German veteran saved by Gordon Highlanders sent 90th birthday gift

Gordon Highlanders commemorating the Somme centenary this year. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Gordon Highlanders commemorating the Somme centenary this year. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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A German war veteran whose life was saved by the Gordon Highlanders after they shot him has received a 90th birthday gift from the regiment’s museum.

Karl Hunold was seriously injured when soldiers opened fire on his battalion as they crossed a road in the town of Rees on March 31, 1945.

Aged 18, he was the only survivor of the attack which came as the German 6th Parachute Battalion were defending the area in northern Germany.

Lying with his left leg bleeding in a ditch, the paratrooper was spotted by the commander of a Gordon Highlanders’ scout car who shouted: “Friend, five minutes. Doctor.”

A field ambulance crew applied first aid then took him to a hospital for treatment that saved his leg, and his life.

He was still in hospital recovering when a British soldier visited him weeks later. Appearing in the ward where he was being treated, the soldier asked for the “one from Wuppertal”, the town where the teenager’s family lived.

Communicating with gestures, he told Karl he was travelling to the city and would deliver a letter to his parents who knew he was missing.

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Karl never found out the names of the soldiers who saved his life or found a way to thank them for their help.

However, his stepson, Roland Goerz, a lieutenant colonel in the German army, discovered the men were Gordon Highlanders.

He contacted the regiment’s museum in Aberdeen and asked if they could send Karl a 90th birthday greeting.

Colonel Charlie Sloan, chair of the centre, said the museum would now be sharing the pensioner’s story with visitors.

He said: “The museum decided to send a greeting and a present of a quaich so he could toast the regiment. Karl still holds the men who saved his life in the highest regard.

Mr Hunold turned 90 on August 3.

His stepson said: “The birthday card and quaich touched him deeply and for a moment Karl was back there on that very day in the area of Rees.

“It was hard for him to find words.

“It makes him very proud and very happy to express his gratitude in this way to all those who, by their humanity and displayed comradeship among soldiers across enemy lines, enabled him to celebrate his 90th birthday.”

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