histoire d'une forteresse volante abbattue à Saint-Colomban, près de Nantes, le 4 juillet 1943
1943 - 2004
July 3,4,5, 2004
# 42-5053
crash on July 4, 1943
in St-Colomban
Focke Wulf
into grand-lieu lake
10 young
american boys
B17 technical
Ralph D. McKee
(his escape)
Pilot escape
thanks to
american families
Ralph D. McKee escape

Lieutenant Ralph McKee, Londres, June 1943 3. Two young French

While I was contemplating these moves, there was a rustling in one of the hedge rows and a voice was calling " Camarade ". Two boys (1) about fifteen years old came through the hedge. I was relieved to see that they were not wearing uniforms. As the boys approached, I sat up with difficulty, and got to my feet. Fierce pains had shot through my back when I got up from the ground, but they eased a little when I was standing. I knew only a few words of French, but I could understand that they wanted to help me.

One of the boys helped me remove the parachute harness and Mae West life preserver. He indicated that I should follow the other boy, while he hid the flying gear. I followed him across the field and crawled through the hedge.

Two bicycles were lying by the side of the road. The two boys must have been following my parachute as it drifted down.

We mounted the bicycles and started pedaling down the narrow road. Pain was racking my back and I wasn't sure I could ride any distance. With the extra spurt of energy and determination that is available in emergencies, I was able to stay about twenty feet behind my cycling companion. We rode through a small village(2) were several German soldiers were lounging in the street. They glanced at us but took no especial notice. Why hadn't they recognized me as an escaping American flier? I was wearing flying coveralls and a flight jacket which had a brightly colored squadron insignia sewed on the left breast. I had been foolhardy to tempt fate in this manner. I would have to be more cautious

(1) In fact, Marcel Biret and Célestin Dugast. Marcel Biret was aged 27 years and Célestin Dugast 21 years! (dead in 1950)
(2) Hamlet of Ouvrardière in St-Philbert de Grd Lieu

Read Marcel Biret

[Top] [Next]

Page 1 to 11

1. Damaged engine
2. Parachute
3. Two young french
4. The farm
5. Around the lake
6. In the city
7. By train
8. By Bus
9. Spanish border
10.In prison
11.Back to England
PW and K Detachment
Military Intelligence Service

RAPPORTS N° 88 & 89

I landed in a wheat field. My only injury was a shell-fragment in the palm of my left hand. Feeling sturned I lay down to rest but two boys rode up on bicycles and helped me unbuckle my chute. One of the boys hide my chute and Mae West while the other took me, on the bicycles, to a famhouse about four kilometers away. I was hiden in a hayloft after being given civilian clothing and food. The next day a Frenchman who spoke a little English, came to see me. He examined my escape Aids Box and took with him one of my escape phtographs. I did not see him again.