RAF veterans reunited 64 years after parachute escape

#1
this is unbelievable isn't it

sorry if this has been done before - couldn't find it by search function though



Two RAF veterans who last saw each other as they parachuted out of their damaged Lancaster bomber in 1944 have been reunited 64 years later.

Gunners Leslie Faircloth and Dougie Jordin were both 19 when they were forced to bail out over Paris during World War Two.

The men, both 84, were put back in touch after Mr Faircloth's daughter-in-law found a D Jordin listed in the phone book after her husband had researched the mission.

Mr Faircloth rang it and spoke to his old crew mate. "I had a job to speak to him; I shed a tear," he said. "It was the first time we had spoken for 64 years, since we shook hands, said goodbye and jumped out of the plane over enemy territory."

Now Mr Faircloth, from Wrexham, and Mr Jordin, from Blackpool, who are believed to be the last surviving crew members, have promised to stay in contact.

The two men met up on Sunday for a meal at a pub. Until the reunion, neither had known what had happened to the other after they left the Mark Three Lancaster in June 1944.

Mr Jordin recalled: "I landed actually in someone's back yard. It was cobbled and not a very good place to land really." After walking for an hour he saw a cottage with a light on. "I knocked on the door and an old lady saw my uniform, and whipped me inside."

Later, Mr Jordin made contact with the French Resistance but was betrayed and taken to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp where he remained until the end of the war in 1945. Meanwhile, Mr Faircloth said: "I was a bit luckier than Dougie; it must have been my schoolboy French.

"I came across a couple and they welcomed me and took me in. A local French police inspector gave me a French identity card and I became Jean Henri Le Paul. I got a travel card and they wished me 'bon chance'."

After a few adventures, including escaping from some German soldiers, he walked over the Pyrenees into Spain.

"I always hoped we would meet again," said Mr Faircloth. "It has taken a long time but we are still here to tell the tale."


i can imagine they shed some tears ... what a great day for them to see the other one alive
sometimes life is better than any story you could make up
 
#2
A fascinating story (especially the two guys meeting at the same house-what are the chances of that?) but I'm puzzled as to why they didn't know who had survived when they eventually got back to the UK and to their Sqn :?
 
#4
the_matelot said:
A fascinating story (especially the two guys meeting at the same house-what are the chances of that?) but I'm puzzled as to why they didn't know who had survived when they eventually got back to the UK and to their Sqn :?


Mr Jordin made contact with the French Resistance but was betrayed and taken to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp where he remained until the end of the war in 1945

perhaps they didn't get back to their sqn because the war was over
at least i can imagine this being a reason for let's say reserve troops
*i hope it is like that in the uk - i only know it's like that over here :oops: *
 
#5
great story. I'm glad the french copper was able to help him - I keep getting visions of the copper from 'Allo Allo' in my head!
 
#6
It seems Mr Jordin was unlucky enough to end up in Buchenwald concentration camp. He ought to have been sent to a POW cage. Does anyone have knowledge of other military personnel captured during regular operations being sent there? I seem to remember that certain VIP prisoners were ("Prominente"), as well as some of the Great Escapers but have not found information as to whether this was common German practise, at least regarding captured aircrew.
 
#7
björn said:
It seems Mr Jordin was unlucky enough to end up in Buchenwald concentration camp. He ought to have been sent to a POW cage. Does anyone have knowledge of other military personnel captured during regular operations being sent there? I seem to remember that certain VIP prisoners were ("Prominente"), as well as some of the Great Escapers but have not found information as to whether this was common German practise, at least regarding captured aircrew.

this is definitely not a part of history any german can or would ever be proud of
and i have to admit i struggled whether to answer your question or not

what i know from history lessons is that buchenwald was only for jewish - gays and criminals from '37 to '39
with the beginning of WWII more and more foreign soldiers and officers were kept imprisoned in buchenwald
end of war in '45 more than 90% of all prisoners were foreigners
and it wasn't only aircrews i'm afraid
 
#8
This is what I found on the wiki under Buchenwald :
"Allied airmen

Although it was highly unusual for German authorities to send Western Allied prisoners of war (POWs) to concentration camps, Buchenwald held a group of 168 aviators for about six months.[12] These POWs were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They all arrived at Buchenwald on 20 April 1944[13] (according to one source, on August 20, 1944[14]).

All these airmen were in planes which had crashed in occupied France. Two explanations are given for them being sent to a concentration camp: first, that they had managed to make contact with the French Resistance, some were disguised as civilians, and they were carrying false papers when caught; they were therefore categorized by the Germans as spies, which meant their rights under the Geneva Convention were not respected. The second explanation is that they had been categorised as Terrorflieger (“terror aviators”). The aviators were initially held in Gestapo prisons and headquarters in France. In April or August 1944, they and other Gestapo prisoners were packed into boxcars and sent to Buchenwald. The journey took five days, during which they received very little food or water. One aviator recalled their arrival at Buchenwald:

As we got close to the camp and saw what was inside...a terrible, terrible fear and horror entered our hearts. We thought, what is this? Where are we going? Why are we here? And as you got closer to the camp and started to enter the camp and saw these human skeletons walking around—old men, young men, boys, just skin and bone, we thought, what are we getting into?[15]

They were subjected to the same treatment and abuse as other Buchenwald prisoners until October 1944, when a change in policy saw the aviators dispatched to Stalag Luft III, a regular prisoner-of-war camp (POW) camp; nevertheless, two airmen died at Buchenwald.[16] Those classed as terrorflieger had been scheduled for execution after October 24; their rescue was effected by Luftwaffe officers who visited Buchenwald and, on their return to Berlin, demanded the airmen’s release.[17]"
 
#9
Several years ago I was tasked to parachute veteran aircrew of 'The RAF Escape Society' all of whom had been shot down, recovered by civil forces and in all instances fed into the 3 escape line systems which then existed.

The job was, to 'sport' parachute a small group of them into an area where a social had been arranged with a group of folks who had helped these particular crew members attempt to escape. The youngest of the parachuting group was 63 and the eldest 81.

Pre-training was undertaken at Weston, where selection for the drop into Belgium was done. No injuries, big p1ss up, egoes to the forefront, as for all of them it was a special moment to land and be greeted by the helpers who had originally met them. :D

One of the most gratifying tasks of my service life, even allowing for the herd of VIP's and one Belgium royal who were ensuring that theirs as well as my career would still be intact after the descent.
 

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