Many Canadians were held as Prisoners of War (POWs) throughout the Second World War. Captured soldiers and downed airmen were held in camps throughout Germany, the regions Germany occupied, and the Pacific. After VE Day and VJ Day, the RCAF and RAF worked diligently to retrieve POWs and return them to England, activities known as Operation Exodus. From there, they could be shipped home.

A group of returned Prisoners of War (POWs) outside of the RCAF Overseas Headquarters, London, May 25, 1945
PL-44147 – Image courtesy of the Department of National Defence



RCAF Observer’s and Air Gunner’s Flying Logbook, Sgt. Ernest Williams, includes entries from Operation Manna and returning POWs
2016.85.1 – Gift of Mr. T. Williams




As part of the Museum from Home initiative, the Education Department at the NAFMC wrote a “twin war diary” portraying the last six months of the Second World War through the eyes of a captured RCAF officer held at Stalag Luft 3 and his wife back home in Toronto.

While the individual diary entries fall into the category of “historical fiction”, the details were meticulously researched through the use of primary sources and countless books and articles written about the experience of Canadian POWs.

For ease of reading and to maintain the chronology of various events, the two diaries have been merged into one document.

See below the gallery for a PDF download.

War Time Diaries

POW Dictionary Discussion points

Discussion points



Learn more about Operation Exodus

Listen to the experiences of Dave Fellowes, a veteran of Operation Exodus – (from the RAF Benevolent Fund)


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