The Ones Who Got Away: Mighty Eighth Airmen on the run in Occupied Europe (Hardcover)

The Ones Who Got Away: Mighty Eighth Airmen on the run in Occupied Europe By Bill Yenne Cover Image
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A remarkable collection of accounts of intrepid American aircrew shot down over enemy lines during World War II and how they got away.

To be an airman in the Eighth Air Force flying over the war-torn skies of Europe required skill, tenacity, and luck. Those who were shot down and evaded capture needed all of that and more if they were to make it back to friendly lines. These are their stories. Each is compiled from the original intelligence debrief written by the pilots or aircrew themselves.

Bill Yenne details how a spider web of escape routes sprang up, created by the local Résistance. Downed airmen were clothed, given false papers, and hidden so they could be smuggled back to England. These efforts were then supplemented by Allied intelligence agents. But the risks remained the same. Capture could mean death.

Their accounts are sometimes funny, often heartbreaking. P-47 pilot Joel McPherson feigned appendicitis and was able to escape from the local German military hospital – after he had his appendix removed. He spent weeks operating as a getaway driver for a Maquis bank robber gang before making it into neutral Spain. Bomber crewmen Fred Hartung and Norman Therrien found refuge at a French château, but later nearly froze to death crossing the icy Pyrenees with the Gestapo on their trail. The accounts of these men and others from the Mighty Eighth make this a story of defiance, foolhardiness, and bravery against the odds.

About the Author

Bill Yenne is the author of ten novels and more than three dozen non-fiction books, his most recent being America's Few: Marine Aces in the South Pacific (Osprey, 2022). His work has been selected for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Reading List. He is the recipient of the Air Force Association's Gill Robb Wilson Award for the “most outstanding contribution in the field of arts and letters [as an author] whose works have shaped how thousands of Americans understand and appreciate air power.” He lives in California, USA.

Praise For…

“In The Ones Who Got Away, Bill Yenne deftly weaves the individual stories of American airmen into an epic adventure tale of downed aviators on the run and the French, Belgian, and Dutch civilians who risked everything to help them dodge the Gestapo and escape occupied Europe.” —Steve K. Bailey, author of 'Target Hong Kong'

The Ones Who Got Away which reads like a suspense novel…” —War Bird Forum

“Yenne had done a masterful job of weaving the stories together while considering overlapping time frames and diverse locations. His skill in using the escape and evasion reports results in the book reading like a thrilling novel…This book is an important addition to the historiography of the Eighth Air Force and the air war in general. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in aerial combat during the war.” —ARGunners

Diligent and intriguing historical research puts readers, alongside fugitive English airmen, and resistance hosts, firmly on occupied territory from 1942 to 1944. Readers will gain knowledge about their obstacles and successes.” —Library Journal

“Highly, Highly Recommended … A Perfect Christmas Gift… these tales of bravery have been resurrected from the archives, their words still afire with adrenalin. Bill preserves the indomitable sprit of these airmen and the unwavering bonds of those who helped them escape.” —ARGunners

exhilarating…WWII history buffs will devour this.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781472858719
ISBN-10: 1472858719
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English