Himmler capture

The smiling photograph of Heinrich Himmler taken from the recently surfaced collection of family documents (your report, 27 January) should not be allowed to disguise his close involvement with the Holocaust, the Gestapo and the SS. In the view of many, he is marked as the most evil of all war criminals.

Details of his arrest by British forces might be of interest to your readers. The 5th Battalion of the Black Watch served with distinction in the 51st Highland Division from El Alamein to Bremerhaven, collecting many battle honours on the way.

Shortly after the war ended, the battalion was ordered to mount a platoon guard on the bridge at Bremervoerde, with orders to detain any suspicious-looking characters.

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When our platoon took over the duty there was a suspicious looking trio in the guardroom: two of an athletic, military bearing and a smaller man dressed as a civilian postman or clerk.

When the field security police came to question and release most of the detainees, this trio were taken back to divisional headquarters for further questioning, but nobody knew who he was until Himmler revealed his identity shortly before committing suicide.

The historic detention of Himmler at Bremervoerde by D Company, where a mass of human tragedy was continuously flooding across the bridge, is remembered by 5BW veterans more as a mystery and less as a marvel. Nevertheless, it was just reward to the battalion for the contribution it had made to fighting the war.

In the privacy of the guardroom and observing the code of conduct between front-line soldiers, Himmler was relieved of his wrist watch. The watch survives and is earmarked for the Black Watch museum in Perth.

Tom Renouf