Brookmans Park veteran ‘more scared’ after VE Day than during war
PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:53 08 May 2020
A Brookmans Park veteran who landed in Normandy and was in Germany during Victory in Europe (VE) Day said he was more frightened after the fighting stopped.
Camped in a German village, Geoffrey Pulzer remembers a brother-in-arms looted a liquor store and gave him a bottle of brandy on May 8, 1945.
Geoffrey told the Welwyn Hatfield Times 75 years later: “We were machine gunning chimneys and scaring villagers a bit but we were not shooting at them. Then I passed out after a while.”
He said during the war from D-Day – his 21st birthday, which he spent waiting to get to Normandy – through to liberating Antwerp and fighting his away across Germany, bypassing Osnabruck, Minden, Hanover, Hamburg and on to the outskirts of Lubeck in the Baltic, he never felt frightened.
The corporal of the 29th Armoured Brigade, who was given command of a Sherman tank with a wooden gun, said: “I was more scared at the end than during the height of battle.”
For the 96-year-old, the highlight was the liberation of Antwerp, where his Belgian future wife – who will celebrate her 90th birthday next month – had lived during the war.
And when he met her years later in London, when she was working as an operator in his office at Shell, an oil company, he said: “I told her how I had liberated her and she fell into my arms”.
They got married on October 4, 1952 in Potters Bar and moved to Brookmans Park a year later, where Geoffrey turned a plot of land in The Grove into a home.
In 2015, he received the Legion d’Honneur from the French ambassador, Sylvie-Agnès Bermann was accompanied to the ceremony at Kensington Palace by his son, Philip, who lives in St Albans and his half-Belgian wife Julienne.
Being less mobile these days, Geoffrey had already got used to Facetime-ing his family who live abroad in Luxembourg, France and Portugal and his other son, Michael, who lives in the French Alps.
“Our social care has been marvellous and they have really taken care of me and my wife,” he added.
He said that on the anniversary of VE Day he will get out the bunting and raise a glass to his neighbours across the street.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.