Mosquito Pilot Survived Being Shot Down, Joined Dutch Resistance To Continue The Fight

Many World War II veterans have extraordinary stories to tell about their survival or their experience of being in a deadly fight.  Survivors have received many medals and honorary reunions for their bravery, and many have been reunited with the comrades they fought next to during the war’s entirety.

One veteran, Frank Dell, tells a story about how he managed to survive after his plane got shot down by the Germans.  He also talks about the families who risked their own lives for his survival.  Throughout the months he was in hiding in the Netherlands, many families showed their compassion for him and their bravery for letting him stay at their farms or homes. Risking their lives every step of the way, had the Germans discovered that an Allied soldier was hidden they would be shot.

Frank Dell was only a teenager playing when he witnessed the Battle of Britain being fought in the skies over his village. He joined the RAF and became a pilot in a De Havilland Mosquito, carrying out bombing raids into Germany. In October 1944, Frank’s plane was hit and was shot out of the sky, he survived and parachuted into Germany. However, his navigator, Ron Naiff, wasn’t so lucky and could not escape the plane.

Frank recalls all of the scenes of trying to walk through Nazi-Germany into the Netherlands. Once he made it safely to Holland, he joined the Dutch Resistance.

While still in Holland, people allowed him to stay at their farms.  He recalls being passed from farm to farm until he met a family who allowed him to stay in an attic.  The attic was split into two halves by a hanging blanket.  Dell recalls that after the first morning he stayed in the attic; he slid the blanket to the side to see a young girl, who appeared to be about 16 years old.

He found out that she was a Jewish girl who had managed to flee after her parents had been arrested.  She had lived in that family’s attic for two years before Dell arrived.  He says it was just like Anne Frank, her living in the attic.

During one his stays, Dell used Morse Code to guide air-drops of weapons. He was then part of a resistance group of 75 men awaiting orders to make a ruckus behind the enemy lines. During that wait, a British armored car finally came up the road. Dell was the only one brave enough to go and see who was inside.  There was a man in the car and after Dell had told him he had been there for months, all the British man had to say was, “Jolly good show.” Dell realized it was the Household Cavalry which was the leading recce vehicle of the British 2nd Army. Immediately after realizing this, Dell was relieved.

After the meeting with the British man, Dell ended up returning to Britain to be reunited with his family.  He visited briefly before taking off to India to serve.  He then joined the British European Airways.  He was with the British European Airways and British Airways for 30 years, employed as a Chief Pilot.  He recalls one of his last jobs was to take the Queen on a royal visit to Finland.  Frank Dell is now 88 and lives in Sydney with his wife.

His extraordinary story has been published in 2014:

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE