[page last updated 14 May 2015]
EVADER INTERVIEW with Spr F Jacklin.
His observations of the enemy were taken on 6th Aug 1944 and his account of his evasion was taken on 7th Aug 1944.
[Note: this is a partial account of his evasion, due to the last portion of his interview being obscured]
Interviewed by Captain P.D. Murray, Information Officer
E & E Report ( part 1): [Escape and Evasion]
1. Service No. 14275964 Rank: Driver Name: Jacklin F
2. Decorations(USAAF): n/a
3. Were you wounded? No
4. Unit :(Army) 591 Para Sqn RE
5. Division: 6 Airborne Division
6. Job: Sapper
7. Date of Birth: 2 Feb 1915
8. Length of Service: 2 years
9. Peace time occupation: Biscuit Factory
10. Private Address: Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
11. Did you carry any form of identification? A.B. 64 Parts I and II
12. Do you speak Franch, or any other foreign language? -left blank-
13 & 14-questions apply to RAF personnel only.
15. Post in crew: No.4 in the stick
16. Other members of the crew and what has happened to them:Para personnel:
No.1 Major Wood PA (baled out) [POW]
No.2 Sapper Law (Baled out) [POW]
No.3 Lieut Oliveira (Baled out) [POW]
No.4 Dvr Jacklin (Baled out) Narrator [Evaded]
Spr Austin (did not bale out) [Killed when he jumped with his parachute ablaze]
Spr Bartlett (did not bale out) [POW]
Spr Youell (did not bale out) [killed in plane crash]
Spr Thompson (did not bale out) [killed while POW]
L/Cpl Branston (did not bale out) [Killed while POW]
L/Cpl Fraser (did not bale out) [killed while POW]
Cpl Kelly (did not bale out) [killed while POW]
6 Other Ranks names unknown did not bale out.
17. Type of aircraft, place, date, time of departure: Stirling Fairford 5 Jun 44 2330 hrs
18. Where and when did you come down? In area 2681, 6 Jun 44, 0100 hrs (approx)
19. How did you dispose of your parachute, harness and mae west? Hid under a hedge.
20. Were all secret papers and equipment destroyed? Plane on fire when I jumped.
E & E Report ( part 1): [Escape and Evasion]
MAP used 1:50,000 FRANCE 72/6 and 72/2
(1) Plane on Fire:
We left the aerodrome on the night of 5 Jun 44 at 2230 with objective Ranville (1173). As we reached the coast were hit by flak. A fire started immediately. We tried to put it out but did not manage to do so.
(2) Baled out:
The plane was rapidly loosing height. Major Wood PA, Spr Law, Lieut Oliverar [Oliveira], all of 591 Sqn baled out and I followed. I presume that Sprs Austin, Bartless [Bartlett], Youll [Youell], Thompson [Thomson G], L/Cpls Branston and Fraser, Cpl Kelly also sapper name unknown, all of 591 Para Sqn lost their lives with 5 Other Ranks names unknown.
(3) Landing 6 Jun 44:
I landed and fell unconscious but came to very quickly. I landed about 0100 hrs on 6 Jun 44 in the area 2681. As I came to, I saw a fire which I took to be the plane at approx a mile away to the West.
(4) Disposed of Parachute:
I managed to hide my parachute, Mae West and jumping jacket in a hedge and then proceeded to crawl along a hedge. I then heard German voices and crawled under a hedge and lay up.
(5) Started Moving 6/7 Jun 44:
When night came, having been able to take my bearings in the day time I proceeded in a Westerly direction. I did not make any headway as there were Germans and minefields all round. I lay up for the day.
(6) Seven days in same area:
The following seven days I did not manage to get out of the area (2580-2581-2680-2681). I was feeling very hungry and was losing my strength. The only food I had managed to find up to now was some unripe currents and a few gooseberries (small).
(7) Night of 14/15 Jun 1944:
In the day time I had seen the road Houlgate-Villers [Houlgate - Villier sur Mer D513]and decided to make for it. That night I made good progress. I crossed the Houlgate-Villers road then Houlgate-Branville [D24] (4003) road. I passed under the railway running parallel to the road and proceeded in a South Westerly direction. The only signs of German occupation was a minefield in one of the orchards. At daylight I hid in a wood (239794)
(8) German Movements:
As I was in hiding in this wood Germans were moving along the road and along the tracks each side of the wood. The ChÃ¢teau at 238798 was occupied by Germans. I lay there all day waiting for the night to move off.
(9) Night 15/16 June 44 Helped by two Frenchmen:
I proceeded in a South Westerly direction to a farm. A Labourer gave me some bread and butter and had by signs made him understand that I was hungry. He in turn made me understand that Germans were about. I then went to another farm where a labourer hid and fed me in a hedge nearby. I stayed there the whole day of 16 Jun 44.
(10) First contact meeting of Paratroops:
From approximately 1600 hrs 16 Jun to 4 Jul 44 my moves were arranged for me. During that period I met the following paratroops known to me as Taffy, Tom, Johnny and Shepperd, all four of 12 Para Bn. I also met Flight Lieutenant Rhodes, RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force] and two Canadian paratroops Romanco and Sinclair.
(11) Night 4/5 Jul 44 First attempt to reach British lines; Germans fire on us:
F/Lieut Rhodes took charge of the party. We were 16. With the help of a map and compass we got through to Gonneville sur Merville [Gonneville-en-Auge](160766) and then we proceeded down the road to Bréville [Bréville les Monts](134745). At approximately 0400 hrs 5 Jul 44 at about 1 mile down the Gonneville-Bréville road the Germans opened up on us with two machine guns. We dropped down and split up. I made my way back to Gonneville. On the way I met F/Lieut Rhodes and soon after we were joined up by two paratroops Romanco and Taffy.
(12) 5 Jul 44
At daybreak we hid under a hedge for that day. In the early hours of 6 Jul 44 we went into an empty house. The village of Gonneville was very damaged. The civillians had been evacuated.
(13) 6 Jul 44
At approx 1400 hrs two Germans came into the house. We were in the attic and could hear the come up. The first one to come up saw us and dived down the stairs shouting. As they were crossing the yard I gave them a burst with a sten gun.
(14) Leave the house:
We then gathered what we could of our kit and ran out of the house. Running down a lane we saw a trail of blood, so we turned back in the opposite direction. We hid in an orchard and held a conference to decide on future plans. Meanwhile we could hear the noise of the Germans, most certainly looking for us.
(15) Second attempt to reach British lines:
In the meantime we decided to make another attempt at getting through our lines. We made for Sallenelles (131769). On the outskirts of Sallenelles we came upon what appeared to be very strong German positions well guarded and surrounded by minefields. We lay and observed. We saw that we had no chance of getting through as the area was being constantly patrolled by German troops.
(16) Move back:
We turned back on our tracks. We passed in between Gonneville (160766) and Merville(155781) and then moved in an Easterly direction through the swamp. On our way we saw an isolated barn 200 yards on our left in the area 1777. We decided not to shelter in the barn but to push our way back to the friendly house where I had been sheltered previously.
(17) Spotted by paratroops in hiding:
While waiting for nightfall to cross open ground we heard a whistle coming from the barn and saw somebody coming towards us. I immediately recognised him as a paratrooper. He asked us to come to the barn and join the party he was in. As they had some food to give us we decided to join them for a night.
In the barn we met the rest of the party consisting of five paratroops. One of them was called Peacock; I think they all belonged to 8 Para Bn. Three of them were full Corporals. We fed there and spent the night.
(18) 7 & 8 Jul 44 Shells from the sea:
We stayed in the barn to rest, but while we were there shells from the sea were falling pretty close.
(19) Barn hit and one man wounded:
At dusk on 8 Jul 44 a shell went through the roof. Taffy was the only man wounded out of the ten of us. He had a piece of shrapnel in a hand and another in a knee.
(20) Night 8/9 Jul 44
After this incident we decided to move back to the friendly farm. The party split in to two groups. The first group with arms was moving about 100 yrds ahead of the second which had no arms. On reaching the road junction at 184774 we heard two shots. Not knowing the cause of these shots, we in the second party decided to go back to the barn. We spent the day there.
(21) Night 9/10 Jul 44 move to friendly farm:
We left the barn at approximately 0200 hrs and made our way to the friendly farm. In the course of the journey we split up. I and Romanco made for the farm. We reached it at daylight to find it in ruins. We spent the day of 10 Jul hidden in the garden of the farm.
(22) Visit of the owner's wife:
In the evening of 10 Jul 44 the wife of the owner came to try and salvage a few of their belongings. From her we heard what had happened.
(23) Stay in farm:
We stayed in the farm on the 11 and 12 Jul 44. Both days the owner's wife brought us some food.
(24) Discovered by the Germans:
At about 1600 hrs 12 Jul 44 two Germans came down to the farm. We just had time to hide behind the cider barrel. On seeing the...
The remainder of the interview has unfortunately been glued on to another document and cannot be detached to be read. The Squadron History compiled by Major Jack states:
"A few weeks before the Division started their great advance to the Seine, a bedraggled unshaven parachutist arrived at Divisional Headquarters, announced that he had just swum from Franceville to Ouistreham, and asked to be directed to 591 Parachute Squadron. It was Driver Jacklin, one of the ten who had jumped with Major Wood from the ill-fated Headquarters plane on D-day. Failing to join up with any of the others, he lived for a month in the country around Franceville, sheltered from time to time by French peasants, and making repeated attempts by night to make his way back through the German positions. He had no success for they were thickly held and every yard of ground was covered. Finally he decided to make his way to the coast and swim to the British held beaches across the mouth of the Orne. To reach the sea he had to work his way through a deep minefield, a task it took him three nights to accomplish, making his progress on the "one man land" at the end of each night to lay up nearby during daylight. Reaching the sea, he was fortunate in finding that the current was not against him but even so, swimming strongly, it took him five hours to cover the 2½ miles to Ouistreham beach. The garrison of Ouistreham, their minds full of rumours of German "swimming saboteurs" would not be convinced by his story and he was sent under escort to the Airborne area."
Appendix "B" to Escape and Evasion Form
Service No. 14275964
Name: Jacklin F
Date: 6 Aug 44
Evaluation of informant's credibility: 1.Reliable 2.
Credible3. Questionable4. Undetermined.
1. The château at Varaville was being used by the Germans as an HQ. The Château is situated at 189759. (Personal Observation)
2. The German traffic was only seen on the road Varaville (1875) Periers en Auge (2276). The traffic consisted of horse drawn vehicles and cycles. The other roads were clear of traffic. No heavy traffic on the roads for weeks. (Personal observation.)
3. Bridge at Dives 219792 had been damaged but was repaired by timber. (Personal observation)
4. German strong point at 143792. (Personal observation)
5. No signs of enemy in western outskirts of Franceville Plage (1578) (Personal observation)
6. Civillians from village West of River Dives evacuated to Race Course at Cabourg prior to 20 Jul 44 . Inhabitants of Dives evacuated as far back as Honfleur. (Hearsay-told by F/Lt Rhodes.)
7. Heard several explosions in Dives as if the Germans were destroying town.
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