Sgt. Clifford Webb MBE.
Royal Air Force 21 Squadron
from:Much Wenlock, Shropshire
We believe that my father Clifford Webb was captured twice.
This article was found which was probably written by our father to his mother after the second capture/escape. If anybody can shed some light on Clifford Webb, it would certainly be most appreciated !
The article Letter home from Sgt. C. Webb, RAF, from “Woodside”, Homer, aged 24 years. C. 1940.
We were shot down in France, near Calais, on June 14th, by six Messerschmitts, but nobody was injured, so we tried to make our way back to England. We found a little boat three days after the crash, but had no chance to stock it with food and drink.
Our oars were very weak and soon broke. The upshot of it all was that we were in the channel for three days without food or drink and not a stitch of dry clothing on us. One of my companions died on the last night and the two of us left were washed back on the French coast, still behind the German lines.
We hid for two days to regain our strength, and started walking to Le Havre about 50 miles away, but abandoned the idea as the port was too closely watched. Then we tried to get work on the farms, posing as Belgians, but failed because we had no identification papers. We begged bought and stole food and civilian clothing during this time.
Eventually we decided to go north and try to cross the Channel again, but were unlucky enough to walk into a hidden German aerodrome, just south of the Somme. We were stopped and questioned; I was the only one speaking French. They found out my companion was English so I was taken as well. This was on the evening of July 1st.
I don’t know how I escaped, but all the people in this camp are the same. Some of the escapees from crashes are nothing short of miraculous.
Report of incident near Calais.
14/06/1940: Merville, France.
- Type: Bristol Type 142L, Blenheim Mk. IV
- Serial number: R3742,YH-?
- Operation: Merville
- Lost: 14/06/1940
- Pilot Officer William A. Saunders, RAF 40756, 21 Sqn., age 20, 14/06/1940, missing
- Sgt W.H.Eden PoW also initialled H.W.Eden
- Sgt C.Webb PoW
- Airborne from Bodney. Crash-site not established. Last seen being chased by Me109s.
- P/O Saunders has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Mmemorial.
- Sgt W.H.Eden on his 30th operation evaded until captured July 40 near Doullens after spending 3 days in a rowing boat and interned in Camps L1/L6/357, PoW No.87.
- Sgt C.Webb was also captured with his comrade but was interned in Camps L1/L3/L6/357, PoW No.76.
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