New clues to dad's history

A SON seeking information about his father's time with the French resistance during World War Two is today celebrating finding the Ipswich woman at the centre of his search.

A SON seeking information about his father's time with the French resistance during World War Two is today celebrating finding the Ipswich woman at the centre of his search.

Dave Blackett's breakthrough came after a story in the Evening Star earlier this month when he appealed for information about the mystery woman.

The pair first spoke 14 years ago and, after reading of his search, the woman, who is now 66 and living in Ipswich, contacted Mr Blackett to help him with his quest for information about his father, RAF veteran Harry Blackett.

Mr Blackett, 57 said: "I was over the moon when I got in touch with her.


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"She read it in the paper. I was thinking she'd possibly moved back to France."

Sgt Harry Blackett was part of a crew from 138 squadron from RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire which was forced to bail out of a Lancaster plane during a mission over southern France on May 9, 1944.

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After evading capture by the Germans, Sgt Blackett spent several months with the French resistance near the town of Oradour-sur-Glane, the site of one of the bloodiest massacres in France.

Along with other members of his crew, Sgt Blackett was involved in sabotage missions against the occupying forces and was hidden from the Germans by resistance members.

Sgt Blackett, who died aged 51 in 1974 in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, spent his time undercover in France living mostly in a barn in the small village of La Bucherie near St Saud where the woman's family fed him and kept his location secret.

After returning to England Sgt Blackett refused to speak of his ordeal, leaving many questions unanswered for his family.

The woman, who does not wish to be identified, was six years old when Sgt Blackett stayed with her family but Dave Blackett said she still has clear memories of his father.

Now Mr Blackett plans to travel to Ipswich from his home in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, to meet her.

He said: "I know where he was for a lot of his time now. I know where he stayed.

"It's absolutely brilliant."

He added: "The house where my dad was is still there.

"They were all in danger. She was told never to mention anything about him being around.

"She said on one occasion my dad was given some food and had to go and sleep in the woods for a couple of nights.

"She remembers my dad going in for a meal each night. There was a major fear if the Germans caught my dad they would be shot as well."

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