Beverly G. GEYER
2 November 1942 Photo Lynn Geyer
Photo Lynn Geyer
S/Sgt, US Army Air Forces
Service #: 31152049
331 Bomber Squadron, 94 Bomber Group
Entered in service: Portland Maine, 27 August 1942
Hometown: Knox, Maine (with his Grandparents)
Born: 3 July 1919 Thomaston, Knox County, Maine
Died: 15 August 1995 Spicewood, Travis County, Texas
Awards: Air Medal
Zie / see Crash -E&E
Info from escapeline Comet:
Info from MACR:
STATEMENT OF SSGT Beverly G. Geyer, 31152049
TAIL GUNNER, B-17F 42-30389, “DEAR MOM”, 94th Bomb Group, 331st Bomb Squadron
Transcribed from Escape & Evasion Report 253
“About 0600 on 17 August 1943 we took from our field at BURY ST. EDMUNDS to bomb REGENSBURG. Right after we crossed the coast of Belgium we met a lot of heavy accurate flak. We were supposed to go in at 19,000 feet with an escort of P-47s. Just after we cleared the flak, the navigator warned us to watch our itchy fingers, for in three minutes we would meet our escort of P-47’s. I saw a great number of planes in the usual formation, high in bunches and well out of range, so I figured that was our escort. In about 10 minutes I heard a popping noise forward, which sounded like 20-mm. Although I could not see a plane in possible range, I saw tracers hitting the front part of our ship. Whatever was firing gave us all it had. It must have hit our controls, for the plane fell over on one wing. We were heavily hit in the oil tanks. Oil and pieces of wing came flying past me. The navigator called and wanted to know what was popping. The pilot ordered us to bail out.
Everybody grabbed his chute and prepared to go out in good order. I saw that I was to follow the radioman and the left waist gunner and saw that I was third. I wondered about the ball turret gunner and turned to see how he was but he stuck his head up and seemed to be all right. Just as I turned, the plane blew up. The tail broke off near the bomb bay. I thought the left waist gunner and the radio man were thrown out of the plane. The control cables were hanging loose, and I became badly entangled in them, injuring my leg. I did not know whether I banged my head in the plane or whether flak hit me, but I was pretty well knocked. The ball turret gunner was out of his turret and I thought he was going to grab me. The gyrations of the plane threw him out without his parachute on. I finally managed to get loose from the cables and was thrown out of the plane near the tail wheel.
I delayed pulling the ripcord as long as possible. I could see two other chutes high above me to the east. I thought they might have landed in Germany. I landed right in a tiny village near a crowd of people. At first I thought they were Germans, but then I elbowed my way through them, they offered no resistance. I gathered up my parachute and started toward the plane which was burning where it fell not far away. The people stopped me, however, and took my parachute for its silk. I started out with the whole crowd on my heels. A man who spoke English came up to me. I was pretty shaken, and I told him to go away or to get the crowd to stop following me. He told me to follow the road for half a mile, cross the bridge I came to, then turn to the left, and hide in the woods; he would come and help me later.
When I came to the bridge which he had mentioned, I saw four policemen on it, so I ducked quickly, swam to the other side of the stream, followed a hedge over there, and hid. A plane which I though was looking for survivors of our wreck came over very low. When it passed on, I went to a patch of weeds, and stayed in them, making myself as small a ball as possible, I heard a number of Germans hunting. One walked right up to the hedge near me and another walked along the weeds, but neither found me, though both came within six feet of me.
I was in a cow pasture. I had nothing to eat, for my escape kit had been in the right leg of my coveralls and had been torn off when I was entangled in the control cables of the plane. That night when the farmer came for his cows, I rose up on my knees and motioned for him to come to me. I explained who I was and that I was hungry. He spoke no English, but I understood enough French to understand that he would come back to me. He returned with some bread and water and wanted money for them, but I had none since I had lost my purse with my escape kit. He would not give me any civilian clothes. After pointing to the east and indicating that Germany was very close, he left.
I tried to move on that night, but my leg was so bad I could not walk. The next day the Germans were still hunting, but they seemed to get farther away from me all the time. In the late afternoon the man who had originally given me the directions and offered help came and offered me civilian clothes, money, food and help. He asked if I could walk, and I said I would make a mighty good try.
He took me to a place where me journey was arranged.”
(Note by Mr. Cunningham – The following is a transcription of the handwritten notes in the Evasion Report that were made by the interrogator who interviewed Sgt. Guyer upon his return to England. The English in the notes contained very few complete sentences and was very disjointed. In many instances Mr. Cunningham had to paraphrase the account to make it more understandable and readable, but every effort was used to keep it as close to the original as possible.)
I departed the next morning to go to the train station I was guided there by a rather short young man with brown hair who was wearing glasses as a disguise. He took me to the station where I met Bill Bailey and his guide. Bill Bailey was a Navigator with the RAF. We all boarded a train headed for the French border. On the way down we got left off at a large town (probably Chaleroi) and taken on foot to the border. We were joined by a tall English parachutist who didn’t understand any French – left him in Paris.
The guide, the lanky Englishman, Bill Bailey and I, walking behind, crossed the border walking at night. We stayed at a little house just on the other side of the border.
Changed trains twice on the way to Paris. We met two new guides on the steps of a large cathedral there. One guide took Bill and left him somewhere in town. Another took me to the corner of Rue de Rom and Rue de Madrid. We met a doctor named Guyret and his little English wife. His wife was much older with dyed hair, etc. We were met later by SA Allison, the pilot of an A-20 who had crashed somewhere in France. We spent 9 days there with the doctor and his wife at their home. Then the same guide we had met at the cathedral took us. We had to take cover because of an air raid.
The guide went with Bailey and I and we were joined by a woman who had a husband that was in a concentration camp in Germany. We took a train to Bordeaux. At Bordeaux we met a tall bald headed man used by the Belgian Army to dispatch rides or something to a small town on the train. We met a Canadian, George, who was a tail gunner while we were on the train. We saw Germans in battle fatigues and a lot of French with fatigues working for them. We got off the train and were given some bicycles. We rode all day on the bicycles. That night we stopped for a little time to rest.
The next morning we started off and picked up another girl and a male guide. Bill, I, the girl, the Canadian and an Englishman rode on bicycles to (illegible). Some rode on the handlebars. The girl missed out so 2 did not go with us. Guide just went on. In (illegible) we were met in an alley by a French gendarme. He arrested the first two and hit me so I could not answer. He called to Bill and asked for his papers. He looked at the papers and laughed and told us to follow him. We walked to his place where he once again examined the papers of our guide. The gendarme then understood that the guide was a good patriot and he told us to go on. We did.
The guide took us some distance away and we met another guide who was to take us over the mountains. We used a route used by smugglers that was a 6 hour trip over the mountains. We stopped at a little inn just barely over the border. The next morning the girl took us over the next part of the route to a building. The guide met with some officers and policemen. We stayed at this place for 3 days and then told to go back to France because the officials had to decline visitors. We went back to the inn and were there for 3 weeks. I arrived in Sapin on 28-October-43.
Bennett, Hooker, Aguino and 2 others came and were still there when I left. Bailey left the next day. Bill and I went to (Alaner?). Bailey left the next day. I met a lot of RAF there. I was there by myself for 3 weeks and then others came. I was there 5 weeks altogether. Most of my dealings were with the French. Clark came and took us out. I went to Gibraltar on 28-November-43. Flew out of Gibraltar and arrived in the UK on 3-December-43. Three Do-217’s left the field.
(This portion was in the handwriting of Sgt. Geyer)
At the airport in Brussels I saw transports traveling back and forth toward the coast, a Ju-52 and 3 larger transports. This was about the 25th of August. There were several Me-210’s based there and just before it was bombed there were several planes landing and taking off from there all night and the next morning. After leaving Belgium on the way to Paris, I saw 15 German tanks on cars on a siding, they all had 1 large gun and no others visible, Also saw 4 troop trains, large trains heavily loaded with soldiers headed south. Some carried anti-aircraft guns of about 20-mm on a flat car at the rear of the train. This trip was about the 7th of September. Left Paris about the 20th of September and observed many troops in the south of France. Some were very young with arm bands with No. 176 on them. While staying in Brussels about the last of August, I was told that much material and several heavy guns from Abbeville were moved through the city. At that time, the people also told me that some officers there, back from Russia, got into a fight with officers stationed there in Brussels. Evidently they broke up their officers club badly. This was over a discussion of the Belgium stationed Germans having a soft life. The bombing of the airport was said to have killed many German personnel and destroyed about 30 planes on the ground and the billets of the personnel at the field.