Saturday, March 3, 2018
"The Mighty Eighth"-- Part 2: Becomes Top Ace, Shot Down, Escapes
On March 8, 1944, Captain Walker "Bud" Mahurin returned to his base at Halesworth, England, with news that he had added three more victories to his tally, now 20 enemy aircraft shot down, to become the top scoring American pilot in the European Theater of operations. Just days later, his P-47 was heavily damaged by a German Do-217 he helped shoot down, forcing him to bail out.
He was rescued by members of the French resistance and, after weeks of evasion from capture, with the help of the French Underground, he was flown back to England.
When he again reported for duty with the 56th Fighter Group, he was told that because he now knew the escape routes and personnel of the resistance, if he was shot down again and captured, after interrogation and torture, the Germans might obtain valuable information; therefore he could no longer fly in the European Theater.