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March 12, 2010

Oroville Mercury Register
June 30
Meeker Tells How French Saved Him; His Plane Shot Down

(Continued from last week)

German Shot The Works
“Heading in toward our target we had everything thrown at us that the Germans ever made. Three Messerchmidts were coming in on our tail and some more on the nose of the ship. I was busy firing when a 20-millimeter shell hit the turret. It knocked me out. When I came to I saw that the emergency escape hatch was open. The sight of the open hatch probably saved my life. I hadn’t realized before that we were going down. “Almost all of us bailed out. I tried to take my GI shoes with me but couldn’t make it. In the decent my heated flying shoes come off. When I landed I spotted some brush and made a dive for it. I flattened out and lay still. I didn’t dare move. There were four of us who managed to find hiding places. The other will not be back. Lying there in the weeds I felt a twinge in my shoulder. I put up my hand and it came away covered in blood. I never knew when the flak hit me. I had not felt it.
He Needed A Smoke
“I had half a package of Luckies. I was pretty tense, so I smoked. I kept fanning the smoke away near the ground after every drag. We had been flying pretty steadily for many days, averaging only about five hours sleep a night. I was exhausted and finally fell asleep. “All of a sudden I was wide awake. I could hear foot-steps and I realized the sound had awakened me. The foot steps drew nearer and a man came into view. He was elderly and dressed in civilian clothes. He was carrying food, wine and cognac. I couldn’t understand a word he said but he was very expressive with his hands. He made me understand that he would come back. After dark he came to get me. I had to trust him. He took me to his home. His wife was there and their children. The woman washed out my shoulder wound with cognac. They poured a lot of cognac down me too. They Made Him Rest “I wanted to start right back to our lines but they made signs that I should go to sleep. They kept pouring wine down me and pretty soon I didn’t care what happened I went to sleep. Before day break they got me up. The man took me out in the fields where I hid. During the day German officers came to the house. They knew some of us had got away and they were trying to round us up. The Frenchman told them he had seen no Americans. “I spent two days in the fields. The weather was warm and the Frenchman brought me food. At night I would go back into the house. “One night I was told that two of my comrades were in the area. They asked me if I wanted to see them and I sure managed to make it known that I did. I had no idea from what outfit the “comrades” would be.(To be continued.)The following are from the papers given to me from Oroville Veteran’s Memorial Committee member, Alan Wixom From the War Department, Army Service Forces, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Washington, May 27, 1943 Mr. Glenn E. Wixom, U.S. Postal Department, City Carrier #4, Oroville, California. Dear Mr. Wixom: The Provost Marshal General directs me to reply to your letter of May 25, 1943, in regard to Technical Sergeant Wilton A. Wixom. To date, Sergeant Wixom has not been reported to this office as a prisoner of war. Every effort is being made to obtain a complete list of prisoners of war in the hands of the enemy and should his name appear, you will be notified. Sincerely yours, Howard F. Bresee, Colonel, C. M. P., Chief, Information Branch.

From the War Department, Army Service Forces, Office of the Provost Marshal General,
Washington, June 12, 1943, RE: Tech. Sgt Wilton A. Wixom
Germany – Camp unstated. Mrs. May Viola Wixom, Route #3, Oroville, California. Dear Mrs. Wixom: The Provost Marshal General directs me to supplement the information recently forwarded to you concerning the above named prisoner of war. Since the report received did not state the exact place of internment, it is impossible to write him at this time. It is believed that the accompanying circular #10 contains all information now available. When further information concerning his place of internment is received, it will be forwarded to you immediately.
Sincerely yours, Howard F. Bresee, Colonel, C. M. P., Chief, Information Branch.
(to be continued)

Stu’s Notes: The bravery of the French people who helped our Airmen, who were shot down, was unbelievable. They did it under a certain death sentence if caught, no questions asked. They would just be shot. But they did it time after time.

The Native Sons of the Golden West are hosting a Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner to benefit the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at the South Side Community Center, 2959 Lower Wyandotte Rd.. Tickets are available at the Oroville Chamber of Commerce Office. $10 each. The doors and bar open at 5:30pm and the dinner is at 7:00pm. There will be raffles and a desert table. You can call Kent Fowler at 693-1267 for more information. Let’s fill the South side Community Center up twice!. The Native Sons are going all out for us. Please support their effort, hopefully more groups will follow in their footsteps.