Flight Sergeant William James Murray

 

Unit : 620 Squadron, 38 Group

Service No. : 1821564

 

Flight Sergeant Murray was shot down on the 20th September 1944. The following is his M.I.9 evasion report:

 

Date of Birth : 18 Jun 24.

R.A.F. Service : Since 11 Jan 43.

Post in crew : Engineer.

Peacetime Profession : Clerk and traveller.

Private Address : 26, Dinart St., Riddrie, Glasgow, E.1.

 

Other members of crew:

F/O SEANLON (pilot) (believed killed).

W/O GILVEREY, T. (wireless operator) (believed killed).

F/Sgt LAMONT, R. (bomb aimer) (baled out into Rhine, possibly drowned).

F/O E. DANE (navigator) (returned to U.K.)

F/Sgt MARSHALL, J. (rear gunner)                  ) Fate unknown, presumably killed.

Two Army Despatchers, names unknown.        )

 

On 20 Sep 44 we left in a Stirling Mark IV aircraft from Fairford at about 1530 hrs with supplies for the Airborne Division at Arnhem. At about 1800 hrs we were hit by Flak while flying at an altitude of 600 feet. The aircraft burst into flames almost at once. The pilot went up to 2,000 feet and then told us to bale out. Only three of us got out - the bomb aimer, navigator, and myself. The machine crashed and was completely destroyed.

 

While descending we were fired at by the Germans. I landed in the water of one of the dykes between Radwijk and Peteren (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 2a & 3a, E 67).

 

After hiding my parachute and mae west in a ditch I went to a large brick-works, where I hid for about two hours. I saw some German soldiers go to the place where I had hidden my parachute and pull it out. They looked round in my direction and started to come towards the brick-works. I moved away from the building and went through open country towards some trees a short distance away. I climbed a tree and was able to watch the two Germans who were following me.

 

A priest, who had seen me come down, was approached by the Germans and he gave them the wrong directions as to my whereabouts. The two Germans came out of the brick-works, got on their bicycles, and rode off.

 

One of the farmers of a nearby farm came to the wood, and I heard him whistling to attract my attention. I did not move until he was right underneath me, when I jumped down behind him. He asked if I was English, gave me his overalls to put over my uniform, and told me to follow him.

 

He took me to his home, and his wife prepared some food. I remained there until about 2300 hrs, when an English-speaking Dutchman took me to the headquarters of the Heteren branch of the Dutch underground movement. There I met my navigator (F/O Dane). We remained there for two days - until 22 Sep.

 

On 22 Sep we had to leave, as the Germans were making a house-to-house search for British personnel. There were four paratroopers and about six airmen in the village with me. All of us were taken to a small wood nearby, where we met 20 other airmen. Among them was F/O McOmie, a pilot of 196 Sqn., 38 Group, and a British war correspondent, Ted Townshend, of the "Daily Telegraph".

 

On 23 Sep we decided to make our way in twos and threes through the German lines. I went with F/O McOmie and Ted Townshend. We moved South towards Nijmegen. Eventually we made contact with an advanced party of the army near Elst (E 77). From there we had to make our own way back to Brussels, where we arrived on 24 Sep 44. We remained there until 28 Sep, when we were flown back to the U.K.

 

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