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.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

A great article about the recent journey to film our group in the footsteps of Bud Owens for our documentary appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette yesterday. This has been a very successful first stage of the project but a lot more work still needs to be done. Please consider making a donation via Paypal to help us make it all happen. Thank you!
 Click here to read the article.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Local interest...

A recent article and video from the "Orne Combattante" about the ceremony at La Coulonche on 4 July 2015 in memory of Bud Owens and the 3 other members of his crew listed on the memorial there. A sincere thank you to the people of La Coulonche, Mr. Louise, Lecoq and Chochon, mayor and deputy mayors of the town, the flag bearers, the Messei band and all those present.

Click here to read the article,  and here to see a short video clip on You Tube.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Ardennes American Cemetery

Final day. We pay our respect at Bud Owens' grave at the Ardennes American Cemetery. No further comments necessary...

Pont d'Arinsal

Today we mounted Port d'Arinsal. It was a very challenging hike (11 hours!) and one can easily understand why Bud Owens and two of his fellow evaders did not make it in 1943 seen the conditions they faced. Plenty of time for our group to contemplate and meditate before recieving a wonderful welcome by the people of La Massana (wich Arinsal is part of). Please support this great project by making a donation via Paypal.

Guide Paul Williams leading the way across the snow...

Arrival in Andorrra!

Day six...

We discover the barn where Emile Delpy brought Bud Owens and the other evaders to spend their first night on their journey to Spain.

Our group, following in their footsteps, is doing well in spite of higher elevation and the added distance. Unlike the Owens party in 1943 we get lots of food and some sleep in before the third day of the hike.
Tomorrow the dreaded last day accross Port d'Arinsal (2739m/8985ft) into Andorra....Please help us fund this documentary project by making a donation if you can via Paypal. Thank you!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

From Massat to Suc...

Day 5. Our first day of hiking akong the Bud owens trail. From Massat along the Port de Lers to Suc. A lot was learned and in the evening the group met with the grandson of Emile Delpy, who guided Owens and the other airmen in 1943.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Day 4 of our documentary shoot in the footsteps of Bud Owens. The group arrived in Saint-Girons, visited the Freedom Trail Museum and met a French evader, concluding the day with a number of interviews. Tomorrow is the beginning of the 3 day hike accross the Pyrenees. Updates will depend to a certain extent on wifi access. In the meantime you can help make this documentary a reality by making a donation via Paypal.

In the train station in Toulouse after the night-train from Paris.

The Hotel Eychenne is the last remaining hotel in Saint-Girons that welcomed evaders during World war Two.

Colleen signing the registry in the Freedon Trail Museum in honour of her uncle, 'Bud' Owens...

Monday, 6 July 2015


3rd day of filming for our documentary in the footsteps of Bud Owens. Our participants discovered the story of escape and evasion in Paris and met with Michèle Agniel member of the Burgundy network. Please keep up the support for what is going to be a powerful testament of the bravery of evaders and their helpers.

Hayley Hulbert and Louis Hatet in the restaurant where Bud Owens stayed just before his transfer to Toulouse

Louis Hatet and Michèle Agniel. His great grandfather and her father were deported to the same concentration camp for helping downed airmen.

Day 2...

The second day of the Bud Owens documentary project. An early start for an historic march from Champsecret to Saint-Bomer-les-Forges. Today also marked the 72nd anniversary commemoration of the crash of Bud Owens' B-17 and a moving ceremony was filmed at La Coulonche. Later that day the group left Flers in Normandy for Paris where we will discover the next chapter of Bud's journey! Please keep supporting our project if you can via Paypal. Thank you!

Louis Hatet talking about his great grandfather, André Rougeyron

The team with local support beside the monument in la Coulonche at the end of the ceremony

Mr Doucet kindly brought along one of the oxygen tanks from the B-17, the damage caused by fire from the German fighters a sober reminder of the events of 72 years ago

Filming in Flers outside the school where 'Bud' was hidden
Just before departure for Paris.... the team with Vanessa and Russ, whose willingness to offer their invaluable help is much appreciated.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


A fantastic first day of filming in La Coulonche, Sainte-Opportune and Champsecret, Normandy! We met some wonderful people and discovered a few amazing places revealing the events surrounding the start of Bud Owens' odyssey in France during the summer of 1943.

Walking to the site where the B-17 crashed.

To get the right shot, certain measures need to be taken...

Talking to the Duval sisters, witnesses to the crash in Val des Vees

With Mme Gandebeouf, daughter of resistant Anré Geslin.

Please continue to support our project. More updates to follow daily.... Thanks.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

This is it!

Tomorrow we start filming our documentary "In The Footsteps of Bud Owens". Please consider making a donation to this great project (contact budowens381@gmail.com or via Paypal). Your gift WILL make a difference. Not the least for the Owens family who will be able to add a final chapter to the story of their beloved uncle who gave his all during WWII.

Above are three generations of that family- Bud's brother Jim Owens, Colleen Brennan, Bud's niece, and Hayley Hulbert, Bud's great-niece. Colleen will be accompanying Hayley on this pilgrimage.

Here are a few words from Colleen:

"My father, Jim, was one of 10 Owens children, 8 years younger than Bud.
Little was known about the events following the crash of Bud’s B-17 on its return from a bombing mission to Le Mans on 4 July 1943. The Owens family was notified by the War Department that Bud was MIA. An older brother, Joe, also served in the war and spent some time after the war trying to discover anything about Bud. He met with resistant Andre Rougeyron who told Joe of the events with Bud from 4 July 1943 with the French Resistance in Normandy & Paris. After "handing-off" Bud to other resistors in Paris, Mr. Rougeyron's commitment was to other downed airmen in the Normandy area and had no idea of Bud's fate.
In January 1946, the family received a letter from the American Red Cross Home Service Department with an attached letter from Andre Rougeyron dated 22 November 1945. Mr. Rugeyron wrote that he was "very grieved" to learn of Bud's death. He "appreciated his qualities and good humour, his pluck and presence of mind; he was a swell, indeed and I mourn his death like that of a dear relative."
I've asked my father why did Uncle Bud do what he did---risk his own life on more than one occasion : during a bomb-loading accident in England, ensuring that the his semi-conscious radio operator was strapped into his parachute and released from the crippled B-17, assist another ailing escapee on the trek thru the Pyrenees at the cost of his own chance of freedom. Those standards instilled in Bud, in my father, in all of the Owens' by my grandparents and recognized in Bud by Mr. Rougeyron, are something I strive to emulate daily."