Lieutenant Dan: a short story


Tommy Thompson, guest writer

London, September 6, 1940. After a bombing on the city the night before by the German Luftwaffe, the British Armed Forces are beginning to evacuate the city for fear of another attack. Soldiers assist civilians in their escape at train stations and bus stops, and Lieutenant Dan is among those assisting the civilians at St. Pancras Railway Station.

Lieutenant Dan is an average English soldier: five and a half feet tall, somewhat fit, may not be the smartest, yet he takes great pride in his country. His orders are to make sure children leave the city. He stands on the platforms, assisting the children board trains bound for northern cities, such as Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham where they are moved into the countryside.

This day was one of the hardest for Lieutenant Dan, as for what he saw on that platform that day. Dan was instructed by his superiors to remove children from the grasp of their sobbing mothers and push them into the train cars. He was cursed at and even had a purse thrown at him, but he knew that this was the best for the children. The children had a better chance of surviving in the countryside. And his assumptions were correct.

The next night, the bombings began on London. And continued, for months. And Lieutenant Dan continued serving in London, assisting civilians escape their homes and helping them into bomb shelters.

Fifty-seven days later, the bombings stopped, and Dan was sent to France to fight the good fight.

Five years later, Germany was defeated, and Dan was sent back to London: his former post. In June of 1945, he was instructed to assist the children returning from the countryside.

“Today.” Dan started to himself, “Today, I will do my best to reunite the children I separated from their parents some five years ago.” Dan did just that.

At noon that day, Dan found a young boy. About 10 years old, he was looking at a photo and then looking around the platform. Dan walked over and asked the boy if he knew where his parents were. The boy responded, “I don’t know. All I have is this picture to recognize them with.”

The boy had been too young to remember his parents when he left. So Dan, keeping to his promise, told the boy he would help him. Dan took the boy by the hand and went to his superiors, who brushed it off. However, Dan would not give up; he would make sure he found the parent of this boy even if he had to die.

The day eventually ended, yet the boy was still with Dan, and Dan wasn’t about to desert the boy now. He took it up his chain of command to no avail. Finally, beginning to get desperate, Lieutenant Dan took the boy to the press. Dan explained his predicament, and the printers felt sorry for the boy. They took his picture and the boy ended up on the front page of The London Free Press.

Three days went by, and finally, Dan received a phone call. Dan took the boy to the train station, where the boy’s mother waited. The woman ran up to Dan and thanked him endlessly for assisting her in finding her son. The woman kissed Dan and told him, “I’m sorry I threw that purse at you before.”