|Wayne Pavey, who went to Feller in 57-58, grade 6 & 7,
tells me of an incident when Michel Lacombe showed him where the prisoner's
tunnel from under the chapel stage came out in a field. The exit
was covered with concrete.
I asked Michel what he remembered about this tunnel. We all had heard about a mythical tunnel which began under the chapel stage and went out to the woods. Was this true or just a myth?
|Michel Lacombe responded:
Wayne Pavey has a great memory if he remembers me showing him the tunnel under the dias in the chapel. I don't know much about it other than the exit was somewhere between the RCMP tower and ST.Blaise. I found it during one summer while exploring for something to do. I do vividly remember on one of the many occasions that I opened the trap door in the chapel that I was greeted by a very healthy looking rat roughly the size of a cat. Needless to say, I was anxious shut the door between us. I never did go all the way through to the other end mainly for that reason so I'm not sure exactly where it ended. Colour me chicken.
You might have already heard that the earth which the prisoners of war extracted from the tunnel was hidden under the floor boards of the rooms of the 2nd and 3rd floors of the boys wing. I remember my Dad spending many hours during the summers re-plastering the ceilings of the floors below because they were caving in from the weight of the dirt. I believe Albert St.James was mentioning that there were three tunnels altogether, but I recall only finding one. But to answer your question, this was not a myth.
One summer, I also found what I would describe as an underground hut in the field about half way going towards the sandpit. Remember the farm road between the barns and the three trees at the end of the road before entering the woods? Well, this dugout was in the field off to the right of the road in the middle of a group of trees in the field. I don't remember what I was looking for but I noticed some logs lined up side by side under my feet. I lifted a few logs to find an open space underneath high enough for me to stand up in (which would not be very high anyway). It was like the inside of a log cabin minus the fireplace. The floor and four walls were covered with logs and it was very well done. Was it made by the Germans? Possibly. Was there a tunnel behind one of the walls or under the floor? Possibly. One day I will go back and try to re-locate it and find out. What is interesting though, is that I only shared this hide out with one other person and that was Albert Parsons who was before your time. He was my first roomate in grade one and we are still in touch today.
|I wonder if Wayne remembers roughly in which direction this exit
is, i.e. in the direction of St.Blaise or in the direction of the woods?
Speaking of the Germans, one of the tragedies of this history is that there were several beautiful murals painted by them on a few of the walls which were subsquently covered over by wall paint. For example, there was one in the classroom above the kitchen, room 101 I think. The scene was one of a military battle in an open field. Excellent work which no one appreciated at the time and was destroyed long before the fire. If only we could find and chat with some of the Officers who were there at the time, it would make for a great human interest story. Or even a Canadian soldier who would have been
a guard there at the time. Next time you're looking for something to do, let me know and we'll start searching.
Return to Memories Index.