“Bailout Over France and the Journey Home” by Jack W. Stead

Our thanks to Charles G. Novak, a member of the family of Marcel and Paulette Guyon, French helpers of Sgt. Jack W. Stead, for making available to us Sgt. Stead’s WWII memoirs shown below, which had been passed down through the Guyon family.  The following photo of Sgt. Stead is reproduced from page 179 of the book, Code Burgundy, The Long Escape, by his friend, John Katsaros.

Bailout Over France and the Journey Home


Jack W. Stead

Staff Sergeant, USAAF


This is the story, as written by Jack Stead, based upon his experiences while stationed with the 8th Air Force, 447th Bomb Group, 709th Squadron at Rattlesden, England. On April 27, 1944, during what was to have been a short mission, he was shot down over France, bailed out, hid in the countryside from the Germans, and was ultimately rescued by the French Underground.  Marcel and Paulette Guyon, who received the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society Citations of Remembrance for their aid to Allied airmen, were instrumental in moving him to Paris where they put him in touch with a French escape line that guided him to Spain.  The British naval base at Gibraltar was his next stop and then on to England.  There he rejoined his unit and returned to the United States. It was a journey of about 3 months, according to the record. Jack’s story was discovered among Guyon family memorabilia in August of 2021 and forwarded to the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society (AFEES) for posting.

To read the full text of Jack Stead’s manuscript as well as two letters written by Marcel Guyon in 1946, a news story about a reunion of Jack Stead and the Guyons in 1992, and the Citations of Remembrance awarded by AFEES to the Guyons, click on the following pdf file: Bailout over france

A summary by Sgt. Stead of his WWII experiences also appears in the AFEES Member Stories Database, pgs. 65-66.