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Taken Prisoner by the Gestapo

Heroes Remember

Taken Prisoner by the Gestapo

The 15th of August, 1944 a lot of commotion was taking place. We could also hear a lot of bombing going on outside and then we could hear rumours that the allies were getting close. Anyway, the Germans came into our cell, yelled at us to get out and we go on out into the courtyard. Now, it's the first time we had been in front of anybody else. Milling along this courtyard is where we learned there was was nearly two thousand French people. But we also heard other people speaking English. How come you speak English? "Well, I'm an American, I'm a British, I'm a Canadian." It was there we found out there was 168 allied airmen in that prison. They had been all pretty well betrayed by the same collaborator who was a Belgian collaborator, his name was Jacques Desabrais, and we thought this is an awful situation. Nobody knows where we are. We are in the hands of the most vicous, the most cruel, the most sadistic people in the whole world, how are we ever going to survive this? But, I had my, not my very first emotional trauma but milling around this group of people was a young French couple that had taken me to Paris. These people were in this crowd in this hub of humanity and I couldn't get close to them, but I saw them and they saw me and as soon as our eyes met, I cried. I cried because I thought these people had risked their lives for me - a stranger who had fallen in their life and I didn't know at that time time but later on I could see where they may have lost their lives because of me. But our eyes met and I tried to tell them through the eye contact how sorry I was about what happened but I tried to thank them for the risks they took to try and save me.

Mr. Carter-Edwards speaks about the emotional trauma experienced after spotting the young couple in Fresnes Camp that had risked their lives for him.

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

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