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Hiding the Compass

Heroes Remember

They phoned the Gestapo, the Gestapo came up and he said to me, he came up with his face almost touching mine, you know, “Who are you, French?” And I said, “Nein, Englander.” I answered in German. When I said Englander, they all pulled their pistols at the same time, he put his pistol right on the end of my nose and I could see that the barrel was rusty of his pistol. This stuff was all comical to me. And.. anyway, the compass, see I had the compass in this side pocket. When they gave you a compass, you swore, you don't reveal where it came from, except maybe your life, you know, if it meant your life, but other than that, you don't take an oath on a bible or anything, It's inwardly. It's done inwardly. That oath you know it's there. When he hands you the compass, “Poolton, you don't know where you go it.” So I had to get rid of the compass. So I'm standing there, then I took my belt and braces off and I'm holding my pants up by hand. And he wanted my tunic, the Gestapo was in charge. He was the head guy. The other one was the German police and the German sergeant. So I slipped the tunic off trying to keep, you know, holding my pants up and as I put the tunic around in front of me, I slipped my right hand into that pocket. I'll show you the pocket on the tunic and grabbed the little compass, came out and changed hands and handed him the tunic. This is done, he's as close to me as you. And he searched it and then I've got the compass in my hand. He handed me the tunic back and I put it back on and I still got the little compass, it wasn't as big as that, I couldn't have done it with that, about the size of a beer cap. So they led me over, he wanted to know how many comrades I had and I said one, “1 Comradin” and he went over and he seen the tracks where there was the three guys went through the wheat field. And I'm standing there and he hit me on the nose with his fist, called me an English swine and I seen stars and blood flew over, you do see stars. Ya, I seen stars, three or four different colors. And he hit me, he had a fist like a horse's hoof. And I'm still holding my pants up, but I dropped the compass and put my foot on it like that right in front of all these people.

Mr. Poolton hides the compass while being interrogated by the German Gestapo.

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 Canadian Regiment

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