The 11th Armoured Division (Formation Sign)

Eric at age 19 - 1941

The Rifle Brigade

Eric at 82 - 2004

Eric A. Patience - 1922 - 2014

Foreword from Webmaster.

With the recent publicity regarding the 70year liberation of Aushwitz concentration camp I thought that the website should have an article regarding the liberation of Belsen which was in the sector that Allied Forces were operating. After a little searching I found articles on other sites written by Eric Patience and decided to contact him. He was now 82 and still bright as a button, he and his daughter welcomed my approach and have given me a lot of material regarding his service, also permission to reproduce his stories from other sites. Eric's unit passed very close to the Belsen Camp and he saw the desperate plight of the inmates, he is keen for the world to know what went on. Eric dedicates this article to his fallen pals always remembered.

A few years ago Eric's daughter Catherine spotted a poem in the local paper and Eric so loved it he wrote to the author Jennifer Ward to thank her for her wonderful thoughts and words, she responded by sending him a framed copy which takes pride of place in his home.

Jennifer has given her permission for it to be reproduced on this website.

Tribute from one who was not there

Thanks for the Scarifice

It means a lot to hear about the men who died for me, The men who fought for freedom, and to keep democracy, Men we say, when many were nowt but some mother's young young lad, Who sacrificed themselves, to ensure the freedom we all have had.

Can they ever be thanked enough, or loved beyond compare? Brother, Father, Husband, Son, we all lost someone there. Not all of them won medals. Not all of them returned, But every single one of them, our respect they surely earned.

For the bodies that lay at the waters edge, or face down upon the sand, For the men that had to pass their pals, unable to lend a hand. We all say thankyou, this alone will never suffice To say how much appreciation there is, for your ultimate scarifice.

The foreign sand soaked up your blood, and sealed your painful wounds, Leaving, yet another soul-less shell, upon this sandy tomb. But you didn't die in vain lads, you didn't die in vain For because of your heroic deeds, the rest of us, still now, we gain.

So may you lie in peace, boys, and have eternal rest, For each and every one of you did your very best. For all the men who lived or died in this, an awful war, Whether it be here at home, or upon some distant shore. Simple words are not enough, but I'm afraid they will have to do, So to all the men I simply say:

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Janice F. Ward

Copyright: J.Ward

Eric's Life.

My name is Eric Patience and I was born on 14.12.22.
I was born in Romford Essex and was 1 of 10 children. I left school at the age of 14 and started work as a apprentice carpenter. The war began in 1939 and I received my call-up papers just after my 19th birthday. I had to report to barracks in Winchester, home of the Rifle Bridgade, and so I became Rifleman E.A.Patience 6923784, a number you never forget. We moved on to training at Tidworth and joined the 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade in Brighton which was part of the 11th Armoured Division.

June 1944 saw us involved in the Normandy landings and then we went on to see action across four countries including the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and into Germany where we liberated the awful Belsen concentration camp.
I hope you find interesting the stories of what we encountered during this time and spare a thought for those who died and survived.

.I was demobbed in 1946 and found work in the timber trade, then later joined the Ford Motor Company. I married in 1953 and have three children and four grandsons, then retired in 1985.

I hate sarcasm, ill treatment to the elderly, children and animals, I love my family.

Picture taken outside the Guardroom of the Rifle Brigade Barracks in Winchester - 2004

Read these two moving accounts of Eric's War.

Eric is only survivor now of original nine pals who landed at Normandy Juno Beach in June 1944.
This picture was taken at the River Weser Stolzenau Germany. Date was early April 1945, this is where we first heard of Belsen.

Copyright of text and pictures: Eric A Patience.

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