RAF hero shot down, despite the fact that Winston Churchill secretly ordered the French resistance to kill him instead of letting him fall into the hands of the enemy after he made the Nazis think he was a regular was a kite
- Air Commodore Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman was tortured by the Gestapo
- The RAF hero was one of the few people who knew details of Operation Overlord
- He convinced his captors that he was an ordinary pilot by telling them where he had buried his parachute and flying clothing
The oldest RAF officer captured by the Nazis was sentenced to death by Winston Churchill for fear that he would disclose the D-Day invasion plans to the Nazis after convincing them that he was an ordinary kite.
Air Commodore Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman, 45, who was shot down over France a month before the invasion, was tortured by the Gestapo, who convinced him of his lower status.
Churchill gave secret orders to the French resistance that Ivelaw-Chapman should be killed instead of falling into enemy hands.
Secret documents have now revealed that the highly decorated World War I veteran (photo) was tortured by the Gestapo – but refused to talk
The Air Commodore from Surrey – who spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp – had worked on Operation Overlord and was one of the few people who knew details such as the date and target of the invasion.
The full story has been revealed in files in the National Archive.
Ivelaw-Chapman had been preparing for D-Day in February 1944 and had been appointed commander of the Elsham Wolds bomber base in North Lincolnshire.
Although it is almost & # 39; unheard of & # 39; was for an officer of his rank to fly up, when an attack was ordered on Hitler's V1 and V2 rocket program, the pilot shocked his crew by continuing the operation with them.
Upon their return, his plane was occupied by an enemy night fighter over the French coast, who set it on fire.
Ivelaw-Chapman and his sergeant escaped alive and were hidden in a farm guarded by a French & # 39; sitter & # 39; but they were betrayed and the Air Commodore was given to the Gestapo.
Churchill (photo) gave secret orders to the French resistance that Ivelaw-Chapman should be killed instead of falling into enemy hands
National archival investigator Peter Helmore said: & # 39; At Churchill's order, a rescue operation was ordered, but in no case should he fall alive into German hands, given his knowledge of the upcoming D-Day operation . & # 39;
In a report of his capture, he says he was interrogated as a suspected secret service agent, but refused to give more than his number, rank, and name.
He said: & # 39; I was slapped in the face, slapped on the shoulders and buttocks with a rubber whip and other & # 39; third-degree methods & # 39;
& # 39; This interrogation lasted continuously from 1800 hours on 8 June to about 6:00 hours on 9 June. My body still bears vague scars from this beating.
& # 39; I was taken to Gestapo headquarters in Tours, where I was locked up in an unventilated dungeon.
& # 39; My hands were spilled behind my back. This hurt me extremely because my shoulder had been dislocated for 32 days. & # 39;
His torture only stopped when he convinced his kidnappers that he was an ordinary kite after telling them where he had buried his parachute and flying equipment, which led the Gestapo to send him to a prisoner of war camp when they decided he had no information.
He survived and retired from the RAF as vice chief of the Air Staff in 1953, and became a civil servant. He died in 1978.
The life of Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman
- Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman was born in British Guyana in 1899 and was the son of a home-made and successful merchant family. He came to England with his parents in 1903 and went to Cheltenham College
- In 1917, at the age of 18, he joined the Royal Flying Corps
- In WW1 he was distinguished with the Distinguished Flying Cross and soon he was promoted to Acting Captain
- Early in World War II, Ivelaw-Chapman was promoted to Acting Group Captain and took over as station commander of the Linton-on-Ouse No 4 Bomber Group
- During this period he was involved in intelligence and planning work at the highest level, including the D-Day landings
- At the beginning of May 1944 Ivelaw-Chapman flew in a Lancaster bomber as an additional crew member with the aim of a large German ammunition depot at Aubigne Racan
- After the bombing of the target, the bomber was attacked by a night fighter and shot. Only Ivelaw-Chapman and the Air Bomber, Sgt Joe Ford, were able to escape
- Orders have been given to the French resistance to protect him at all costs and, if possible, to bring him back to the UK. If there was a chance that he would fall into German hands, he would be killed
- After the war, Ivelaw-Chapman was promoted to Air Vice Marshal
- After 18 months he returned to London, this time to Whitehall, as a RAF member of the Defense Research Staff and then to the Directing Staff of the Imperial Defense College
- In 1950 Ivelaw-Chapman was promoted to air marshal and offered the position of commander-in-chief of the young Indian Air Force.
- He died in 1978
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