|Bill's account of the events of
the night of 14th January 1944:
They were flying along at night.
Suddenly, tracer fire came from below and in front of the aircraft.
The gun fire hit the underside of the aircraft. The aircraft was
in trouble. The pilot gave the bail out order.
Bill left the aircraft through the hatch in the nose. The
underside of the aircraft was a mass of flame. The next thing Bill
knew he was lying on a tresle table in a police post. The
policemen were trying to remove his parachute harness. He had no
memory of his descent.
The flight engineer, Duncan Jerrard, had bailed out before Bill.
Bill got tangled on the bomb sight, so was delayed exiting. As
Duncan Jerrard descended on his parachute, he looked for other
parachutes and did not see any. As he neared the ground he looked
down to check his landing area, below him a parachute flared out full
for a brief second, then collapsed as it's passenger hit the ground.
This must have been Bill landing.
Duncan was on the run for four days. For the first three days he lay
low, traveled only at night, then he found a bicycle. to steal, and
decided to brazen it out and cycle during daylight. He was
riding through a village and was challenged. He tried to escape by
speeding up. The village postman stopped Duncan by throwing his
delivery bike in front of Duncan's cycle.
Bill and Duncan were the only survivors of their crew.
After the Germans accounted for the seven crew members, they arranged to
take Bill to a POW camp. Bill and his escort were heading for the
railway station, it was daytime and the air raid siren sounded.
The escort took Bill into an air raid shelter. The the USAF
bombers arrived overhead. Bill says it was the most terrifying
experience of the war for him. When the raid was over the escort
took Bill to the railway station. Bill says there were long lines
of dead bodies.