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Decision to Dig a Tunnel

Heroes Remember

Decision to Dig a Tunnel

Around March, the chains are on, and we're, you know, we're getting along with it, we don't give a damn as long as we're tying these troops up, and they're not on the Russian front or in Africa fighting the British. We got them here, we'll keep the bastards here, see. So, another sergeant major, commander sergeant major came around one night. He made his rounds. You were locked in, but there was no, you could go in and out of the windows because the windows had sacking and cardboard on them, no glass in all these huts, and I've told you about the bed bugs and rats. So, he came around and he told everybody after lights out, we're going to dig a tunnel, didn't say where, didn't say when, we're going to dig a tunnel in this compound and we want to tell everybody so that we don't need to talk about it. Everybody knows, so we don't have to talk about it. So this raised morale. We dug the tunnel, they got the tunnel. We got rid of the dirt. We put it on these flower beds between the, raked over and over, and over, you could draw tools from down below the German area. And there was men detailed for everything. There was men detailed as signallers and there's this and there's that. They finished the tunnel. They had electric lights down there. They had air. They had to pump air. They made a bellows out of a kit bag. They had to pump air up to the, it was 140 feet long going under two roads, a road inside the camp and a road outside the camp that tanks and German troops traveled on.

Mr. Poolton speaks about the announcement made by their sergeant major to dig a tunnel and process used to succeed.

John (Jack) Poolton

John (Jack) Abernethy Poolton was born in Toronto, Ontario on January 9, 1918. He was one of seven children. His father farmed 100 acres near Kapuskasing, Ontario. Mr. Poolton enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Canada and provides vivid, clear details of the allied landing at Dieppe, France on August 19, 1942.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John (Jack) Poolton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

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