TICKET to FREEDOM
An RAF Evader in Occupied France
Signed by Warrant Officer Herbert Spiller DFM
Signed by Herbert Spiller on the half title page and also
signed by him again on the opposite page (undedicated)
William Kimber First edition 1988. 160 pages plus photographs.
Fine condition hardback book and dustjacket. Clean, tight and bright. The pages are a little tanned due to paper quality issues.
Herbert ‘Dizzy’ Spiller was an Observer flying with 12 Squadron in Fairey Battles during the Battle of France. He was then posted to the Halifax but on the final trip of his second tour in late 1942, his aircraft was shot down and Dizzy was one of three survivors from the crew of eight.
He landed in occupied territory in eastern France. Injured and in pain, he made his way to a nearby house whose owners gave him food and saw to his wounds. But then he was once again on his own, and determined to reach Paris to find the Resistance. The first major hurdle? To buy a ticket, a ticket that would start his journey to freedom.
This book is his gripping blow-by-blow account of his remarkable journey, first to Paris, then Brussels where he was taken under the wing of the Comète line, and then eventually over the Pyrenees, where he became Parcel No 82 for Dédée de Jongh (Little Cyclone) and the redoubtable smuggler/ guide Florentino. Overwhelmed by the kindness of the helpers he met along the path of his journey to freedom, he records his experiences here as a tribute to them and to those of his crew who were not so fortunate as he. On his return, he continued flying with a VIP flight, then with Transport Command, serving in several battle zones including Russia. He was awarded the DFM and the King’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air.
Herbert died in 2011 and in accordance with his final wishes, his ashes were taken to France and laid to rest alongside those of his crew members who were killed in the crash. The French laid on a memorable ceremony for the occasion.
A very nice copy of this scarce signed evasion memoir.