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Allied and Soviet Air Forces Please use this forum to discuss the Air Forces of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

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  #1  
Old 25th September 2005, 18:33
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robert_schulte robert_schulte is offline
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Defected Allied Pilots?

It is well known, that several German pilots defected early or later in the war to Allied countries or occupied zones. I have now read about the sole US-pilot Martin Monti to defect to Germany (via Italy).

Were there any pilots from other Allied air forces who did the same? And if so, what was thir fate in or after the war?
Thanks in advance
Robert
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Old 25th September 2005, 20:28
Michal Michal is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

One of them was Czechoslovak pilot Augustin Přeučil. As pre-war Czechoslovak military pilot he tried to go to Poland after occupation of rest of Czechoslovakia on March 15 1939, but he was captured by Gestapo and later say OK for collaboration. He managed to escape to Poland once again but this time with Gestapo assistance. He became part of Czechoslovakian exile unit in Poland, them France and finally at Great Britain. He became member of 310. Squadron and defected in 1941 with Spitfire by training flight as member of 55th OTU. His Poland pupil thought he had crashed in sea. But he flew to Belgium where landed nearby some farm. Farmer helped him but Přeučil later told his name to gestapo. Prague Gestapo used him as source of information about Czechoslovakian pilots in Great Britain. Traitor Přeučil was executed in 1947.

I know as well about some Romanian pilots which defected to Germans in 1945 when ARR pilots fought with Allies. Soviet pilots as well many times defected to Germans.
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Old 25th September 2005, 21:52
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

There is at least one case of a Soviet pilot defecting in early 1942, detailled in Black Cross Red Star vol 2.

In January 1943, two French pilots deserted while their squadron was flying from Morroco to Tunisia to be engaged alongside the Allied forces. They left the formation together and flew to occupied France.
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Old 26th September 2005, 18:18
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Many thanks Michal and Laurent, interesting stories.

Does anybody know about RAF-pilots (or SAAF/RNZAF/RCAF) who defected to Germany?
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Old 26th September 2005, 21:34
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Fairlop Fairlop is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Hi,

Sgt Preucil defected 18/09/41 in Hurricane Mk.I, W9147, PA-A of the 55 OTU. From Usworth to Bastogne. He was a member of the 43 Sqn in late 1940 and No.605 Sqn till 26/08/41.

Regards,
Michal
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Old 27th September 2005, 17:39
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Without checking my books there was a 234 sqn Spitfire pilot in 1940 who landed mysteriously in France . . .and a Spitfire pilot (Canadian??) who flew off a carrier to re-inforce malta and disappeared . . .will get back to you.
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Old 27th September 2005, 22:02
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Jaap Woortman Jaap Woortman is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

In the book "Oberst Hermann Graf" (200 Luftsiege in 13 Monaten), written by Berthold K. Jochim, at page 207 en 202 the writer is mentioning the unit JG50 at Wiesbaden. In this "Versuchskommando für Höhenflug" was flying a Dutchman. This pilot "Jan" has, according to the writer, flown a British a/c from Great Britain to Germany. Although there was flying a Dutchman Jan de Vliegher in JG 50 he did not joined the Luftwaffe via Great Britain!!

Jaap Woortman
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Old 28th September 2005, 09:44
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Re the Malta flight: I believe you are thinking of the American pilot who diverted to Algeria after complaining of engine problems, then tried to con the Vichy authotities into believing he was a US civil pilot.His RAF/RCAF colleagues had some doubt about this story, but after Operation Torch he did re-enlist in the USAAF and fly combat missions in the Med. theatre. So it shouldn't be counted as a defection to the other side in any way.
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Old 29th September 2005, 18:56
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Hello Graham,


Re the "Malta Carrier Flight" Deserter.

(Don't get upset by the word I use because it is just that to me.
He flew off and left his fellow pilots who flew to Malta to fight the foe, who knows if he had stayed with them some RAF lives might have been saved).
From the photo of the group he stands out in that he is definately undisiplined when compared with the other pilots in the group.
So something was amiss even when the photo was taken.
At least that's what the photo say's to me.

Where did you get the info that he re enlisted and fought in the USAAF in the Med ? I would have thought the RAF would have wanted him back to answer some questions re the loss of an expensive and needed aircraft.

I have read elswhere that he was returned to the States after the event.

Thank you

Alex
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Old 30th September 2005, 01:49
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: Defected Allied Pilots?

Hallo all,

I basically agree with Graham's comments on the American pilot who, in some sources, is reputed to have defected to Vichy French North Africa. Firstly I do not believe he defected. I have been researching this pilot for some time, in conjunction with Hugh D. Dow. Hugh, a renowned pilot, was a squadron colleague of this man for about a year and so knew him quite well.

The pilot in question was Salvador B. Walcott. In early 1942 as a young newly-trained Sergeant pilot in the RCAF he was assigned to 603 Squadron RAF. They soon left for duty on Malta on board the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. According to a debriefing statement made out in November 1942 his Spitfire had engine trouble soon after take-off on 20 April 1942. He attempted to follow the others but fell behind. Later he flew close to a small yacht or boat and almost at once his engine began to issue black smoke. At this point he turned towards the African coast. He force-landed his Spitfire inland from the coastal town of Setif in Algeria, and was rendered unconsious for a time. Coming to he found himself surrounded by French troops and police. Later he was taken back to the wrecked Spitfire where a number of bullet holes were pointed out to him. He claimed to be an American ferry pilot to his captors.

Walcott was sent to Lagouat prison camp in the Sahara. In July 1942 he escaped. Rearrested later in another town he was interrogated again and claimed to be a US ferry pilot once more. This did not work and he was returned to Lagouat, receiving 16 days confinement in the cells for his troubles.

He was part of another failed escape attempt in October 1942 when one of his fellow would-be escapees was shot dead. After Operation Torch in November 1942 he and his colleagues were released and returned to the UK. He was interviewed by various agencies and none of the statements or interviews contain any hint of wrongdoing on his part.

Very soon after this Walcott left the RCAF and was commissioned in London into the USAAF as a 2/Lieutenant. In December 1942 he was assigned to the 346th Fighter Squadron, 350th Fighter Group, then flying Bell P-39 Airacobras. He travelled by ship with the ground echelon back to North Africa to rejoin the rest of his unit, arriving in Algeria on 1 February 1943.

Fron then until late December 1943 he flew many missions. Hugh Dow recalls him for his competance in carrying out his job. He showed no lack of courage and was if anything a risk taker according to Hugh, always "pushing out the envelope". Hugh believes his experiences during 1942 in North Africa caused him to mature and become more responsible.

Walcott fell ill in late December 1943 and was returned to the USA. He recovered and stayed on in the USAAF/USAF postwar. Very little is known of his subsequent career. He had reached the rank of Captain by 1946 and reputedly became a helicopter pilot. He died in 1962, killed in a helicopter crash. At the time of his death his home address was in Lennox, Massachusetts.

The story of his alleged desertion appears to stem from THE AIR BATTLE FOR MALTA by Lord James Douglas Hamilton (1981). At least two more subsequent books, including one by Chris Shores, seemed to base their versions of the incident on this source.

I contend that what evidence there is does not support any suggestion that he was a coward or a deserter. Far from it. Why would he bother making 2 escape attempts if he wanted to desert and avoid the war ? Or later re-enlisting in the USAAF ?

I hope the above begins to unravel what I believe to be a very unjust and incorrect version of the story.

Regards,

Martin Gleeson.
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