Driver George Stanley Poole

 

Unit : 253 Company, RASC, 49 Air Despatch Group

Army No. : 14385769

 

Driver Poole was an air despatcher aboard Stirling LJ-923 of 190 Squadron, which was hit by flak whilst dropping supplies to the 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek on Thursday 21st September 1944, and was subsequently shot down by three enemy fighters near Haren. Driver Poole and fellow despatcher Corporal Woodley managed to bale out as did one of the aircrew, but the remainder stayed with the aircraft as the pilot, Flying Officer Farren, attempted a forced landing. Warrant Officer Leslie Billen (passenger), Flight Sergeant William Cairns (Air Bomber) and Flight Sergeant William Skewes (Wireless Operator) were killed; Flying Officer Farren (Pilot), Flight Sergeant Ross (Navigator), Flight Sergeant Brown (Air Gunner) and Flight Sergeant Stone (Flight Engineer) survived, though all except Ross were injured and taken to hospital. Poole managed to return to the Allied lines, as is described in his M.I.9 report:

 

Left : Brussels, 29 Sep 44.

Arrived : U.K., 29 Sep 44.

 

Date of Birth : 25 Apr 10.

Army Service : Since 17 Dec 42.

Peacetime Profession : Plasterer.

Private Address : Glenside, Birehall, Llangollen, N.Wales.

 

On 20 Sep [Note: Should read 21 Sep] about 1230 hrs I left from Fairford in a Stirling aircraft with supplies for the 1st Airborne Division. With me was Cpl. S. Woodley. On the way in we did not meet with any Flak and dropped our supplies successfully, but on the way back we were attacked by a fighter and our aircraft went up in flames from end to end. Only one of the R.A.F. crew was able to bale out. I have not seen him again. Cpl. Woodley was injured. I got him out of the aircraft and then jumped myself about 1500 hrs.

 

I landed about eight kms S.E. of Arnhem (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 2a, E 77). I walked around for about an hour looking for Cpl. Woodley, but could not find him. He had been picked up by local people and taken to a cottage, where I found him later.

 

Woodley and I were taken after about two hours to the river Waal, where a boy with a boat took us across about 1700 hrs.

 

Two civilians helped me to take Woodley to a nearby village, the name of which is unknown to me, about four kms outside Arnhem. Here we went to a house, the owner of which got in touch with the advance Headquarters of a British Armoured Division (Life Guards) which was about eight kms away. About 1800 hrs a Lieutenant of the R.A.M.C. arrived in an armoured car and took us back to a place between Arnhem and Nijmegen (E 76). We were sent back to the casualty clearing station in Nijmegen on the same day, and Woodley was put into a hospital there.

 

On 21 Sep, I was sent to the Airborne Division Headquarters in Nijmegen, where I stayed until 27 Sep. I was then moved to Brussels.

 

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