Last comment made by Dean Black
And, here is the correspondence that followed the original letter
Department of National Defense for Air,
Attn: Air Historian
Museum Material – J.17204, P/O J.E. Abbotts
1. Enclosed herewith is a letter received at this Headquarters through HQ B.A.F.O. and the R.C.A.F. Staff Officer, Fighter Command, from Albert Philipps of 29 Ambachstraat, Hillegom, Holland.
2. The pilot was J.17204, P/O J.E. Abbotts, now repatriated, who was missing from 403 Squadron in Spitfire aircraft BS.509 on the 29th July, 1943, although on that particular mission, 12 Group Ramrod 22 to Amsterdam, he flew with No. 421 Squadron.
3. Steps are being taken to secure this propeller from Mr. Philipps for onward transmission to you and to make enquiries regarding the tie pin to which he refers.
(W.R. Thompson) W/C
for A.O.C.-in-C, R.C.A.F. Overseas.
814-3RD Ave., W.,
Owen Sound Ont
Concerning the letter that I received from Hillegom, Holland in connection with my crash landing.
I would like very much to have it; I was very lucky to come out of it alive, and must have put on quite a show that day. I don’t remember much about it so if I may have the letter, I would appreciate it very much.
Copy YOUR FILE S24-5-7 (AH) 814-3RD Ave., W.,
Owen Sound Ont
May 20, 1946
W/C Hitchins F.H.
I received the piece of my Spitfire propeller. Thank you very much! You also asked me to tell you about that day, July 29/43.
My Squadron was 403 but I was flying No. 3 with 421 Sqn (short of pilots). After checking the Forts out North of Amsterdam, we were sweeping up and down at 30,000 feet.
I spotted 2 – ME 109s below. Winco ‘Johnny’ Johnson told me to keep an eye on them; finally he said ‘Go after them’. I rolled out of the formation and was just coming up nicely through the odd puff of flak when something hit me; lots of oil and smoke. I fired anyway but was out of range.
I started towards the North Sea but the engine quit, and a 109 was rolling over above to attack – I spun away to about 4,000 or 5,000 feet and decided to bale out. I rolled over and came out but hit the fuselage and was knocked out. When I regained consciousness, the shoulder strap of my parachute was around the aerial mast. I was hanging on the right hand side of the a/c, the a/c was right side up, wings level and in a nice glide. I held on with one hand and tired to tear the chute out, but I was getting too close to the ground. I decided that it was all over. And thought ‘I’ve had it’. I passed out. I woke up 3 hours later save in the arms of – Germans.
Several letters from Dutch people tell me that the a/c just missed a house, belly-landed, jumped a ditch, went through a hedge and started to burn while I was still hanging on. They cut me free.
That’s the story Sir if you can make it out. An English-speaking German said ‘One in a million’. I guess that he was right.