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, 28 June 2017

Visit to Ridgewell and Halstead

Last weekend Geert Van den Bogaert, Louis Hatet and Sean Claxton took a trip over to Essex to visit the airfield and museum at Ridgewell and attend the UK premier of "In The Footsteps Of Bud Owens".

Louis and Geert beside the memorial to the 381st BG by the museum

Before the film showing, the opportunity was taken to have a ride around the perimeter of the airfield, stopping at the monument commemorating those who died in the accident on 23rd June 1944.

It was of course for his life-saving actions dutring this incident that Bud Owens was awarded the Soldier's Medal.

Geert, Louis and Sean on the remains of the old main runway
In the afternoon the documentary was shown in the Empire Theatre, Halstead. A huge thank you to the folks at Ridgewell and those who run the theatre for all their organisation and hospitality.

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