Name Ralph Valentine Clingan JOHNSON Rank Sgt
Number 1545885 Date of Birth 14 Feb 1915
Squadron 75 (NZ) Squadron, Bomber Command, RAF    
Aircraft Stirling Crew position Bomb Aimer
Based at Mepal, north of Cambridge, UK    
Target München Gladbach, Germany Failed to return 1 Sep 1943
Escape Networks Possum Line Escape Lysander pickup (operation MAGDALEN II)
17 Nov 1943
Arrival home RAF Tangmere, Sussex, UK - 17 Nov 1943 Reference UKNA:SPG/1579 - Val Johnson
NARA:E&E/207 - Harold Maddox
NARA:E&E/206 - Fred Murray
NARA:RG 498/290/55/22/3 Box 30 - Paul Lemaire
NARA:RG 498/290/55/22/3 Box 34 - Albert Pierre

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Last updated on 5 October, 2010


Val Johnson at the Georgeton's home

October 1943

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Georgeton)

1 Sep 1943
Baled out & landed west of Weert, Netherlands (just North of Maastricht) at ~3:00.
Walked west for ~4 hours.
2 Sep 1943
At 07:00 headed west again, reaching a wood.
Stayed there all day and that night.
3 Sep 1943

Stayed at a cottage in Exel (N.of Hasselt, Belgium), where identity was confirmed by an English woman.
Taken by two gendarmes to M. Sols-Lensken, 66, Markt Str, Exel.
Visited by a doctor for a bad septic arm and knee.
Stayed until ...

6 Sep 1943

Taken by train to Neerpelt.
Stayed in a small cottage with Mme. Spelters, an old lady of 66 with six sons, until ...

10 Sep 1943
Taken by train to Antwerp. Stayed for a few hours at the house of M. Daelmans, 15, rue d'Orange.
Went by train to Brussels, with M. Daelmans, and from there to Virton, in the Ardennes, Province of Luxembourg.
Stayed with the local organist, M. Georges Hennaut.
11 Sep 1943
Left by train for Florenville (28 km. N.W. of Virton)
Stayed with priest until ...
~13/14 Sep 1943
Driven, by Louis Gerard, to Martue (2 km. from Florenville), and stayed with Paul Lemaire until ...
~30 Sep/1 Oct 1943
Driven by Dr. Albert Pierre to Sedan.
Then escorted, by another man, to Paris.
Met by Edgard Potier and taken to Suzanne Bastin.
Here there were seven other airmen, 4 Americans and 3 British.
Stayed until ...
6 Oct 1943
Taken by Potier to Quierzy (25km NE of Compiègne), with three Americans (probably John Desrochers, Ellis Klein and Fred Murray (USAAF)).
Stayed in a farm for three days, waiting for pickup.
Note: there was no scheduled pickup on this date. The next one was scheduled for 16/17 October 1943, which failed.
9 Oct 1943
No aircraft turned up; went back to Paris and from there to Reims.
Taken by Raymonde Beuré with Fred Murray to Sillery (~10 kms SE of Reims).
Stayed in a hut in a wood until ....
~13/15 Oct 1943

Germans started searching woods for draft dodgers, so moved to the home of the Georgeton's in Sillery.
Stayed until ...

~17/21 Oct 1943

Georgeton drove them to Mailly-Champagne (18 kms SE of Reims).
Stayed with Lea Chandelot, until ...

~9/13 Nov 1943
Remy Chandelot took them by horse and car to Reims.
Train to Fismes with Beuré.
Stayed with Lucienne Mulette until ...
15 Nov 1943

Taken by Beuré in a car back to Reims, from there by train to Paris and back to Bastin's apartment.

16 Nov 1943
Train to Chauny & then taken by truck to a small house in the country.
Met Georges d'Oultrement (MI9 agent), Charles Breuer and Stanley Chichester (USAAF).
17 Nov 1943

Aircraft pickup took place at ~02:00 (operation MAGDALEN II).
Landed at RAF Tangmere ~03:30; met by Major Langley.

[Note: this report was OCRed from the original and then edited]


Members of the crew

F/Sgt TV PARKIN (NZAF) Believed killed
F/Sgt T WATTERS (NZAF) Believed killed
Wireless operator
Sgt W HORRIGAN (RAF) Believed killed
Flight engineer
Sgt T SILCOCK (RAF) Believed killed
Bomb aimer
Sgt RVC JOHNSON (RAF) Narrator
Mid upper gunner
Sgt R GROVE (RAF) Believed killed
Rear gunner
Sgt A SAUNDERS (RAF) Believed killed

I was a member of the crew of a STIRLING bomber which left MEPAL, North of CAMBRIDGE, on 31 Aug at midnight to bomb MUNCHEN-GLADBACH. We reached our target and bombed our objective at 0210 hrs. On the homeward journey, there was a violent explosion in the aircraft. I remember reaching for ny parachute, but do not know how I got out. The next thing I remember was that I was in the air and in a cloud. I had severe wounds in one arm, one leg, and my face.
I came down at 0300 hrs (1 Sep) in a field , which I believe was somewhere W of WEERT (N.W.Europe 1:250,000, Sheet 3).

I buried my parachute in a hedge and ran along the rain road in a westerly direction. When it became light, I hid in a hedge in which I remained all day. At dusk I worked with my compass and. walked West for about 4 hours. My leg started to give me trouble and I lay low again in a bush in a field, I woke at about 0700 hrs (2 Sep) and headed West again, reaching a wood. Here I saw two Belgian woodmen, so lay low again, and stayed there all day and that night.

On 3 Sep I left the wood and at about 1100 hrs approached a cottage at EXEL (N.W.EUROPE 1:250,000, Sheet 3, 25 km, N. of HASSELT). I made my identity known and was beckoned in by a lad. I found a large family inside; the father told me, by signs, that he would fetch someone who could talk English. At about 1300 hrs a girl turned up on a bicycle, and, from this point, I was helped on my journey.


The girl who came, to EXEL (N.W.EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 3. 25 km.. N. of HASSELT) on 3 Sep on a bicycle was the daughter of an Englishwoman (name not remembered) whose father is:

Mr Alfred WOODIS
174, Houghton Grange Road,

She told me to remain where I was, and went home to inform her mother. At about 1600 hrs, the mother came and asked me several questions to identify me and said she would see a man in an organisation. I went to bed and stayed till about 2300 hrs, when two men woke me, and after stripping me of my badges and flying boots, took me by bicycle to another house quite near:

66, Markt Str,
(husband, wife, and child of six)

The men, who were gendarmes in plain clothes, left me here. I was visited by a doctor and nursed by the people for a bad septic arm and knee. I was given plain clothes and, on about 6 Sep, a man came and took me by train to NEERPELT (N.W.EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 3) to a small cottage.

(old lady of 66, six sons)

I stayed here till about 10 Sep, when another man came for me and took me by train to ANTWERP. In ANTWERP I stayed for a few hours at the house of:

15, rue d'Orange,

moving by train to BRUSSELS, under DAELMANS' guidance, and from there to VIRTON (N.W.EUROPE, 1:250,000, Sheet 6), I stayed here with the local organist:

M. Georges HENNAUT,

until 11 Sep when I left by train for FLORENVILLE (28 km. N.W. of VIRTON), where I stayed with. a priest till 13 Sep. I was then taken to MARTUE (2 km. from FLORENVILLE), staying there with a family:


until 30 Sep.A doctor who treated me here for my arm, got me away by car on 30 Sep to SEDAN, from where another man. escorted me to PARIS.

In PARIS I was met by a Captain MARTIN and taken to:

? rue de la BARRE,

Here there were seven other airmen, 4 Americans and 3 British, two from 218 squadron and one from 7 squadron. Captain MARTIN called for me on 6 Oct took three Americans and myself to QUIERZY (10 km. East of NOYON) where we stayed in a farm for three days, waiting to be taken off by air. No aircraft turned up, so we went back to PARIS, from there to REIMS, from where a girl took one American and me by car to SILLERY (Carte Michelin No. 56), where we stayed, first in a hut in a wood till 13 Oct, and then with:


till 17 Oct. We had to move from here, as the Germans requisitioned half the house, and were taken by car to MAILLY-CHAMPAGNE (18 kim. S.E. of REIMS), where the American and I stayed with:


M.CHANDELOT was a particularly staunch patriot, and kept us till 9 Nov. On. 9 Nov he took us, by horse and cart, to REIMS, and from there by train to FISMES, where we stayed 4 days with:

(a tailoress)

From here a girl took us by car on 13 Nov back to REIMS, from there by train to PARIS, and back to Mme. BASTIN.
On 15 Nov Captain MARTIN took two Americans and myself to QUIERZY and to a field some distance away, from which this time, the air operation was successful. We arrived in U.K. on 17 Nov.