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15 October 2014
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AIRMAN CHARLES MARSHALL BECOMES POW

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > World > Germany

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
Article ID: 
A6505012
Contributed on: 
29 October 2005

"This story was submitted to the People's War site by Caroline Toms, CSV Journalists' Network and has been added to the website on behalf of Charles Marshall with his permission and they fully understand the site's terms and conditions".

Part two: capture

After I had parachuted down from the burning Lancaster I looked for somewhere to hide the night out before looking for my escape route. I was wearing a type of flying boot known as escape boots: you could cut off the tops and I now looked as if I had shoes on.

I wandered through these trees and I came to a road out in the country. I heard a noise of a motor bike in the distance, so I hid in a ditch. It turned out to be a policeman. Not long after that a siren sounded the all clear, just like in London. I was walking along and a group of people were on the road. When they got level-this was about 2am-they said, "Morgen" and I said, "Morgen" back, but nobody took any notice. I was walking for about half an hour before I came to a road junction, there were hundreds of people gathered there. I thought, I can’t go there, so I wandered off to the right and found some woods and tucked myself under some brambles, then went to sleep.

When I awoke, I found I wasn’t in a wooded area at all: I was near the bottom of a garden! An old fellow was chopping wood; chickens were running around, only about 50 yards away from the road I had left. It was a Saturday and I thought that kids would be playing, so I might be discovered anyway. I saw an old lady pushing a pram; I thought she can’t do me much harm, so I made my way towards the road. When I got there, a man in a navy blue uniform pushing a bike up the hill smiled at me and said, "Heil Hitler". I said, in English, "**** Hitler". He was amazed that I was English. He asked me for my pistol, by gesturing and saying "Pistol!" While he was asking, a young boy came by on a bicycle and said, "Ah, Tommy". He went and knocked up all the doors in the village while I was being held onto by the man-I think he was a postman-all the mums came out with their children to look at the Englishman. They got around me in a circle; about 50 people were looking at me. There was a little old man and he gestured that I had been in a plane. A soldier in the background took this fellow aside because he was becoming aggressive.

"Postie" with the bike said, "come" and we went down the hill to a pub. I was taken to the bar and sitting in the corner with his parachute on the table was my crewmate, the bomb aimer: Norman Wulff RAAF from New South Wales. He had come down in the village I had walked to.

Shortly afterwards a little fellow came into the pub with a swastika arm band and started questioning us in very good English, but we said we couldn’t understand. He pulled out a revolver: we said, "we still can’t understand!"

Meanwhile, fortunately the Luftwaffe sent a van and we were taken to an aerodrome. They took us into the guardroom and the officer said: "Have a cigarette." I said I didn’t smoke. He said: "Have some chocolate, I took it off some Americans yesterday."

He then said: "I am not going to question you, just ask you your name, rank and number." Norman Wulff and I were put in a room with some Americans who had been shot down the day before. After a long time, we had some potatoes and some soup. It was not until the evening that some transport came to take us away. We were taken by coach to Celle railway station and then via Kassel to Frankfurt on Main. We were all in Frankfurt for interrogation by Sunday afternoon.

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