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The Journey Starts

After our plane had caught fire in the cockpit and number three engine, I bailed out at 18,000 feet, following the radio operator, pilot and copilot through the Bombay. I did not delay my jump and coming down I counted three chutes in the distance before landing in a clump of trees.

My chute was caught in a tree but I got it untangled after I had cut myself out of the harness. It took but a few seconds to bury the chute under leaves and brush and then thinking I could hear bicycle patrols approaching along a road I ran through the woods toward a small town.

Before I got there I decided it was best to stay away from towns just then and keep to the woods. I heard woodcutters at work but avoided them and hid in some brush for the rest of the day.

In the evening I walked to a road. A truckload of laborers passed under German guard while I waited to cross. I was in a large wood and not wanting to wander around after dark I climbed a tree to look for houses. In the distance I heard a dog barking and travelled in that direction, hoping to find a farm house. It was after dark when I reached it, so I waited on the edge of the wood until dawn. A woman came out for firewood. I approached her, after making certain that she was alone, and asked for help. She got very excited when she heard I was an American airman and told me to wait while she called her husband. I was taken in by these people and from there my journey was arranged.