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A Close Call in Sicily

Heroes Remember

A Close Call in Sicily

We did our patrol and, golly, I looked down and I found I was out of fuel and I called up my leader and I said, “I've got to force land, I'm out of fuel.” He didn't answer me so I thought, well, I guess I better land so I saw a field that I thought looked good and I spiraled down and landed and did a beautiful job and it was over a very large irrigation ditch that I landed and I thought, golly, it's going so nice I'll just let it keep going and I hit a plowed field and I went up on the nose of the Spitfire and there I was, hanging up on the nose, in this air plane. When I came out of the, when I got out of the cockpit and as I looked up and here's about 30, 40 people running towards me. I thought, what do you do now, you know? Anyhow, I crawled out of the airplane, got down on the ground and these people came up. They were farmer types and one of them handed me a bottle of wine. I thought, oh this has got to be poison. He laughed, polished it up, took a drink and then handed it to me, and I took a drink. Anyhow, that was my entry into Sicily. I was the first British pilot that force landed more or less behind the lines. It was quite important because they wanted to know how they were treating pilots that forced land. The good reception I received settled a lot of people down.

Mr. Wilson describes being forced to land in a field after running low on fuel, and how his Command was relieved by the positive treatment he'd received at the hands of local Sicilians.

Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson was born on December 5, 1917 in Limerick, Saskatchewan. The Royal Canadian Air Force was no longer accepting recruits when he enlisted so he joined the Royal Regina Rifles. Six months later, Mr. Wilson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at Brandon, Manitoba. His first wartime deployment saw him serving in North Africa near El Alamein, where he initially flew Hurricanes in a Royal Air Force squadron. He later piloted Spitfire 9’s in Sicily, Italy and the Middle East. After the war, Mr. Wilson completed a university degree and became a museum curator.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gordon Wilson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Flying Officer

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