Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945


Evader chart: E0051
SGLO Date crash Aircraft
T2276 05-05-43 Wellington
MilRank First Name(s) Name
Sgt. Leonard Francis James
Milregnr. Nationality Born
AUS414299 Australian
Returned Y/N Evader Fate Date Captured/Liberated Place Captured/Liberated Escape Line
No EVD-POW 8 May 43 Heino -
Evader Story
						Sgt. Leonard Francis James was the pilot of Wellington HE530. The bomber was shot down and James bailed out. He landed in a woody area at about two miles south-west of Marienberg, between Hoogeveen and Almelo. On the ground James took 'swift precautions regarding chute etc.' and then headed for 'wooded country'. He slept in these woods a few hours until the morning of 6 May. After he had made an escape plan with the help from his escape kit he began walking westwards. James only used secondary roads. He arrived in the vicinity of Dalfsen, where he (again) slept in a wood. In the morning of 7 May he approached a house and knocked on the door but the inhabitants refused to open it. He then moved in the direction of Zwolle and knocked at the door of a doctor's house at about three kilometers east of Zwolle.  The doctor took James in, gave him food and milk and advised the airman not to enter Zwolle.

As James wanted to try to reach Belgium, he walked now southwards. Later that day (still 7 May) he met a young Dutchman who took the pilot to a small farmhouse of his family. Here James again got food and drinks. James - still wearing his dark blue Australian battle and cut down flying boots - dress walked 'another 30 kilometers' the following night. He arrived in the village of Heino in the morning of 8 May and asked a farmer's family of a small farm if he was allowed to sleep in the barn. This was granted and the farmer's son told him that he would wake him at 11 AM.

He was indeed waked up at this time, but not by the farmer's son bt by two policemen. They led him to a small covered cart that took him to the police station of Raalte. Here he was told that he would be handed over to the military authorities. A police car brought him to Zwolle and from there he was transferred to Amsterdam where he spent one night in a cellar. From the capital he went to Dulag Luft near Frankfurt and then on to a PoW camp.

* The National Archives, London, WO 208/3329/112
* The National Archives, London, Liberation Questionnaire L.F. James.