Pilot Officer Kevin Winston McSweeney

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/20

 

Name: A.420705 P/O. Kevin Winston McSweeney.

Unit: 207 Squadron, Bomber Command, R.A.F.

Left: France, 10th September 1944.

Arrived: Hendon, 10th September 1944.

Date of Birth: 18th May 1923.

R.A.F. Service: Since 9th November 1941.

Post in crew: Pilot.

Peacetime Profession: Farmer.

Private Address: Meroe Road, Bomaderry, New South Wales, Australia.

 

Other members of the Crew:

 

F/O. HOLMEWOOD (navigator)    )

F/Sgt. CARTER (second navigator)  )

Sgt. LOWRY (engineer)                   )

F/O. MAJOR (bomb aimer)             ) Fate unknown.

F/Sgt. AUSTIN (wireless operator)  )

Sgt. SHINERY (mid-upper gunner)  )

Sgt. TICE (rear gunner)                    )

 

On 21 May 44 at 2300 hrs we took off from SPILSBY in a Lancaster aircraft. Just after crossing the Dutch-German frontier at 0130 hrs (22 May) we were attacked by a night fighter. The starboard fuel tanks and engines and elevator controls were hit, and the aircraft became impossible to control. I gave the order to bale out at 18,000 feet. At 7,000 feet the aircraft blew up. I found myself in mid air, and pilled my rip-cord. While descending, I saw two other parachutes open.

 

I landed knee deep in a swamp unable to pinpoint, West of MEPPEN (GERMANY) (GERMANY 100,000, Sheet 58, 8741). I buried my parachute, mae west and harness here, except for a few cords and some silk which came in very useful later. I then headed South-west and hid up at dawn.

 

From my hiding place I could see the German sentry on the frontier. It appeared that he had to patrol at least two miles. I waited until mid-day when he was about a mile away and then crossed into HOLLAND. The country was open and devoid of any cover whatsoever. About 200 yards into HOLLAND, some Dutch peat diggers saw me and one of them took me to his home, where they offered me a meal. I left here after an hour and a woman took me to a man at EMMEN (GERMANY 250,000, Sheet K 53, V 46) who could not help me so I headed South along the roads for three days finally reaching RAALTE (N.W. EUROPE 1:250,000, Sheet 2A, Z 92) on 25 May. First of all a German asked me the way and then a Dutchman saw me who turned out to be a member of the organisation. In the hands of this organisation I was moved to BRUCKLAGER for three days, to WIJME (Z 92) for two days, to ZWOLLE (Z 83) for three days and then to AMSTERDAM where I stayed until 21 Jun.

 

On 21 Jun I left for BRUSSELS. On 26 Jun I was caught in a cafe by a Gestapo control. I was taken to ST. GULES Prison where I was asked for my name, rank and number and where I was shot down. I answered these questions to establish my identity, but no others. The interrogation was extremely mild.

 

I was kept in prison until 1 Sep and then evacuated in a train bound for GERMANY which was abandoned because of White Army activity. I contacted the British forces on 4 Sep.

 

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