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The March Out

Heroes Remember

The guns were getting louder and louder. You were pretty sure... the Russians were going to catch us up, and... the Germans were going to move us out, but they ... didn’t have anywhere to move us, really. So we left in... the morning of January, 1945, and at that time there was about three or four inches of snow on the ground. And we had to march because there was no other transportation. So, we had to carry ... we took a Red Cross parcel with us to live on, but the march out was not very pleasant. Most of us weren’t all that well dressed. We didn’t have clothing for winter and the outdoors. One of the things that impressed me was that the German housewives, as we passed their homes, would come out with hot water which was all they had to give us so that we could make our own coffee. It seemed to me that the German women were perhaps not so terribly bad as we might have thought ‘cause they didn’t really have to do anything for us they just did it. I guess they didn’t have much of a future either. We ended up, we got a trip by train in the latter part of it, but at the end we went into an old ... navy prisoner of war camp near Bremen. And when the British forces came in to take that over, they marched us away and we wasted as much time as we could, although there was one or two people that got shot during that too. But we, I suppose walked for ... a matter of two or three weeks. One of my young friends came from South Africa, so he could... make himself understood to the German people, and we got food to eat and so on from the local people. But we wasted our time as much as ... until the British tanks caught up with us. And that, “For you, the war is over.” It’s a long time coming. Of course there was no knowing how the war was going to develop. We thought the Canadian Army took a long time to get us, but... you couldn’t be happy about the delays.

Mr. Jackson describes their forced march to Northern Germany and being rescued by British forces.

Donald Jackson

Mr. Jackson was born in Field, British Columbia on August 25, 1915. He was well educated, having completed high school and three years of university where he studied accounting. A friend convinced Mr. Jackson that he could earn a better living in the air force, so he enlisted. Unlike most Canadian pilots, his war experience started in Southeast Asia, where the Allies tried to stem the Japanese advance. Mr. Jackson was then deployed to India and flew bombing sorties into Afghanistan. He became ill, shipped back to Canada and then joined a bomber squadron, piloting a Halifax plane. On a bombing mission over Peenemunde, he was shot down, captured, and remained in a POW camp until war’s end. After returning to England, he married the nurse who had cared for him in India. Mr. Jackson remained in the RCAF after the war, taking part in the aerial mapping of Canada’s North. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and still dabbles in accounting. Mr. Jackson resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Donald Jackson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Northwest Europe
Ruhr Valley
Air Force
102 Squadron, 4 Group
Wing Commander

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