SECRET

EVADED CAPTURE IN FRANCE

STATEMENT by

115768 F/Lt. Arthur William SLIPPER, 297 Sqn., 38 Gp., T.A.F., R.A.F.

Left : ALLIED BEACHHEAD, 1 Aug 44. Arrived : CALSHOT, 1 Aug 44.

Post in Crew : Navigator.

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Other members of the crew :

S/Ldr. EMBLEM (pilot)
F/Lt. BULLIVANT (wireless operator)
F/O PICKARD (bomb aimer)
P/O BROOK (gunner)
F/Sgt. BRAYBROOKE, F.H.A. (passenger)

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We took off from BRIZE NORTON at 2300 hrs on 27 July 44 in an Albemarle aircraft on a special mission over FRANCE. We crossed the French coast West of MONTMARTIN (FRANCE), and were attacked by a night fighter. I believe that the controls were damaged. The pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft, and I baled out.

I landed in a tree about four miles N.W. of VILLEDIEU at 0030 hrs on 28 Jul. I was knocked unconscious, and the first thing I remember was sitting in a field and seeing my parachute and harness hanging on a nearby tree. I was unable to dispose of my parachute. My right arm and right leg had been injured in landing.

I hid my mae west and started walking S.E. After walking for about two miles I felt very dazed and decided to find a hiding place. I hid in a thick hedge until about 0600 hrs and then started walking North in an attempt to reach the Allied lines. During the morning I went into a field and turned my battle dress blouse inside out, and also used the needle and thread from my aids box to sew my battle dress trousers so that they resembled a pair of plus fours.

I then continued Northwards across country. During the afternoon I was find upon by some Germans from a Flak battery. Four single shots (probably rifle fire) came very close to me, but I was able to hide in the hedge. When it became dark I hid up in a hedge until the following morning (29 July). At about 0900 hrs I again started walking North. During the day I fed on hazel nuts and ate a few k*rklicks tablets. During the afternoon I again hid in a hedge, where I stayed until the following morning (30 Jul.).

At about 1000 hrs I went in search of some more nuts, and while I was peering through a hedge to see whether there were any Germans nearby, a voice said in French, « The Germans have gone ». The speaker was a French farm-worker. He took me to a nearby farm where my clothes were dried and I was given a meal. After the meal I became violently ill, and later I was given curds and whey. The farm was situated on the outskirts of CERISY-LA-SALLE. The people at this house informed me that an airman answering to the description of P/O BROOK of my crew had been there the previous day, and had purchased a suit of civilian clothes. They did not know where he had gone.

During the afternoon of 30 Jul. an American ambulance came along the road close to the farm and I stopped it. I was taken in the ambulance towards BREHAL where heavy fighting was in progress. On the outskirts of BREHAL I was transferred to a jeep and taken to COUTANCES where I was transferred to another jeep and taken to a reception hospital (position unknown).

At 0200 hrs (31 Jul) I was taken in an ambulance to a base hospital at ST. MERE EGLISE. I stayed there for a few hours and was then taken in a jeep to the beach East of ST. MARIE DU MONT, where I met Lt. Cmdr. WHITE who asked me a few questions with the object of establishing my identity. He then gave me a letter addressed to the captain of the H.T. Devonshire and another letter addressed to the O.C. troops on board. I went on board this ship and was brought to the U.K.

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