Memoire of trip to France and events after D-Day



Memoire of trip to France and events after D-Day


Starts with hand drawn map of Normandy marking main towns. The author records his experience on or around D-Day of bailing out of an aircraft shot down and on fire, and the subsequent aid given to him by the French Resistance. He also records a return visit to France, along with surviving crew to honour those members of his crew who didn’t survive being shot down and were buried at Saint-Vigor-d'Ymonville. Records meeting French Lady who helped him as relates story of the rest of his return trip to France.




Seven page handwritten document


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[underlined] D DAY 6th JUNE 1944. [/underlined]


SIX HOURS BEFORE LANDING 10 Batteries in concrete gun emplacements 100% guarantee that these would be inoperative. One gun of 10 Batteries only able to operate manually & was soon silenced our Battery at Forét de Cerisy.

[circled 19] after June [underlined] 5/6th. [/underlined] to 7/8th August Marking near Caen followed by break through at the Fallaise [sic] gap.
1) [underlined] BAYEUX [/underlined] [inserted] stayed at Grand Hotel Luxembourg, [/underlined] First town to be liberated 18th June 1944. At their memorial by coincidence when there was a ceremony with [indecipherable word] flaming fire & the address of the late General De Gaul [sic] was read.

[circled 18th June De Gaul. [sic] ]

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On Wednesday 19th June we went at midday to Notre Dame de Gravenchon some 30 miles E of Le Havre to meet Madame Jacqueline Drony (Rillot). She was a teacher of English at a local school [indecipherable word] often used by the Resistance as an [deleted] interpreter [/deleted] translator & we recounted the events of 7/8th August 1944.

We had been marking at Caen & were on our way back being routed East so as not to hinder the bridgehead. Unfortunately a 110 with the upward firing cannon eventually caught us after much evasion & it eventually hit us in the starboard wing & the centre of the aircraft & we were immediately on fire. Unfortunately, the inter com went so it was not possible to speak to any member of the crew. The fire [indecipherable word] rapidly no [three indecipherable words] just wagged the wings as a signal for the crew to abandon ship. The fire eventually filled most of the cockpit & in order to get out I had to drop through the flames to the escape hatch which fortunately

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the crew members who had got out had jettisoned & much to my amazement I was out of the aircraft with the skin burnt on my hand & legs & my face to a lesser extent. Fortunately the parachute canopy held although the pack was smouldering. On looking down it seemed as though I was over sea & I was amazed to strike soft ground. It was a marsh area & there was at ground mist which had given the impression of water.

I then manage to rid myself of the parachute harness & decided to make for cover of some sort & eventually came to a farm. Some of them could speak English I knew no French except bonjure [sic] or bon sior [sic] & eventually mlle Pillot came along with a French Dr. Evins who [deleted] had apparently attend [/deleted] dealt with me. Mlle Pillot cut off my wedding ring & Dr Evins put on some goo & bandaged my hands in splints to keep the fingers appart [sic] & also dealt with

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[circled 4]

my leg & face burns. Dr. Evins worked with the resistance & was obviously a [deleted] fearless [/deleted] [inserted] [two indecipherable words] [/inserted] man. I asked Madame Drony what had happened to him & she said he died about 55 yrs of age from much booze & women. However, she said we should remember him for the extremely [inserted] good [/inserted] caring work which he bestowed on his patients for which he was noted rather than his few [indecipherable word].

Madame Dory with her husband Henri took us to the cemetery at St. Vigor where the four deceased members of our crew were buried The radio signals officer F/O Reg Blayden who walk back over the Pyranese [sic] after having been shot down on a previous occasion he held the [indecipherable word] The other 3 members were BOMB AIMER W/O Ted Howker, MID UPPER W/O Wilf GAUCHRAN & REAR GUNNER F/Sgt BERTIE CAMPBELL.


ALAN Hill & John Torrens were apparently out first & were not burnt & eventually were assisted by monsieur Francis Marical & mlle Pillot was

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[circled 5]

used as interpreter for them & were also dealt with by Dr Evins

[circled x] Francis Marical (later mayor of Saint-Vigor)

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JUNE [underlined] 14th [/underlined] By road to Paris

15th Versailles

16th Eiffel Tower & drive round Paris

17th Bayeux – Grand Hotel Luxembourg.

18th to visit tapestry UK one at South Sea – Portsmouth explanation by earphone price equivalent of 50p in numbered sections each section explained as you progress round the tapestry.

19th N.D de GRAVENCHON to meet Madam Jacqueline Drony [inserted] husband Henri [/inserted] daughter Anne Marie & son Phillip. [deleted] She took [/deleted] we had an enjoyable meal with them & afterwards went to ST VIGOR churchyard where the 4 unfortunate members of the crew were buried. Reg Blayden DFM Ted Howker, Wilf Gaughran & Bertie Campbell.

Then to see Monsieur Francis MARICAL. – Certificate awarded for help given to our forces for help given. Signed by A.C.M. Lord Tedder. Also a certificate from the French Ministry of the Interior for courage & devotion.

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[underlined] 1. [/underlined] TELEGRAM. 8th AUG 1944.

[underlined] 2. [/underlined] Alan & Paddy arr. England. 6th & 7th Sept. escapees

[underlined] 3. [/underlined] BROADCAST GERMANY RADIO.

[underlined] 4 [/underlined] PRISONER CONFIRMED [deleted] LATE [/deleted] 30th OCTOBER. 1944.



R Wareing, “Memoire of trip to France and events after D-Day,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 13, 2024,

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