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They made like they were going to shoot us

Heroes Remember

They made like they were going to shoot us

Conditions in Germany were, at that time, were chaotic because you had the people coming in now from the, from the west. There were constant air attacks going on, as our forces were attacking the, the German forces and now we were being marched back into Germany again, further, deeper in to Germany, to be held as hostages. At any rate, on the first day of this march, together with two other chaps, during . . . we'd been marching all day, from about eight in the morning, (inaudible) mid afternoon, late afternoon. And we'd been halted alongside fields and so on. So that people could relieve themselves and so on. Together with two other chaps, we escaped from the march and the march carried on. So it wasn't like 'the great escape' with a tunnel. What we did in fact was, we'd found there was a trench, that had been used to store, the previous autumn I suppose, store potatoes, kind of a potato clamp. And there was a lot of loose earth and, there. And we dug ourselves in. And the march, marched away from us, leaving us there. So we were now on the loose. And I guess it started about the most bizarre, 14 days of my life because we were recaptured again twice. We were let go once. And on the other occasion, we were abandoned, because we had been recaptured, in fact, by a group of what were Hitler youth and what they called Volkstrum, like the British home guard. And we had been recaptured and handed over at a little town called Amelinghausen and handed over to the authorities there, who first of all lined us up against the wall and made like they were going to shoot us, which they didn't. But they handed us over to a anti-aircraft battery, that was run by a Luftwaffe, pilot actually, who he'd lost an arm in, in Russia. And while we were there, they were several attacks on the local community by RAF rocket firing Typhoons. And the guns on the battery that we were on, were firing against them. And we were there, standing there with him, you know while this was going on. But then they, after the second night, when we got up the second day, we found that the guns had all moved out and they'd left us. So we were loose, on the loose again. And as I say it was a bizarre period of life for me. And then, there was a British scout car came through. And we kind of made ourselves known to him, you know, waving, pointing to our RAF type. We didn't have very good uniforms on, but it was still blue. And he stopped and put us in touch with, by radio, but he put us in touch with some other advancing British people, who then the following day, came and gathered us up and gave us food and so on. And we felt that we're, you know, that we're, we're now back on our own side.

Mr. Yeomans describes his escape from a POW forced march.

John Yeomans

Mr. Yeomans was born in Manchester, England. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was an apprentice electrical engineer. Too young to enlist, he was still involved as a firewatcher during the German air raids on his city, during which time he witnessed heavy destruction and numerous deaths. In 1941, Mr. Yeomans volunteered for the RAF, and went to South Africa, where he took Navigator training. His combat activity saw him take part in the bombing campaign against Berlin. Mr. Yeomans was the lone survivor when his Lancaster bomber was shot down and after spending a year in several different POW camps, he escaped and finally returned to England. After the war, he spent time in the RAF before moving to Canada as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Yeomans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Germany, The Berlin Series
Air Force
156 Pathfinder Squadron
Wing Commander

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