A Letter from Chile
After the release of my book, The Shelburne Escape Line: Secret Rescues of Allied Aviators by the French Underground, the British Royal Navy, and London’s MI-9, I’ve received several encouraging and complimentary letters and e-mails from people who have read the book. Many had connections to the stories in my book and some share their own similar experiences. Daniel Arellano-Walbaum, a friend from Chile, took the time to write me a three-page letter about how my book helped him understand what happened in Europe during WWII. When he was in France several years after WWII, he tried to talk to a friend’s father who had been part of the French Resistance. Even through several decades had passed since the war, the elderly man found the subject too painful to discuss. Here’s part of Daniel’s letter:
About the Shelburne Escape Line I must tell you that I really enjoyed reading it. It took me some time because of all the places and distances mentioned, I read it with a detailed Michelin map and guide of the area by my side, so as to have the whole picture and be fully immersed in the subject. I also spoke with an uncle that served in the Royal Navy during WW II on a motorboat similar to MGB 503, but he knew nothing about these operations. He was posted near the Pas de Calais and the only occasion they got close to France was during D Day. Of course he's preparing to read the book, and I'm sure that he will enjoy it as much as I did.
by Don Douglass
Having notched a number of life-threatening experiences over the decades, including a pitchpole aboard our sailboat, Le Dauphin Amical, near Cape Horn in 1975, I’m always interested in survival stories, and in maritime and aviation accidents. My book, Farewell to a Queen, explored the 2006 sinking of the Canadian ferry, Queen of the North—a tragedy attributable entirely to negligence on the part of the officers on watch (a man and a woman, who had been having an affair in the preceding months).
When Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared in February 2014, after making an inexplicable course change that apparently took it out over the Indian Ocean, I figured that human error—or possibly even deliberate action on the part of the cockpit crew—was also the cause of that tragedy, rather than mechanical failure. As the search for the missing jetliner continued for several months last year, I came up with a story that I believe may be an answer to the MH 370 mystery. I titled it Dilemma, and published it in May of last year as an eStory on Amazon. Based on the facts that were available at the time (flight paths and transcripts of radio communications), Dilemma is a fictional account of what might have happened aboard the plane, and ends with the aircraft crashing at supersonic speed into the Indian Ocean. If this is indeed what happened, I believe the wreckage would have been swept by currents into the Indian Ocean gyre. This speculation is not part of my original story, but now that a piece of aircraft wreckage—possibly that of MH 370—has been found washed up on a beach on Reunion Island, I now believe Dilemma may be closer to the truth than before. Dilemma remains available for purchase as an eStory, and we’re now about to issue it in paperback and print-on-demand formats, available through our website and Amazon later this month.
Don Douglass began exploring Northwest waters in 1949 as a youth. He has sailed the Inside Passage on everything from a 26-foot pleasure craft and commercial fishing boats to a Coast Guard icebreaker. Don holds a BSEE degree from California State University, Pomona, and a Masters in Business Economics from Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Exploring Vancouver Island's West Coast and co-authored with Réanne the acclaimed Exploring the Inside Passage to Alaska, Exploring the South Coast of British Columbia, Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia and Exploring the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Don holds honorary membership in the International Association of Cape Horners. He has written several skiing and mountainbiking guidebooks and, as a father of the sport, was elected to the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame.