Flight Sergeant Reuben Henry Ward
Unit : 296 Squadron, 38 Group, RAF.
Service No. : 927261
Flight Sergeant Ward's aircraft was shot down on the 6th June. The following is his M.I.9 evasion report:
Left : Beachhead North of Caen, 7 Jun 44.
Arrived : Portsmouth, 9 Jun 44.
Date of Birth : 10 Dec 20.
R.A.F. Service : Since May 40.
O.T.U. : 42 O.T.U. (Ashbourne).
Post in crew : Wireless operator.
Peacetime Profession : Clerk.
Private Address : 12, Linton Street, Islington, London, N.1.
Other members of crew:
F/O G.L. Wilson (pilot) (S/P.G.(-) 1962)
F/Lt. J.G.K. Maxwell (Navigator) (S/P.G.(-) 1963)
F/Sgt. E. Holmes (bomb aimer) (In U.K.)
P/O. J. Smith (rear gunner) (No information). [Note: Pilot Officer Joseph Smith was killed in action.]
The details of my take off and return to this country from the beach-head area are as related by my pilot F/O Wilson (S/P.G.(-) 1962).
When ordered to bale out I came down at Bieville, (France, 1:250,000, Sheet 8, T 0674). I hid my parachute, mae west and equipment in some bushes and moved about thirty yards. I saw a steel helmet coming through the bushes and knew it was not British. I waited and found that the wearer of the helmet was a French civilian. With him was a lad of about seventeen who escorted me across the fields. We were stopped by machine gun fire and returned to a farm, where I again saw the man with the steel helmet. There were several civilians here and I was given a glass of champagne.
After a short time while the French attracted the attention of a British recce patrol on the Caen-Bieville road, who directed me to the road leading back to the beach. I then saw a British medium tank escorting some Prisoners of War and was given a lift back to the beach-head.
Note. Before hiding my parachute and equipment I investigated a burning aircraft and, though able to identify it as an Albemarle, cannot say whether it was ours. It was scattered over an area of eighty to one hundred yards. I was also unable to identify the burning body with it as being that of the missing member of our crew, P/O J. Smith.
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