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
french witness

Paul Guibert - december 2000 (73 years old)
"I can remember the arrival of this paratrooper at the farm"

It 's my brother who found a paratrooper, folding his parachute, close to my parents' farm in the hamlet of Villeda. I can remember the arrival of this paratrooper at the farm. Only speaking a few words in French, he kept repeating "partir, partir" ("leave, leave").
But first of all, he had to be hidden. During the night, he hid in a haystack inside the barn. And during the day, he went to ground in a field of broom, Joseph would communicate with him by sign language or whistles when it was all right for him to come out of hiding or to bring him food.(1)
Immediately, my parents got in touch with the priest or Doctor MENAGER in St Philbert de Grand Lieu. And 3 or 4 days later, on this Sunday of 1943, three men came by bicycle to the farm. Their arrival had been announced in advance. They were from "Rezé" or "Ragon" town and dressed in overalls as if they were coming for supplies. In fact they were from the Résistance and they were coming to get in touch with the paratrooper to organise his escape. The following day , I believe, these three men , elegantly dressed in white coats, came back in an ambulance. They bandaged the paratrooper's neck to simulate a throat problem.(2) This way, in the event of an identity check on the road, the paratrooper was supposed not to be able to talk in order to avoid revealing his foreign accent and his origin.
In short, He stayed barely a week with us. The day he left, he gave us his address. We hid it in a gate hole. But the day when we wanted to find it, it had disappeared. Strange…As for the parachute, had been hidden by Baptiste GAUTIER in the hamlet of Redour. The paratrooper's uniform had been burned by my mother. Unfortunately, we heard later that the paratrooper had been killed in Germany.(3) Another paratrooper was supposed to have come down in the hamlet of Ratonnière but was apparently wounded in the leg and arrested by the Germans.

(1) Read the pilot William Wetzel escape
(2) The witness did not know that the pilot had three pieces of flack in his right cheek!
(3) Not true. Bill Wetzel came back to USA.


le pilote William Wetzel 27 ans
Identity photo given by the pilot when he left the Guibert family