S:Sgt Francis 'Bud' Owens was a waist gunner on B-17F 42-29928 when it was shot down over the Norman countryside in 1943.
The aircraft was part of 533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group(H), and was taking part in a raid on the Gnome-Rhone plant in le Mans on July 4th when it was attacked by Messerschmitt Bf-109s and finally crashed near the small village of la Coulonche.
Three of the crew of ten perished when the 'plane hit the ground, two of those who baled out were quickly captured. With local help, the remaining five attempted to make their way down to neutral Spain with a view to re-joining the fight against Nazism.
Four of them made it to Spain but 'Bud' Owens, a man who on many occasions had put others before himself, was to die of exposure in the Pyrenees, aged just 21. He now rests in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium.
Please follow our project to honour and remember 'Bud' Owens and support it if you can. Thank you.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Yesterday was a very full, interesting and hopefully productive day spent in the Orne filming for a short promotional video about our documentary project on Mighty Eighth hero Bud Owens.
The mayor of la Coulonche, Bruno Louise, met us at the town hall.

A local newspaper journalist also interviewed association member Geert about the project.

With the assistance of Val de Vée resident Monsieur Chochon,  we visited the field where 42-29928 came down.

Association member Sean Claxton took several photographs and many minutes of movie footage.

 Towards the end of the day in the Orne, we visited the farm where the Geslin family lived. André Geslin's daughter, Janine Gandeboeuf met us there with her husband and related many, many incredible stories about the farm during World War Two. The barn behind the Gandeboeufs and Geert is the very same barn where Bud Owens and Olof Ballinger were hidden for 36 days. The barn's survival is somewhat remarkable, as the farm itself was later burnt down by the Gestapo.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Original 1943 silk escape map

We would like to sincerely thank Mr. Paul Clifford for a wonderful donation to our cause! This original 1943 AAF silk escape map is in excellent condition and will be put up for auction in order to fund some additional support for our project. It is this type of map that Bud Owens and his buddies recieved as part of their escape kit. This copy will come with a picture of our group at Port de Rat, Andorra signed by all participants in our documentary and will go to the highest bidder. More info soon....

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Official Support

Things have been very busy behind the scenes with our project, and we are very pleased to announce that we recently recieved official support from the Eighth Air Force Historical Society and its birthplace chapter in Savannah, GA. We are most grateful for their financial support to our project and for allowing us to use their official logo on our promotional materials.


Please click on the logo above to visit their website.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

This past weekend association member Geert Van den Bogaert was in Savannah, Georgia to gather support for our project from the Mighty Eighth Air Force Historical Society's founding chapter. An ideal opportunity to visit the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force and its completey renovated B-17, the "City of Savannah" at the same time!

 The starboard waist gun from the outside.

 Geert inside the fuselage manning the waist gun, thinking of 'Bud' Owens in the same position on 42-29928.

With Geert here is another 'Bud', 'Bud' Porter, a World War Two 8th Air Force veteran, 'Bud' was a ball-turret gunner and is now a volunteer at the museum.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Don't forget you can click on the links in the text above to read more about specific topics and subjects. These pages will be continually updated.