2nd Lt. Norman L. Smith, 352nd Fighter Group Pilot, experienced a bit of adventure on his return trip over France. He was forced to belly-land his P-51 Mustang on an abandoned German airdrome. After he hailed a truck convoy for a ride, one of the Corporals pointed out that Lt. Smith barely missed a 500 pound bomb. Though a trip to the front lines was offered, Lt. Smith begged off and hitched a ride to Amiens, France. In his report, Lt. Smith notes that the streets were littered with Nazi tanks and trucks, but the French people were out in their Sunday best.
Lt. Smith met a Belgian official who plied him with beer, wine and French liqueur. The official, his wife, their three daughters and their son kept toasting the Americans. Lt. Smith commented that the daughters were all interested in dancing the jitterbug with him. Smith supplied, somewhat eagerly, that after he was “properly lubricated,” he thought of himself as a decent dancer. Lt. Smith’s report also describes how this family survived occupied France. The son lived in a four by ten foot hidden room, the daughters hid in the caves, and the parents moved constantly, never staying for more than a few days. After living through such an apprehensive period, this family’s appreciation is understandable. Lt. Smith had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.
Article by Aubrie Harris