Left: GIBRALTAR 25 Oct 42.
R.A.F. Service: (and Polish Air Force) 6
I believe that Sgts. PYTLAK and JANIK were killed and that the others were captured by the Germans, having been wounded.
I came down in a field near a road outside village. I tried to get my parachute off the barb wire fence in which it had become entangled, but I heard people approaching and had to leave it. I saw the aircraft burning not far away, and run off in the opposite direction through hedges and across irrigation canals. I finally hid in a hedge, remaining there that night and the next day. In the evening (28 Aug) I went to a house. The people were scared, but gave me a glass of milk and told me I was outside EINDHOVEN. Itried walking South, but had to turn West because of canals on my path. I was afraid to walk after midnight because of the curfew, so I hid in a field and went to sleep. Next morning (29 Aug) I left the field and hid in some bushes. In the evening I went to a farm, near which our aircraft had crashed. There I got food and had my wounds dressed (I had been hit by a shrapnel in the back and a bullet in the arm). A friend of the family brought me civilian clothes and I spent the night in bushes.
On 30 Aug I walked along the road and stepped outside a town which I believe was EINDHOVEN. I did not enter the town till evening, and then, because my compass had gone wrong, I lost my sense of direction, and walked about in the town till 2300 hrs. At length, after crossing two canals, I managed to get clear of the town and into fields, where I stayed overnight.
In the morning (31 Aug) I walked across country till I reached HOKSTEL. (I was able to identify the town from a parish notice in the church). I walked for a time on a road, but, as there too many cars and motorcycles about, I got into fields and up to a canalized river BEERZE. I kept South through fields and along tracks to a small town. there I gave a peasant 20 gulden to bring me food. He asked to wait in the fields, but he did not returned. I ate some more chocolate and Horlick's tablets and continued walking. In the early evening I met a worker cutting grass in a filed, and asked him how far I was from a frontier and how best to cross it. When I said I was in the R.A.F. he gave me a drink of coffee and one of his two sandwiches. He told me that I crossed a wood and railway, I would be in BELGIUM. I followed his directions, but after I had crossed the railway I found from a small Flemish boy that I was still in HOLLAND, and that the frontier was 2 km away. On the hearing that I was R.A.F. the boy called his sister, who brought me food and milk. The boy promised to put me in touch with smugglers who would be crossing the frontier. In the morning the boy returned as he promised, but looked very frightened and explained that the smugglers could not take me, as the Germans had killed three of them last night. he left me after giving me directions to the frontier.
I returned to the bushes to think things over and decided that I could best approach the frontier by pretending to be a field worker. With a stick in my hand I walked slowly South, stopping every now and then as though working. I kept off the roads and paths and well into the middle of the fields. On the way I crossed a number of small canals. Once I found a cow and drove it before me for a time. Leaving the cow in a field, I crossed an orchard and got on the road. A workman in front of me turned around and saw me, so I could not get off the road. When I overtook him, I asked where I was, explaining I was in the R.A.F. He said I was near AUCHEL, and and I knew I was now in BELGIUM.
I kept walking South, but I was very tired and my feet were giving trouble, as the old shoes which I had got in HOLLAND were almost worn through. I came on a farm, where a number of priests were working in a garden and outbuildings. I called to one who was walking in the garden reading a prayer book. I asked him if he spoke German, but could not make him understand me. I showed him my identity cards and said: "RAF". He said: Wir mussen sie abgeben." (We'll have to hand you over). I put my hand in my jacket pocket as though I had a revolver and, backing away, indicated to him to stay where he was. He began to shout, and another priest came up. By this time I was a fair distance away, running very fast along a small canal. Shortly after that I saw first one priest and then another one bicycles, and then a policeman in a black uniform. Next soldiers on motorcycles appeared, patrolling the road slowly and looking all around. Later, when all was quiet, i crossed the road and got into bushes beside a canal. I followed this canal and in time reached a larger canal, which stood higher then a surrounding country and along which ran a road. On the road were people on bicycles. I had to cross the canal. Luckily, I found a smaller canal flowing through a culvert under the large one. I waded through the water, which was knee-deep, and out at the other side. I had now decide to make for Central BELGIUM, where French is spoken. I slept the night in bushes. Next morning (2 Sep) I met a worker in the fields. I explained that I was in the R.A.F. and asked if he could sell me boots or shoes. The man took me home, let me shave and wash, and gave me a clean collar and a pair of white tennis shoes. He was a poor man, and I gave him 150 Belgian francs. He told me I was in LIMBOURG. At this house I had a piece of bread to eat, which gave me terrible stomach ache. I continued walking, and that evening I passed HASSELT. I slept the night in bushes in a forest.
Next morning (3 Sep) I walked on to RYCKEL, SW of HASSELT. here, for the first time in my journey, I stayed in a house. The people were very pro-British and kept me for a night and a day. Among the things they gave me were socks and talcum powder for my feet.
On 4 Sep I walked, still alone, through ST. TROND. By this time I could scarcely walk for blisters on my feet, but by evening I had got South of NETHEN. That day I spoke to a man in the fields. when I told him who I was, he said: "Why are you making trouble. Why don't you give yourself up?" I slept the night in a field.
On 5 Sep
walking through the FORET DE MEERDAEL, I had almost decided I could go
no father, when I saw an isolated house. Here I found shelter and was
put in touch with an organisation.