Captain Roy Wooldridge, who was in the Royal Engineers, was taken prisoner during a covert night-time mission to examine submerged mines along the French beaches weeks before the D-Day landings.
Mr Wooldridge, who was twice awarded the Military Cross, was sent a telegram ordering him to report to his unit just three days after his wedding in 1944.
The lieutenant, who was later promoted to captain, was sent to the French beaches with a colleague to ensure there were no mines which could blow up the boats during the D-Day landings.
Due to the secretive nature of the mission, he was not wearing a uniform or carrying identification
Captured by the Nazis and treated as a spy, Captain Roy Wooldridge was told he must reveal all about his secret mission or be shot dead.Despite being grilled by the Gestapo, the British soldier refused to talk .
Capt Wooldridge, a hero of the Battle of El Alamein two years earlier at which Rommel was defeated by the Allies, was stunned when he was presented to the high-ranking officer.
When Rommel asked if he needed anything, cheeky Roy replied: “A single ticket back to the UK, a pint of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a really good meal.”
To his astonishment, his wish was granted when he was ushered into Rommel’s mess where all three items were waiting for him, with the exception of the ticket back to the UK.
He later recalled “I was taken to the officers’ mess, where a waiter in white dress adorned with a swastika gave me a jug of beer, a packet of cigarettes and a meal.
From memory it was meatballs, or faggots, with potatoes and sauerkraut.”
Capt Wooldridge ate the food, drank the stein of lager and smoked the German cigarettes, but kept the empty packet as a souvenir.
That empty cigarette packet featured on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow on 23 November 2014.With Arms and Militaria specialist Graham Lay
Thanks to Rommel, he survived and was sent on to a prisoner of war camp, where he spent the rest of the war.
Captain Roy Wooldridge died in April 2017, aged 97.
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