Flying Officer Gordon Lee Wilson

 

Unit : 296 Squadron, 38 Group, RAF.

Service No. : 127148

 

Flying Officer Wilson's aircraft was shot down on the 6th June. The following is his M.I.9 evasion report:

 

Left : Allied beachhead, 7 Jun 44.

Arrived : Portsmouth, 8 Jun 44.

Date of Birth : 13 Aug 19.

R.A.F. Service : Since Jan 41.

O.T.U. : 42 (Ashbourne).

Post in crew : Pilot.

Peacetime Profession : Traveller.

Private Address : 5 Farley Ave. Manchester, 18.

 

Other members of crew:

F/Lt. J.G.K. Maxwell (navigator) (S/P.G.(-) 1963);

F/Sgt. R.H. Ward (wireless operator) (In U.K.);

F/Sgt. E. Holmes (bomb aimer) (In U.K.); and

P/O. J. Smith (rear gunner) (No information). [Note: Pilot Officer Joseph Smith was killed in action.]

 

I took off from Brize Norton at 1850 hrs on 6 Jun 44 in an Albemarle aircraft on a special mission over France.

 

After we had reached the target and completed our mission we were hit by flak. Our height was about 150 feet. I climbed to approximately 1,200 feet and gave the order to abandon aircraft. This order was acknowledged only by the rear gunner. After the navigator and wireless operator had left the aircraft, and while the bomb aimer was getting out, I lost control of the aircraft, due to the controls having been damaged. I pushed the bomb aimer out and followed him. I do not know whether the rear gunner succeeded in baling out.

 

I landed on the roof of a house on the southern outskirts of Bieville (France 1:250,000, Sheet 8, U 0875), about five miles North of Caen, at approximately 2115 hrs. I discovered that I was wounded in the right calf. I made my way into the attic of the house. My parachute was entangled on the roof and I could not remove it. I took off my harness and mae west, and used by first-aid dressing on my left. I discovered that the attic had no exit.

 

After waiting for half an hour I observed a Bren-gun carrier approaching from the direction of the Allied lines. As it passed the house I shouted to the occupants of the Bren-gun carrier. They pointed their guns at me so I hid. The vehicle stopped about fifty yards away, and then turned back in the direction from which it had come.

 

About twenty minutes later an old woman appeared in an alley opposite the house. I called to her and said, in French, that I was English. She told me to hide and went away. A few minutes later two village lads appeared. They examined the house and then followed the direction taken by the old woman. After a few moments two middle-aged men arrived carrying a very long ladder which they propped against the attic window. One of them climbed up the ladder and assisted me to the ground.

 

They informed me that Germans were occupying some of the houses in the village, and that the Allied lines were about one kilometre distant. They escorted me to the edge of the village, then through an orchard to a position occupied by British Stewart recce tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry. I was taken on one of these tanks towards the beachhead and left at a cross roads. I contacted various other British units and arrived on the beach the following morning (7 Jun) where I met F/Lt. Maxwell, F/Sgt. Ward and F/Sgt. Holmes of my crew. We were sent by boat to the U.K.

 

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