To begin, let me say that all members of Pop's crew knew we were most fortunate to have Geoffrey Porter as our Skipper. He was a highly skilled and experienced pilot, as well as having the best of leadership qualities as an RAF Officer and Captain of our Halifax aircraft.
Our Skipper gave the order to bail out. I followed Don Hall, our bombaimer, out the front hatch and Ken Wilman, our rear gunner, went out from his position at the same time. I could see his parachute in the moonlight and we were able to get together soon after coming down in a Dutch farm field. Ken and I were to evade capture for the next ten days, during which time we made night calls on farm houses for food and water. There was no question on whose side these Dutch people were on, but the penalty for helping escaped prisoners was very severe so we kept our visits short. Ken, being from Rhodesia spoke some Afrikaans which was similar to Dutch, and this helped us communicate. However, the Dutch Underground was not too well organized at this stage of the war, so we did not come upon any help of this type.
In the end, while taking cover in a farm shed, our presence was detected by a dog and before we could move we found ourselves looking into revolvers held by the local police, and had to surrender. We were taken first to a large German airbase near Eindhoven, where we met a German pilot who said he had shot our aircraft down. After interogation by Gestapo in an Amsterdam prison and at a Luftwaffe transit camp near Frankfurt, we were taken across Germany in a railway boxcar to a large POW camp near Breslau (now part of Poland). I might mention here that prisoners taken during the Dieppe raid were also brought to this camp soon after my arrival. I was at this camp, known as Stalag 8B, Lamsdorf, from August '42 until September '43. Then, in company with two other airforce chaps, one of which was Frank Linklater from my old crew, I did what was called a swop-over, or exchange of identity, with a British Army chap who had been taken prisoner at Dunkirk in 1940 and who was scheduled to be taken out of the camp on a working party to a place that we later found was called Auschwitz.
Many years later, at the time of the Gulf War, I finally decided to record the story of "My Remembrance", telling of the balance of the time I spent as a Kriegsgefangene, and in particular of Franz Irving who was one of the many prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp.