Veteran Stories:
Paul Demcoe

Air Force

  • Dogtag identyfing Mr. Paul Demcoe when in was in the Stalag Luft I German POW camp.

    Paul Demcoe
  • German medal.

    Paul Demcoe
  • German medal.

    Paul Demcoe
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"We went into a power spin, straight for the deck as they say. And the very last words spoken on the intercom was the pilot’s words, “Prepare to abandon aircraft”."

Transcript

We dropped our bombs and the last words I spoke on the intercom was, “Close bomb doors, Skipper,” because the handle for closing and opening the bomb doors were on the dash in front of the pilot. I had no sooner said that, then we fell out of the sky, which was really weird because when you drop your bombs you lighten your load very substantially. The total weight of the aircraft is much lighter and we should have got an added air lift. And the reverse happened. We went into a power spin, straight for the deck as they say. And the very last words spoken on the intercom was the pilot’s words, “Prepare to abandon aircraft”. So I was thrown about in the nose and got knocked unconscious. Came to and started working my way back towards the escape hatch on my knees and elbows as best I could against the g-forces of the spin of the aircraft. We were in a power spin, corkscrewing towards the ground. And I got to the escape hatch and was on my left elbow with my right on the T-bar, which was the release mechanism on the escape hatch. And there’s quick release hinges on the escape hatch, not unlike the top of the old portable typewriters. Anyway, it came off the hinges and when it got partway out, the slipstream outside jammed it and it wouldn’t come in and it wouldn’t come out and I was fighting it. And that’s the last thing I remember inside the aircraft. When I came to the next time, I was falling like a rock and as I came to, I started feeling for my parachute as it had come off the snaps that hold it on your chest and was up, unopened at the end of the harness above my head. And I found the ripcord and pulled it and in a very short time and - it’s impossible to judge exactly - it seemed a fairly short time before I became aware of shadows from below and I braced myself and I was, hit the ground and I felt warm oozing down around my face and I found that I had a big gash on my head, my right side of my forehead. So I tore up some of my parachute and wrapped it around my head and put some in my pocket, buried the rest of my harness and chute in the, one of the stooks [of grain stalks], and started to walk as best I could away from the scene of the bombing, which was to the south and east. And I had got into a cow’s pasture and I suddenly realized I had my identification and some English money and stuff in my battle dress pocket, so I buried that in a fresh pile of cow plop and washed my hands in the water trough that was nearby. There was a series of hedges, tall trees and hedges along the edge of the cow pasture and there was two anti-aircraft batteries, one to the left and one to the right facing south. And so I got to this hedge, in between these two batteries, you could hear the voices of the personnel manning the guns and the guns banging away of course. When I got through the hedge, there stood 15 or 20 German people who had summer cottages in the south of the hedge. And they were all out watching the air raid. And when I appeared out of the hedge, I was probably 40 yards from them. I turned and tried to run but of course, from not having oxygen coming down and loss of blood and shock and what have you, I couldn’t run more than a few steps at a time and I was captured very quickly. Within a hundred metres, I would say.
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