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“Shot Down!!!” Part 4 of 8

Heroes Remember

“Shot Down!!!” Part 4 of 8

So, we were there for seven months, and then after that we had to get off the island because the, the policeman who... he used to come over and we had mock drills, and he'd come over and... the policemen, of course, would, had a free hand. They, there was a curfew, but they could go out after dark because they were policemen and they were supposed to be working for the, for the, for the Germans. And he would come over, he was work, he had two masters. He was a double agent and he used to come over and he used to bang on the door. And, of course, we’d go through the drill, whether, whether it was a real thing or not, we'd go through the drill. I'd go in and I'd turn the mattress upside down and, so that the warm side would be down, get rid of the bed clothes, jump, go into the, into the shelter, and go into the, the wall and by that time, the front door would be barricaded, eh. By that time, they'd opened the front door and there was Verkerk. It was, you know, it was a drill. So then I'd come out and we'd, we'd, we'd, we'd, they'd laugh about it. But about three times, there was the real thing. It was the real thing. And one time I had to go out into the wooded area, I didn't have time to go into, into the wall and another time, I went into the wall. See, the worst of it was that you never knew. See, today looking back you think, well, it was just a year or seven months, whatever the case may be. But you never knew at that time who was gonna win, whether they were gonna win, whether the Germans were gonna vanquish or what, how they were gonna treat prisoners, how they were gonna treat the people who, who helped, how they were gonna treat the people who were being helped. So, all these things constantly went through your mind, and everyday you'd wake up with the same, same thoughts, you know. And so, it was one day at a time. These people that I stayed with had, there was plenty to do, they had 26 people that they looked after, twenty, twenty-six. They weren't all airmen, but there were 26 people that were, that were being sought by the Nazis. See, they were either confli-... either confiscated their property or they had no food, or they had committed some crime that, that, that they were being sought by the Nazis. And so they had, they had looked after 26 people in their day. He used to go out every morning in the field and into the farmers and see if he could get sugar beets or, well, anything to eat. We had prakiej everyday. And prakiej is left-over food. Everyday we ate prakiej. Served up with a ladle, eh.

Mr. Pochailo describes hideout drills and the commitment of the Dutch Underground to Allied escapees

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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