Horst Spies – born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 25th June 1922
Profession in country of origin: Joiner
Arrived in Britain as a refugee from Germany as one of the ‘Dovercourt Boys’, 1939
My father was born in Biblis – a village near Worms – on 25.06.1922. His name was Horst Spies but he had to change his name to Harry Spiers when he joined the army. He did not join the Pioneer Corp; he joined the Royal Armoured Corp (RAC) and fought in a tank regiment in the Normandy Campaign and was required to disguise his German origins as much as possible.
My father spent about three months in Buchenwald following Kristallnacht. His parents (who did not survive the war) managed to secure his release by obtaining a Kindertransport place for him, so I assume he arrived in Dovercourt via the Kindertransport in February/March 1939. If you read pages 98 to 99 of Clare Ungerson’s book Four Thousand Lives, you will read about the Dovercourt boys who were transferred to Turner’s Court near Wallingford in Oxfordshire on 13 June 1939. I must assume that my father was in that group, for as much as we heard nothing about Buchenwald and very little about Kitchener Camp, my father really enjoyed his stay in Turner’s Court and he often referred to it, as well as his time in the army.