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PoW’s emotional trip to the family who saved him

PUBLISHED: 15:43 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 August 2010

DETAINED: Charlie (left) with other PoWs working in the quarry.

DETAINED: Charlie (left) with other PoWs working in the quarry.

A FORMER prisoner of war has paid an emotional visit to the family of a German soldier who hid him from the Nazis in their loft.

A FORMER prisoner of war has paid an emotional visit to the family of a German soldier who hid him from the Nazis in their loft.

Eighth army soldier Charles Constable, 92, from Sidcup, and his eldest son visited the family of German soldier Erherd Vetter who had let him and two other prisoners hide in his family home.

But when Mr Constable, formerly from Bromley, arrived at the house in Thammenhain, near Leipzig, earlier this month he discovered that Mr Vetter had died just two years before, aged 91.

But he was reunited with his friend's daughter, Lisa Tutschek, now in her 60s, who was ten when he last saw her.

He said: "The visit was very, very nice. It was emotional on her part. She had a few tears when she met me.

"Her father hadn't told her he kept three POWs in the attic, but they knew something was up. I was very pleased that I met them and was able to see them.

"My son was overwhelmed as my children were probably getting sick with all my war stories, but now he can see what I had gone through."

Mr Constable met her father whilst working at a stone quarry in 1945, where German soldiers and civilians also worked.

He said: "He had one leg after fighting the Russians and so he was sent to work there. We got on and we were quite friendly. He used to bring me things.

"He put us into the loft for four or five days. But a lot of people who were harbouring prisoners of war were getting shot so I decided to leave.

"The Americans were getting nearer and were in the vicinity so I got to them by going through the woods.

"And I got a lift to Blighty in a Lancashire bomber sat in the bomb rack. After the war he contacted me and sent me photographs of his family."

He added: "I was taken round to see the stone quarry and it was still standing although it is dilapidated."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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