For Joseph Angers the journey from Mildenhall in England until his return to England would be made on foot through enemy lines taking him through Spain and eventually Gibraltar. Bruno Angers would also be one of the lucky ones to survive the night. As an Rear Gunner on Wellington X3359 headed to Essen, he would become one of two Evaders on the Wellington, two others of the crew would become POWs. Tragically the aircraft's pilot F/S Charles LeBlanc would be lost. Affectionately known as "Little Bomber" and "Pee Wee " by the crew, LeBlanc stayed at the controls of the aircraft too long to safely bail out. After Navigator P/O Watson the last to bail out, the nineteen year old pilot decided to make a crash landing. Which he skilfully did. If he had been able to reattach his seat belt, which he had unbuckled to get into his chute, he would have survived the crash. Unfortunately he was thrown forward and died of a fractured skull. He had saved his crew but was unable to save himself.

The events of what happened that night aboard Wellington X3359 have a few variations, I believe the MI9 reports given by Bruno Angers and P/O John Watson another member of the crew who became an evader, provide the best eye witness accounts. Also John Watson later wrote a letter to the family of Emile LeBlanc the aircraft's pilot, in which further details are given. Here is how these reports and the letter piece the story together.
Returning from a raid on Essen on June 17th 1942 while flying at 17,000 feet near Limburg, Belgium the starboard engine failed. Watson noted in his letter to the LeBlanc family that normally that would not stop them from reaching England safely. He goes on to mention that the icing conditions were very severe and the aircraft had dropped 13,000 feet in seven minutes. Two other of the returning Moose crew also reported icing conditions being severe.
The icing on the wing surfaces would have caused the loss of lift and the controls would have not responded as they normally would have. In a book of notes on handling Wellingtons gathered by ATA Ferry Pilot's it states that once an engine fails the aircraft will be pulled off course, it also mentions that the Wellington can fly on one engine but not as easily.
The route back to base, as gathered from other crew reports in the squadron records, took the bomber stream to the North of Antwerp and South of Rotterdam, thus avoiding the heavy anti-aircraft defences of those two cities. It would be the loss of control which brought X3359 over the Antwerp defences which fired upon the Wellington.
According to Watson and Angers the Wellington was hit by flak and order to bail out was given.
Another detail of what happened that night can be found in a letter to LeBlanc's family by a cousin serving in the Canadian Army in Holland who had interviewed the girl who found the crashed Wellington. She stated that the crash came at around four thirty in the morning and that indeed the young pilot was killed in the crash.

Sgt. Angers Story Summary

For Angers the drop to the ground was interrupted by the branches of a large tree where his parachute became entangled at what he estimated to be 40 feet or more. Knocked unconscious by the remaining part of his journey to the ground. When he did come to he managed to hide parts of his uniform and flying kit. Waiting til daylight he was able to walk to a farm looking for help where he came across a workman to whom he was unable to communicate in either English or French. By use of sign language he had the man take him to the farms owner. As luck would have it, the farmer was an English speaking veteran of the First War and provided the much needed food, wine and clothing. The local policeman was contacted via a priest and he arranged for Angers to see the local doctor in the nearby village. The doctor reported to Sgt. Angers that he had spine, knee rid and foot injuries resulting from the fall from the tree.
With all that was going on around him, Sgt. Angers who had been a participant in the raid on the Renault factory in Paris, had to see first hand what damage had been done by the raid. After a sneak peak he was on his way to Gibraltar guided by the underground organization who's hands he had been placed by the people he had met the policeman and doctor.

Sgt. Anger's Report to MI 9

Sgt. Angers had left Gibraltar on August 18 th of 1942 and the following day found him making out this report to MI9 in Whitchurch, London.

Returning from a raid on Essen on June 17 1942 one of our engines failed and we lost height very rapidly. We were then picked up by searchlights and the order was given to bale out at 0403hrs. The rest of the crew were P/O J R Watson, navigator (MIRANDA), Sgt. Emile LeBlanc, pilot and captain, (killed), Sgt. BRADLEY, (P/W), Sgt. Eric WINKLER (P/W).
I baled out and my parachute caught in the top of a tree in a wood near SCHOOTEN, a few miles N.E. of ANTWERP.I freed myself from it, dropped about 40 or 50 feet, to the ground, and was knocked out. I regained consciousness after about an hour and had crawled about 300 feet westwards when I found a manure heap in which I buried my flying kit , English money and service jacket. I remained in hiding in the wood till daylight, when I approached a farm nearby. I saw a farmer working in a outbuilding and told him who I was in French and English, neither of which he could understand. At last I was able to make him understand by signs and indicated that I wanted somebody who could speak English.
He brought his employer, A Belgian who had served in the East Lancs in the last war. This man brought me brandy, food and clothes and through the local priest contacted a member of the police, who arrived about 1715 hrs and told me to follow him at about 500 yards distance. He led me to his house in the village and later a doctor came and examined me. He told me I had knee and foot injuries, and concussion of the spine and ribs, but none were serious.
He took me by car to DEURNE, where I met a man who was able to tell me what had happened to the rest of my crew and took me to a house where I stayed for three days. My friend in DEURNE meantime contacted an organization which helped me back to the UK.

Sgt. Anger's Report to MI 9 Appendices "C"

Interview of Aug 20 1942. Listed as "TOP SECRET"

I was first assisted by Baron Van Havre, at Schooten, who was able, through the local priest, to contact the Sous Commissaire of police at Schooten. The local doctor took me from the Commissaire's house to the house of FRANS TIEBOS, at DEURNE. This man's father distributes La Libre Belgique in the district and is the manager of an oil factory run by the Germans, which he successfully sabotages. TIEBOS took me to the house of JOSEF MEYERS, where I stayed for three days. Meantime TIEBOS took my name, number , squadron and the name of my squadron commander, to give the organization as proof of my identity
A girl called PEGGY (Van Lier) came and fetched me and escorted by the Sous Commissaire of police from Schooten, we went to Antwerp by street car. From there we went by eclectic train to Brussels, where I was taken ( by Georges d'Oultremont ) to the house of Mme. DEPORQUE. ( Jeanne Monnier) Here I met Sgt. R J Collins. While I was here I was given a Belgian identity card, which was said to have been procured through the Swedish Legation. I was visited here by Baron DONNY, who brought me food while I was at the MME. DEPORQUE's. Through MME. DEPORQUE I met a lady whose husband , M. Edgar BERG, is a Belgian announcer on the B.B.C. She asked me to arrange for her husband to send a message on the wireless that I had returned safely. The form was to be "Bruneau est de retour a Angers".
On July 1 a man called "CHARLIE" (Georges d'Oultremont ) called at 1900 hrs and we took a street car to Louvain. From there we caught the Paris train, booking tickets for OLNOYS on the frontier. We avoided any control at the border. We arrived at Paris on July 2 and I was taken to the Hotel de Luxembourg in the Latin Quarter. From there I was taken by "KIKI" (Fredrick De Jongh ) and "DIDI " (Andree De Jongh) to Chateau de Vincennes by Metro, from their to St. Maur by bus 110 and thence to their house at 6 rue des Erables, where I met Sgt. Zawondy (Marian Zawodny) and a Scots soldier (William MacFarlane) from a German P/W camp.
On the following day Sgt. Bernard EVANS and P/O John WATSON, my navigator arrived. From this point on, till my first attempt to cross the PYRENEES my story is the same as that of Sgt. EVANS. When we were ambushed in the mountains by the two German soldiers I followed DIDI , P/O WATSON and the guides, who led us back to the farm which we had started. The remainder of my story corresponds with that of Sgt. EVANS

More of the Story using Evans Interview

Angers along with Evans,Watson and Zawodny are led by a guide, code named "Elvira" (Morelle) and catch a train for Saint-Jean-de-Luz. At Bayonne a second "Elvira" (with a code name of "Aunt GB") also with her is a man named "B" (Albert "Bee" Johnson). They find the station crowded with German troops and supplies and it is decided to separate and meet up later at "St. Vincent" (Ambrosio San Vinente Arrieta) a home not far from the station.
With Maritxu Anatol acting as host for the next two days before they leave for the farm. The 10 km walk is led by two Basque guides, Manuel Iturrioz and Donato Errazti. The farm, Bidegain Berri, where the wife "Frantxia" Francoise Isandizaga keeps them hidden until evening when they make the attempt to cross the border. The rainy night has not kept the border patrols from being alert and two German soldiers (also described as French policemen) startle them, after a sot is heard Evans seeks cover while P/O Watson is on the ground calling out "Kamerad" while Watson and the police are arguing Evans bolts for safety. Evans returns to find the whole group except Watson and Zawodny. Later Zawodny would return but Watson was being held my the police.
The Angers as part of the seventeenth passage of the Comet line, finds himself in a car provided by "Dedee" which takes him to restaurant in San Sebastian, where passage to Madrid is arranged. After four days in Madrid he is smuggled into Gibraltar by ambulance.

There were many reports and language variations involved in the putting together of this story, we did our best to keep it correct.
Wellington X3359
See P/O Watson Evader
See F/S Emile LeBlanc