Rachael Montegudo email@example.com |
Western Alamance High School
Oral History reportInterviewer and Transcriber: Rachael Montegudo
World War II P.O.W.
Jack Scott was a tail gunner on a B17 that flew out of England during. His job was to protect the bombers from German fighter planes. One day his plane was shot down. As the plane was going down he helped his wounded friend (a machine gunner) get out of the plane. As he rushed to get out of the plane before it crashed he forgot to pull his friends parachute. Jack said that this horrible mistake haunted him. He always regretted not pulling his friends parachute, but he realized that his friend probably would not have survived because he wouldn't have received the medical attention he needed.
He was told during training if he had to bail out that he should not open his parachute until he was 500 feet from the ground. Jack said he did not now how to gage how far 500 feet was, so he opened his chute when he got to a cloud. On his way down the Germans threw rocks at him, and he said he couldn't blame them because he had been bombing there town.
When he landed he didn't know what to do so he put his head between his knees and put his parachute over his head. The crowd was yelling at him and then all of the sudden they got quiet. He could not understand why they got quiet so quickly and his curiosity got the best of him and he looked out from under his parachute. He saw German soldiers standing around him in a circle. They had their backs to him and their guns and bayonets pointed towards the crowd. As he sat there a voice came to him and said, "don't worry it will be ok."
After that two soldiers came up and took him captive and the crowd dispersed. Jack did not know how he was going to communicate with the soldiers, but he found out they could speak fluent English. The soldiers told him that they were going to have to take him to jail. As the soldiers took him towards the jail he begged them for something to eat. The soldier told him that he had been given strict orders not to give him something to eat for 3 days because they were afraid he would regain his strength and try to escape. Jack told him that it was a foolish to think that he would ever try and escape with so many German soldiers around.
The next morning at the jail the soldier that took him captive came into his cell with a his arm under his jacket. Jack thought for a second that he had a gun and he had come to kill him. The soldier took his arm out and and handed him hard biscuit with a piece of fish in it. He told him to hurry up and eat and not to let anyone see. He stayed at that jail for four days then they put him on a truck and sent him to a distribution center.
At the distribution center they put him on a train and sent him to Stalag 4 P.O.W. camp. When he got off the train they made him run the half a mile from the train station to the camp. On the way to the camp if any of the prisoners fell behind or fell down they would send the dogs after them and stab them with a bayonet. At one point Jack got tired and was falling behind. A soldier came behind him and put a bayonet to his back and he ran very quickly to the front of the group. When he got to the camp he fell over from exhaustion. And he found out later that the reason the officers were so cruel was because commandant's wife and children had been killed in a bombing raid and he promised that he was going to kill four P.O.W.'s for everyone of his family members that was killed.
Right before the end of war they moved the P.O.W.'s to a different camp because the Russians were approaching from the east. On the way to a different camp they stopped the train and ordered all of the P.O.W's to retreat to a near by barn. The German officers ordered the men not to look out or they would be shot. Once again Jack's curiosity got the best of him and he looked out through some cracks in the barn. He saw the Americans were strafing the train and the locomotive went up in steam. The German soldiers fled leaving the P.O.W.'s in the barn. For a few days they wandered around hungry. One day they came upon a barn and stole some eggs and ate them raw because they were so hungry. The farmer came and ran them out with a pitchfork. Not long after that they were found by a British army unit heading east and rejoined with the allied forces before the end of the war.