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PostSubject: two American soldiers   Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:54 am

Promoted to sergeant, Trautmann was part of a unit formed from the remnants of several others which had been decimated in the east, stationed in France in preparation for the Allied Invasion of Normandy. In 1944 he was one of the few survivors of the Allied bombing of Kleve,[10] and with no unit left he decided to head homeward to Bremen. By this point German soldiers without valid leave papers were being shot as deserters, so Trautmann sought to avoid troops from either side. However, a few days later he was captured in a barn by two American soldiers. Deciding that Trautmann had no useful intelligence to give them, the soldiers marched him out of the barn with his hands raised.[11] Fearing he was about to be executed, Trautmann fled. After gaining enough distance to evade his captors, he jumped over a fence, only to land at the feet of a British soldier, who greeted him with the words "Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?"[12] Earlier in the war he had been captured by the Russians and later the French Resistance, but escaped both times.[6] With the war drawing to a close, Trautmann did not attempt a third escape. He was initially imprisoned near Ostend, Belgium, then transferred to a transit camp in Essex, where he was interrogated. As a volunteer soldier who had been subject to indoctrination from a young age, he was classified as a category "C" prisoner by the authorities, meaning he was regarded as a Nazi.[13] Trautmann, one of only 90 of his original regiment to survive the war,[10] was then transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp at Marbury Hall, near Northwich, Cheshire, interned with other category "C" prisoners. He was soon downgraded to non-Nazi "B" status,[14] following which he was taken to PoW Camp 50 (now Byrchall High School) in Ashton-in-Makerfield, a small town in Lancashire between St Helens and Wigan, where he stayed until 1948.[13] Football matches were regularly held at the camp, in which Trautmann played outfield. However, in a match against amateur team Haydock Park, Trautmann picked up an injury while playing centre-half. He asked to swap positions with goalkeeper Gunther Luhr, and from that day forward played as a goalkeeper.[15] It was during this time he became known as "Bert", as the English had trouble pronouncing "Bernd", the abbreviated version of his name.



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