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“Shot Down!!!” Part 7 of 8

Heroes Remember

“Shot Down!!!” Part 7 of 8

Well I went, from this family in Rotterdam... the, the underground ordered me back to, to Oostvoorne, where the, where I stayed the first seven months. And I went back there, and then from there we, we got car, but there was no, no gasoline. So Frans said, if I've got, I can get enough gasoline, I can get a gallon of gasoline to take us to Rotterdam, but once we get to Rotterdam , maybe we can run into the Canadian Army and you could intercede for me, and we could get some gasoline. And I said, "Well, let's try it." So, we got in the car and it, it was the most wonderful ride I’ve ever... I've never, never been on... it's about 20 miles from Oostvoorne to Rotterdam and the people stood along the way with garlands and, and, and roses and flowers and, and the bridge that I had crossed before, that I had difficulty crossing before, I came to and there was a, a fellow with an orange band on his shoulder, and he said, "Stop! What is your business?" And we stopped the car, and Frans flashed his thing and he said, "This is an RCAF officer, we're going to The Hague on official business." The guy just bolted straight up and he saluted, you know, and he said, "Go through!" We went through, and we got to Rotterdam and there were no cars at all, no, no cars whatsoever. But the people were just . . . there were thousands and thousands of people they were on the street. And we were running out of gas, there was just no gas left. And so I said, "Well, turn this corner." We went around the corner and there was the Canadian Army, you know, there were, there were the Canadian flags and <inaudible>. And I went in and I had . . . They were from the intelligence corps. I went inside and I said... and, and he looked up and he, he, of course, he didn't know, I was in civilian clothes, and he said, "Well, what do you want?" And then, then I spoke to him and then, of course, he knew I was Canadian right away. And I told him my story and there was a, a Toronto Star reporter there and he said, "I'll let your family know that . . ." he says, "I wish I could get your story but I, I haven't got time. I've got another assignment." So after they'd finished, I'd told them this, my story, he said, "My God," he said, "that's, thats, that's amazing. What can I do for ya?" he said. And I said, "Gasoline! We need gasoline. We can't, we can't go any..." He said, "Don't worry." He says, "What's your name and your rank?" He put my name and my rank and he says, "This is so and so. He can go to any petrol dump in Holland and you, you're to supply him with all the gasoline that he needs for his car. He's travelling with his, his Dutch friends who've harboured him for a year. They deserve, they deserve the best." And so I, I took this thing, and then they filled the car with gasoline and they, they got these jerry tanks and they put them in the trunk, they said... so we could go back, that was for everyday. So, for the next ten days I was in Holland, watching the liberation. And it was just unbelievable, you know. The people, after five years, after five years, they just let go and they were unbelievably happy, they were hysterical. And not only that, but they were out also to punish those who had collaborated, and they took, they took the, the, some of the girls... I remember the, the girls leaning out of the, out of the windows, and they would take the girls, they'd throw them up in a blanket. But first they'd shave their heads off. Then they'd sort them, those girls that collaborated with, with the German soldiers. They'd throw them up in the air, and in a blanket, and, and shave all their hair off, and then let them out And they'd, the, the, these girls would go up, put kerchiefs on their heads, lean out the window and watch the others being humiliated. So, it was... but after ten days, a Dakota came and picked us, picked me up and brought me back to England.

Mr. Pochailo gives his impressions of, and the general mood following, the Liberation of Holland

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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