• Plage Bonaparte à Plouha (Côtes d'Armor) - Haut-lieu de la Résistance

  • Sacy-le-Grand (Oise) - Mémorial en souvenir du F/O H. H. MacKenzie (RCAF)

  • Supermarine LF Mk.Vb Spitfire EP120 - G-LFVB - (The Fighter Collection)

  • Le Cardonnois (Somme) - Stèle à la mémoire de l'équipage du Boeing B-17 #42-31325, 452nd Bomb Group

  • B-17G-85-VE 44-8846 - F-AZDX - (FTV)

8th February 1944
1st Lt. Milton V. SHEVCHIK
B-17G # 42-37984

92nd Bomb Group 

326th Bomb Squadron 

8th Air Force


Catheux (Oise)

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  1st Lt. Milton V. SHEVCHIK

1st Lt. Milton V. Shevchik, a native of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, was the pilot of a "Flying Fortress" B-17 belonging to the 92nd Bomb Group, 326th Bomb Squadron, based at Podington, England. He was 25 years old.

On 8th February 1944, during a mission over Frankfurt, the aircraft was forced to turn back before reaching the target and was attacked over Oise by German fighters. The order was given to evacuate the stricken aircraft. Nine crew members were rescued. One was taken prisoner.

The aircraft finally crashed on the borough of Catheux (Oise).
On this day 1st Lt. Milton V. Shevchik was flying his 16th mission.
B-17 # 42-37984 : the crew :
1st Lt. Milton V. SHEVCHIK Pilot  25   Evaded Ambridge, Pennsylvania
2nd Lt. James M. THORSON Co-pilot  26   Evaded Braceville, Illinois
2nd Lt. James E. WILLIAMS Navigator  22   Evaded Jasper, Alabama
2nd Lt. Donald J. PERIOLAT Bombardier  25   POW Chicago, Illinois
S/Sgt. Everett L. STUMP Top turret gunner  22   Evaded Huntington, West Virginia
S/Sgt. Robert E. SIDDERS Radio-operator  23   Evaded Hastings, Nebraska
Sgt. Carlyle A. VAN SELUS Ball turret gunner  21   Evaded Portage, Wisconsin
Sgt. Francis C. WALL Right waist gunner  21   Evaded Coal Hill, Arkansas
S/Sgt. William J. SCANLON Left waist gunner  23   Evaded Chicago, Illinois
Sgt. Francis F. HIGGINS Tail gunner  20   Evaded Bangor, Maine

All the airmen were to reach England, first rescued by the people of our region, before being handed over to organised escape routes. Some of the escapees passed through Spain, others via Brittany.

Surprisingly, another Flying Fortress of the same Bomb Group crashed a few minutes later on that same borough. The fate of the crew was different. Five airmen perished, four escaped and one was taken prisoner.
B-17 # 42-31387 : the crew :
1st Lt. Warren E. McMURRAY Pilot 26
KIA Dorchester, Massachusetts
2nd Lt. Clayton F. FITZGERALD Co-pilot 24 KIA Minneapolis, Minnesota
2nd Lt. William A. HOFFMAN Navigator 25 Evaded Alexandria, Virginia
2nd Lt. Sidney SCHEIMAN Bombardier KIA Chicago, Illinois
S/Sgt. George P. BUCKNER Top turret gunner 22 Evaded Cleveland, Ohio
S/Sgt. Harold H. BARNETT Radio-operator POW Kansas City, Missouri
Sgt. Leburn W. MERRITT Ball turret gunner 23 KIA Dearborn, Michigan
Sgt. Robert A. HERBER Right waist gunner 21 KIA Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sgt. David WARNER Left waist gunner 22 Evaded Waltham, Massachusetts
Sgt. Marion KNIGHT Tail gunner 21 Evaded Runge, Texas
After this 8th February 1944, 13 airmen were hidden in the surrounding villages, in the face of the biggest of risks, by the local population.

1st Lt. Shevchik landed by parachute near the village of Domeliers where he was hidden overnight, rescued by, among others, Father François Leclainche.
He was then lodged in Crèvecoeur-le-Grand in the Bourgois family from 9th to 18th of February.

From February 18th to 23rd he stayed in Beauvais, hidden by the Vifquain family, then from 23rd February to 16th March, by the Revert family.

Ambridge, Pennsylvania - 1st Lt. SHEVCHIK missing in action
  During this time, in Pennsylvania....
On 16th March 1944, Gilbert Thibault, head of the "Alsace" network accompanied by another man, arrived at the home of Lucien Revert in Beauvais and took Lts. Shevchik and Thorson in a truck, crossing unhindered en route a German checkpoint. They arrived at Clermont, at the home of Mr Georges Fleury, where two American airmen, S/Sgt Helsel and Bernier, had already been staying for 12 days.

The escapees were again visited by Jacky du Pac whom Lts. Shevchik and Thorson had met in Beauvais and who had interviewed them individually.

The family Fleury kept them until 18th March, when the airmen were conveyed to Paris by Jacky du Pac.

Lt. Shevchik was supported upon arrival at the Gare du Nord by René Loiseau and Marguerite Di Giacomo. He was now taken in charge by the Shelburn escape network.

In this day of 18th March 1944, a group of airmen reached Paris and were then taken to Levallois. Lt. Shevchik stayed for one night in a hotel near the metro station Anatole France before staying in the rue Baudin the next day. His photograph was taken to be used to make false identity papers for the next transfer.

On the evening of 20th March, René Loiseau took him to the Gare Montparnasse, where he met other airmen who were departing. Entrusted to a guide, the escapees took a compartment in night train.
1st Lt. SHEVCHIK - False identity card
His false identity card
In the morning of 21st March, the airmen arrived in Brittany.

1st Lt. Shevchik was housed in Guingamp and then in Plouha. Along with 25 other airmen, he sailed to England aboard a corvette of the Royal Navy during the night of 23rd to 24th March 1944. He thus benefited from one of the famous "Bonaparte" operations which allowed the repatriation to England of some 135 Allied airmen.

When he returned to the United States, Lt. Shevchik never piloted a plane and worked as a carpenter.

Milton V. Shevchik died on 8th December 1999, aged 81.


In May 2013, Lt. Shevchik's sons made a trip to the region in memory of their father. 


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