Pilot Officer Donald Harold Courtenay

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3322/35

 

Name: 158785 P/O Donald Harold Courtenay.

Unit: 635 Squadron, Bomber Command, R.A.F.

Left: France, 6th September 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 6th September 1944.

Date of Birth: 10th July 1921.

R.A.F. Service: Since 4th April 1941.

Peacetime Profession: Civil servant.

Private Address: 178 Northern Parade, Northend, Portsmouth.

 

Other members of crew:

 

W/Cdr. COUSENS        )

F/Sgt. HOLMES             )

F/Sgt. CASAJANA         ) (Thought to have been killed. Aircraft

F/Sgt. HEWITT               ) exploded in mid air).

Sgt. LEE                          )

Sgt. MORRIS                  )

Sgt. BELTON                  )

 

I took off from DOWNHAM MARKET at approx 2130 hrs on 22 Apr 44. My aircraft was hit, probably by a night fighter, at about 2359 hrs and blew up. I managed to open my parachute, and landed near VIC-SUR-AISNE (N.W. EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 8, N 6500).

 

I was injured on landing and was unable to move. On 23 Apr I contacted a farm labourer, and was taken to a farm, where I was given clothes and food. Late that night I was taken to a larger farm at MORSAIN (N 6905). From there I went to PARIS by train on 24 Apr. In PARIS I was hidden and received medical attention. While in PARIS I met the following other evaders:- F/Sgt. BOSSICK, W/O McPHEE, P/O FISHER and an American (S/Sgt. G. MILLER, U.S.A.A.F.). False papers were provided, and we were put in touch with an organisation.

 

On 25 May a party of 10 evaders, including myself, P/O FISHER (S/P.G.(-) 2281), F/Sgt. BOSSICK (S/P.G.(-) 2394), W/O McPHEE (S/P.G.(-) 2019) and S/Sgt. MILLER, U.S.A.A.F., left PARIS by train accompanied by two guides of the organisation. We arrived at PAU (FRANCE, 1:250,000, Sheet 39, T 8014) on 26 May and were handed over to local members of the same organisation. On 27 May myself, the four allied airmen named above, a Sgt. KNOPP, U.S.A.A.F. and another airman (name unknown) left PAU to attempt the frontier.

 

The party assembled in a barn on the outskirts of PAU, and consisted of about 40 people of all ages, mostly Jews.

 

On 2 Jun we commenced our attempt, led by professional guides. The airmen of the party had no food, and none was provided, so we became very exhausted. On 4 Jun the guide left us, and through straggling our party was reduced to 18, including the six allied evaders mentioned above. On 5 Jun, about 2 kilometres from the Spanish village of ISABA (Y 3438), four of the party - P/O FISHER, Sgt. BOSSICK, F/Sgt. KNOPP and myself - were cut off and captured by two German guards. W/O McPHEE and S/Sgt MILLER managed to evade capture and continued to SPAIN.

 

We were taken back to a small frontier town (name unknown), searched, and given a perfunctory interrogation, to which we did not reply. We spent the night in a cell in a private house. On 6 Jun we returned to PAU, and from there were sent to ST. MICHAEL Prison at TOULOUSE. Here we found 19 other airmen, English and American.

 

On 15 Jun all the other prisoners left for GERMANY except P/O FISHER, F/Sgt. BOSSICK, S/Sgt. KNOPP, F/O LENNIE, R.C.A.F. (whom we met in the prison), and myself. On 19 Aug the Germans evacuated TOULOUSE, and the F.F.I. liberated us. We remained in TOULOUSE until arrangements were made for our return by air from GARLIN (FRANCE, 1:250,000, Sheet 39, T 94) on 6 Sep.

 

 

Pilot Officer Harry Hamilton Jack Fisher

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3322/36

 

Name: 169870 P/O Harry Hamilton Jack Fisher.

Unit: 218 Squadron, Bomber Command, R.A.F.

Left: France, 6th September 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 6th September 1944.

Date of Birth: 7th November 1920.

R.A.F. Service: Since 26th September 1940.

Peacetime Profession: Clerk.

Private Address: 18, Ryehill Grove, Edinburgh, 6.

 

Other members of crew:

S/Ldr. C.W. POULTER (Believed killed in aircraft).

F/O THOMAS (Seen to bale out).

W/O McPHEE (S/P.G.(-) 2019).

Sgt. BOSSICK (S/P.G.(-) 2394).

No information as to rest of crew.

 

I took off from WOOLFOX LODGE at 2200 hrs on 22 Apr 44. My aircraft was hit by Flak, and I baled out at about 0020 hrs on 23 Apr, landing in the vicinity of VIC-SUR-AISNE, (N.W. EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 8, N 6500). I was found by a farmer who took me to a nearby farm, where I met my bomb aimer (W/O McPHEE). After being supplied with civilian clothes we were hidden in a cave near the farm till 2 May, when we were taken to the house of the chief of the resistance in VIC-SUR-AISNE.

 

On 3 May we were taken to a farm at MORSAIN (N 6905) where we remained till 8 May. On that date we left for PARIS, where a number of evaders were being collected for onward routing. I remained in PARIS until 25 May. While there I met another member of my crew (Sgt. BOSSICK) and another pilot (P/O COURTENAY). We were put in touch with an escape organisation and from here onwards my story is the same as that of P/O COURTENAY (S/P.G.(-) 2282).

 

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