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Thread: Flight Sergeant Henry Thomas JEFFREY, MM

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    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Flight Sergeant Henry Thomas JEFFREY, MM

    JEFFREY, Henry Thomas, Flight Sergeant (1392893, RAFVR) - No.158 Squadron - Military Medal - Awarded as per London Gazette dated 9 February 1945. Born 22 October 1918. Home at 15 Brondrater Road, Tottenham, London. Police constable; enlisted 24 June 1941. No published citation. Account of escape in AIR 2/9230 as follows:

    Other members of crew:

    W.O. Gibson, A.R.A. (R.130888), pilot, killed.
    W.O. Brayley, W. (R.108037), navigator, fate unknown.
    Sergeant Dowdeswell, P., wireless operator, fate unknown.
    Sergeant Williams, J., rear gunner, killed.
    Sergeant Robbins, mid-upper gunner, killed.
    Sergeant Turner, J., engineer, fate unknown.

    Capture: 11 April 1944
    Bailed out near Roye.

    On 10 April 1944, we left Lissett in a Halifax aircraft at 2030 hours. After we had dropped our bombs, we were hit by flak and our aircraft burst into flames immediately. I bailed out at approximately 0030 hours on 11 April and landed near Roye (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 5, N 43) in the Somme area. I hid my parachute and mae west in a bush.

    Walking approximately seven kms to the South, I arrived at St. Mard, a small village near Roye, where I contacted a peasant at 0700 hours. There, I received civilian clothing, and in the afternoon was taken by the F.F.I. to Paris, where I stayed approximately one month.

    At the end of that time, I took the train to Toulouse, in the company of P/O David Thompson, R.C.A.F., of 31 Clayton Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and 2/Lt. Richard Miller, of Cleveland Heights, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. In Toulouse, we stayed for five days until 13 May. We contacted four Belgians and with two Spanish guides took the train for the small town of Sarrangolin (France, 1:250,000, Sheet 39, Z 39) near the Pyrenees where we were arrested by German frontier guards just as we left the town. We had been told previously that this small town was unguarded, but when we left the carriage in single file behind our two guides, two German frontier guards saw us and, when we tried to escape, we were caught. Two of the Belgians gave their names as Sergeant Viermulen and Sergeant Dubois, both R.A.F.

    On 13 May, we were taken to Arrien (T 91) where we stayed overnight. During the night, we were badly beaten up by the German Gestapo there. We had to strip and were put against a wall and beaten with canes and with fists. I was treated in this way for three quarters of an hour. We were then taken by the Waffon S.S. to Tarbes (U 10) where we stayed for two days. On 16 May, we were taken to St. Michel prison in Toulouse where we met about 20 more Allied aviators. Amongst them were: Captain Henry Aldridge, U.S.A.A.F., T/Sgt. Henry, U.S.A.A.F., F/Lt. William Forster, R.C.A.F., P/O Murphy, R.A.F., and 2/Lts. Bangos, Hart, and Campbell, U.S.A.A.F. After about five weeks there, we were taken to a Wehrmacht Gofangnis in Fresnes, near Paris (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 7, S 03) where we stayed until 1 August. We were four in a cell. The food was poor, and we only got 15 minutes exercise per week and one shower in three weeks with no soap or towels.

    On 1 August, 60 of us were evacuated and placed under Gestapo guard on a train bound for Frankfurt, Germany. We were hand-cuffed in pairs, and I was partnered with Dubois.

    2. Escape

    During the night of 2 August, I picked the lock of my handcuffs with a small penknife which I was able to smuggle out of the suit-case which I had to carry. Dubois and I, pretending that we wanted to go to the lavatory, opened the handcuffs and left the train by the window. Dubois and I separated, he advancing much more quickly than myself, as I was injured in the leg and shoulder during my jump from the train. I made my way back through the German-Alsatian frontier approximately 10 kms outside Metz. At 1130 hrs, I contacted a farmer at Wavill (Sheet 9, U 65). I hid in a barn until 4 August. The farm people brought a doctor who attended to my shoulder and leg injuries. I walked from Waville for the whole day (4 August) and reached Dommartin La Chaussée (U 65). I stayed at a farm for a week.

    On 11 August, I contacted the Maquis who took me to Vieville (U 63). I stayed there in a Maquis camp for six days until 16 August. We were attacked by the Germans and had to retreat after killing about 36 of them. I helped the Maquis in these battles.

    On 16 August, I left the camp, and went to Hatton Chatel (U 54) where I contacted Dubois. We stayed together there until 19 August.

    A guide took us to an F.F.I. camp about 10 kms away. In that camp, we remained until 21 August. They then took us, together with three Canadians, to Toul in a Maquis van. From 21 to 25 August, we stayed in Toul with a Count who seemed to be some sort of leader in the F.F.I., because he told us a lot about the organization. We were very well looked after in that place. On 25 August, we were moved to the house of a small butcher in Toul where we stayed until 4 Sept. Toul was liberated on 2 September. I reported to a U.S. Major of C.A. and was sent back through C.A. channels (P/W & X), arriving in the U.K. on 10 September.

    Dubois, who had revealed his identity to a U.S. Recce force, has gone with them as a liaison officer and interpreter.

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    Jagan (4th January 2022)

  3. #2
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    Delaware, USA
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    Default Re: Flight Sergeant Henry Thomas JEFFREY, MM

    Great Story.

    Slight correction - JEFFREY's Service number is 1392693
    1392893 leads to A M TUCKER

    W.O. Gibson, A.R.A. (R.130888), pilot, killed.
    W.O. Brayley, W. (R.108037), navigator, fate unknown.
    Sergeant Dowdeswell, P., wireless operator, fate unknown.
    Sergeant Williams, J., rear gunner, killed.
    Sergeant Robbins, mid-upper gunner, killed.
    Sergeant Turner, J., engineer, fate unknown.
    For completion - All from Halifax BIII LW723


    Phillip P DOWDESWELL (1586209) detained in camp L3

    W E J BRAYLEY (R/108037)
    Last edited by Jagan; 4th January 2022 at 22:36.

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