On May 1st came the news that Hitler had met his end in his command Post or ‘Bunker’ in Berlin and the next night, Major-General Wolz, the Kommandant of Hamburg, brought his famous message to the 7th Armoured Division:

“The principal point is the actual time General Lyne wishes to enter Hamburg.”

Although the details of the final surrender were not yet complete, on May 3rd the Division moved over the Elbe and occupied the city.

For this coup-de-grace, the 8th Hussars was to be under command of the 131st Infantry Brigade and was to form part of the force that entered Hamburg on May 3rd. The Regiment leaguered that night at Marmstorf and was off again at 5.15 am on the morning of May 4th to march through Hamburg and into the city of Hamburg itself.

The day is best summed up by Lt Col Fitzpatrick himself:

“That evening we listened to the wireless and heard our English broadcast from Radio Hamburg. The speaker gave us more news of the forthcoming surrender and said that he was at that moment using Joyce’s microphone and desk. Although there were yet three days to go before the official cease-fire, it was there, I think, that we fully realised fully that it was in fact all over. There was no rejoicing amongst the crowd of men around the wireless set, just silence. I believe that the first reaction was a sensation of uncomprehending relief. It started to rain”.

It was an odd way to end the war, with the official VE-Day postponed until the 8th of May.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. North West Europe 1944-45
  3. Article: The Capture of Hamburg, May 1945