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“Shot Down!!!” Part 2 of 8

Heroes Remember

“Shot Down!!!” Part 2 of 8

We were hit, and the, the pilot said, as soon as the, the, the aircraft was on fire, he said, "I've lost control of the aircraft. Abandon aircraft, now." You know, he kept say, saying, "Abandon aircraft, now." I looked back, and my parachute, I had the parachute in the, in the cradle, and there's strap that goes over the cradle and the damn strap was broken. So, my parachute flew under the engineer's feet. So, when he said, "Abandon aircraft." I reached for my parachute and it wasn't there, and I thought, holy jeez, you know. I mean, you're desperate at that time. But I looked over under the engineer's feet and it was there, so I went over. I crawled underneath and I got his, I got the parachute. And my job was to open the front hatch. I still had my intercom on. I opened the front hatch, and I looked back and I could see the engineer just helping the pilot out, because the plane was going down, eh. And so I opened the hatch and I dove out after the hatch, and I didn't hear anything until such time as the, the chute opened. And the chute opened, and I came to then. And so I never heard anything more from them until, until later, until I got back into the underground. And I found that the, the engineer and the, the rear gunner got out, but they were drowned in the, in the water, they were drowned in the, in the Meer se Frisian (sp) and the Meer se Maas (sp) and the, another body of water. The wireless operator, the mid-upper gunner and the navigator were killed with . . . the initial salvo killed them. The pilot got out, but he was the last out, so he got out in the mainland. He, he dropped in the mainland and I dropped on the Island of Voorne. And I, luckily, I dropped on the Island of Voorne. I was given, I got two days before they even started to look for me, before they started looking, because they, they didn't know. They picked up the pilot right away, and they thought everybody was, was, was on the mainland, just out of, just near Rotterdam, whereas, I was on the Island of Voorne. So, I was very, very, fortunate.

Mr. Pochailo describes his escape from his disabled 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

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