Sergeant Douglas F. Jeffreys
Unit : 8th Parachute Battalion
Army No. : 4614577
Sergeant Jeffreys, formerly of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, flew to Normandy in a Horsa glider, but landed some 8 miles to the south of DZ-K. The following is his MI9 evasion report.
ESCAPED FROM FRANCE.
The information contained in this report to be to treated as SECRET
ACCOUNT OF ESCAPE OF 4614577 Sgt. (W.S.) JEFFREYS, D.F. 8th Bn. (MC) The Parachute Regt. 6th Airborne Division.
Date of Birth : 7 Nov 20.
Army Service : 6 years.
Peacetime Profession : Painter.
Private Address : 2 Marshall Grove, Wathon Deane, North Rotherham, Yorks.
Other members of the crew:
S/Sgt. RIDGEWAY (glider pilot) (last seen 20 Jun 44 in French house).
Sgt. FOSTER (glider co-pilot) (injured in leg. Believed German P/W).
Dvr. KNAPPETT, R.A.S.C. )
Pte. SOUTHERTON, 8th Para ) last seen 29 Jun 44 at ST. PAIR. Uninjured. Hiding in a wood.
Pte. OSBOURNE, 8th Para. )
Type of aircraft, place, date, time of departure.
Horsa Glider, BLAKE HILL FARM. 2240 hrs. 5 Jun 44.
Where and when did you come down?
N. of VIMONT, 0100 hrs, 6 Jun 44.
How did you dispose of your parachute, harness and mae west?
Were all secret papers and equipment destroyed?
Horsa glider crashes VIMONT D-day
Our Horsa glider crash landed at 0100 hrs, 6 Jun 44 2 miles N. of VIMONT. We hit in an orchard. The pilot hurt his leg and the tail of the glider was smashed. For two hours we tried to get the tail off, but failed. We tried to hammer out the sides, but finally gave up. The jeep and two motorcycles were badly tangled together. At last we contacted a French farmer, from whom we found that we had been dropped 8 miles too far S. Coming back to the glider we saw 30 Germans and a tank clustered about it, so we started off north to TROARN, six of us.
Germans search Chateau, all scatter.
At RUPIERRE we met an English speaking Frenchman who told us that there were other parachutists at JANVILLE. There we met 12 men in charge of a corporal at a Chateau. The maid of the Chateau reported that the Germans were coming, so all 9 of us hid in the swamp across the river. Sgt. FOSTER and I went on a reccy to the N. and found some German artillery between us and TROARN. A German car stopped at the Chateau grounds and a shot was heard. We scattered out and moved away, and at that time lost contact with the 12 other parachutists.
9 Jun 44, JANVILLE and meet Lt. BROWN.
S/Sgt. RIDGEWAY, Sgt. FOSTER and I went back to JANVILLE to see the English speaking Frenchman, and spent the night there. On the 7th we all moved to a ditch near JANVILLE, six of us. On the 9th we were joined by Lt. BROWN of the 9th Para Bn. and two privates. We moved up together toward the lines, and by the 14th reached ST. PAIR. The ST. PAIR - TROARN road was full of Germans and we hid in a ditch nearby for about 5 days.
Tried to get through front in vain.
On 20 Jun we made a detour around SANNERVILLE, but were fired on in an orchard. We withdrew, but could not find Sgt. FOSTER. He did not come back and we went to ST. PAIR again. We kept trying the front but could not get through. The Germans were very thick. On 29 Jun we lost Lt. BROWN, S/Sgt. RIDGEWAY and Sgt. ALLEN as we moved out of a ditch to avoid a German half track. I do not know where they went. On the 20th we hid in a barn where Lt. WINSTON came to pick us up. On 1 Jul Sgt. CLARKE of the 9th Para Bn. and two other men joined us.
Captured 2 Jul 44
We had many plans to get through the lines and on 2 Jul I went on a recce toward RUPIERRE and was captured at 2400 hrs. I was given a short interrogation and sent to ST. PIERRE SUR DIVES in a Chateau for one week. The food was bad, we were about 40. I was moved to ALENCON where there were about 400 P/Ws for two weeks. I then went to NONNANT-LE-PIN.
Truck strafed. Escapes 23 Jul 44.
On 23 Jul four of us were put in a truck with 3 Germans. We were given white handkerchiefs to wave if planes strafed us. One of our planes came over and did not fire, but the Germans hit the hedge at once. We did too and kept on going. We were about 5 miles N. of ALENCON.
12 Aug 44, joins Americans.
I went to some French and told them who I was. They hid me on a farm for about a week, where I met Cpl. BILSKY on 29 Jul. When the 5th Armoured came through NONNANT-LE-PIN on 12 Aug we joined them. We met Col. ANDERSON and gave him what information we could before being moved back further.
Jeffreys remained in the Army after the war and transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1948, where he became a Company Sergeant Major.
My thanks to Steve Alderson for this biography.
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