Tigers in the Wood Part V – Julian Evan-Hart

The penultimate chapter in Julian Evan-Hart’s metal detecting  story – Tigers in the Wood – continues.

Perhaps James was just boiling over with teen hormones, Fiona thought. But that didn’t explain the odd noises she thought she too had just heard. There did seem to be a strange atmosphere about the place, like something just wasn’t quite right. Jess looked around and said “Well I didn’t see anything at all Mum.”

Then, from the woodland behind came the sound of footsteps crunching on small twigs and last year’s crisp and darkened leaves. An old man came appeared in the clearing, releasing a snagging bramble from his trouser flare.

He stared about, looked over and apologised for having made his exit so near to the picnic. He then just stopped in his tracks and watched with a somewhat puzzled expression. His eyes squinted and a deep frown was evident.

Fiona asked if he would like a drink. The old man accepted courteously “Ah yes thank you. It is a hot day walking about. Thirsty work indeed.” Fiona noticed his accent, German rather than French.

The old man sat down and started talking Fiona gathered he had been round here in this area during the war. Apparently he had decided to return to the area to pay homage to fallen comrades and evoke old memories.

He told her he had been in the occupying German army. His eyes became watery and a handkerchief was plucked from his pocket to remedy the situation. He was clearly getting a bit upset.

Finally, Jim came over and introduced himself. The old man looked up and rose to his feet in quite an agile manner given his advanced years. They chatted about the war years and Jim was fascinated. He showed the man his metal detector.

“Plenty of shrapnel and bullets about here” said the old man thoughtfully. Jim called for James and Jess to come and meet their guest. They didn’t show much interest but ambled slowly over and Jim introduced them all.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t get your name”, said Jim to the old man, who was once again looking out across the fields.

“Oh I apologise too. It’s Kurt” the elderly visitor replied.  He turned to look at Jim’s son. “So you’re James eh?”

James looked rather sheepish, but something in the old man’s eyes held his attention. Kurt spoke again, in a lower voice and with much more urgency, “Now young man, this may be an incredible fact. But you and I have seen each other exactly here on this same spot before, haven’t we?”

James cast a puzzled looked at the old German. “Have we? But when?”

Kurt nodded. “In my case I saw you here sixty nine years ago at the height of a ferocious battle. And in your case, just a few minutes ago, you saw me as I was then, and you went running back to your parents.”

James’ eyes went wide. “You…you’re the man in the black uniform!”

About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

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