Flying Officer George Murray Cairns

 

Unit : 196 Squadron, 38 Group

Service No. : J.27280

 

Flying Officer Cairns was shot down on the 20th September 1944. The following is his M.I.9 evasion report:

 

Date of Birth : 8 Jul 12.

R.A.F. Service : Since 25 May 42.

Peacetime Profession : Assistant Manager.

Private Address : 150 Nettawasage St., Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

 

Other members of the crew:

F/O McOMIE (pilot)                              )

F/O J.L. PATERSON (navigator)          ) safe in England.

F/O G.F. FALHURT (rear gunner)       )

F/Sgt BROOKS, R. (wireless operator)  )

Sgt CLOUGH, D. (flight engineer) (fate unknown)

Two Army personnel (names unknown) (fate unknown)

 

We left Keevil on 20 Sep 44 in a Stirling aircraft to drop supplies on Arnhem, but were shot down by Flak before reaching our zone. We jettisoned our supplies and crash-landed South-west of Elst (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 2a, E 77). Immediately on landing some Dutch peasants surrounded us, told us that there were Germans all round, and that we should go North with a view to crossing the river and joining up with the airborne troops in Arnhem. A member of the underground led us to a small wood, where we stayed overnight. In the morning (21 Sep) the man returned, bringing with him the crew of another Stirling that had been shot down, together with a reporter from the "Daily Telegraph". He also told us that it was impossible to get across the river, and advised us to stay where we were.

 

We stayed there all day, and the next morning (22 Sep) a priest told us that there were some British troops on a road close by. We went out to the road, and met a British recce convoy, but they were pushing forward and advised us to wait for the British troops that were expected in two hours. They informed the British headquarters by radio where we were. The troops did not come, so we went back into hiding and made contact with a farmer, who fed us and promised to keep us informed.

 

The following day (23 Sep) the farmer told us that the British troops were in Valburg (E 66), so we walked back and reported to their headquarters. From there we hitch-hiked to Brussels, arriving on 25 Sep.

 

I was in hospital in Brussels until 4 Oct, when I was flown to England.

 

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