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Gerald L. Simmons (S/N: O-661879)

On March 6, 1943, Gerald L. Simmons was co-pilot of a B-17 on a bombing raid over Lorient in France. The aircraft was shot by a German fighter. Gerald L. Simmons bailed out and touched ground near Saint-Jean de Trolimon in Bretagne. He was shot dead by a German sergeant while attempting to escape.


Information below comes from a report co-signed by pilot John L Ryan in Englin Field, Florida on 24 October 1945




"B17 Aircraft AAF 42-5130 of which the undersigned was the pilot, was hit by enemy flak, 6 March 1943, over Lorient, France. The airplane crashed in western Bretagne, about 10 miles from Pont L’Abbe, after the complete crew of ten men had parachuted to safety. All members of the crew other than the pilot, Major J.L. Ryan, and the co-pilot 1st Lieutenant Simmons, were made Prisoners of War by the Germans. The members included 1st Lieutenant Robert B. Herman, at present discharged from US Army, 1st Lieutenant James Laine, S/Sergeant Glen Blakemore, and S/Sergeant (first name unrecalled) Forrester, at present discharged from the US Army. The names of others of the crew could not be recalled.

1st Lieutenant Gerald L Simmons, ASN O-661879, while attempting to escape capture, shortly after parachuting to the ground, was shot five times in the back of the head by a German Sergeant, 6 March 1943, at approximately 1445. He was buried 7 March 1943 in the churchyard of the Catholic Church at St Jean-Trolimon, Finistère, France. His grave is marked by a regulation German army headstone. This information was received from Frenchmen who had witnessed both death and burial and is believed to be entirely reliable.

Photographs of the grave are at present in the possession of Major JL Ryan, which were obtained from a French boy, Noël Arhan, Loctudy, Finistère, France, who was shot by the Germans, in Paris, France, November 1944

In a recent letter to Major John L Ryan, Mademoiselle Clémence Barbarin stated that the above information on the death of Lieutenant Simmons was reported by her to an atrocities investigator of the US Army, Captain Clarence Olsen, about September 1945. Also in the letter was a report that the German Sergeant who shot Lieutenant Simmons was court martialled and sent to Russia.

With the exception of the information contained in the letter of Mademoiselle Barbarin, the information above was previously reported by Major John L Ryan to Military Intelligence, 8th AAF, and the British Army Intelligence, in London, England, 18 April 1943"





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