An English air force mechanic shot down in 1943 returns to the place where his plane fell



An English air force mechanic shot down in 1943 returns to the place where his plane fell


Recalls shooting down of James Lee's aircraft where he was the only survivor. Subsequently rescued by French people and medically treated then became a prisoner of war. Notes he returned to the place and people who rescued him had no idea what had happened to him until now. Continues with account of happenings after being made a prisoner, including an escape attempt and being freed by the Russians. Concludes with some details of James Lee's service and family history including mention of some of his operations and that he was shot down on his 24th operation.

Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten document


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An English Airforce mechanic shot down in 1943 returns to the place where his plane fell.
During the night of the 15th of August 1943 an R.A.F. plane was shot down by the German fleet. The plane, apparently hit by a shell having exploded in the air, could be found in places at least 2 miles away
Out of the 7 pilots from the plane, only 1 had the luck of surviving, his parachute opened in a miracle.
It is this pilot who returned to the place where his plane crashed, this being the village of Beaumont.
This Englishman who is now 34 years old is called James Lee. He was rescued some time after the accident by some Parisienes, [sic] the miéja family who go every year, for the last 24 years to Chuisnes. With his hands burnt he received his 1st medical care at the town square, thinking himself to [sic] ill, he asked to be made prisoner. Since then the people from Chuisnes have not known what had happened to the 20 year old Englishman, but miss micheline Parragot, grandaughter [sic] of mrs miéja has since then managed to find his trace & thanks to her, he has managed to have the immense joy of returning to see the part of France where his mates died.
He spent 1 day in hospital in Chartres & then 13 days in Clichy, the prisoner was then sent away to Germany to the Stallag IVB. He escaped from there, but was recaptured after 3 weeks in Czechoslovakia. He was freed by the Russians on the 21st of April 1945. He was handed over to the Americans on the 1st of May of that same year.
He was recruited at 18 years old, James Lee was on his 24th outing when his plane was shot down.
His regiment went then to bombard
[page break]
Milan in Italy. The R.A.F. was undertaking at that time a large offensive.
James Lee has taken part on the 4th of August in the bombarding of Berlin, on the 10th in the bombing of Hamburg, on the 12th Hamburg again, on the 13th [inserted] ? not in log [/inserted] he was in Turin & finally the last raid was going to finish badly for him in the sky, on the 15th of August 1943.
James Lee is now in the air transport division of the R.A.F.
He lives in Dishford, [sic] married and very happy, and surrounded by his wife and his 2 little girls, Susan and Marylyn aged 5 and 11. It is with emotion and pleasure that he redid with his french [sic] friends the part he followed on the night of the 15th of August 1943, when our 2 countries were striving together for freedom.
The sacrifice of these obscure heros [sic] wasn’t therefore in vain and it contributed to the final victory so long waited for.



“An English air force mechanic shot down in 1943 returns to the place where his plane fell,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 12, 2024,

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