A WAR hero who leapt from a burning bomber and spent ten weeks escaping back to Britain has died, aged 94.
Tom Maxwell was a 19-year-old rear-gunner on his sixth sortie when his Lancaster was hit by Nazi anti-aircraft flak in March 1944.
Bournemouth News RAF hero Tom Maxwell, who parachuted out of a burning bomber, has died aged 94
He parachuted out at 8,000ft over occupied France and was hidden in an attic on a farm in Rouen.
Tom asked host, Madame Tancre de Maertens, to cook him fried eggs on toast. She later fed the “strange” dish to Allied troops — and “oeuf sur le pain grille” appeared on local cafe menus.
The French Resistance smuggled Tom to Spain and he flew back to Britain.
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He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal and rejoined 622 Squadron for another 26 missions. Tom spent a further 30 years in the RAF.
The dad and great-grandad lived with wife Katherine near Exeter until her death in 2007.
He died in hospital. His son Adrian said: “It wasn’t until his 80s that he spoke of being shot down.”
Bournemouth News Tom was just 19 when his aircraft was hit by a Nazi aircraft defence cannon
Bournemouth News Tom Maxwell pictured with his crew at RAF Mildenhall in 1943
Bournemouth News Maxwell alongside his wife Katherine in Belfast in 1948
Bournemouth News The war hero pictured at the age of 6 in Belfast
Bournemouth News Tom with his wife Katherine aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1961
Bournemouth News Tom enjoying his 93rd birthday party in Devon
BBC make a virtual-reality recreation of a WWII Lancaster bomber raid over Berlin in 1943