Tigers in the Wood Part VI – Julian Evan-Hart

The final instalment of Tigers in the Wood – a metal detecting short story by Julian Evan-Hart.

Julian atop a Tiger 1 out in Normandy

Julian atop a Tiger 1 out in Normandy

“Yes”, Kurt replied. “That was me, many years ago. I was a young man then, a battle-group commander. I have no idea what happened, or why. But I have recalled that day vividly for nearly seventy years. Something did happen, and we saw each other….perhaps it was what they call a time slip. I suppose the question is James, would anyone ever believe us?”

James looked into the age creased face of Kurt and simply didn’t know what to say.

Jim meanwhile, who hadn’t caught any of the exchange, had gone off detecting again, over to the far side of the field. He looked like he was finding something, as he began digging.

Later on in the afternoon as the light began to fade, Kurt made his excuses, thanked everyone and gave them all his address near Berlin. Jim returned the compliment and gave Kurt their address, promising they would stay in touch.

When the old man was gone, Jim reached into his pockets and said “Bugger it, whilst I was over the far side I found something I was going to show Kurt. Never mind, perhaps I’ll send him a photo over.  Can someone pass me some lemonade? I just want to clean the thing up a bit.”

It looked to be an old cigarette lighter of some sort. As the liquid hit its surface, impacted soil fell away. The object looked to be made of good quality silver. Jim got excited as the fizzing liquid revealed something else too.

Beautifully inscribed on one side was “Hans Heinrich Belger 1942”.


It was James who eventually wrote to Kurt, a few months so after they returned home to London. A few weeks after he sent the letter, a thin papery envelope with German stamps on it arrived. The handwriting looked a bit young for a man who was in his late nineties.

Moments later James jaw wide fell open again for as he read the letter, he quickly established that it wasn’t from Kurt at all but was from his daughter Ingrid. Reading further it was clear she was very puzzled at why James had written to her father, and also a little upset.

Nothing can describe what James felt next, as he discovered the reason for Ingrid being so concerned was that her father Kurt had sadly died of lung cancer over two years ago.

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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