Oroville Mercury Register
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
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.