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Depths of Desperation

Heroes Remember

Depths of Desperation

But the Germans played with human bodies. They would order people into the death zone that surrounded Buchenwald. There was a huge, all around the outer perimeter there was a huge electric fence. It was electrified and people would throw themselves into this fence. They would literally run in to it to terminate their life because they couldn't take it anymore because they saw, there was no possibility to escape out of Buchenwald and everyday was another day of agony, of torture, of witnessing people dying all around you and so people gave up. And we would have given up too except that we were 168 allied airmen and mind you, once I got in the infirmary, I lost contact with all the boys but the rest of them would stay together and try to keep the morale up. They would try to bolster somebody who is starting to fade, don't give up, and so it was a good thing because it brought you out of the depths of desperation because there was no way you could see of ever getting out of there alive. You were surrounded by death. You were surrounded by the smell of death. You were witnessing death every second of the day or night while you were in Buchenwald. They played with your life like you play with a toy. They had no respect for human life at all. You were less than an animal.

Surrounded by death, Mr. Carter-Edwards speaks about the feelings and belief he had of never getting out of Buchenwald alive.

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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