Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.
Sights in Antwerp, pp. 50-52 PDF (729.4 KB)
This airfield had been badly beaten up. The Germans raided the Brussels airport early New Year's Day this year, figuring that the British would be sleeping off the New Year's Eve celebration. The officer who told us said that the Germans were pretty near correct. Major Nims motored us to the Palace Hotel, a leading hotel, which had been taken over by the British Army. We were given excellent rooms, but no hot water, no towels, no soap. People told us that you can buy anything you wish in Brussels -if you have the price to pay. Food shops quote butter at $8 a pound. One does not see much of the famous Belgian lace but small handkerchiefs are $15 apiece. The Belgian franc is 44 to the dollar. Sights in Antwerp After luncheon in the Army mess, we motored to Antwerp which, we have been told, is the finest port in the world. Here we met Col. Noble, in charge of the port, and were told that the Belgians deserved unusual credit, especially the civilians who worked to put the port in shape. 12,000 Belgians worked on the port under fire last winter at $4 per day. An aggregate of some 5,000 V-E bombs landed in and about Antwerp, but immediately after a bomb would hit, the workmen would return to their jobs and assiduously perform their duties. Col. Noble spoke in the highest terms of the Belgians. Motoring on the splendid highway from Brussels to Antwerp, approximately 32 miles, one sees nothing but huge American trucks hauling supplies. We passed a convoy of huge trucks haul- ing trailers-on each trailer was a huge Sherman tank. These trailers perform invaluable service, as they save the roads by taking the tanks up to the front so that their tractors can not chew up the roads. 50
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