Journey to the Horizon

Escape and Evasion during World War II

Hans Onderwater; Brian Lissette

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Journey to the Horizon

paperback/ gebrocheerd: € 24.99: GRATIS verzending! (NL)

ISBN: 9789083086019, geïllustreerd, 272 blz., April 2021, Engels
Formaat: 24.0 (h) x 17.0 (b) x 1.9 (d) cm. Gewicht: 583 gram.

Uitgever: Nedvision Publishing

trefwoorden: geschiedschrijving luchtmacht militair neerstorten pilotenhulp raf rnzaf tweede wereldoorlog us air force

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‘JOURNEY TO THE HORIZON’ tells the story of three fighter pilots and two Lancaster crews who were shot down by the Germans. It follows them on the run, hiding, in captivity and in some cases in death. They were Britons, Canadians, New Zealanders and Americans. Five of them met in Paris while being guided by members of the Comete Escape line, others evaded in different ways. Some endured the harsh life in a POW-camp, while in one case an airmen even ended up in Buchenwald concentration camp. Those who died now rest at various cemeteries in France.

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over de schrijver(s)Hans Onderwater MBE (1946) is a historian, researcher and author from the Netherlands. He was a teacher and a member of the National Reserve Corps of the Royal Netherlands Army for 40 and 30 years respectively. Hans is also the historian of No.II (Army Co-operation) Squadron, the oldest fixed-wing Squadron in the world. He wrote three books about this famous RAF Squadron. As the secretary of the Food & Freedom Foundation Hans was involved in the commemorations of Operations Manna and Chowhound, the Allied food drops over starving Holland in April and May 1945. Hans was secretary of the Netherlands Coastal Defence Museum, governor of the War and Resistance Museum in Rotterdam and chairman of the Documentation Group 40-45. Hans identified several airmen who were buried. He also found the next of kin and arranged for visits to the graves and crash sites of their loved ones. For his research, his many publications and much other work Hans did in the service of the Netherlands, HM Queen Beatrix made him a member of the Order of Oranje-Nassau. In January 2017 HM Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain honoured with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Since 1974 he has written 27 books about World War Two, of which a number were also published in English. He also co-operated in the making of a number of documentary films in Canada and the United Kingdom. Hans is married to Marjoan since 1970. They live in Barendrecht, not far from Rotterdam.

Brian Lissette (1941) is a 30 year veteran of the New Zealand Police. He researched the history of his uncle Warrant Officer Leslie Lissette RNZAF for some 20 years. He united descendants of the crew of the Lancasters ND530 and ND556, who reside in Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand. He paid tribute at his uncle’s grave in the French town of Chaintreaux, France in 2015. He located Hans Onderwater in 2017 via a Google search. Since then the joined forces to write this book. Brian hosted Hans and his wife Marjoan at his home in February 2020 during their visit to New Zealand. There they decided to work together. This is their first joint project about men who fought, died, endured or evaded capture. It also honours Warrant Officer Leslie Lissette, who gave his life staying at the controls of a burning Lancaster, ensuring the safe descend by parachute of his crew, and Pilot Officer Leonard Barnes who did the same but who escaped death in the cockpit. Brian married Jean in 1967. They reside in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
inhoudsopgaveCONTENTS.
Foreword: Patricia J. Willis-Giles, wife of Donald Kenyon Willis. 7
Foreword: Angela Barnes, Amanda Burrows and Glynis Spencer, daughters of Len Barnes. 8
Maps: Silk Escape map; Escape and Evasion Lines to Gibraltar; The Journey. 9
The People: The Travellers and their aircraft; The Lancasters and the crews. 12
Introduction: Hans Onderwater MBE and Brian Lissette. 15
1. A VIOLIN FOR FINLAND. 20
American furniture maker Don Willis goes to Finland to fight with the Fins against the Soviets. He joins the Finnish Air Force. After the ceasefire he escapes to Norway, joins the Norwegian Naval Air Service and escapes again, this time to the Shetland Islands.
2. EAGLES FOR ENGLAND. 52
Pilot Officer Don Willis’ adventures in Canada and in Great Britain as a fighter pilot with No.121 Eagle Squadron RAF; his transfer to 4th Fighter Group of the USAAF.
3. MY NAME IS MONTGOMERY. 66
Saturday 13 November 1943. American bombers attack Bremen. Lieutenant Colonel Tom ‘Speed’ Hubbard of 355th Fighter Group lands by parachute near Mariënberg, Holland and finds helpers.
4. AIRCRAFT FAILED TO RETURN. 77
The night of Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 March 1944. The RAF bombs Stuttgart. Lancaster ND530 LE-P Peter, No.630 Squadron crashes near Mont-sur-Courville, Marne, France. Pilot Officer Barnes and Sergeant Walker land by parachute and evade capture.
5. TELL MY WIFE I’M OK. 99
Monday 10 April 1944. The first successful American Droop Snoot mission against Gutersloh airfield. The forced landing of Major Don Willis of 67th Fighter Wing and his successful escape from the town of Oud-Gastel, in the south of the Netherlands.
6. STRAFING. 120
Thursday 27 April 1944. P-47 Thunderbolts of 361st Fighter Group attack the airfield at Etampes-Mondésir. The forced landing and evasion of 1st Lieutenant Cornett, who is on his third mission.
7. BLIND! 129
Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 May 1944. The RAF attacks a German tank training camp at Mailly-le-Camp. Lancaster ND556, EM-F for Freddie of No.207 Squadron crashes in flames. Pilot Warrant Officer Lissette, struggling with the controls to enable his crew to jump, dies with rear gunner Sergeant Ellis. Flight Sergeant Pittwood and Sergeants Emeny and Stockford evade capture. Sergeant Wesley is captured.
8. LANCASTER AIRCREW AFTERMATH. 152
The story of the surviving air crew members of Lancasters ND530 and ND556 and that of some people and situations connected to them.
9. THE LAST TO LEAVE. 181
The journey from Paris via Bayonne and the Pyrenees, to Madrid, Gibraltar and to England by Hubbard, Willis, Cornett, Barnes and Emeny.
10.DISASTERS AND SALVATION. 199Comète is infiltrated by German agents; many members are arrested, incarcerated, tortured, or killed. The fate of the organisation is in the balance.
11.EPILOGUE. 207
The end of World War 2. Reconstruction of an escape; conversations and meetings between March 1978 and February 2020.
HORIZON-170x240.qxp_Opmaak 1 19-03-2021 17:44 Pagina 5
6
12.APPENDICES. 230
A. Eagle Squadrons; Yanks in the RAF. 230
B. Escape and Evasion; A duty at all times. 233
I. General instructions.
II. What information should be given to the enemy?
III.What the enemy will try to find out from you.
IV. How the enemy will try to learn these things from you.
V. How can you defeat the enemy?
VI.What else you can do to defeat the enemy.
C. Another successful evasion. Crewmembers of Lieutenant Victor Ferrari 236
D. Comète. 240
E. Security checks in and Escape and Evasion Organisation. 244
F. List of successful transport of evaders, compiled by Comète. 246
G. Escape and Evasion Reports. 248
1. Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas H Hubbard USAAF
2. Pilot Officer Leonard A Barnes RAF
3. Major Donald K Willis USAAF
4. 2nd Lieutenant Jack D Cornett USAAF
5. Flight Sergeant John Pittwood RAF
6. Sergeant Ronald T Emeny RAF
7. Sergeant Ken Walker RAF
H. Service record of Donald Kenyon Willis. 254
I. Information about Thomas H. Hubbard. 255
J. Targets on the day the evaders came down. 256
13 November 1943 Bremen – LtCol Hubbard
15/16 March 1944 Stuttgart – P/O Barnes and crew
10 April 1944 USAF Droop snoot against Gutersloh – Maj Willis
27 April 1944 USAF Bomber escort and suppression of German fighters – 2Lt Cornett
03/04 May 1944 Mailly-le-Camp – W/O Lissette and crew
K. Letters written by relatives and airmen before and after crash (Ken Walker). 258
L. Acknowledgement and biography. 266
Abbreviations and Photo credits.
Acknowledgement.
Bibliography.
Abbreviations and photo credits.
Other books and articles written by Hans Onderwater MBE
toelichtingAlmost 40 years after the publication of the acclaimed Dutch version of the book, known Dutch historian and author Hans Onderwater MBE recently finished ‘JOURNEY TO THE HORIZON’, the epic story of Escape and Evasion during World War Two. This time he did more research, ably assisted by retired New Zealand police officer Brian Lissette, whose late uncle is one of the airmen mentioned in the book.

‘JOURNEY TO THE HORIZON’ tells the story of three fighter pilots and two Lancaster crews who were shot down by the Germans. It follows them on the run, hiding, in captivity and in some cases in death. They were Britons, Canadians, New Zealanders and Americans. Five of them met in Paris while being guided by members of the Comete Escape line, others evaded in different ways. Some endured the harsh life in a POW-camp, while in one case an airmen even ended up in Buchenwald concentration camp. Those who died now rest at various cemeteries in France.

Main character is Donald Kenyon Willis, an American pilot who fought with the Fins against the Russians in 1940, then joined the Norwegian Naval Air Arm against the Germans, escaped to the Shetlands, joined the RAF as one of the first Eagle Squadron pilots, until he joined the USAAF. After the war and a spell as a base commander in Austria and Germany he became a test pilot in JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) experiments from Wright-Patterson Air Base in Ohia.

He was one of the last five airmen to evade capture via de Pyrenees, the night before D-Day with American Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas H. Hubbard and 2nd Lieutenant Jack Cornett and Britons Pilot Officer Len Barnes and Sergeant Ron Emeny.

In the book Onderwater and Lissette also tell about the sometimes dreadful experiences of the fellow crew members of Barnes and Emeny after their two Lancasters crashed in France. In the course of the research Hans Onderwater followed the same evasion route, meeting the helpers who risked their lives, crossed the Pyrenees on foot with the Basque guide of 1944 until he too reached Gibraltar. He visited Stalag Luft 1 Barth on the Baltic coast and Stalag Luft 3 Sagan in Poland, Buchenwald near Weimar and Ravensbrück near Berlin. He spoke with the five airmen or their families and corresponded with the others. During the last forty years he interviewed over 100 people who were in some major or minor way connected to the airmen and their experiences.

Brian Lissette, being a policeman, managed to find relatives of all airmen involved in the three fighters and two bomber aircraft. Himself being connected to one of the airmen he followed an amazing trail which ended at the grave of his uncle Warrant Officer Leslie Lissette, who stayed behind the controls of his burning Lancaster until the living members of his crew had successfully jumped. When it was his turn the aircraft was too low for him to be able to take to his parachute and Skipper Lissette died in the aircraft.

The book is a rare example of intense research by two determined men, who visited each other and became friends. The book is the result of mutual interest, friendship and a quest for the truth and must be read to understand the experiences of the airmen, the resistance members and the families who had to wait for many months to know the fate of their loved ones.
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