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En route to Paris by Car

Heroes Remember

En route to Paris by Car

Well, they came a couple of days later and we went by regular train which was scary, scary, scary because in order to get on the coach I had to go past a huge German soldier. He had the potato masher in his belt, he had the jack boots and he had a huge firearm in his arm, big, big man and he was growling as everybody went through and I thought, if he turns around and looks at me. I'm dead. But this couple were near me, watching me but they were watching to make sure I went by. They said, "If anything happens, if anything happens, we will try to create a diversion and if you get away, you get away. Don't you worry about us." And I thought, my God, these people are already risking their lives to save me but nothing happened. I got on the train and they asked me to pretend you're sleeping on the train so not to draw undo attention to myself. Anyway, we get into Paris and again they said, "Now, you have to go through a security check. All you have to do is reach in your pocket, bring out the passport we gave you and you should be okay. We'll be in the background watching you and again, if there's something happens, if we can create a diversion to get you away, you get away." Anyway, nothing happens, I go through and then they caught up with me and then we went by the regular underground railway and they put me in a hotel in Paris. And they said, "Okay, in a couple of days time you'll hear (knocking sounds) and that will be your next contact to take you to Spain by car. The knock came and I opened up the door and the man said, "I'm taking you to Spain by car. I have some of your comrades downstairs waiting for you." So I go down the street and sure I get into this little black french car and there's three other men in the car and immediately we struck up conversation. Here we had identified ourselves, we were all airmen. So the driver had been around, picked up the other three boys and me and so now there's four of us and we are so elated to think, wow, we are on our way to freedom so he took off, drove through Paris but he stopped at a roadblock outside of Paris. We have no idea why but he stopped and he got out and he went over and he talked to somebody in an official capacity, immediately six or seven military came over to the car, they opened up the car door and they physically extracted us like a sack of potatoes, threw us down to the ground, started to beat us horribly with their rifles and jack boots, we were all lying on the ground bleeding like stuck pigs, hurting badly. This great big German officer comes over to me, he's standing over me, he straddled me and he pulled out this big Luger, pointing it straight at me. "Who are you? What are you doing here?" "I'm a Canadian Airman, "Prove it!" Well, I stood up, I showed him my dog tags which he grabbed and threw away. He removed any form of identification we had. He said, "You're all spies and saboteurs and will be executed!"

En route to Spain, Mr. Carter-Edwards describes the brutal beatings he and three fellow airmen receive after being stopped at a checkpoint and accused of being spies and saboteurs.

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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