Phil Elger/Bill Evans - Bailing out

Running time
2 min 16 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


On our twentieth trip we went to a place right on the far eastern side of France on the German border and coming back we, out of the blue, came two fighters, apparently, which we didn't see and they came from underneath up front I guess because none of our gunners could see them.

Next thing as far as I was concerned, I was sitting there waiting for a message and there was this awful noise and I could see bullet holes next to me and there was flame and we carried a thing called, a target indicator I think it was called, about that size, and it issued smoke and it was for dropping and the navigator would take a bearing from the smoke.

Well that got hit in the plane and it was just a mess, you know. Next thing, next thing the pilot said, you know, abandon and anyway I could see our rear gunner, our upper gunner there and I tried to get him out but couldn't. He must have been hit.

We had several attacks and there was no response from the rear gunner so we thought he must have got hit too.

The plane was on fire and a very fast fire it seemed because we had no engines at all because on the first attack we lost two engines and on the second we lost the other two.

So, he we are with four engines on fire. What does one do? Well the pilot said 'Abandon ship' and so we did and that was it.

I jumped out and lost a shoe on the way down and just landed in a forest in the middle of France.

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