Here is Christopher's service record given upon his discharge from his regiment in 1952:
Service with The Colours, showing transfers, if any, to other Corps
Home 22.5.44--1.3.45 284 days
North Western Europe 2.3.45--2.5.45 62 days
Home 3.5.45--25.2.46 299 days
British Army of the Rhine 26.2.46 --5.12.46 283 days
Length of service – 8 years British Army of the Rhine
Certificate of ServiceArmy number – 2625429
Surname – Cater
First names – Christopher Leslie
Enlisted at – Wolverhampton
Enlisted on – 22.5.45
Corps for which enlisted – Grenadier Guards
Description of Soldier on leaving The Colours:
Year of birth - 4.5.1921
Height – Five foot, eleven and a quarter inches
Complexion – fresh Eyes – hazel Hair – brown
Final Assessment of Conduct and Character(To be completed by the Commanding Officer)Military conduct…exemplary
Testimonial (to be conducted with a view to civil employment)
A thoroughly conscientious and hardworking man, who has done consistently well throughout his service. Clean, honest, and sober.
21st February, 1952Regional Headquarters: Birdcage Walk.
Dad was overseas for the 2 final months of World War 2 and then in England for 299 days before being sent back early in 1946 with the British Army of the Rhine to help oversee prisoners of war in Germany. He was there until the end of 1946 and while there he made friends with some of the men he was guarding. I have a letter written to him several years later, by one of the friends he made, an engineer, and the pencil portrait of Dad was drawn by another of the German soldiers. It is signed KG and the date is June 20 1946.
In 1947 he was back in England and in the barracks at Caterham in Surrey.
Meanwhile, in January of 1947, one year after being released from prison in Holland, Nelly, now 20 years old, set sail for England. She was an au-pair for 9 months, for a familynamed Krausz. Mr. Krausz was Austrian and Mrs. Krausz was Scottish. Nelly looked after their 3 year old boy named Tony and was supposed to do the cooking. There was one problem; Nelly did not know how to cook. She got around this by asking how to cook various dishes. She would say to Mr. and Mrs Krausz, “You might not like it the Dutch way.” Since it was the language common to them all, they spoke German.
It was some time between January and September of 1947, that Nelly and a friend went to Hyde Park in London. The photo above could have been taken on the very day. She and her friend were standing listening to a speaker at Speaker's Corner, when her friend noticed two soldiers in the crowd, also listening. Her friend pointed to one of them and said, "I'm going to marry that one," and before too long, they were talking to them. Nelly's friend did marry the soldier as she predicted, and Nelly became friends with the other one, whose name was Christopher Cater.
Nelly went back to Holland in September, but returned in April of 1948 with another friend, Mies, and they went to work in a hospital this time, in Farnborough, Kent, as domestic workers, starting in the nurses’ rooms, then being promoted to working for the Sisters, then the Head Nurses, who all had their own apartments. They also worked for the Matron when her personal maid was on holiday.
Chris and Nell (he always called her Nell) continued their friendship, which had now become a courtship. At 27 and 21 they had lived through deep pain and trauma and carried within them the wounds.
Next week: Chris and Nell's story continues.