Donald Pleasence, the conscientious objector that enlisted in RAF Bomber Command

Donald Pleasence 1919 – 1995

Donald Henry Pleasence, OBE  (5 October 1919 – 2 February 1995) was an English actor. His most notable film roles include psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween and most of its sequels, the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice and RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe in The Great Escape.

In December 1939 Pleasence initially refused conscription into the British Armed Forces, registering as a conscientious objector, but changed his stance in autumn 1940, after the attacks upon London by the Luftwaffe, and volunteered with the Royal Air Force. He served as aircraft wireless-operator with No. 166 Squadron in Bomber Command, with which he flew almost sixty raids against the Axis over occupied Europe.

In 1994 a few months before he died, we made a film featuring Donald and his recollections of his service in RAF Bomber Command. We also have in production a biography on Donald entitled “The Odd Man Out’

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On 31 August 1944 Lancaster NE112, in which he was a crew member, was shot down during an attack upon Agenville,and he was captured and imprisoned in the German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft I, where he produced and acted in plays. He was discharged from the R.A.F. in 1946.

Donald died at his home in Saint-paul de Vence, in the South of France, from complications following heart surgery.

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