V.T. Parkin crew 9.8.43 †

Val cropped and scalled

Ralph Valentine ‘Val” Clingham Johnson, Air Bomber with the Parkin crew. Sole survivor and evader after an op to Munchen-Gladbach on the 30th August 1943. The photograph was taken while he was staying with the Georgeton family in Sillery, 13 – 15th October 1943.

Many thanks to Tony, Jenny, Fred, and Michael for contributing to this incredible tale of survival and evasion behind enemy lines.

Tony first contacted me about his Father, Ralph Valentine “Val’ Clingham Johnson, Air Bomber with Victor Parkin’s crew – the sole survivor of the crew after their aircraft was (most likely) attacked  by a German night fighter over Belgium. The story and details of Val’s evasion and the bravery of those individuals that assisted him and other airmen like him has been provided by Fred Greyer and Michael LeBlanc.

The Parkin crew arrived at Mepal on the 5th August 1943 from 1651 Conversion Unit.

A little out of the normal, it seems that Vic Parkin completed 3 2nd Pilot Ops with other crews before taking his crew on Operations.

24/07/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Hamburg
Stirling Mk.III EH905 -R (2)
F/S George Vincent Helm,   – Pilot.
Sgt. Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.

Take Off 21:57 – Landed 04:12
Flight Time 06:15

10/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nurenburg
Stirling Mk.III EF465 -H (1)
F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 06:20
Flight Time 08:20

12/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Turin
Stirling Mk.III EF465 -H (2)
F/S Walter Donald Whitehead, RNZAF NZ416565 – Pilot.
F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – 2nd Pilot.Died Tuesday 31st August

Take Off 21:20 – Landed 05:30
Flight Time 08:10

With these 3 ops under his belt, Victor Parkin and his crew began their Operational tour on the 9th of August 1943.

09/08/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were all successfully dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were encountered. Visibility was good, being clear with a bright moon. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EF461 ??-?

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:05 – Landed 01:20
Flight Time 03:15

15/08/1943 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Five aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs.. One aircraft failed to take-off owing to inter-communication failure and one failed to return. The remaining aircraft successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area, and parachutes were seen to open. Some heavy A.A. fire was encountered and one aircraft was slightly hit in the fuselage. The weather was good with clear visibility. Navigation was very good. One aircraft, whilst returning across FRANCE at 200 feet, shot up four trains, the engine of one was seen to explode and the other three appeared hit. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE891 captained by F/Sgt. WHITTA, N.B.

Stirling Mk.III EF465 ??-H
From RAF Mepal Station Log AIR28/532 – aircraft returning low over France shot up 4 trains – one of which was seen to explode.
F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:45 – Landed 02:20
Flight Time 05:35

22/08/1943 – Mining in the Frisian Islands
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs.. Two of the aircraft returned early owing to failure of navigational aids and brought their mines back. The other aircraft successfully dropped its mines in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. No A.A. fire, searchlights or enemy aircraft were encountered. The weather was good except for Sea haze. Navigation was good.

Stirling Mk.III BF518 AA-E

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:25 – Landed 04:35
Flight Time 08:10

23/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Berlin

val-johnson-1943 bWcont

What appears to be an image ripped out of a newspaper,, the ‘x’ on the bottom edge of the picture identifies Val Johnson, so we might assume that the other airmen in the photograph are also members of the Parkin crew.

Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 1,000lb., 500lb., and incendiaries of 30lb and 4lb.. Five aircraft returned early owing to failure and three aircraft failed to return. The remainder of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area and all of the crews agreed that it had been well and truly hit. The fires were all concentrated and huge columns of smoke together with heavy explosions could be seen. A moderate heavy A.A. barrage co-operating with searchlights were encountered, but only one aircraft received damage. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and several combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WILKINSON sighted a JU88 passing above, the Mid-upper and Rear Gunners fired and strikes were seen on the enemy aircraft which was then lost sight of and is claimed to have been damaged. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITEHEAD whilst over BERLIN sighted an enemy aircraft on the starboard quarter, 300yds away. The Rear Gunner fired a five second burst and the enemy aircraft was seen in flames diving to earth, and was claimed as probably destroyed. The same aircraft encountered another unidentified aircraft 300yds away on the starboard quarter. The Rear Gunner fired another five seconds burst and the enemy aircraft exploded and disintegrated. It was claimed to be destroyed. The aircraft captained by F/O. A. Alexander, whilst over the target sighted a ME110 approaching from the starboard quarter above and firing at his aircraft. The Mid-upper and Rear Gunners replied with long bursts and the enemy aircraft was seen to be in flames. A fire was later seen on the ground and the enemy aircraft was claimed as probably destroyed. Scattered cloud was met on the outward route, but it was clear over the target. The missing aircraft were Stirlings Mk.III BF465 captained by P/O A. RANKIN, BF564 captained by P/O A. Sedunary and EE938 captained by W/O T. Fear.

The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. WHITE, O.H. whilst approaching the target area was coned by searchlights and repeatedly hit by heavy A.A. fire, sustaining considerable damage to port mainplane. He continued towards the target though still coned by searchlights and was then attacked by a JU88 sustaining hits in the rear of the fuselage which shattered the rear turret and killed Rear Gunner Sgt. Poole, J.. The aircraft was forced into an uncontrollable dive and the captain warned his crew ‘Prepare to abandon the aircraft’. Unfortunately, in the middle of this order the inter-communication failed, and the Navigator, Air Bomber and Wireless Operator abandoned the aircraft, due to the fact that they were unable to contact their Captain. F/Sgt. WHITE jettisoned his bomb load whilst in the dive directly over the target area, managed to regain control of the aircraft when height had been lost down to 6,000ft. The captain and two remaining members of the crew after taking stock of the damage decided to attempt the long and hazardous return journey to base. This they did successfully and made a perfect crash landing at base without lights, flaps or under carriage, as the electrical leads were shot away.

Stirling Mk.III BF518 AA-E

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:25 – Landed 04:25
Flight Time 08:00

27/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Nuremberg
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with indiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. One aircraft failed to return, but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Good concentrated fires and heavy explosions were seen. A moderate barrage consisting of light and heavy A.A. fire co-operating with searchlights were encountered, and two aircraft received slight damage. Some enemy aircraft were seen, one short combat took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was cloudy on the outward journey but clear over the target and visibility was good. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was Stirling Mk.III EE955 captained by F/Sgt. Higham.

Stirling Mk.III BF518 AA-E

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 21:40 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 07:20

30/08/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Munchen-Gladbach
18 Aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with incendiary bombs of 30lbs. and 4lbs. All aircraft with the exception of one which failed to return, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Very large fires which were well concentrated and spreading, were seen. All crews were of the opinion that this was a good attack. Moderate heavy A.A. fire and a few searchlights were encountered, which were ineffective. A great number of enemy aircraft were seen and some short combats took place. The aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Batger, H. sighted an enemy aircraft 600 yards away, ahead and the front gunner fired a long and short burst, the enemy aircraft then disappeared and was claimed as possibly destroyed. . The aircraft captained by F/S McGregor,K. sighted an Me110 astern, the rear gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engines. It is claimed as a possible destroyed. There was 8/10ths cloud at the target approaches although it was clear in the target area. Navigation was very good. The missing aircraft was  Stirling MK.III EH938 captained by Sgt. Parkin, T.

Stirling Mk.III EH938 AA-F

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Sgt. Ralph Valentine Clingan Johnson, RAFVR 1545885 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582836 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Based on Val Johnson’s debrief with MI.9, it would appear that that EH938 possibly fell prey to a German night fighter, within a nachtjagd ‘box’. Val was the only survivor of the crew, the rest of the crew being killed when the aircraft crashed at Lommel (Limburg), in Belgium. The airmen were all buried in St-Truiden before being moved to Heverlee War Cemetery.

F/S Victor Trevor Parkin, RNZAF NZ421090 – Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son of Frederick Joseph and Wynna Ann Parkin, of Dargaville, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 4. A. 9.

F/S Terrence Watters, RNZAF NZ417299 – Navigator.
Killed age 21.
Son of Francis and Moya Watters, of Dargaville, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Joint grave 4. A. 13-14.

Sgt. William Hadley Horrigan, RAFVR 1176649 – Wireless Operator .
Killed age 29.
Son of Daniel Horrigan and of Mercy Horrigan (Nee Hadley), of Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Joint grave 4. A. 13-14.
‘A small plot In a foreign field,
For ever England’

Sgt. Trevor Silcock, RAFVR 1582936 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 20.
Son of Trevor and Jessie Silcock, of Stoke-On-Trent.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 4. A. 10.
‘Till we meet again’

Sgt. Richard Frederick Grove, RAFVR 1581242 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 22.
Son of Frederick George and Eliza Ann Grove, of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 4. A. 12.
‘Man’s desperate folly
Was not theirs
But theirs the sacrifice’

Sgt. Anthony Francis Saunders, RAFVR 1394719 – Rear Gunner .
Killed age 20.
Son of William Howard Saunders and Lucy Saunders, of Putney Hill, London.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 4. A. 11.
‘Of your charity
Pray for the repose
Of his soul R.I.P.’

The Possum Escape Line
Probably unknown to Val, upon landing, he was about to get assistance from a network of individuals and safe houses that were collectively known as the ‘Possum Escape Line

During the night of the 15th July 1943, two MI9 agents were parachuted into southeast Belgium (Province of Luxembourg) near Suxy. Dominique Edgard Potier was a Belgian airforce officer, who had arrived in England in March 1942. Accompanying him was Conrad Lafleur, his French-Canadian radio operator. At this time, many allied aircrew, on bombing raids to Germany, were being shot down over the Belgian Ardennes. Potier’s mission, known as Mission Martin in Belgium and the Possum Line in France, was to organise the recovery of these airmen and shelter, feed and provide them with false identity documents, before moving them to safe houses in and around Reims in Northern France. Unlike the Ardennes, this area was suitable for evacuation by air, using Lysander aircraft.

Of the six planned air operations, three were successful – 11 airmen and one SOE agent were repatriated. (From http://www.possumline.net/)

SPG 1579-1 SPG 1579-2 SPG 1579-3

What follows is a transcription of this interview document with detail added where available.

1st September 1943 
Baled out & landed west of Weert, Netherlands (just North of Maastricht) at approx. 3:00am
Walked west for approx. 4 hours.
“I was a member of the crew of a Stirling bomber which left Mepal, North of Cambridge, on 31 Aug at midnight to bomb Munchen-Gladbach. We reached our target and bombed our objective at 0210 hrs. On the homeward journey, there was a violent explosion in the aircraft. I remember reaching for ny parachute, but do not know how I got out. The next thing I remember was that I was in the air and in a cloud. I had severe wounds in one arm, one leg, and my face.

I came down at 0300 hrs (1 Sep) in a field , which I believe was somewhere West of Weert

I buried my parachute in a hedge and ran along the rain road in a westerly direction. When it became light, I hid in a hedge in which I remained all day. At dusk I worked with my compass and. walked West for about 4 hours. My leg started to give me trouble and I lay low again in a bush in a field”.

2nd September   
At 07:00 headed west again, reaching a wood. Stayed there all day and that night.
“I woke at about 0700 hrs (2 Sep) and headed West again, reaching a wood. Here I saw two Belgian woodmen, so lay low again, and stayed there all day and that night.”

3rd September   
Stayed at a cottage in Exel (North of Hasselt, Belgium), where identity was confirmed by an English woman. Taken by two gendarmes to M. Sols-Lensken, 66, Markt Str, Exel.Visited by a doctor for a bad septic arm and knee.

“On 3 Sep I left the wood and at about 1100 hrs approached a cottage at Exel (N.W.Europe, 25 km, North of Hasselt). I made my identity known and was beckoned in by a lad. I found a large family inside; the father told me, by signs, that he would fetch someone who could talk English. At about 1300 hrs a girl turned up on a bicycle, and, from this point, I was helped on my journey. The girl who came, to Exel, on 3 Sep on a bicycle was the daughter of an Englishwoman (name not remembered) whose father is:

Mr Alfred Woodis
174, Houghton Grange Road,
Bradford.

She told me to remain where I was, and went home to inform her mother. At about 1600 hrs, the mother came and asked me several questions to identify me and said she would see a man in an organisation. I went to bed and stayed till about 2300 hrs, when two men woke me, and after stripping me of my badges and flying boots, took me by bicycle to another house quite near:

M. Sols-Lenskens,
66, Markt Str,
Exel
(husband, wife, and child of six)”.

6th September  
Taken by train to Neerpelt. Stayed in a small cottage with Mme. Spelters, an old lady of 66 with six sons.
The men, who were gendarmes in plain clothes, left me here. I was visited by a doctor and nursed by the people for a bad septic arm and knee. I was given plain clothes and, on about 6 Sep, a man came and took me by train to Neerpelt to a small cottage.

Mme. Spelters,
Neerpelt
(old lady of 66, six sons)”.

10th September
Taken by train to Antwerp. Stayed for a few hours at the house of M. Daelmans, 15, rue d’Orange. Went by train to Brussels, with M. Daelmans, and from there to Virton, in the Ardennes, Province of Luxembourg. Stayed with the local organist, M. Georges Hennaut.
“I stayed here till about 10 Sep, when another man came for me and took me by train to Antwerp. In Antwerp I stayed for a few hours at the house of:

M. Daelmans,
15, rue d’Orange,

moving by train to Brussels, under Daelmans” guidance, and from there to Virton, I stayed here with the local organist:

M. Georges Hennaut,
Virton”.

11th September
Left by train for Florenville (28 km. N.W. of Virton). Stayed with priest.
“I left by train for Florenville (28 km. North West of Virton), where I stayed with. a priest till 13 Sep. I was then taken to Martue (2 km. from Florenville), staying there with a family:

M.P. Lemaire
Martue”.

13th/ 14th September  
Driven, by Louis Gerard, to Martue (2 km. from Florenville), and stayed with Paul Lemaire.
“Until 30 Sep.A doctor who treated me here for my arm, got me away by car”.

30th September/ 1st October          
Driven by Dr. Albert Pierre to Sedan. Then escorted, by another man, to Paris. Met by Edgard Potier and taken to Suzanne Bastin. Here there were seven other airmen, 4 Americans and 3 British.
“On 30 Sep to Sedan, from where another man. escorted me to Paris. In Paris I was met by a Captain MARTIN and taken to:

Mme. Bastin
? rue de la Barre,
Montmatre.

Here there were seven other airmen, 4 Americans and 3 British, two from 218 squadron and one from 7 squadron”.

6th October
Taken by Potier to Quierzy (25km NE of Compiègne), with three Americans (probably John Desrochers, Ellis Klein and Fred Murray (USAAF)). Stayed in a farm for three days, waiting for pickup.
Note: there was no scheduled pickup on this date. The next one was scheduled for 16/17 October 1943, which failed.
“Captain Martin called for me on 6 Oct took three Americans and myself to Quierzy (10 km. East of Noyon) where we stayed in a farm for three days, waiting to be taken off by air”.

9th October   
No aircraft turned up; went back to Paris and from there to Reims. Taken by Raymonde Beuré with Fred Murray to Sillery (approx. 10 kms South East of Reims).
“No aircraft turned up, so we went back to Paris, from there to Reims, from where a girl took one American and me by car to Sillery, where we stayed,  in a hut.”

13th/ 15th October 
Germans started searching woods for draft dodgers, so moved to the home of the Georgeton’s in Sillery.
“In a wood till 13 Oct, and then with:

M.Georgeton,
Sillery”.

Fred Murray and Val Johnson

A remarkable series of pictures of Val and USAF airman Fred Murray, whom Val had met some X days before.

I find this images to be quite astonishing. I would have imagined that an evading airman would be constantly on the move, suspicious of everyone. The pictures above of Val and Fred Murray an American airman have a casual, almost relaxed air to them. In some respects, I am amazed that the photographs even exist – I would have imagined that the last thing a family, helping allied airmen escape would want is a camera full of pictures of allied airmen, let a lone a collection of photographs of them!

Potier parachuted back into France on the 20th December 1943. It had been his intention to move Possum to Amiens, as the organisation was becoming too “well known” in Reims. However, on the 28th December, as Conrad Lafleur was transmitting messages to London, he was surprised by the Germans. He escaped, but it was the start of a sequence of events that eventually lead to the arrest of Potier. Initially he was taken to Fresnes prison in Paris and then returned to Reims, where after being subjected to considerable torture, he committed suicide on the 11th January 1944. As more arrests followed, the organisation around Reims effectively collapsed. Paris, Amiens and the remoter parts of the network continued operating for a few more months, but were eventually traced and broken up. Georges d’Oultremont and Conrad Lafleur escaped down the Comète Line.

Of the 70 helpers arrested in the French sector of Possum, some 60 were deported, of which less than half returned. There are no complete records, but it is estimated some 60-70 airmen had passed through or were being sheltered by Possum at the time of its demise.

Whilst the Georgeton family played a small part in Val’s evasion, there were members of the Possum line and fully aware of the risks they exposed themselves to if caught. The photographs below show and remember a family who were prepared to act against the Nazis and help the allied airmen who every night flew overhead, themselves gambling that they would never be caught……..

Three of the Georgeton family were arrested by the Gestapo in May of 1944.

Gaston Georgeton died  on 5/11/1944 in Dachau concentration camp.

Georgeton 1

“(Far right) Dad with his air defence comrades (keeping watch for enemy? aircraft xxx??? and notification of air defence command). He was 44.”

Georgeton 2

“Photo taken at Sillery (House of Pommery) after the departure of the Anglo-American airmen picked up near us in October 1943 Dad = 48 years old Mum = 47”

Georgeton 3

“5/03/1944 Dad & Mum 3 months before they were arrested by the Gestapo. Last photo of Dad (1895-1944). (Last photo of my father, DIED for FRANCE on 5/11/1944 in DACHAU).”

Georgeton 5

“26.3.44 René Georgeton, my brother, at Sillery, 2 months before the family was arrested by the Gestapo. He was 13 years old. His young age allowed him to escape deportation.”

Georgeton 4

Robert GEORGETON, my brother, born in 1923 (He wasn’t there when the Gestapo came to arrest his father, mother and brother, which saved his life … )”

17th/ 21st October 
(Gaston?) Georgeton drove them to Mailly-Champagne (18 kms South East of Reims). Stayed with Lea Chandelot.
“We had to move from here, as the Germans requisitioned half the house, and were taken by car to Mailly-Champagne(18 kim. S.E. of Reims), where the American and I stayed with:

M.Chandelot,,
Mailly-Champagne.

M.Chandelot was a particularly staunch patriot, and kept us till 9 Nov”.

9th/ 13th November
Remy Chandelot took them by horse and car to Reims. Train to Fismes with Beuré.
Stayed with Lucienne Mulette.
“On 9 Nov he took us, by horse and cart, to Reims, and from there by train to Fismes, where we stayed 4 days with:

Mme. L.Muillet, (a tailoress)
Fismes”.

15th November
Taken by Beuré in a car back to Reims, from there by train to Paris and back to Bastin’s apartment.
“From here a girl took us by car on 13 Nov back to Reims, from there by train to Paris, and back to Mme. Bastin”.

16th November
Train to Chauny and then taken by truck to a small house in the country. Met Georges d’Oultrement (MI9 agent), Charles Breuer and Stanley Chichester (USAAF).
“On 15 Nov Captain Martin took two Americans and myself to Quierzy and to a field some distance away, from which this time, the air operation was successful“.

17th November
Aircraft pickup took place at approx. 02:00 (operation MAGDALEN II). Landed at RAF Tangmere approx. 03:30; met by Major Langley.

only-survivor

A newspaper article, describing in massively censored manner, Val’s experiences as an evader. One must imagine, given the tense that this article was written sometime towards the end of 1943.

Johnson Binder1 254

A simple, but a very touching note, sent to Val in August of 1945 from one of the many individuals that helped him to escape and return to the UK.

Having put this post together, I think this is as much the story of all those brave individuals that were willing to help Val Johnson, as it is about Val’s evasion.

AKE AKE KIA KAHA

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