Skip to comments.A Thank You To Col. Peter J. Ortiz USMC!
Posted on 05/13/2002 6:37:43 PM PDT by gunnyg
Col. Peter J Ortriz
I was speaking with my father (who is now in his 80th year) when he told me that he had been asked to give a short talk to a group of young schoolchildren about his experiences in the 1939-1945 war.
Whenever he talks about the war the name of Peter Ortiz is always mentioned with some awe and respect.
In order to find out a little more about him we searched the web and came across your excellent sites.
My father was one of the four Royal Airforce Officers mentioned in the sites that Peter Ortiz helped to escape from France.
The four Officers were part of a seven man special operations 4 engined Halifax bomber crew. They came from Royal Airforce 138 (Special Duties) Squadron whose sole task was to drop arms and agents into Europe.
They were a highly experienced crew who had already completed one tour of 28 bombing missions over Germany and this was their 13th Special Duty trip.
On the night in question my father remembers the weather as being appalling. They really should not have been flying but there was great pressure to get another agent (now known to be Francis Cammearts) into Southern France.
When over France an engine caught fire. With the poor weather and accumulation of ice on the aircraft they could not maintain height and all crew bailed out. On the ground they met up in two groups, the group containing my father joining the resistance group operated by Peter Ortiz. They remaining crew joining another group.
Having spent some time in a marquis camp they were taken by Peter Ortiz personally by road and rail to the Spanish border.
What amazed all four Officers is that through out this time Peter Ortiz was wearing his Marine uniform under his coat, even in the rail station and on the train which was swarming with Germans who no doubt would have been very pleased to catch him.
My father simply said, as he has many times before, that Peter Ortiz was probably the bravest man he has ever met.
By way of interest all seven members of the crew escaped to England. All but one survived the war. He was killed on another Special Duty mission to Norway in 1945. The remaing crew kept in contact throughout their lives but sadly today there are only two members of the Crew still alive.
If you are able to contact the family of Peter Ortiz you may like to tell them that in England there is at least one man, fifty eight years after the event, who still remembers Peter Ortiz with great affection and respect and that during this week a class of nine year old English school children will learn of his exploits in helping the English Officers.
With kind regards
Son of Ernest Bell (Distinguished Flying Cross)
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Happy to see at least one Marine reads Marines-related posts on FR!
Marine's live forever as long as one person remembers....
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