”Kæreste Kek” (”Dearest Kek”) is the true story of Ellen Karsten (*1925) and her brother Henrik (1920-2010), who both served in the British armed forces during World War 2 – Henrik as an officer of the 8th Army in North Africa, the Middle East and Italy, rising to the rank of Major during his service with the British occupation forces in Germany in 1946, and Ellen as a Petty Officer of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).
As a Lieutenant of 3rd The King’s Own Hussars, Henrik distinguished himself during the battle of el-Alamein leading his Regiment through a minefield at night and under enemy fire, thus opening the way for a decisive breakthrough. In 1943-45 Henrik served as Intelligence Officer of 9th Armoured Brigade and was in charge of i.a. security and deception prior to the amphibious operations on Lake Comacchio and in the Argenta Gap and of planning the crossing of the rivers Po and Adige.
Ellen served in the WRNS’ “Y” Service which manned a series of listening stations along the Channel coast where the Wrens intercepted the radio traffic of German E-boats and passed the information on to Royal Navy Intelligence Centre’s and to the code breaking centre at Bletchley Park. Ellen’s work was so secret that she was not allowed to talk about it until 30 years after the war.
“Kæreste Kek” is based on Henrik’s and Ellen’s correspondence and diaries from 1941 to 1946. The book gives an intimate view of the everyday life of Wrens, soldiers and civilians and of the atmosphere in the 8th Army, the WRNS and on the British home front. It is a story of loss, frustrations and love under difficult circumstances, but also of young people trying to live by the motto: “Nobody knows who’ll come home from the war, so we might as well enjoy life while we can.”