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Running for our Lives

Heroes Remember

Running for our Lives

So we ran blindly along this path then we thought this is crazy because if we get jumped we are both going to get caught so we each thought, okay Tom, we'll separate. Tom went ahead of me and every once in awhile he would stop and let me catch up to him. It was in this period when we were separated that some lights came on on the right and some excited voices and I ran blindly hoping to catch up with Tom, never did. Before I even got too far, there was a fork in the path and I thought which way did Tom go and I started calling, "Tom, Tom, where are you?" Anyway I figured Tom went to the right, I took the path to the right and I found out many years later Tom took the path to the left. He was picked up by the French Underground and was liberated by the Americans when they liberated that part of France. I went to the right and I became so exhausted I crawled deep in the woods and I stayed there all night. During the course of the night, now I could hear what looked like a church bell ringing. So I figured, tomorrow night I will head towards that sound, it's gotta be a little village and maybe I can get some help. So during the night it started raining. I woke up in the morning I was cold, I was wet, I was hungry, I was scared but I was covered in a horrible rash. I had been lying on a bed of nettles of all things and so I had all these elements against me but I heard that church, it sounded like a church bell ringing so the next night I headed towards that village at night and came into a little village and knocked on many doors, nobody answered the door and I thought, how come nobody is answering the door. And it wasn't until later that I found out why. So walking along in this village there was a wall a little taller than I was and it sounded like there were two female voices on the other side and they were keeping pace with me. I couldn't see them and they couldn't see me until they came to the centre of the wall and there was a gate there and I stood there and I said to the, what looked like two women, in my poor high school French, "Avez vous le pain, s'il vous plait?" which means, "Have you any bread, please?" And the one lady said to me in good English, "Who are you, what do you want, what are you doing here?" "I'm a Canadian airman, I was shot down a few nights ago, I want food, shelter. Can you put me in touch with somebody that can help me?" So she took me into the kitchen, gave me a bowl of hot milk and bread and said some words that cast fear in their heart, "You can't stay here because if the Gestapo find you here, you may not be executed but we will so what we will do, we will take you across the road, into a field, there's a barn there and we will put you in that barn and if the circumstances are right at night time, we will bring you back into the house, give you some food and a little socializing."

Once on the ground, Mr. Carter-Edwards describes how he and his fellow crew member become separated. After a rough few nights fighting the elements, he seeks food and refuge from two french ladies he chance encounters.

Ed Carter-Edwards

Edward (Ed) Carter-Edwards was born on April 2, 1923, in Montréal, Quebec, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He enlisted in August 1942, and then joined 427 (Lion) Squadron, 6 Royal Canadian Air Force Group, in Leeming, England. He was a wireless operator air gunner and completed 21 successful missions in a Halifax bomber. On his 22nd mission, Mr. Carter-Edwards was shot down near Paris. He was betrayed to the Gestapo by a collaborator, threatened with execution and forced into the Fresnes prison, near Paris. He spent five weeks in the prison in 1944 followed by a five-day trip in a French cattle car to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. He was there for three and a half months as one of 26 Canadians - 168 allied airmen in all. He was forced to participate in two death marches shortly before the end of the war. Once released from service and safely back home, Mr. Carter-Edwards returned to Hamilton and worked at the appliance manufacturer Westinghouse. He was married in 1946, and he and his wife raised three children.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 25, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Ed Carter-Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
4th Medium Artillery Regiment
Wireless Air Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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