Who’s looking for Jimmy? – Update 2

The original will follow this other comment made by Dean.

I have a copy of the newspaper article, but it has been many years since I looked at it. However, I seem to recall it was a single vehicle accident and alcohol was a factor. I also want to emphasize, Herman van Amsterdam said he is writing a book, and he wants to explore what he describes as…”an emergency landing…”. If you want to write a book, as an historian you cannot describe this as an emergency landing! Abbotts bailed out. He departed the aircraft. He took to his parachute. If you insist on calling this an emergency landing you had better state God was at the controls. This aircraft was trimmed in a certain way, that when presented with the flight balance resulting from Abbotts’  unconscious body, tangled with the parachute draped over the antennae, the aircraft itself entered a very flat spin, in a circular descent, losing about five feet  of altitude for every full circle the diameter of which probably measured five to eight aircraft wing-spans. The touchdown was upright, and Abbotts was uninjured. Witnesses on the ground watched the whole thing, and they could not believe the pilot was still attached to the aircraft and survived.


Dean Black has commented on this post about Jimmy…

I contacted the Abbott family about ten years ago. The amazing story about Jimmy Abbotts is that he survived the crash-landing of his Spitfire. Few readers might appreciate from the brief description above, but Abbotts tried to bail out of his Spitfire, but his parachute got tangled up in the aircraft antenna and cockpit riggings. Miraculously, even though Abbotts was unconscious the aircraft entered a balanced and very shallow spin – no one was at the controls and Abbotts unconscious body was hanging out one side. As the aircraft spun in an ever-decreasing diameter turn it narrowly missed the top of a barn, by inches, before “landing” ever so softly in the field beyond. Everyone on the ground witnessed this “crash”, and upon reaching the aircraft Abbotts only just began to wake up. When I spoke to the family in 2003-2004 I learned that Jimmy Abbotts died in a drunk-driving accident in the 1950s. The family sent me a chunk of Abbotts propellor – something he had held onto for many years.

I will share pictures of Abbott with Pierre.

Original post

This researcher is.

I am working on a book about WW2 and still searching for additional information on Spitfire-pilot Jimmy Abbotts (403 Sqn). At the end of July 1943 he became a prisoner of war after an emergency landing in the village of Hillegom in the western part of Holland. After the war he returned to his hometown Owen Sound. I love to get in contact also with his family. Anybody any suggestions?

Herman van Amsterdam

Any ideas?

Robert Charles Medforth 403


Newspaper article dated 1944

Niagara Falls NY Gazette 1944 Feb-Apr Grayscale – 0237

4 thoughts on “Who’s looking for Jimmy? – Update 2

  1. Many thanks Dean Black for your surprising updates about the miraculous ‘bailing out’ of Jimmy Abbotts. Indeed, not an emergency landing…! Super that you added also the letter that was written by one of the Dutch eyewitness and additional Abbotts own story. All this information helps me a lot to get a much better picture of what happened that day. But my search is not yet completed. For instance…Abbotts has stated that he received several letters from Dutch people- probably also eyewitnesses- and hopefully these writings also still can be tracked. Beside that I will also put effort in gathering more details about what happened with the remains of the Spitfire and of course I am anxious to know about the impact this ‘crash’ had on the inhabitants of the small village close to the North Sea. So, still quite some pieces of the puzzle that still are missing. I will keep you all informed about my ongoing search.

    Herman van Amsterdam

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