Schnapps in the Face

World History

Schnapps in the Face

By Shay – Grade 5

Garnet was an infantry officer working in Holland when he heard that he had to go back to England. When Garnet got to England they told him that the prisoners that had been captured in Dieppe had finally been liberated from a German prison. These soldiers had originally been captured three years earlier, on August 19th, 1942. The Canadian army, along with some British support, had invaded the French city of Dieppe. The invasion was meant to create a distraction from the other parts of the war that the Germans were fighting. It was considered to be a suicide mission on the part of the Canadians, although more soldiers survived than they thought. The invasion was still a disaster though, because one-third of the Canadians were killed, one-third were taken prisoner, and one-third retreated back to England.  The soldiers that were taken prisoner were held in a German prison camp for almost 3 years. 

Garnet and other soldiers had to hurry and prepare a camp in England. They quickly put together a camp. Garnet’s job was to do some repairs on some of the buildings. Another one of Garnet’s jobs was to get the kitchen ready for the soldiers because the soldiers were so thin from not being fed and being treated very badly in the German prisons. Garnet was ordered to get them healthy again and  “put some meat on their bones”.  

The day the prisoners arrived, Garnet first noticed that their clothes were baggy and that they looked like walking skeletons. Garnet had a lot of respect for the soldiers because they survived so much hardship, so he was determined that he was going to shake hands with all 1,797 soldiers. The first soldier Garnet greeted had a bottle in his left hand. He shook Garnet´s hand and said, ¨Here have some of this!¨ So Garnet took a sip and it almost felt like it was burning his throat, because it was a strong alcohol called ¨schnapps¨. When the next soldier came he said the same thing, so Garnet put his lips in front of his mouth so the schnapps didn’t get into his mouth – but a little of the alcohol still got in. Garnet repeated this 1,797 times! So when all the soldiers were done shaking Garnet´s hand, and after Garnet had drunk a little of the schnapps, 1,797 times, he was barely standing! Garnet walked over to a cot in one of the cabins, fell flat on his face and slept there for the rest of the day!