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, 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."

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