"Were bombing an airfield when hit by flak in nose of
the ship. The hit knocked me out completely out and killed or badly wounded
my co-pilot. All controls out and plane was in a dive. I came to and just
managed to climb out of window above me. This must have been at about 15 000
ft. I landed in a wood 5 to 6 miles NW of Bois des Puits (Seine Inférieure)
just north of Formerie. My chute hung in a tree and I had to abandon it. I
through away my Mae vest. My leg had been pierced by flak and I couldn’t
walk. I crawled away in the wood. Had just stopped to put a tourouquet on my
leg when Germans entered wood in search of me. They fired shots. I crawled
away and found a good hiding place where I put a tornouquet on my leg. I
spotted a farmer working in a field beyond the edge of the wood. I made a
sign to him and he signalled me back in the woods. He went on working and a
few minutes later he came over to me, fixed a new tornouquet and put me in a
bitter hiding place telling me to wait.
While waiting for him, a woman came to me who could read and
write English. We exchanged messages. She was Mme Suzanne Tréville, à Petit
Ronchois, Haudricourt par Aumale (Seine Inférieure). She tended my wounded
leg and gave me food. She told me to remain in hiding and promised to return
with a Doctor. Germans were continuing their search but finally left. I
became impatient awaiting her return so with darkness, I set off SE in the
direction of Paris. I hopped painfully through fields. Took to a roadway and
passed by two German soldiers sitting on the pedestal of a statue. The
ignored me and I kept on til about 4 am in the morning, when utterly
exhausted and unable to find shelter I lay down in a field. It was so cold
and I was so wet that I could not sleep. At dawn, I spotted a farmhouse
about a mile away and crawled to it. I waited hidden behind a tree in the
yard until the farmer came out to whom I declared myself with aid of my
phrase card. (M. Dumont Arthanase, Haudricourt la Vitardiere (Seine
Inférieure)). He sheltered me in a barn, looked after my wounded leg and fed
me. The 3rd day of my stay here Germans called at the farm for food. This
frightened my host and the next day a youth in the Resistance, Robert
Levasseur, and the local FFI chief, a Major known as George, took me in a
horse-drawn wagon to George’s house in a small nearby village consisting of
2 houses on the crossroads. Here a Dr Mercier of Formerie (Oise) treated my
leg wound. I was then taken to Robert’s house at Bois des Puits, Criquiers,
par Formerie (Oise). Dr Mercier visited me every 3 to 4 days. Robert
Levasseur and his father, Earnest, were both Lieutenants in the FFI and they
were very active.
In mid august, 60 men went out to all the nearby town and
blacked out the road signs. For days, the Germans were milling about asking
direction which were refused or given falsely. At another time, plocks of
wood with huge nails driven through them were stewn on the main roads in the
path of retreating German vehicles many of which were immobilized with
resultant jam. They also cut down trees across the principal roads.
When the British arrived on the 31st August, the FFI arrested
a collaborator, a Belgian by the name of X. X when confronted, accused
Earnest Levasseur of collaborating. X had sold much food to the Germans and
had given them meals. He had 200 litres of pretrol which he had got from the
Germans. Several girls who had been intimate or even friendly with the
Germans also had their heads shaved.
When the British arrived on the 31st, they stopped me and
asked if Germans were going through. I told of horse drawn wagons which had
just passed through. They left in pursuit, 3 shermans, and caught the
Germans about a mile away. Another British unit moved in.
I met Mme Suzanne Tréville here again. She told me that she
had helped Lt Abe A Helfgoot, who had been shot down in February 1944, on
his way to Spain. On the 3rd of September, I met my Radio Operator, Fred C.
Moyer at Gaille Fontaine (Seine Inférieure) and from that point we were
evacuated through military channels.
The area in which I stayed is now occupied by English troops.
I saw some German prisonners ad their morale was very low. They said they
did not get enough sleep or enough to eat. All the Germans I saw had had
enough fighting. I saw a couple hundred Germans retreating the day the
English arrived to the village and they looked very tired. Some of them did
not have guns and their equipment was not very good. They had no trucks but
had a few horses and wagons they had taken from the French people.
The French people seemed very glad to see the English arrive
and while I was there they were doing sabotage almost every night.
There were a few pro-German families near where I stayed but
the French Patriots took care of them. They shot some of them, cut the
womens hair off and paraded them around the town, went into their homes and
took most of their belongings.
The big majority of French people are 100% with the allies I