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“Shot Down!!!” Part 3 of 8

Heroes Remember

“Shot Down!!!” Part 3 of 8

Well the chute opened and I came down in a midst of a herd of Holstein cows and they scattered in all directions, you know. God, they were, like, you know . . . this big white thing came down on them, and so the cows scattered in all directions. And of course we have an escape kit eh, with German money and Dutch money and Belgian money, and there's chocolate and a, and a pencil and a pen, and all kinds of stuff for, you know... because we were told to escape, or try to escape. I had my escape kit and then the first thing you do is you take your epaulets off and you take your, your brevets off and you take, you have a knife in your boot, you take the knife out and you cut the, the oxfords off, and you take all that stuff and you, all you leave on is your, your flying suit. You take your helmet and everything and put it into a, you find a hole or a swamp or something, I found a swamp. I, I pushed everything in and I got a long pole, I pushed it down in the water. And then I started to walk... and I left it there because I thought they would be looking for me, searching for me. So I left the area and it was about 3:30 in the morning and I waited until daylight, then I saw a farm in the distance and I went over to see the farmer. I thought, I'll go in there and, and see if somebody's awake. So I went in the house, went into the barn first and there was a farmer milking a cow. And I thought, jeez, I felt very lucky, actually, there was nobody else around, he was milking a cow. So I came up and I said, I tried to tell him who I was, and he knew right away. And he said "No, no, no, no." And I reached in... so all I wanted then was directions, eh. I wanted to know where I was and which way I was going and which way I should, should be going and so on. So I reached in to get my, my, my escape kit and he thought I was going for a gun and of course he panicked eh. And he said "No, no, no, no, no!" And I said, "No, no, no." I just pulled my escape kit out and put the map on the floor. And then, "Could you just tell me where I am?" And he said, "Don't go that way," he said "that's the town of Brielle," he said "there's a garrison there, Deutsch garrison" He said go the other way. And I came to this farmhouse and I rapped, banged on the door and a young man came out, a young fellow about 30, 30 years of age. And I tried to tell him who I was, but he just slammed the door in my face, you know. And I thought, uh oh, he's not going to help me either. And I was just about to walk away when the door opened, and a little old lady came out, she, "Come on in." So I came in and she sat me down... it was a very austere farmhouse, you know, just a table and six chairs. I came inside and she put me down at the table and she gave me bread, milk and all this time there's an animated conversation going on between the, the, as it turns out, the mother and two sons. And she said she, she wanted to get, to keep me and, and, and contact the underground, they wanted to turn me in. And, but she won, fortunately for me she won. And so she said to them, to hell with you, you take him and put him in the hayloft, she said. He's had bread and milk now put him in the hayloft, cover him up with hay and I'm going to do something. And so she did, she had contacted the underground. And a young man came over, he was a blonde fellow, tousled hair and he came over and he started interrogated me, and he grilled the hell out of me, you know. He, he grilled... he, he peeled back the hay and he interrogated me and he kept asking me about my squadron, well of course I wouldn't tell him anything, like, just my rank, my number and, and... but we were told to do that eh. Eventually he said "Don’t worry," he said, "I know you're an RCF flyer," he said, he says, "I know you're not a German." Because that's what they used to do, they used to plant a German in the stack, and then, and then, and then, in order to attract the underground. The underground would come and they would catch 'em, take 'em away and do away with 'em. So, but he was authentic, and he said, "Don't worry, go back in there, in the hay," and he says, "I will go back and I will arrange for you to, for somebody to come and pick you up." Which he did. And he was gone for about four hours and Jesus, I waited . . . It seemed like an eternity to me. He came back. He didn't come . . . and he said, " You're not to speak to the people who helped you." He says, 'When the guy comes, you walk down this road for about a mile, about a kilometre." he said, and he says, "When you get to the end, he says, "you'll see a man there with, leaning on a bicycle., he'll have a beard." And he says, "He won't talk to you but he'll look in the direction of the trees." He says, "You go in there and <inaudible>," he says, "There'll be a bicycle there and a shovel." And he says, "Then he'll get on his bicycle and he'll go.He says, "You get on that bicycle, take, put the shovel on your shoulder and follow him." And that's exactly what I did, you know I followed him and that was, it was Frans Brall and I never talked to him all until we got to his home in Oostvoorne, except for a dog (inaudible) and got In one case, a dog came after me aI fell down, so he tried to pick me up. I, I couldn't speak, couldn't say anything. So, I just got back on my bike and pedalled furiously and caught up to him. But, eventually, he brought me home and then he asked his wife, he said, "Can we keep him?" And his wife said, "Well, if my son had been shot down, I wish some woman somewhere in the world would've him in, so he can stay."

Mr. Pochailo tells of safely parachuting into Holland. He contacts and is accepted into the Dutch underground.

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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