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This audio clip from an oral history interview with Herbert Patrick Anderson was recorded by the Imperial War Museums on 25 November 1998. In the clip, Herbert describes his time in Carmarthenshire with the Pioneer Corps.

Herbert Patrick Anderson – a short biography.

Herbert Patrick Anderson was born in 1913 in Germany as Helmut Herbert Fürst. At the age of six, he moved to Vienna, Austria. He arrived in Britain in March 1939. After the outbreak of war, he was able to receive ‘friendly alien’ status, which enabled him to join the Pioneer Corps. He was stationed in Le Havre in France from March 1940 but returned to Britain following the retreat at Dunkirk. He was relocated to Wales and was lucky to escape from an accident involving a land mine at Pembroke Dock which killed 19 servicemen, including three German-Jewish refugees. His unit was then relocated to Carmarthen. He later served in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and became a British citizen in 1947. Herbert died in Norfolk in 2004.


Eventually, I got to Carmarthen, in charge of a small detachment of about 20 men. Now we had a most ridiculous duty. We were to dig holes into the soil in various places all over the county. Into these almost man-high holes were inserted wooden kiosks and a seat, the idea being that men would be stationed in these holes, connected to each other by telephone, in the case of an invasion. We did the job; every morning we set off in a lorry, went to another place, all over Carmarthenshire, and wondering why, because who on earth, if you were Hitler or one of his commanders, would envisage an invasion of Britain by starting in south Wales?They would have to come all around southwest England, wouldn’t they?[…]Well, the Germans never tried it, and we don’t know—we were… I am often wondering whether they’re still in various places all over Carmarthenshire.


Imperial War Museum, Oral history interview with Herbert Patrick Anderson, 25 November 1998 [accessed 15 August 2022]

Depository: Imperial War Museums

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