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"Don't Give Up Hope!"

A Flight Lieutenant from Toronto holding the D.F.C., D.F.M., with a record of fifteen German planes shot down, is one of Canada's leading fighter pilots. He was shot down over France in November 1942, was a prisoner of war, and knows first-hand of what he writes.

"My message to parents or other relatives of Canadian Airmen who may be reported missing is, 'Don't give up hope!' I have talked to many of the boys who have come back and they invariably said that their greatest let-down came when they found that someone had given up hope for them.

In my own case, it was ten weeks after I had been shot down that my parents in Toronto learned that I was safe.

Of a lot of the boys in the R.C.A.F., planes which are damaged beyond control, some will be prisoners of war, others will still be free but in enemy territory, and they will be a long time turning up. Still others may have had to come down in the Channel on the way home; they'll be sitting out there in their dinghies waiting to be picked up.

Perhaps too, some of the boys, being injured, will be taken to German hospitals and looked after, just as I was, and I can certainly say there is nothing to worry about there. They gave me first-class attention.

When you are well enough, you are taken to an Interrogation Centre which has a smaller hospital connected with it. Following the interrogation period you are taken to a British-run hospital which the Red Cross keeps well supplied with all the necessary equipment.

The treatment in all these hospitals is very good, but the main worry of the boys is the people back home. You keep wondering how long it will be before they learn you are okay. You know they will be informed, but it is a question of how long.

The prison camps are usually divided into four sections, each with a compound. We saw very little of the Jerries once we were in the camp. They would come in once or twice a day to count us, but otherwise we were left pretty well to ourselves.

In my own experience, I sometimes met whole bomber crews who had bailed out together, or crash landed. In other words, a plane reported missing doesn't necessarily mean the boys in it are permanently lost. Often times we have quite a reunion in the prison camps, and it is a strange feeling to meet up with pals who had been given up for lost, or others whom we didn't know had been shot down.

There have certainly been some miraculous escapes, so it is up to the folks at home to keep up their hopes. Lots of those boys will be back to fight again. Don't give up hope!"

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