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“Shot Down!!!” Part 1 of 8

Heroes Remember

“Shot Down!!!” Part 1 of 8

We were called in by the station CO and he said, "Tonight," he said, "it's gonna be a tough one." So, he says, "We're going to do is, well, we're going to go to the Ruhr Valley, you know." It's a, it's a, it's a, you know it's like, they open up the curtains and then you see the map, he shows you where it is and so on. And the last word he says is, "Go over there and give those bastards hell," he says, "because" he says, "we're at war." So, we could hardly wait. We got into the aircraft and, and they line up, and we, we rendezvous over The Wash, in, in the south of, in the east of England, eastern part of England. We rendezvoued over there, and then you make your way across Holland. You have to, you go across the Channel and then into Holland. And along the coast of Holland are flag, flag ships, so you have to get through those first, and then you get through those flag ships and the, the fighter . . . there were fighter bases along the way, and they had very, very powerful radar, the Germans did. So they knew when the armada was coming over, and they would send the, their co- coordinates in such a way that their, their fighters would come over and they would attack us just as soon as we got over the, the mainland. But if your gonna avoided them, that was fine, you, you avoided them. So we kept on flying, and you could see, you could see other aircraft on the side. Every once in a while, one would go up in flames or else it would go down because a fighter hit it, or it was hit by flak or something of that nature. But we, we, we, we didn't have too many mishaps, we had, we were okay until we got over the target and we dropped the bombs. And now, he was, he was heading home and we, we're flying. The, there wasn't too, there wasn't too much to do on the way back. There was some flak was flying, but there was the odd fighter came at us and burst of machine gun from the rear gunner, or the mid- upper gunner, the, the, that would scare them off, you know, until we got to the coast. And I said to the navigator, I went down from my guns from in the nose, I went down and I said to him, "How far, what's the ETA, estimated time of arrival, to the coast?" And he said, "Two minutes, navigator. Two minutes, bombardier." And at that minute we got hit by two cannon shots. And that was the last word he spoke, because he and, and the wireless operator and the mid-upper gunner were all killed. They were killed in the plane. And the <inaudible> and then the rear gunner said, "The whole right side of the plane is on fire." And we were hit by a Messerschmitt 110, who came up . . . see, we didn't have a belly turret and they came up underneath, and he just get past us, get in, into the nose, and then the, the, the, the gunner, the shooter would have his guns, and they had what they called schräge musik technique, and he had his guns pointing back and he would just fire the gun, and he fired two cannon shots. One would hit the mid part of the aircraft and the other one would hit the two starboard motors. And he'd peel off to the right. That was the technique that they used. In this particular case, it was the last, we were the last, the fifth plane that he had shot down that day, and he was, he tired, or, or his plane wasn't working properly, I still have the the transcript from the guy's log. And he ca-, he, he banked off to the right and he banked right past the starboard . . . I could see the whole aircraft in front of me. If I had been sitting at the, at my guns I could've knocked him down just as easily as, as pie, but I wasn't at my guns at the time. I was down below, and so he, so they flew back and that was the end of it. But I have, have the whole, the description of the whole thing and, out of his log. A guy sent it to me. As a matter of fact, I know who shot me down. I have his picture and, and, and the wireless operator, also.

Mr. Pochailo begins his saga describing an aerial attack on his bomber

Philip Pochailo

Philip Pochailo was born in Rainy River, Ontario, on November 19, 1920. After finishing his education, he worked several years in lumber camps, and finally enlisted in the RCAF in 1942. He went overseas in 1943. After advanced training as a bomb aimer in Great Britain, he was assigned to a British crew in No.1 Bomber Command in April 1944. His aircraft was shot down over the Netherlands and only he and the aircraft's pilot survived. Mr. Pochailo evaded capture and joined the Dutch Resistance Movement where he lived and worked for the next 12 months. He was liberated by Canadian troops in Rotterdam in 1945. Mr. Pochailo returned to Canada after the war and now resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Philip Pochailo
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
#1 Bomber Command
AC2 / Flying Officer
Bomb Aimer

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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