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.

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