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Thread: SOE missions - After the landing in England.

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    Default SOE missions - After the landing in England.

    Bonjour,

    I have in hands the Escape and Evasion report from an american pilot and I have some questions by reading its notes. Here what he wrote: “A Hudson brought the whole group from the four separate operations of the night to a field near Bedford (…RAF Tempsford I imagine). Then we went to the country home of Major – censored – of the intelligence service.” These four SOE operations occurred in August 1944 and the No161 Squadron used the airfield of Winkleigh, Devon.

    It is possible to know where were sent all the passengers from these pickup missions at the time of their return in England? (...before being sent to London, to the U.S. Special Reception Centre for my pilot). Why they were sent there? This procedure was usual?

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    If they were brought out by a Hudson then they would have gone to Tempsford - Winkleigh was the forward base for the Lysander flight at that time. I can't see why a Hudson could not have brough all four at the same time.

    The only Major that I know of that used a country house was Major Bertram and his house was at Bignor, near Tangmere. However, there are several large contry houses in the Tempsford area.

    Do you have any dates for these operations?

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    Bonjour Bob,

    I forgot to tell that these four operations had been carried out by four Lysander during the night of August 5, 1944. Once arrived to England (Winkleigh?), the Hudson brought these people to another airfield. (It is the American pilot who writes in its E&E report "four different operations.")

    Regards,
    Frederic

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    I have checked 161 ORB and Hugh Verity's 'We Landed by Moonlight'. Verity's book has no operation for the 5th/6th but the ORB shows Ratcliff picked up 2 passengers from a field at 46. 51. 10 N 02. 22. 55 E

    Verity shows a double Lysander for the night of 2/3 Aug which picked up a Col H Zeller = 2 Americans, one with appendicitus. There is nothing in the ORB about this.

    Verity also show a pick up by a 267 Sqdn Dakota, out of Bari, and they picked up a US aircrew.

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    Thanks a lot Bob for these checks.

    The american pilot about which I speak was Lt.Raymond Murphy and he was picked up by S/L Len Ratcliff during a mission known as Dahomey.

    Regards,
    Frederic

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    Bonjour,

    Bob, I wanted to add to my previous message that the coordinates (46. 51. 10 N 02. 22. 55 E) are those of the clandestine field where Murphy was picked up. Otherwise in its E&E report Murphy says that two persons came down and he alone went into the plane along with packages enclosing microfilms and papers regarding Germans activities.

    When several operations were carried out the same night from an unusual airfield, it was usual to bring persons together at Tempsford before sending them to London? Any details about the flight of this Hudson in the ORB?

    Regards,
    Frederic

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    Default Raymond Murphy

    Hello Bob and bonjour Frederic,

    You may have an old edition of WLBM, because the table of operations on page 208 of the 2000 edition has the information that on the night 5-6 August 1944, S/L Len Ratcliff, DSO, flew R. Wackherr (BONNET) on a second attempt at operation DAHOMEY. It says the field was code-named 'CARPE', 800m NNE of Chavannes, south of Bourges, and that the Lysander brought back 'a quantity of documents and films on many works'. The passenger from France was "Raymond Murphy, an evading American aviator shot down near Bourges".

    Murphy and the other evaders picked up that night, American or otherwise, would have been brought back to Tempsford by Hudson for debriefing. Small details which they had observed during their time in France might prove important. Just as important would have been a briefing they will have received before they were returned to London and their units: to keep their mouths shut about everything and everyone they had seen, even this late in the war. They might find themselves back on operations a few days later, and if shot down their interrogators might have gained valuable information about the Special Duties squadrons or, worse, the names of the French people who had risked their lives to help them.

    Regards
    Deadrock

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    Bonjour Deadrock,

    Sorry to reply very late to your answer and thanks a lot for this correction about the mission DAHOMEY and these explanations. I am in touch with the French family which helped this airman and thus I can give them these additional informations.

    Warmest regards from France,
    Frederic

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