Exhibition of the engine from Thomas Hudson's plane shot down on the grounds of Bernières-le-Patry
on August 10, 1944, in the midst of the Battle of Normandy, an American P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber was hit by German anti-aircraft defense.At the point of impact, the aircraft exploded, scattering numerous pieces of debris, while the heavier engine sank deep into the peat of the wet meadow near "le Bisson".
Once located, excavation of the area in September 2009 brought to light remains that had been lying here for 65 years. the star-shaped rotary engine was in a good state of preservation, sheltered from the air thanks to the clay. the discovery of this relic reminds us of a history that few people knew, at the time the population had been evacuated.
The existence of this site was forgotten as time went by.
it was appropriate to safeguard it before the rare witnesses to this history disappeared.
This is why the Association du Patrimoine de Bernières-le-Patry has chosen to highlight it by exhibiting this piece under shelter built in January 2012.
Here's what Thomas Hudson wrote to his superiors in 1944; I was shot down on August 10, parachuted out and was captured by the Germans. they gave me a headquarters or front doctor of my leg which was broken in the parachute jump. then they put me in a jeep, took me to an aid station to spend the rest of the night. we traveled all night in a convoy of tanks and armored vehicles. on august 11, how much the general hospital in Évreux ,France. i stayed 4 days then was taken to a general hospital in Paris, until i was released.
all along the roads I travelled, the results of the allied bombing raids were devastating. the Germans were taking wounded people to hospital, they were taking ammunition into the ambulances. Enemy morale seemed very low during the time I was a prisoner. Civilian morale, especially around Paris, was very high.
on August 18, the Germans evacuated around 150 allied prisoners from the hospital to a prison camp. A French nurse had hidden me in the hospital attic, so I missed the train to Stalag No. 2. The following day, the Germans decamped. From then until August 27, the French forces of the Interior took care of us, and very well indeed. 27 we were in American hands, and evacuated for the UK 5 days later.
Another document, the MACR or Missing Air Crew Report, was drawn up after the loss of Thomas Hudson's plane by his crewman James Priore, who was flying alongside him in his P-47. What a surprise it was for the latter to be contacted by the Heritage Association in 2009! Then in his nineties and living in Michigan in the USA, he still remembered the event vividly