26 July 2017 by scwharbour3639
Marius Christiansen, a stoker goes ashore
Ambulance driver and motor cycle ordonnance from January 7, 1937 to January 10, 1938.
And that was what Marius Christiansen did. On January 7th 1937, he arrived in Spain, where he was enrolled in XV. International Brigade in the “Abraham Lincoln Battalion” as an ambulance driver. Driving ambulances was a demanding and extremely dangerous job. The red cross on the car, which showed that it was driving sick and injured, was a favorite target for the fascist pilots. Marius drove several ambulances, all of whom were hit by grenades and machine guns, so they could no longer drive.
Marius tells here about his experiences with Ambulance No. 7:
Ambulance No. 7 came especially in the fire, when we drove dead and wounded during the Brunette offensive, and had to drive a long way into a dried-up river bed, along the front. The ambulance got a lot of bulled holes on the side, and believed or not, a grenade came, it went through the roof and out through the back doors. So it was a little wind-swept. But when it was hot, it didn’t so much. The engine went well, it was the main thing. – It was a hard job, we drove both day and night. One evening late, I was allowed to take a nap while filling up the ambulance – it could take 4 lying on stretches, 12 seated on two transverse benches plus 2 at the driver. – “At the sanitary station there were two tents, one for treatment made by our doctor, and one where we had our cases, here there was a ditch dug, and beside this I put myself on a stretcher and fell asleep.
I woke up when a plane lay and drove round up there, and suddenly I heard it coming, immediately I rolled down into the ditch. Then first a flash and then followed by a bang with earth and limbs and much more, then everything silent, the only thing you can hear is the bomber’s engine in the darkness of the night.
I came out of the perforated tent and looked for the damn fascist airplane; suddenly I see
track bullets from another airplane**, then the bombing machine in fire and rushed down with a bang nearby. Unfortunately I did not have time to investigate it further. The doctor tent was gone, it was a direct hit, the doctor, the sanities and a number of others were gone. I collected them I could get into the ambulance and came up on the road when the engine said so strange, I would investigate this further, it turned out that half of the engine was gone, you could see the pistons work. A little further away lay another sanitary station, I let the wagon roll and reached the post. There they would chase me away because of the bombing, I had to tell them that my sanitary station had a direct hit and the fascist was shot down and the ambulance was full of wounded comrades. Then they got busy and I promised to move the ambulance. This I did, it tumbled a little, came over a hill, so there was no more metal in the bearings. No – what a spectacle the little engine could do.
This was the end of being an ambulance driver in the 15th brigade sanitary service. I handed the key from the lost ambulance to my superior. Then this was my 7th. Ambulance, I thought the fascists only shot after these, and I would shoot again. This was granted, I became motorcycle ordonnance and came from the ash in the fire.
** 50 years later, Marius meets Russian Michail Jakusjin, the pilot who entered the world history by being the first to shoot a plane down in night air combat. The event raised a lot of attention. The whole world press wrote about it. Michail Jakusjin was honored for his deed by Spanish President Negrin.
This meeting 50 years after we will tell you in a later article about Marius Christiansen.