Russian bombing.
At the time civilians are finally permitted to flee the war zone, Lena is some 300 kilometres away to the north at a country school for teenage girls in Schneidemühl, Elisabeth has given birth to another baby and Erwin is missing in action.
16th century Selby’s. (Could there be another yarn here?)
Still up to their old tricks, Alexander Selby of Biddlestone along with Widdrington’s and others were officers of the marches, responsible for law and order along the border with Scotland. They tended to exaggerate their difficulties to ensure their continued supply of money from central government. The warden Sir John Forster was unable to control their activities and was replaced by Yorkshire man Ralph Lord Eure who appointed other Yorkshire men over their heads. This displeased the officers who embarked on a policy of non-cooperation which they followed in 1597 by joining the Earl of Essex on a voyage to the Azores to plunder Spanish ships.
Lord Eure and his men had no experience of border control and things got worse. The news eventually got back to London where a furious Queen Elizabeth had Sir Robert Cecil write a letter demanding their return as she did not like her borders so weakened. The expedition to the Azores was a failure and nobody got rich but the Alexander and his pals returned to Northumberland and took up their old jobs having successfully seen off Eure and his Yorkshire men.
The above information extracted from Lawlessness in Northumberland by Dr. Diana Newton – University of Teesside.
14th century Selby’s
Described by a local historian as a warlike and undisciplined clan of whom few died in their beds. Sir Walter born 1290 was already branded an adventurer, freebooter and rebel before he was 30 years old. Joining King Robert de Bruce after fleeing justice in England was to cost him dearly. Only due to the efforts of his many friends in Northumberland did he keep his head.
Luck dealt him some good cards when King Edward 2nd was murdered and his son Edward 3rd became king. He was again in favour and free to carry on as he wished, or so he thought. There were strings attached to his good fortune which would eventually cost him dearly.