Bailout over Normandy: A Flyboy's Adventures with the French Resistance and Other Escapades in Occupied France. By Ted Fahrenwald. Philadelphia, PA: Casemate Publishers, 2012. Photographs. Maps. Pp 286. $19.95 Paperback ISBN 978-1-61200-474-7
In Bailout over Normandy, Mustang pilot Lieutenant Ted Fahrenwald tells his story of being brought down by ground explosion over Normandy and his subsequent "odyssey through German-occupied France." This is a true "there I was" veteran's story told in the first person.
As a young 22-year-old pilot, Farenwald was assigned to the 352d Fighter Group, the "Bluenosers," stationed in Bodney, Norfolk, England. On June 8, 1944 (two days after D-Day), Fahrenwald's P-51 was mortally wounded when a truck in a convoy he was strafing exploded. Shortly after he realized he wouldn't be able to make it back to England, the Mustang's engine froze. Fahrenwald quickly hit the silk and parachuted into German-occupied Normandy.
Shortly after parachuting, Fahrenwald was met by Maquis French resistance movement members. What followed was time on the run from the Nazis while waiting for Allied forces to liberate their hiding location. When the Maquis are nationalized into the Free French Army, Farenwald was "drafted" into the Maquis. This would be short lived as he set out with a fellow aviator in search of Allied forces and return to service in England.
On the run and trying to pass themselves off as displaced Frenchmen, Fahrenwald and his fellow airman were captured by German Forces. Once interred in a temporary prison camp in France waiting further relocation to Germany, Fahrenwald immediately began planning his escape. While on a work release party, he was able to escape and begin an extremely tense journey through heavily fortified German-held territory. After staying with a French couple, he was finally liberated by American Forces. But his expectations of a quick trip back to England were thwarted by Allied attempts to detain him to make sure he wasn't a spy. Finally, after evading the German military for months, he did return to England.