WWII 32nd Station Hospital | WWII Africa to Caserta Italy
| Willard O. Havemeier WWII
ON THE ROAD TO MOROCCO
OFF ON THE ROAD TO MOROCCO
My buddies and I went for R&R on the Mediterranean beach
near a small town called Beni Saf. We really
lived it up on the beach during the day and tried to find
some night life and a little French wine in the evenings.
It got to be boring after a few days so four of my buddies
and I took a walk westward along the beach. We were warned
not to cross over the border into Spanish Morocco, which was
neutral, but we were not aware how close we were.
Above is a map of the coastline of Algeria and Morocco.
We were quartered in beach houses some distance west of Beni
Saf, not far from the Moroccan border. There were no signs
or guard posts at the border, but it did not take very long
for soldiers to "lower the boom" on us and give us a scare.
Although Spain was considered neutral during WWII, it was
no secret that dictator Franco was "playing footsie" with
Hitler. Just before the invasion of Sicily, the British
had dropped off a dead body dressed as an officer near the
Spanish coast. This gambit was called "Operation Mincemeat",
and the "officer" was carrying top secret material prepared
to confuse German intelligence about the location of the coming
invasion. The documents indicated that any attack on Sicily
would be a ruse, and that the real destination of the Allies
would be Sardinia. The fact that the British did this indicated
the close relationship which existed between Franco and Hitler.
I hate to think what might have happened to us had we been
hauled to Spain as
Well, we wandered over the border and were picked up
by Spanish soldiers. We had only beach clothes, and
I did not even have shoes. Our captors made us walk to their
headquarters where we were questioned and held for over six
hours. A small Arab boy had been hanging around with us, and
while we were detained this boy talked to the soldiers: what
he said I do not recall, but it got us on the way back to
our troops. The boy could converse with the soldiers much
better than we could, and must have convinced them we were
"the good guys". We were hauled back in a vehicle similar
to our jeep. I was terribly sunburned, and the bottoms of
my feet got burned from walking on the hot sand. According
to my buddies they had to lay me down on my back in the vehicle
because I was having delusions..