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Library Reference Number: 016

The Long Way Home

Jack Little, Scottish Saltire Branch, ACA.

Completing my training as a Navigator at No.32 A.N.S. in Canada, I returned to UK for further training at A.F.U and then OTU at Abingdon and St. Eval. From April, 1943, I flew anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay from our base at St. Eval. Then, by complete contrast, I was posted to No. 158 Squadron in June, 1943, this time flying Halifax aircraft I was engaged in bombing missions over Europe.

On 16th July,1943, after completing 8 operations over Germany, we took off on a further mission, but on this occasion we were attacked and shot down while nearing our target at Montbeliard in France. Fortunately I managed to bail out of the damaged plane and managed to land by parachute without being detected by German troops. Instead I was picked up by French people who, at great risk to themselves, proceeded to hide us from the Germans. After eight weeks in concealment, it was decided the time was opportune for a move. We were guided over the border into Switzerland, where we received some interrogaton to establish our identity and we were eventually released from internment. Plans were then drawn up for our hopeful return to UK, and considering the hostilities in Europe were at their height, we realised this might be rather a difficult process. This realisation proved to be correct, and our return journey took us into southern France, into Italy, over to Africa and eventually back to UK in August, 1944.

On taking off from Lissett in July 1943, little did we realise it would take us over a year to return home. In any case, my return led to further training. In May 1945, I embarked on an Empire A.N.S. Course at Shawbury. This led to my qualification as an Instructor and I completed my R.A.F. service in this capacity at No.5 A.N.S. Jurby until Dec. 1945.

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