Veteran Stories:
Gordon Stacey

Air Force

  • False identification carried by A. G. Stacey ("Francois Bierna") while evading capture. This card was forged by the Belgian Underground Resistance using the photo provided in Stacey's escape kit. May 1944

  • Message received by Stacey's mother from the R.C.A.F., stating that Flight Officer (F/O) Stacey had been reported missing. April 30, 1944.

  • This D-ring ("Rip-cord") was used by G. Stacey to parachute out of his Halifax Bomber. He was attacked by German night fighters over Maastricht, Holland, on his way to bomb a marshalling yard and viaduct at Montzen, Belgium

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"I landed in a ploughed field and buried my parachute and started to walk in a southwesterly direction. My idea being to get as far away from the scene of the crash possible"

Transcript

My name is Gordon Stacey. I served in the RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force] during World War II in the European theatre of operations in bomber command. I was a navigator on a four-engine Halifax bomber in 434 Squadron, which was nicknamed The Bluenose, because our Commanding Officer was from Nova Scotia. On the night of April the 27th-28th, 1944, we were briefed to bomb a rail junction in the eastern part of Belgium by the name of Montzen. Not too far from Aachen which is a major railway centre in western Germany. But on the way in to the target, over the city of Maastricht in Holland, we were attacked by a [Junkers] JU88 night fighter and he shot us down. We were ordered by our pilot to bail out and three of us were able to do so successfully. The other four and our seven-man crew perished in the crash in Limburg Province in Holland. I landed in a ploughed field and buried my parachute and started to walk in a south-westerly direction. My idea being to get as far away from the scene of the crash as possible. And after two nights of walking, and hiding out in the daytime, I eventually found myself in Belgium and took a chance and hid behind a farmhouse. When the lady came out to milk the goats in the barnyard, I revealed myself and from there they eventually got me into the Belgian [Resistance] underground. I was with the Belgian underground in the city of Liege until the American 1st Army came through and liberated us in September, 1944. And eventually got back to England a couple of weeks after that. The biggest part of all this, of course, is the help that I received from the people in Belgium and my bomb aimer, likewise, received similar help from the people in Holland. And he got back to England a few days before I did. Our flight engineer, the third survivor, was captured the first day after we were shot down and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp. Although, towards the end of that period, he did escape with some other friends, was taken prisoner again by the Russians and was their guest for two or three months and eventually did get back to England. Not enough can be said about the bravery of the people who helped others like myself. These people were laying their lives on the line. Not only theirs but the family's. And unfortunately, many of them were picked up and many of them were executed for their activities. But I still keep in close touch with their families.
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