18 November, 2017

Angier, Francis

Service: Army Air CorpsUnit: 8th Air Force

J. Francis Angier born in 1923. I interviewed him twice because he had such an interesting story and told it so well. The first hour of the interview we discussed his training in the US to become a B-17 pilot. He was sent to England after training where he was attached to the 8th Air Force (The Mighty Eighth). He tells of his 33 missions over Germany and what it is like to fly into very heavy anti-aircraft fire which is large caliber artillery. It was also between 30 and 50 below zero in the aircraft.

Francis Angier, was shot down on the 25th of October, 1944. He was at 30,000 ft. when his plane was shot down resulting in the death of several of his crewmen. Francis did not open his parachute until he was at treetop level because the fuselage of the plane was very close to him and he was afraid that the parachute would become entangled in the wreckage of the plane. Francis was horribly injured in the parachute landing as well as being hit in the face by a civilian with a large piece of wood later on.

Francis was taken to Stalag Luft #3 which is where an escape took place that was later made into a movie called “The Great Escape”. He was told by some of the men that were there at the time that the movie was quite accurate in the portrayal of what happened, though Mr. Angier arrived about a month after the escape took place.

Lt. Angier also tells of the forced march he endured in order to escape the Russians though they were our allies. He had to suffer the worst of the winter of 1945 and his weight dropped 60 lbs.

Francis also wrote a great book that I have personally read twice because it is so well written. The title of his book is “Ready or Not Into the Wild Blue” and I have many copies if anyone wwishes to purchase one.

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