The roar of aircraft replaced the chugging of the vehicle which screeched to a halt. I stared up and gazed at the Hurricanes of 12 Group, who were probably heading to provide relief planes to 10 or 11 Group. I continued staring at the waves of fighters when suddenly…
“Ma’am, are you alright?”
I turned to face my driver and friendly assistant, Corporal Emma Jenkins. She was a podgy girl much shorter than my five-foot two frame, but an extremely amicable NCO and a great driver. All the other WAAF officers said I was lucky to have her attached to me.
“Erm… I’m alright, Emma. And remember, off duty, it’s just Maggie,” I said,
“It’s your fiancé ain’t it, ma’am…Maggie? I know it’s been a fortnight but I’m sure…”
“That would do Corporal,” I said, using my rank. “Thank you for the ride. I’ll see you 0730 on Sunday.” My driver wanted to press it further but just saluted and drove off.
She was right, I thought, as I unlocked the fence and entered the nice cottage in the outskirts of London. Emma was talking about my fiancé, Squadron Leader Thomas Peter Mark Mallory, who was missing in action since the last days of the Battle of France. Despite many calls and informal calls through the RAF, I couldn’t gather any information on his last whereabouts and only could keep hoping his was still alive.
This was probably one of the reasons why I bothered to join the WAAF, despite my mother’s fears. I actually detested discipline and rigid lifestyles, but was always fascinated by uniforms. It was probably why in 1939 I chanced upon a handsome young brute who became the love of my life. Tom was of the upper class and had a degree from Oxford before signing on to the RAF. Despite his family’s background, he rose through the ranks by merit and was the youngest squadron leader deployed to France in the early days of the war.
I let out a deep sigh as I entered the cottage Tom bought for us. We choose the outskirts of Birmingham to escape the capital’s dirt and grim and to enjoy the farmlands around the Midlands. With the Battle of Britain in full swing, my other home was just outside RAF Northolt wasn’t ideal.
It was probably my tireless work for the last few months that earned me a very short weekend off and the approval for Emma to drive me, using more that the allocated fuel. Peeling off my WAAF jacket, I headed straight for the bedroom that I missed. I unbuttoned my blouse, exposing the standardised bra WAAFs were provided. It was an extremely ugly one and barely fitted over my rather large breasts. My skirt was off and I unclipped the similarly ugly stockings from my garter belt, and finally peeled off the fake knickers or ‘blackouts’–rigid black knickers with stout elastic at waist and knee–that were also military issued.
After much effort, I got the kettle boiling for a hot water bath while I stared at the pictures Tom and I took while holidaying in France and Belgium, naturally before the war. Snapping out of this was really hard, but I knew all I had was the hope of an end to the war and a search for my lost love.
I took a long bath, scrubbing off the grime of all the past weeks; working as a WAAF doesn’t provide you with any decent baths. Wrapping myself in the cotton soft towels we bought in France, I plodded back to the bedroom and drew out my secret stash of lingerie. Yes, real silk lingerie, pink knickers and matching bra, something my boyfriend was forced to spent when we were in Paris. This could never be worn at work or even found in the black market, so that’s why I hoarded it here and always yearned to them. Just as I was about to clip of a proper garter belt, thundered roared and rain pelted down. It was the spring storm, and that meant hell for both air forces.
Suddenly, a louder boom struck and the light flickered and died.
“Rats!” I cried, groping around. I finally found my gown and draping it over my half-naked body, I continued moving to find the candlestick that was nearby. Ow!!! I banged my head against something. I tried to reach my hands to rub when…BANG!
I awoke, a dark red glare surrounding my eyes. Is this what the after life is like, I thought? However, the redness slowly dissipated and blurriness took over. Then my sight came back, and I was staring at my room. The lights were back on, the bed, the drawers were still there.
Immediately, I tried to move, but found myself stuck. It was then I realised that my arms were held behind my back. I shifted and guessed that my arms were bound while my wrists felt crossed together and bound. I stared down and saw that my legs were spread apart and secured to the legs of a chair; I was clearly bound to the chair in the room. What’s more, my gown was removed and I was in my bra and knickers.
Then I heard a voice. “Hallo, Guten Tag, Fraulein.” The words were eerie enough; it was clearly a German voice. Had the invasion already occurred. Were we defeated? A rather tall, I’ll say nearly six-foot, blonde hair man appeared in front of me. He was dressed in local clothes–a tweed coat but underneath he was clearly wearing a dirty brown overall something akin to…
“Mein name is…my name is Hauptmann Hans Grünberg, from the Luftwaffe. Unfortunately, I have to occupy your house for a while. My Messerschmitt was flying so well until it ran out of, how do you say, petrol. So, I, how you say, parachuted here. Unfortunately, it rained. So, I need a place to stay.”
I stared, still dazed. My mind finally caught up with me and I knew I was being held prisoner. My feminine side kicked in and I screamed as loudly as could. I probably managed one and a half seconds before he reached over and placed a huge, really huge in my view, gloved hand over my mouth.
I would have tried to omit more sounds even through that but the next thing I saw was the pistol pushed at my forehead. “Fraulein, I’ve been kind to you. I could have shot you earlier. Now, not a loud sound anymore or you will not live. Nod, Ja?”
I weighed my choice for a second then nodded. The gloved hand disappeared. “How dare you…” I began but he interrupted. “Miss,” he said, using the English word now, “We are both unfortunately brought in this position. I will leave soon, once your weather is better and I can find a way out and home.”
“How dare you tie me up and take off my clothes! You Jerry bastard! I’m going to get you…” I struggled as talked but the pistol was raised at me again.
“Miss, I won’t ask again. Silence. Perhaps we can talk better. I am Hans. Your name?”
Someone told me his English was too good to be a Jerry. Swallowing, I saw myself in no other position, and said, “Margaret, Maggie”.
“Good. As I said, Maggie, it is unfortunate to have you like this. I did not touch you, Ja? But you in your bra and how do you say, höschen, will prevent you from escaping. I may free you later, but this will be how you will stay for a while.”
“For a while,” I repeated, still testing my bonds. I then noticed that my arms were also tied to the back of the chair. Where on earth did he get such strong rope from?
Then I remembered that Tom kept coils of them in the shed as he was also a qualified sailor, again well before the war. “I guess I’m supposed to thank you for tying me up in my underwear?”
“As I said, Maggie, I could have killed you with my Mauser,” he said, naming the make of his pistol. I wasn’t trained in German weapons; I hardly even knew the weapons us Brits were using. “Now, what…. aha!” he exclaimed as his eye turned and caught my WAAF uniform. “You are, RAF?” He said, pronouncing it like ‘AR-A-EF’.
I fell silent. I may have been not exactly really keen on military matters, but one thing phrase I remembered was ‘loose lips sink ships’. I was not about to tell the enemy, especially one who has just knocked me out, tied me to a chair in my French-made underwear.
“Well?” he said, standing and placing his face in front of mind. His eyebrows frowned then, “No matter, since you want to be silent, I’ll make you.” I wanted to respond but did not expect him to suddenly pinch my nostrils. “AHH!!” I screamed, opening my mouth in time for him to jam something silky into my mouth. I immediately panicked and tried to spit it out but within the next minute, he used a stocking–yes, it definitely was one of my stockings to tie it around my face and secure the silky-cloth inside.
With that, he left the room.
This was not how I expected to spend my weekend leave, I thought. Not one where I was stripped to my bra and knickers, tied to a chair and then gagged. What’s more, by the enemy that my country, that I an officer of the WAAF was to fight against. Immediately, I struggled furiously, but not only was there no success in loosening the rope, but chaffing my skin.
“Mmmph,” I groaned through the gag, and further found that it well muffled my shouts. No, I thought, as I tried to shift the chair towards the desk at the other end of the room. If memory served me right, there were some knitting scissors there. If only I could…
The sound of footsteps interrupted my plan and Hans returned, carrying a tray filled with two tea cups and a pot as well as something flat down. He settled the tray on the bedside desk and sitting in front of me, announced, “Maggie, I’m going to remove your – what you call gag, you don’t make loud noise. Bitte?”
I considered his broken English and noting his pistol tucked in his side, I regrettably nodded and he undid the gag, easing out what he jammed inside my mouth. To my horror, it was another pair of silk knickers, again purchased from France.
“Yo…ou rat,” I spluttered, my mouth parched. “You put my underwear in my mouth?”
“It was the first item I could find and from your drawer, so it’s clean,” he argued back, this time in almost perfect English. I wanted to continue scolding and curse him for placing such and offending object in my mouth but decided not to.
“So, you’ve brought me tea.” A statement, I didn’t want to test him further.
“Ja, but first, we seem to know someone in common,” he lifted the object from the tray and it was the large framed picture of me and Tom taken at Oxford after punting. (Well, it was Tom who did the punting, I basically sat and watched). In the picture, he was in a cotton shirt with sleeves rolled up and trousers while I was in a translucent blouse and pink skirt.
“You are girlfriend or wife with him, Squadron Leader Tom?” My captor asked, lapsing into his broken English again.
It took me a couple of seconds to realise that he knew Tom. How? What does he really know? What you I tell him? I decided to fall silent.
Bad move. Hans grasped my throat and snarled, “I just told du, I expect a conversation not silence.”
“Right, right, he’s my partner. How, how do you know him?” I dreaded to hear his answer.
“Ah, the Squadron Leader? I had the honour of shooting him down-whoosh! He was a good pilot, shot two of my companions down, but I got him ha! As he climbed,” My captor cackled.
“Where is he!” I cried, struggling against by bonds. In the process, my almost naked bottom scratched against rough wooden chair.
“Hush, he is in a how do you say, POW camp? He is being questioned.”
“Questioned? POWs do not need to be questioned!” I protested, again only to have the gun raised at me.
“Fraulien, I said to lower your volume. I will not hesitate to shoot. Now, this is enough. Your tea is getting cold,” he said holding the pistol at my face in one hand and holding up a cup with another. “Drink,” he commanded.
I considered arguing further, especially given the new revelation that my love was alive though captured. However, given the threat of his gun and the fact that I was shivering–thanks to him reducing me to my lingerie–I leaned my neck forward and accepted the cup to my lips. It was rather bland, sugarless tea but I again was in no position to argue.
As I drank, I suddenly had a brainwave. “I need to use the toilet,” I stated as I finished the cup.
“WC, loo, I don’t know how you say it in German,” I said, nodding towards my crotch.
“Ah, Ja, ok,” he said, and to my delight he started undoing my bonds. Once free and inside, I quickly locked the door and frantically looked for a way to escape. It was hopeless; our bathroom window was far too high and too small for me to crawl through. Despite that, I grabbed the nearest towel and the jar of cream nearby. It was cream made in the black market for ladies to give the stocking lines since stockings–non-military issued–were rarely found during the war. The colour was dark enough to act as paint so using my fingers, I quickly wrote ‘SOS HELP’ on the towel, stood up on the toilet seat and hung the towel. I did my business and flushed.
I was sincerely hoping that someone would notice when my captor suddenly grabbed me and pulled me back inside the shower/WC area. He immediately reached up and easily pulled the towel I hung back in. “Miststück,” I heard him say, and only learnt later that meant ‘bitch’. The next thing I knew, I was thrown to the ground and the cold steel on the gun was against my head. Please, I cried silent, I don’t want die like this.
I heard him mutter something in German and my wrists were yanked again behind me. He bound them even tighter than before. Then swiftly my ankles and then knees were bound followed by a stuffed cleave gag and then thick blindfold. He must have used up a heck load of rope and lining. That was far from the end as he bent my legs and bound my wrist and ankle bonds together. I was trapped in a really secure hogtied and unable to see well, the chances of escaping were far less.
It was of course better that being shot but certainly no comfort. I took ballet class for several years when I was a child and also was pretty find with gymnastics so maybe that was how managed to endure the hours of tight bondage. Finally, I felt him removing the knots of the hogtie then loosening my ankle bonds. Finally, the blindfold was removed.
“Fraulein, Maggie, we have to understand each other no? I am captor you are captive for a while. No escape, no nonsense ja? Nod?” I looked at him and myself. Clearly it had to be so and I nodded.
“Sehr gut. Now, it is dinner ja? Perhaps you will make.” He swiftly switched my bound wrists to my front and altered my ankle bonds to form ‘shackles’. With the gun prodding me, I hobbled down the stairs. Pete and I had stocked some food in a larder so still bound and gagged, I pulled out some tin meat and pickles. I wasn’t the world’s best cook and these naturally weren’t fresh produce but I made some sort of quickly made stew.
Before serving, he bound me to a chair again, ensuring my legs were secured against the chairs’ legs and only then removed my gag. Courteously, he moistened my lips first then spoon-fed me. In between bites, I tried to ask him more about Pete’s status, but only got a strict look.
Dinner over, I was forced upstairs again and still keep bound and gagged–thankfully not stuff gag! — and within gunshot distance of him. Finally, after about nearly an hour of staring at each other, Hans started.
“Tom was wounded when he was shot down. Not much ja? Der Luftwaffe Art-Docktor help him then he moved to POW camp. Luftwaffe obeyed Geneva Convention aber SS took over. SS not caring, they question him. I don’t think it was torture. I know sehr little; I am just a pilot. Luftwaffe fighting to get control of POWs but it is SS, SA who has control. Sorry.”
“Mmmmmppp…” I cried through my gag and tried to gesture for him to remove it but he instead hugged me. The embrace lasted longer than I wished and my muted protest did nothing to stop it. Finally, he released me and then declared it was time to sleep. Gosh, time really flew by. “You can change ja? I will not look, but stay here. Remember I have this,” he waved the weapon.
With my bonds released I saw him turn away. In any other scenarios, I could have made a dash for it, but the earlier failed attempt still lingered in my mind. I quickly found some nightclothes–simple pyjamas instead of the French negligee I had planned to wear and changed. As I did, I hoped he wasn’t spying on my naked body but how could I prevent him from doing so?
“Ah, gut,” he said then once again, he bound my wrists, thankfully in front of me. After my ankles were again bound, he held up another torn piece of cloth. “No, no,” I protested but again was gagged. He laid me down then he himself took off his coat and laid beside me. For some reason, the warm of his body felt so similar to Pete’s.
Then, he again hugged me and instinctively, I lifted my bound arms and reciprocated, hugging him. Slowly, my night shirt was undone and my naked breasts were exposed….
I awoke in the morning, and found myself still cleave gagged and wrists bound.
“Guten morgen,” I heard him say, and he was already dressed.
“Mmmmdwe?” I mumbled through my gag and he reached down to undo it.
“Did we, uh….” I wanted to say the word, but I wondered if he would understand it.
“No, nein,” he shook his head. “I’m captor, not…. uh rape,” he said. “Bath ja?”
Bath was what I needed but he took no chances again, first keeping the door open and by giving me a short time. In any case, the water had to be rationed. It still was a welcoming wash after the hours of bondage. I made a simple porridge breakfast for both of us–this time he let me feed myself. We talked more, about France, which he knew quiet well besides airfields, about Austria which I wished to travel to, and well the air force. In that particular topic, he did sometimes query about my WAAF duty, but I absolutely did not reveal anything, secrets or generally know information. I did fear that he would pressure me or torture me given that my hands were always bound behind me and legs restrained. Yet, as we continued to converse, I felt more at ease with him.
“…I am no Nazi,” he suddenly remarked. “I’m a pilot, I’m in military but I not Nazi.”
“Really?” I wondered, trying not to be captivated too much by his eyes and hair.
“Do I go ‘Heil Hitler’? Only when necessary. I never join party. I fight for country. Not the corporal,” He spat. “And you?”
“I…” I began
“Tell me about your radar plotting,” he asked again.
I shook my head but he repeated himself. “Open,” was his command and once more, a piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth and I was gagged. Goodness, I thought, how much cloth and linen has he used up? For the next few hours, I wouldn’t be able to know that question as he kept me gagged. Lunch was again tinned fruit and some stale biscuits. Afterwards, I was again blindfolded but despite that I could gauge what he was doing. He was rummaging through mine and Pete’s belongings, gathering necessary stuff for his escape. I’ve got to alert someone again, I thought, but how?
“Ah, ja, gut…stadplan!” I heard him exclaim. Stadt…city, I remembered an intelligence officer remark. He found a map that Pete kept here! He knows the local surroundings now! No! I shifted wildly against me bonds.
“Was ist los?” He asked, removing the blindfold and gag. “You…you know how to escape!” I cried, struggling again.
“Maggie, I must return to Vaterland,” He stroke my cheek but I turned away. “I must go home.”
“To destroy us,” I mumbled.
“I fly ME-109, not Junkers not Heinkels,” he countered. “I shoot down aircraft, not bomb…”
“Like you did to Tom! Like you’re doing to our boys! Like….mmmmpph!” My gag came back again and so did the blindfold. He yanked off my dress and trussed me up again in a strict hogtie. Once more, I remained in this state for the remainder of the day. He even made me skip dinner, only once removing my gag to make me drink some powdered milk. The hogtie ended like I don’t know, nine or ten o’clock but instead of letting me change, he kept me still bound and gagged in my bra and knickers. As his body laid next to mine, once again we hugged, he kissed my gagged mouth and my lingeried slowly came off…
I awoke and found my bra unclasped and my knickers down to my knees. The latter was soon pulled up by him but before he could move further, there was loud knocking on my door. “Was…” he began, then I remembered that it had to be Emma!
Before I could cry out, he aimed his gun at my forehead. “Call, and don’t cry,” he snarled, lowering my gag.
“Em…Emma,” I coughed. He whispered into my ear. “Can you come up, I need help,” I said shaking with fear but he re-gagged me.
“Ma’am, what is wrong?” I heard her footsteps and then Hans leaned against the wall. “Ma’am, are you…”
“Good morning,” Hans pointed his weapon at her and Emma’s shriek was cut off in seconds with his gloved hand over his mouth.
“You are driver, ja?” Sorry, you have to join Maggie. Now, do Was I say and you be fine, ja? Yes?” Emma slowly nodded and his hand came away and he swiftly stuffed something in her mouth. That was soon secured in place by one of my own thick stockings.
“Take off uniform,” he ordered.
“Mmhat?!” I heard Emma cry then I nodded at her. Do as he say, I blinked at her. You don’t want to resist.
Emma shivered and slowly removed her uniform, revealing the paper-like bra, the ‘blackouts’ and the horrible military issue stockings. With a gesture, he made her remove the stockings and then those were used to bind her wrists and ankles. My hard-working corporal was laid down next to me.
“Auf wiedersehen, Maggie, Emma,” he remarked, saluting us. “May we meet again, once German wins, or after the war.”
Naturally, both us struggled against our bonds. Emma was the first to break free since stockings weren’t the best material for bindings. By the time we got dressed and out, it was nearly mid-day. As soon as we reported, my boss gave me the worst reprimand but of course alerted the army and home guard.
Despite extensive searching, Hans was never found. I was given forfeiture of pay and removal of rights but those were revoked a year later. I ended the war as a Flight Officer while Emma stayed on, receiving a commission. Tom never returned from captivity–he did successfully escape but died while crossing into neutral Sweden.
As for Hans, well, immediately after the war, I did my own personal search. It took nearly five years before I found he was shot down on the Eastern Front. He survived and had a very minor role in the July 1994 plot against Hitler, taking his own life before being arrested.
Every Remembrance Sunday, I wear a Poppy for both my loves: My RAF lover and my Luftwaffe captor.