Flying Officer John Douglas Le Bouvier

 

Unit : 190 Squadron, 38 Group

Service No. : 139593

 

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

 

Date of Birth : 25 Jul 22.

R.A.F. Service : Since 15 Oct 41.

Peacetime Profession : Engineering Student.

Private Address : 17A Seymour Mews, Portman Sq. W.1.

 

Other members of the crew:

F/O OLIVERT (navigator) (baled out and safe)

F/Sgt MARTIN (bomb aimer)                 )

F/Sgt SANDERS (wireless operator)      )

Sgt RYAN (engineer)                               ) Baled out. No information.

F/Sgt KERSHAW                                    )

2 Army Despatchers                               )

Mr. Townshend (Daily Telegraph Correspondent) (baled out and safe).

 

We took off from Fairford in a Stirling aircraft at about 1510 hrs, 20 Sep 44. We were scheduled to drop supplies to the First Airborne Division at Arnhem (N.W. Europe 1:250,000, Sheet 2a and 3a, E 77), but about 1530 hrs we were hit by flak near Oosterbeek (E 67). We were then flying at about 900 ft and were hit in the port wing. I came in, dropped the supplies and then climbed. At about 2000 ft the crew baled out. After they had gone I got out and landed a few miles north-east of Elst (E 7171). I was immediately picked up by Dutch peasants, given an overall and hidden in a ditch. At about 2100 hrs a Dutchman came back and took me to a farm on the northern outskirts of Elst on the main Elst - Arnhem road. There I met a member of the First Airborne Division, Private Stephen Danby, who had reached Elst the day before from Arnhem. We were given civilian clothes and hidden in the farm. The Germans were concentrating in the area and there was a sort of advanced H.Q. the other side of the road.

 

On 22 Sep the farm came under fire from the British artillery and that night the family decided to evacuate and advised us to do the same, preferably in the opposite direction. On 23 Sep we were all ready to go, when at 0715 hrs a German platoon turned up at the farm. We managed to get away through a cellar corridor in the back of the farm and headed roughly due west in an attempt to reach the bridgehead west of Nijmegen (E 76).

 

At about 1130 hrs we met an advanced platoon of the Worcesters on reconnaissance. We were sent to H.Q. and I was able to tell them the position of the German concentrations near Elst which they immediately attacked by artillery. At the H.Q. I was told that the following members of my crew were reported to be safe further to the north: F/Sgt Sanders, the 2 Army Despatchers and Mr. Townshend. We were then sent to Nijmegen, where I left Pte. Danby. I then continued to Eindhoven (Sheet 3, E 41) where I spent the night. On 24 Sep I flew to Brussels and from there to U.K.

 

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