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The Escape

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: How did you manage to escape? Through a tunnel, which was under construction by the British when we came into the camp, and they allotted us a certain number of places in the fifty. Interviewer: So of the fifty men that went out that night, you were one of them? Yeah. Interviewer: How far did you get? We got about twenty miles. That was three days, because it was summer and you couldn't walk around in daylight, so it was not really very practical when I think back on it. We had high hopes but we, we didn't... Interviewer: What was the ultimate destination? If you could get out of Germany where was it that you expected to go? We were trying to go to Switzerland. That was the nearest place you see and the other place was to try to get to Holland. Interviewer: So that you could get a boat and go over to England that way? Well no, so you could...the Dutch people would've helped you, you see. And...but our destination was Switzerland. Interviewer: Did you have any disguise or any false papers? No. No. Interviewer: So if you were challenged by the authorities, you were caught. Yes. The only, the only people who succeeded were people who travelled in small numbers, who got out in small numbers, travelled in small numbers and were lucky. And didn't take too long about it. Didn't try to walk out as we did. Take a train and with luck make it all in two days or so. Interviewer: Looking back on your escape, you were apprehended... Yeah. Interviewer: Was there any punishment inflicted on you because you escaped? Yes, but it wasn't much. Wasn't much... actually what happened they moved us to a different camp.

Colonel Merritt remembers his escape from the POW camp through the underground tunnel. Sadly though, his freedom was short-lived.

Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt

Colonel Merritt’s father was killed in Ypres during the First World War. 7 or 8 of his uncles from both sides of the family also served during the First World War - three of whom were killed in action. He received his early education in Vancouver and Victoria and then went on to Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He articled with a Vancouver lawyer for three years before being called to the bar there in 1929. During this time, he joined the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada militia unit - the unit with whom he enlisted with when the Second World War was declared. Eventually, in late 1941, he was appointed Commanding Officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and served with the Regiment until the war was over. During his service he earned the Victoria Cross for his gallant efforts on Aug. 19, 1942 in the Dieppe Raid. Mr. Merritt was taken prisoner during the Dieppe Raid. Following the war Mr. Merritt returned to his law practice in Vancouver and served in the Canadian Federal Parliament from 1945 - 1949. He continued to live in Vancouver until his death on July 12, 2000.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
South Saskatchewan Regiment
Company Commander

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