A young British mid-upper gunner

[av_heading heading=’Sergeant Ron Emeny RAF.’ tag=’h3′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=” link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kwi3xhk0′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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The fifth of the group of evaders in Journey to the Horizon is Sergeant Ronald Thomas ‘Curly’ Emeny RAF. This young British mid-upper gunner flew in Lancaster ND556, EM-F for Freddie of No.207 Squadron. The squadron was stationed at RAF Spilsby.

F-Freddie was shot down during the costly raid against Mailly-le-Camp, a German Panzer training facility in France on 3/4 May 1944. Emeny was severely burned. His crew mate John Pittwood stayed with him in a crypt near Rossières. The local resistance found them. Pittwood was taken to Paris where he lost contact with Emeny, evading via other means. Due to his burns, Emeny had to stay behind until he had recovered or died; a grave had already been dug. Once he was fit, he went to Paris, where he met the four other airmen with whom he was to continue south.

From Paris he travelled to Bayonne by train, escorted by two members of Comète. During the night of 5/6 June, all five crossed into Spain and were briefly interned until their embassies moved them to Madrid and Gibraltar. Emeny landed in England on 25 June 1944. He dedicated his later life to his French friends and to the East Kirkby Aviation Museum. He died on 8th December 2001, leaving his wife Jess and family.

He was a great man and a loyal friend to his helpers in France. I am proud to have been his friend. Next time we will write about the two aircrew of the two Lancaster bombers and their fates and experiences.
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Shotdown over France and escaped to Spain – Len Barnes No. 630 Squadron RAF

[av_heading heading=’Pilot Officer Leonard Alfred Barnes RAF ‘ tag=’h3′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=” link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kwhy6q7x’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Our third hero from Journey to the Horizon is Pilot Officer Leonard Alfred Barnes RAF. He was a Lancaster pilot with No. 630 Squadron at East Kirkby. /

East Kirkby is the current home of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre @RafHibaldstow (well worth visiting!!).
His Lancaster bomber ND530, P-Peter, was shot down during the night of 15/16 March 1944, returning from Stuttgart.

Len Barnes landed by parachute near Dravigny and was found by Rene Coigné, a member of the resistance. First hidden in Fère-en-Tardenois Len Barnes went to Paris to be handled by the Comète Line.

With the four other evaders there he was taken to the border between France and Spain.
On 4/5 June 1944, Barnes entered Spain and after a brief internment he was handed to the British embassy. Departed by plane from Gibraltar and arrived in England 25 June 1944. We will report later about the fate of his crew. Len Barnes was instrumental in the founding of RAFES, the organisation of former evaders. He was as an unassuming man, with a particular love for his wife Merville and his garden; the stuff that heroes are made of! He died in 1988.
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A rookie American fighter pilot

[av_heading heading=’2nd Lieutenant Jack Donald Cornett USAAF’ tag=’h3′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=” size=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” icon_color=” margin=” margin_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ icon_padding=’10’ link=” link_target=” id=” custom_class=” av_uid=’av-kwi0ijsd’ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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Our fourth hero is 2nd Lieutenant Jack Donald Cornett USAAF, a rooky American fighter pilot with No 375 Fighter Squadron of the 361 Fighter Group at Bottisham.

On his second mission flying P-47D Thunderbolt, 42-75219, E2-G with serial number 0-816632, his aircraft was hit by Flak while he was strafing Étampes-Mondés¬ir France on 27 April 1944. Jack force-landed near Arrancourt, south of Paris. Evading capture for a few days, he was found by loval Gendarme Marcel Dussutour and famer Lucien Pilian.

They helped him hide in a safe house. First the local resistance checked Cornett’s credentials and once satisfied they took him under their wings. He went to Paris and was handed over to the Comète Line. With four others, LtCol Hubbard, Major Willis, P/O Barnes and Sgt Emeny, he travelled to the Basque region of France and crossed the border on 6 June 1944.

After a few days of internment in Pamplona, he went to Alma de Aragon and Madrid. American embassy officials arranged for transport to Gibraltar. He reached England on 30 June 1944. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF having seen action in Korea and Vietnam. He died in September 1986.

He was one of the braves who ran rather than surrendered!
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