Spitfire pilot tells story of his five days on run and grilling by Gestapo

BY SOPHIE HAZAN A FORMER fighter pilot, captured and interrogated by the Gestapo, has been reunited with fellow flyers.

Spitfire Mark II pilot Jimmy Taylor, 84, of Chapel Allerton in Leeds, said his survival was down to sheer luck as he told his story at a Yorkshire air base.

In 1944 he had been flying with No 16 Squadron over Germany when his engine failed. He was forced to land in occupied Holland. The German police believed the Resistance was sheltering him and executed families, demanding he be handed over. In fact, Mr Taylor spent his first night swimming in a cold canal while German guards patrolled nearby. Later he found potatoes and made a fire out of twigs and straw.

After five days on the run Mr Taylor got within eight miles of Allied territory when a guard seized him and handed him over to the Gestapo.

He said: "I lied to them about which squadron I was with and when I got to the prison camp I was scared every time there was a knock on the door. I had cheated on the Gestapo."

Stock image of a West Yorkshire Police PCSO

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