Warrant Officer William Alan Rudsdale


Unit : 299 Squadron, 38 Group

Service No. : J.27280


Warrant Officer Rudsdale was shot down on the 19th September 1944. The following is his M.I.9 evasion report:


Date of Birth : 15 Nov 20.

R.A.F. Service : Since 8 Aug 40.

Post in crew : Wireless operator.

Peacetime Profession : Clerk.

Private Address : 9 Smeaton Street, North Ormsby, Middlesborough.


Other members of the crew:

F/O LEGINS (pilot)                           ) In Wroughton Hospital

F/Sgt CROWTHER (bomb aimer)     ) 

F/Sgt HUMPHREY (navigator) (Last heard of in Nijmegen)

Sgt SIMPSON (rear gunner) (Interrogated by I.S.9(W.E.A.))

Sgt GASKIN (flight engineer) (S/P.G.(-) 2652)

Two Army Despatchers (Last seen in Driel, Holland)


On 19 Sep 44 at about 1300 hours we left Keevil airport in a Stirling Mk.IV aircraft with supplies for Arnhem (Holland). After we had dropped our supplies, we were hit by heavy Flak and the machine burst into flames. We were flying at about 500 feet and therefore unable to bale out. The pilot intended to crash-land the aircraft. We came down on the bank of the Lower Rhine at about 1600 hours 1 kms W.N.W. of Driel (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 2a and 3a, E 67).


The aircraft was completely destroyed with all our equipment and the whole crew was badly shaken up. The rear gunner and the two Army despatchers were the only ones who had not been wounded. We were all together on the bank of the Rhine, with the Germans continuously sniping at us. We remained there until dark.


At about 2000 hours several Dutch people arrived, amongst them a lady doctor and two nursing sisters. We were taken by them to a nearby barn and given first aid. They kept us there until daybreak of 20 Sep 44.


In the early morning hours we were taken in an open cart to the vicarage in Driel, where we received proper medical attention. There were about 60 or 70 evacuated civilians there. All the wounded members of the crew were put to bed. The Germans knew that we were in the village, and they were looking for us.


The rear gunner and the two Army despatchers left on the same day, trying to make contact with some of our advanced Army patrols. They linked up with the Polish paratroops, but had to return to Driel on 23 Sep, when I saw them for about ten minutes.


On 21 Sep a Polish patrol got into Driel and there was a battle between its members and the Germans after which the Polish troops had to retire. A Polish doctor remained with us and amputated the leg of the bomb aimer.


On 22 Sep a patrol of the D.L.I. got into Driel and the Germans evacuated the village. We were shelled continuously, and the vicarage had three direct hits. The Polish doctor was injured. We remained there until 24 Sep.


On 24 Sep at noon we were taken by ambulance to Nijmegen, where we were put into the Casualty Clearing Station. Here the crew was split up. I remained there until 25 Sep, when I was moved to No.2 F.D.S., where I remained until 27 Sep. On 27 Sep I was taken back to Nijmegen, where I joined up with some glider troops. With them I left for Brussels, where I arrived on 29 Sep. I was flown back to U.K. on the same day.


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