World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I



 

World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

A collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I



 

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Additional Info on the POWs
 



Akins, James - was shot down over Belgium on December 1, 1943.  With the help of the Underground he and his bombardier Bill Dolgin evaded for almost 4 months, then they were the first to be sent out on the "new escape line KLM" - unfortunately set up by a German collaborator, Rene Van Muylen.  Court records show Van Muylen had been responsible for 177 allied airmen's arrest in the Antwerp, Belgium area and was later executed.    When Jimmy and Dolgin arrived at Luft I, they found their navigator, Jack Foard who had been caught back in December. Jimmy was sent to the South Compound and Bill Dolgin was sent to the North 1 compound. 

No e-mail - Postal address of his widow available upon request.


Alexander, Paul H. - 2nd Lt. Bombardier on B-17 flying out of Podington,  England with 92nd Bomb Group, 326 Bomb Squad.  He was shot down on his 8th mission to  ___, Germany on February 24, 1944.  8 members of his crew were killed in the crash of his plane. 

No e-mail - Postal address available upon request.



Alperin, Jerome 1st Lt. Jerome (Jerry) Alperin with the 388th Bomb Group was shot down on July 8, 1944 over LeHarve, France.  He was shot full of flak while coming down in his parachute. He suffered from that and more for years.  He passed away in October 2005.

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Armstrong, John L. (Jack)  -  was assigned to the 79th Fighter Squadron out of Kings Cliff, England, where he was flying P38's and P-51's.   He was flying a P-51 when he was hit by flak while strafing locomotives.

Lt. Jack Armstrong - WWII Fighter pilot Jack Armstrong of the 79th Fighter Squadron strikes a "look to the skies" pose in front of his Lightning which is named Hell's Belle, painted in typical 1940's shadow type.  This photo is of particular interest since it shows Lt. Armstrong's flight gear to excellent advantage - even down to his white silk scarf.  This photo appeared in Air Classics Magazine when they did an article on WWII P38
pilots. 
Major Jack Armstrong - Test Pilot at Wright Patterson AFB Jack Armstrong in front of his F86 that he did most of his test flying in at Wright Patterson AFB.   This is the plane that tore apart during a high speed turn about 100 feet off the ground in which he was killed in September 1954.
Missing in action letter - World War II Missing in Action Letter
Prisoner of War telegram to family - World War II Prisoner of War telegram

 

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Baynham, James C.  (Jim)
was a 1st Lt. during POW days, airplane Commander B-24, 702 squadron, 445 Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, Shot down on Kassell mission, Sept 27, 1944.

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Beauclair, Benjamin  - was originally from Buhl, MN. He was a B-17 co pilot of SKUNKFACE shot down in 1943 over Lens, Belgium.

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Bigley, Roland P. - was with 15th Air Force, 99th Bomb Group, 416th Squadron, Foggia, Italy


Click here to e-mail Roland

 


Andrew J. Boles - Stalag Luft I Prisoner of War - World War 2   Andrew J. Boles at POW camp - Stalag Luft I 

 Boles, Andrew J. -   was a B-17 pilot with the 384th bomber group,8th AF, and was a POW at Stalag Luft 1... South Compound - Barrack 2 - Room 5......prisoner #1701.

Andrew was shot down Dec 1,1943 over Belgium with the plane crashing in Yabbake, Belgium where he was captured...He arrived at Barth/Stalag Luft 1 on Dec 16th, 1943  and remained there until liberated by the Russians in May 1945.

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Bolesta, Stanley Steven - was a 2nd Lt. Bombardier from Detroit, Michigan.  He was shot down 11/3/43 and hidden by French family. Later turned into Gestapo by mole in French underground. He made his way across Germany to various holding places and finally arriving at Stalag Luft 1 on February 26, 1944.

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Brooke, Earl - was a pilot in the 305thBG/364thBS stationed at Chelveston.  He and his crew were shot down over Oldenburg on 26/11/43. 
 

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Burnham, Ruel DudleyB-17 navigator shot down near Memingen on July 18, 1944.  Brett Smither's (also a Stalag Luft I POW) was his pilot and roommate in North 2.

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Butler, Fred  W. Jr. - shot down on 25 Feb 1944 and ended in Stalag Luft 1 at Barth. Can't remember the room number but I was in two Blocks, first was #4 and then #11 in North 1 compound. I was also a member of the band in North 1, played sax and we called ourselves the 'Round The Benders. I was one of the '700' that left camp in May 1945. I walked, rode wagons and drove a liberated Mercedes all the way to an airfield in Hildesheim where I finally was taken by plane to Paris. POW #3092.

Click here to e-mail Fred


Carroll, John J.
Flew P-38 with the 38th Squadron, 55th Fighter Group. Shot down Nov. 29, 1943 over Holland.  The other three in flight were killed, including Squadron C.O.  John was the North 1 Entertainment Officer, and as such was in charge of morale and putting on the plays and assemblies.  

We are sad to report that John passed away on June 11, 2003.  His wife of 57 years and his seven children were by his side.

Round the Benders w/ John Carroll at Stalag Luft I - World War II prison camp  In this photo he is shown sitting by the Camp Orchestra - "Round the Benders" looking at clipboard. (click on photo to enlarge)

 

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Chesmore, Emery -  of Kingston, WA passed away March 30, 2001. He was a member of Kitsap Chapter, Dept. of Washington, AXPOW. Ches was a B-17 pilot in the 96th BG and was shot down Dec. 13, 1943, and held at Stalag Luft 1, Barth until 1945. He is survived by his wife, Mary, 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.  From Ex-POW Bulletin.

No contact info available - Check with American Ex-POWs - www.axpow.org if you would like to contact his next of kin.

 

Paul Clark - Prisoner of War - World War II  Clark, Paul - South and North 2 Compound - age 80, of Ridgecrest, CA died Dec. 24, 2001. During WWII he was a member of the 8th AF, 379th BG, was shot down over Germany and held in Stalag Luft 1, Barth. A life member of AXPOW, he leaves one daughter, 2 grandsons, and 2 great-grandchildren.


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mail his grandson

 



Cooley, Warren Charles
of Cashion, OK passed away Dec. 28, 2001. During WWII, he served in the Army Air Corps with the 8th AF, 356th FG and was captured over Cologne, Germany. He was held in Stalag Luft 1 for 6 months. He leaves his wife Mildred, 2 children, 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

No contact info available - Check with American Ex-POWs - www.axpow.org if you would like to contact his next of kin.

 

Cripe, Hubert - "B T Moynahan was a lawyer from Kentucky. He "liberated" a light socket and bulb from the barracks hallway and screwed it to the wall by his bed. He "liberated" barbed wire from the fence, ran it by my bed to his bed and hooked it up to the light socket in the center of the room. He had a bed light for one night and the Krauts found it the next morning. The Krauts stopped at my bed and hauled me to the cooler. You figure that! I spent 8 days in Solitary. The Krauts said they had me and somebody had to pay. Anyway they fed me twice a day  and brought it to me. I also read the old and new Testaments while in the cooler"

 

 

 

Culwell, Robert Walter - First Lieutenant R. W. Culwell was hit by flak on his 32nd mission (bombing run). The crew  were able to drop their load before parachuting out of the B17. Robert was the navigator and all men aboard made it down, but were captured. One member of Robert's crew, H. C. Preher, the co-pilot, was in Robert's barracks at Stalag Luft1. Robert spent his 22nd birthday as a POW.


Robert continued to serve in the Air Force, retiring after 20 + years as a Lieutenant Colonel. A few years later, after running up a flight of stairs, Robert dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of 47.  He has been missed and remembered ever since.
 
I am currently an American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer. I chose to volunteer for them because of what the organization did for Robert so many years ago. Proudly, Betty Culwell 

Click here to e-mail his wife Betty



Paul Daugherty Prisoner of War ID card - World War II   Daugherty, Paul E.
Navigator with 450th Bomb Group., 722nd Bomb Squadron. Manduria, Italy. Shot down Dec.29, 1944. Ended up in Stalag Luft 1, North Compound III, Barracks 301, Room 2. 

Click here to e-mail Paul.


Dews, Charles Allen - his son writes - I once read a collection of diary entries he wrote on the backs of matchbooks and then later transferred to small booklets, in which he described his experiences as a POW. Life magazine wanted the booklets, but my mother refused to give them up, preferring to give them to me and my brother. Alas, we somehow lost them in a series of moves. I can still recall, however, the horrible things that were done to him. For instance, the Germans twisted his arm to try to extract information from him, to no avail, but he was forever damaged by the torture he suffered. His arm never functioned correctly after that. Even worse, the joie de vivre he was so famous for before the war was extinguished after by the experience. He died in a plane crash at Boeing Field in Seattle in 1951.

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Edwards, Wilson V.  "Bill" - Bill was a Major at the time of his capture and was piloting a P-51. He was a member of the 8th Air Force, 4th fighter group, 336th squadron. Bill also flew for the American Eagle Squadron, RAF, before the U.S, was in the war.  Now residing in Colorado.  He tells of a very kind German prison guard who was an ex WWI pilot who admired the American pilots.  He says that this guard wore large baggy pants and would sneak in rabbits in his pants for the starving men to eat.  Does anyone happen to know this kind hearted prison guards name, or any info. on him?
 

The most amazing event took place at the ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the battle of Britain.(Sept.30th,2000) Soon after the master of ceremonies was announcing all of the honored guests at the dinner, I was sitting with my Uncle Bil, and a gentleman about the same age as my Uncle, (he was wearing a RAF officers uniform) walked over to the table and said to my Uncle....."Bill Edwards, do you remember me ?" My uncle stood up and looked at the gentleman and said " I don't think so, should I ?" The gentleman said, "Bill, it's me Digger!" At that instant Uncle Bill's eyes lit up and he said "oh my god!" and he gave him a big hug and the both of them stood there for a long while embracing and weeping out loud, they were literally crying like babies, hugging each other. The rest of us at the table didn't know what to make of it ! After the two of them regained there composure, Uncle Bill turned to our table and said, " I want all of you to meet Robert "Digger" Williams of the R.A.F. 611th fighter squadron, you see Digger and I were cell mates together in the Stalag POW camp, we haven't seen each other since 1945!

 

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Galloway, Douglas N. - a B-17 bombardier, who was shot down April 9, 1944.  He was a POW in Stalag Luft 1, North Compound 1.

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Gould, Alvin A. - Bombardier, 613th Squadron, 401st Bomb Group, Deenethorpe, England. Bailed out on mission to Oschersleben, January 11, 1944. Seventh mission. Two men lost.  Stalag Luft I. Block 6, Room 7.
 

Click here to e-mail Al

Gould, Charles L. - a very funny, freckled, redhead was a Navigator with the 360BS, 303rdBG, 8th AF. He was shot down 9/28/44, and spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 1.  He passed away at 51, after his 3rd heart attack. 
Lt. Charles L. Gould at Stalag Luft I - art work          Gould ID Card at Stalag Luft I

Do you know who the artist was in this sketch of him and his plane "Minnie the Moocher"?

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Gould, Cornelius P. -  his son writes "My father was Cornelius P. Gould, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA), and was a member of the group known as the Tuskegee Airman (332nd Fighter Group). After his P-51 Mustang went down over Slovakia, he was captured and imprisoned in Stalag Luft I until the Russians overran that territory near the end of the war. After the war, he returned to Pittsburgh, where he met and married his wife, Phyllis, and had four children. I am the youngest of those children, and am a jazz pianist living in Cleveland, Ohio where the family moved in the mid-1950's.  I would be very interested in sharing information about my father.   Eric Gould"


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Grant, Watson L
. - shot down on 03/06/44 Mission to Berlin.  Stalag Luft I, 2nd Lt. Navigator, 8th AF, 91st BG out of Bassingbourne.


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Griffin, William E. - a Tuskegee Airman from Birmingham, Alabama was shot down on his 23rd mission, January 15, 1944 and was held in  North 2, Barracks 4, Room 13 at Stalag Luft I.

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Guthrie, Robert M. - a Navigator on Lancaster - shot down shot down in the Nuremburg raid on 30/31st March 1944.
 

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Haggerty, Paul - We stole wood from the roof for our stove. The roof leaked so the Germans had to tar the roof to stop the leaks. We stole the cover off the tar barrel and put it on top of our stove to be used as a frying pan. We had to stand outside for quite a while, while the Germans looked for the cover. They never found it. It was on top of our stove all the time. Remember the guys in the next room, they caught and cooked a cat, had cat gravy and everything. Well guys Im trying to locate any of you guys so if you are still around please get in touch. Oh yes, I was the red head. (was).

Bailed out over Yugoslavia, traveled from there to  Stalag Luft I on the Baltic. Captured by Ustashi in Yugo, turned over to gestapo, jailed in Ljubljana, Slovenia then with German guards traveled to Oberursel, near Frankfort, then to Dulag Luft in Wetzlar, then to Barth.  I now have contacts in Slovenia and received a wealth of information from them, including a part from my plane that was picked up by the man that saw it crash.

I was one of the POWs that spent New Years Eve 1944-1945 in marshalling yards in Berlin along with a hundred or so others going from Dulag Luft in Wetzlar to Stalag Luft I. Will never forget Sgt. Hellman. He was speaking to the German guards and I was with him. He persuaded them to get beer for those who wanted it to celebrate New Years Eve with a toast. I collected gum and cigarettes from some of the POWs and gave them to him to give to the guards to get the beer. When the guards left he told me "the would probably shoot me if they knew I was Jewish and was speaking Jewish to them. We sweated out the probability of the British starting the New Years off by bombing Berlin but for some reason they didn't. We arrived at Barth on Jan 3, 1945 and were there until liberated by the Russians in May 1945. My kriegie number was 7050, I was in North II compound block 208. Sgt. Hellman was in North 3 along with my radio operator Mel Tenhaken and tail gunner R. C. Wakefield. In Feb. 1945 Sgt Hellman was removed from the room and ended up in the Jewish compound along with Lt. Kuptsow and a local friend of mine here in Rhode Island Lt Mike Gold. The Jewish compound was kind of isolated from the rest of the camp and was next to the ammunition dump so that any misplaced bomb on a raid by the British or U.S. could result in their destruction. Fortunately it never happened. Oh yes, in one of the Stalag Luft stories a cat is mentioned. Yes I remember it very well. One of the officers was trying to catch the cat; another officer in another compound was feeding it spam. Tough luck guys, one of the sergeants in North II, block 208, next room to me caught the cat and they cooked it up. I saw the cat in the pan with four legs sticking up and cat gravy all over it. They said it tasted like chicken. By the way if anyone bailed out over Yugoslavia (especially what is now Slovenia) and were jailed in the law court at Ljubljana I have pen pals over there now and they have obtained pictures of the jail and other interesting information. One of my friends has written a book about airmen rescued by the partisans called Evasion And Repatriation by Edi Selhous (Sunflower Press) and another is finishing a book to be out in October. His name is Matija Zgajnar and he has been to the US. He set up a partisan exhibit at the pentagon and also at Chanute Field. Would love to hear from any old roommates



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Halliburton, J.B. - with the 303rd Bomb Group was shot down on his 13th mission out of Molesworth, England.  The plane was named Sky Wolf.  He was a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft I for 16 months in both the South Compound and North 2 compound. He passed away on July 1, 2005.

 

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Hall, James Cowan -   He was a navigator and bombardier with the 390th Bomb Group, 569th Bomb Squad.  Shot down on September 10th 1944. He has been deceased since 1977. He wouldn't speak much about his experiences.  Only he and another survived the crash, the remaining crew were killed by the German people. He was taken by the Germans to see each crewman that was killed. 

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Hansen, Leonard - North 2 - Barracks 3 - Room 3

Leonard Hansen with American flag made at prisoner of war camp in wwII

Prisoner of War - American flag made in camp

American flag made my prisoners of war in World War II

Leonard Hansen with John & Lance Armstrong and American flag made at POW camp

Leonard Hansen with flag made in Stalag Luft I POW Camp during WWII

Handmade FLAG

Leonard Hansen with John & Lance Armstrong (sons of POW roommate)

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Harrell, William H. - Major William H. Harrell, was the commander of the 563rd Bomb Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group. He was brought down by flak on December 31, 1944 on a bombing mission to Hamburg, Germany. He tried to make it back to England but ended up ditching in the shallow waters off the coast of Baltrum Island (a small island on the northern coast of Germany).


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Heckman, Edward C. - Captain Edward C. Heckman was a fighter pilot with the 406th and based in Les Mans, France, He was shot down while flying a P-47 over Luneville, France on Sept.19,1944 and was a POW at Stalag Luft I until May 1945 when liberated. He was in the North 1 Compound. He was called Ned by his family. He remained in the Air Force for 30 years and retired a Lt. Col. He died September 4, 1996 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Our family would like to hear from anybody who might have any more information about him.

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Hemmings, Gordon -   I crashed in France on the night of Feb 5th. 44, and was badly injured and burned. After three days in the local hospital  (to get over the shock), they sent me to the Luftwaffe Hospital in Paris , where I was treated most kindly, and effectively. While there I met Horace Mann (Dewey Rose R.F.D. Georgia, and Block 13 later at Luft 1). more about him later.

In early April I was considered fit enough to be shipped out to Dulag Luft, where I only spent a few days, and then on to Luft 1, West compound. I was in Block 13 for a few weeks and then moved to Room 13 in Block 9, where I remained until we had to crowd up to make room for the influx of men from other camps as the war drew to a close. So around Sept.44, I moved to block 8.

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Hockley, Calvin J. - flew in b-17's the 8th Air Force 381st BG 535 BS. Vincent Peters crew.  Was shot down at Metz, France on 1/1/45 our 4th mission, our side of the front line & at Bremen, his 25th mission flying on Lt. Nelson's crew while bombing the sub pens on 3/30/45.  Aircraft's name was "In Like Errol".  He writes " I was 19 years old and a ball turret gunner. I arrived at Stalag Luft 1 about ten days after being shot down but don't recall much of that time as my buddies tell me because I hit my head badly when I bailed out and didn't know what I was doing part of the time during the trip to the Stalag Luft 1. If anyone remembers the details of the March the 30th mission at Bremen I'd be glad to hear from them. I have contacted all of the crew I flew with that day with the exception of Flt. Off. Paul T. Cawley, Ser. No. T-129489. If anyone has any knowledge of Paul, please contact me through my E-mail address below."

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Hogan, Ralph
- I was in South compound Block 2 Room 4 and also I was in North 1 Block 3 room
14.  I was shot down in Italy near Rimini on Sept. 18, 1944.  I was flying B-25's out of Corsica for the 12th Air Force, we were bombing German troops on the Po River. 
 

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Hogan, William L.
-  After 3 hospitals and Dulag-Luft, (at the same time as Gabreski), I was sent to Stalag-Luft four.  With the Russian army approaching, a group of us were transferred by 40 and 8 boxcars to Stalag-Luft One.  While a POW, I drew a series of cartoons, one of which is attached and mentions  "North 3".  My sparse records also mentions a "room 9".  I was a B-24 tail gunner, 827 Sqd. 484 Grp. 15 AF.  Shot down by flak and fighters, May 29, 1944.  Held in North 3 - Barracks 3 (Block 302) - Room 9
 
Bill Hogan - World War II veteran and POW

=The Luftwaffe visits North 3 at Stalag Luft I - WWII cartoon

 

The Luftwaffe visits North 3 drawing by Bill Hogan

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Johnson, Lee G. - He was a First Lieutenant and navigator on the B-24 Liberator named "Blow Job".  He was with the 487th Bomb Group, squadron 838.  He was the lead navigator on this mission.  Out of a crew of 10 only 3 survived when he was shot down over Cheateaudon, France on May 11,1944. He was with the French underground until he was captured by the Gestapo in Paris, France on May 24, 1944. He was in solitary confinement for four months in Paris, France, at Fresnes Prison, which was a civilian prison taken over by the Gestapo where they detained Allied Airman for interrogation.  From there he was transferred to Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany on September 9, 1944.  He stayed there until the liberation in April of 1945.  He  is 82 years old and lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas with his wife of 58 years. 

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Joyce, Jay  -  Jay Joyce was a POW at Stalag Luft I. His was with the Wilson Group Crew 4.  Jay enlisted July 25, 1942 in Prestonsburg Ky as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 92nd Bomb Group 407 Bomb Squadron. He did his basic training in Atlantic City, New Jersey:  Gunnery School in Wendover,FLD Utah;  Radio and Mechanic School in Chicago, Illinois, and Flight Training in Ephrata, Washington.   He departed from the United States, on November 25,1943 for ETO where he was a radio operator, mechanic, and gunner on B17 Bomber. He was shot down and wounded on 4th mission over Germany on February 4, 1944; POW until May 13, 1945. He returned to states June 29, 1945.

Medal and honors he received were the Bronze Star, ME Ribbon, EA, POW Ribbon, and AAF Crew Member Wings.  His most enduring memory of war was being a prisoner of war for 16 months and was liberated by the Russians at Barth Germany on May 13, 1945. He was discharged October 29, 1945 in San Antonio, Texas, as a T/Sgt.
 

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Kirwan, Thomas E. - My uncle was Lt. Col Thomas Kirwan and he was in North 1, Barracks 11, room 13.I believe that he was a Captain at the time and that he was shot down over the Mediterranean.  If anyone has any info on him I would love to hear about it.  

 

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Lough, Wayne L. -  a B-17 pilot with the 385th Bomb Group, was shot down on 12/6/44.  Memorabilia he brought home from the camp, included home made wings that were made of melted tin cans and poured into a mold of sand, as well as a cigarette case made from woven strips of tin.  He told stories about a guard named Haus, who they would anger by misspelling his name as "House".   He died in 1988, a retired Air Force Colonel.

His crew members also at Stalag Luft I were:
S/Sgt. Ralph C. Cole, Engineer
Cpl. Willis P. Hansmann, Waist Gunner/ Asst. Engineer
Sgt. John H. Keefe, Armor Gunner
 
Other crew members / camp unknown. 
Lt. A. R. Hufford, Pilot
Lt. G. E. Gale, Navigator
Cpl. E. J. Elliot, Radio Operator
Cpl. L. F. Dodson, Tail Gunner

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Lucy, Arthur Henry - was a T/Sgt from Philadelphia, PA.  He was POW # 3636 at Stalag Luft I.  He was in the South Compound.  His daughter writes: "I am trying locate and talk or write to anyone who would have know my dad.  He was shot down over Italy and injured. He was a B-17 gunnery/radio operator. He was stationed in north Africa.  I am trying to fill in the missing pieces of his time during WWII.  Dad died Aug 21,1975, he is buried in Texas.  He retired from the Air Force in the 60's.  I am hoping their is someone out there, that can help me or tell me about my dad. My address Linda Dul, 24 Arch Street, Haverhill, Mass. 01832.  Phone number: 978-374-1019.

 

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Mann, HoraceGordon Hemmings relates this story about Horace -

While I was in the Luftwaffe Hospital in Paris, one day an American sergeant was brought in on a stretcher and put to bed in our room. He looked very poorly, his chest was heavily bandaged and he was obviously in a bad state. At about two o'clock the next morning I awoke with a start to realize that he had got out of bed and was just passing through the door into the corridor. As he disappeared from sight I heard him fall so I crutched across to the corridor to find him lying on the stone tiles, unconscious. The weather was bitterly cold and the heating was minimal, so it was not going to do him a lot of good. The guard at the end of the corridor had apparently heard nothing, so I hobbled along to him, told him what had happened, and got him to rouse Frieda and Benke (nurses). They got him back to bed and remarked that it was lucky that I had roused, as a long spell on the stone floor might have proved fatal in his condition. But within a couple of days he was showing noticeable improvement. As he was able to tell us his story, I decided that he was indeed just destined to survive the war. He had been a waist gunner in a Fortress in a raid over France and he had been hit in the left side of his chest. It was the habit of the Americans, when a crew member was badly injured, to tie a static line to his parachute and tip him overboard, on the principle that he might be lucky enough to land in some place where medical attention was at hand, whereas he would probably not survive until they got back to England. So Horace, unconscious, was duly jettisoned. A wartime parachute was strictly an emergency measure, and one landed with a fair old thump enough to see off a badly injured man. But Horace's parachute caught over the top of a power pylon and the stretch in the cords brought him gently to rest with his feet just clear of the ground. Not only that, but it was just outside a very large Wehrmacht depot near Bordeaux, where there was a well-equipped sick quarters complete with operating theatre. But they lacked X- ray facilities, so the German surgeon had decided that time was of the essence, and had just cut him open and followed the course of the bullet which had gone downward through his lungs and finished up in his liver. He had eighteen inches of scar across his chest and the bullet proved to be 0.5" caliber - American! He later moved to Stalag Luft I with me and finished the war a very large and very healthy man.  Horace was somewhere in Block 13, but I don't know the room number.
 

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 Mastronardi, Frank J. -    Stalag Luft I POW 


Frank J. Mastronardi and his crewmates  - World War II






L to
R:John H. Crowley, Left waist gunner Walter R. Rusch, Ball Turret Gunner,

John Katsaro, Right waist Gunner, Henry Kane, Co-Pilot,  Jack A. Dunaway, Pilot,

Theodore J. Krol, Bombardier, Marvin H. Benz, Tail Gunner, William G. Mock, Navigator          

Sterling J. Nichols Engineer and Top Turret Gunner, Frank J. Mastronardi, Radio Operator


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McArthur, James B.  I am James H. Keeffe, Jr., and was co-pilot on James B. McArthur's B-24. He wound up at Stalag Luft I.  We went down on the 8 March'44 8AF Mission 252 against the Erkner Werke in Berlin. We lost #3 engine just after departing the I.P., dropped our bombs on a Target of Opportunity (factory), rejoined the Group (389thBG(H) on the return flight. Attacked by 2 FW-190s. They knocked out #2 engine, the intercom, and wounded both waist gunners -- one mortally.

Fuel consumption increased exponentially, so over the NLs Zuider Zee we turned south looking for a GAF airfield to put our plane onto. But fuel concerns caused us to bail out over Hendrik Ido Ambacht, outside of which the plane crashed with a dead gunner in the waist. -- no fire (no gas!). 10 of us bailed out into a clear, windy late afternoon. The nose gunner broke his back; the Bombardier broke both legs, the Navigator broke a leg; the other waist gunner was on cloud 29 from 2 syrettes of morphine I'd given him. 9 were quickly captured. Those injured were taken to the Luftwaffe hospital in Amsterdam until able to be transported into DL.

Alone of the crew, I was able to evade immediate capture, hide in a shed (which was searched), covered with potato sacks. Later in the evening Underground men came and fetched me -- they'd seen me go into the shed, seen the military policeman come out of the shed without me. I was rowed in a boat to Dordrecht, and 2 days later bicycled to Rotterdam, where I had a wonderful time until 15 July, when I headed south to intercept US forces moving north in France & into Belgium. But in Antwerp I was betrayed to German Counterintelligence agents, jailed for 10 days, then transported to Brussells & handed over to the Luftwaffe. From there to Oberursel, Wetzlar and finally Stalag Luft III, Sagan -- Center Compound, Block 43, Combine 7. Out into the blizzard the night of 27/28 Jan'45, eventually boxcarred to Moosburg, Bavaria -- Stalag VII A (a first class rathole!). Liberated by Gen. George Patton's 14th Armored Div., 99th Infantry Div. at 1135 on Sunday, 29 April. A friend and I took off and made it to Camp Lucky Strike on 5 May. We were trained to LeHavre port on 10 May. While enroute we stopped alongside another train headed for Lucky Strike. It was full of Stalag Luft I kriegies. I was able to locate Jimmy McArthur! For 5 minutes we spoke together, then I continued on to the port, boarded the Marine Panther for the trip to Camp Kilmer, NJ, was out-processed in 2days, then boarded Army troop cars & trained to Ft Lewis, WA. Then took a bus to Seattle and a cab to my parents' home -- on 4 Jun'45. 

Jim Keeffe jkgen1@qwest.net
 



McGarry, Thomas Patrick  "Paddy" - 
The Germans that shot down his plane (it exploded when hit) watched him fall and  took him to the hospital.  The next day they presented him with a document (with an official stamp on it) which confirmed they had witnessed his fall without his parachute from a height of 17,000 feet and that they had found him unconscious under the broken branches of a tall tree.  His only serious injury was a very badly broken right ankle.  ( From Wings to Jackboots by Barry Keyter)

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McGrew, James M. -  My father was at Stalag Luft 1, he played the lead in the plays in the camp including the play, The Man Who Came To Dinner, mentioned by Robert Swartz on your site. My Dad was in radio and an actor/writer before the war. He was in all the productions.  Have your heard of or seen a book called, Not As Briefed. It is a book about the camp made from sketches by one of the prisoners. A sketch of my father is in it and images of many parts and people in the camp. The book was written by Col Charles R Greening printed by Brown and Bigelow in Minn, USA. The book states of my father,   "In this pastel portrait C.R. Greening has portrayed the first actor of Stalag Luft One in his most famous and successful role. Jim McGrew would rather act than eat --- a surprising statement for ANY Kriegie but especially from Mac who had charge of the stockroom in the Mess Hall. A Navigator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McGrew knows his way around. Volatile, emotional, confident and gifted, Jim has the qualities of a successful actor and showman. He has the experience, too. Professional radio work in his home town plus several seasons with the Pittsburgh Playhouse has given him all the polish he needs. A break will bring him stardom."   Needless to say he did not become a star. He acted briefly on Broadway on his return but drifted toward writing. He spent his life as a writer in Los Angeles after the war.

Our father was shot down fairly early in the air war and was taken in by a French family for 3 months. Then they delivered him to the French underground. He was with them for several months (went on one raid) and was then captured by the SS and put on trial. After 6 months in solitary in a French prison he as sent to Barth. His group was running the mess hall and doing food preparation.  Two years ago we went back to France and met with the family that took him in and the very small town had a ceremony where we presented a plaque to the town. Lots of tears flowed.

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Mittman, Arthur - went on to become a professor of education with his field of expertise being statistics and measurement.  He helped establish the ACT test in the early 1960s and traveled throughout the world doing work for the United Nations.  Will be inducted into the Muscatine High School Hall of Honor on April 25, 2007.

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Morrin, John R. -  His son tell us "My father was a B-17 pilot with the 360th Bomber Squadrom, 303rd Bomb Group, out of Molesworth, England. On 2/22/44 his plane was shot down near Antwerp, Belgium and he successfully parachuted and was captured and eventually imprisoned at Stalag Luft I in Barth. I still have a YMCA-issue book that contains water colors, poems, a diary, and other notes documenting his story. I also used to have a hard-bound book of "cartoons" that captured the Kriegie experience. I also still have a Christmas placecard, no doubt from a party at the prison camp in December 1944 -- It is lettered "POP", which was his nickname, because at 26 he was considerably older than his crew. After the war he spoke little about his experiences, and had almost nothing to say about Stalag Luft I and his time there. After the war he worked as a railroad engineer for 35 years, retired, and died of cancer in June 1986."


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O'Brien, Wilbur Brice - was a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps (Force). He was shot down somewhere near Lyon (sp) in France and remained free for a short period of time before being taken by the German's. He passed away in 1983.


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Olson, Robert L.
- His son writes, "My dad, Lt. Robert L. Olson, was incarcerated at Stalag Luft I on November 3, 1943. He was prisoner # 1423 and was in the camp when it was liberated by the Russians. Dad died in 1971. My mother recently gave me her scrapbook of Dad's time in the service and I am interested in learning more about Lt Olson's capture and time at Stalag Luft I. If you or your relative knew my father please contact me."

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Parks, Thomas A. -  Lt. Parks was shot down 11/29/43 and was a POW in the South Compound at Stalag Luft I.

  Lt. Thomas A. Parks - German POW Id Card      Thomas A. Parks in World War II       Thomas A. Parks-  World War II prisoner of war at Stalag Luft I     Stalag Luft I Dog tag.     Razor blade package and Barth stamp and postmark from Stalag Luft I POW camp

 

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Plothow, Richard E. - If any one has information about my father when he was a POW, please share it with me. Anything! All I know is that he was in South Barracks 2 Room 11 based on this web site. He was a navigator shot down somewhere over Europe. He passed away 19 years ago from brain cancer. I haven't any memorabilia about his time in POW camp. Any information would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Joc Plothow
260.969.8869

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Pond, George Knight  - of Malone, New York was the Pilot of the "Iron Ass". In North 1, Barracks 2, Room 14 with him was his Co-Pilot John T. Day, his Navigator Glenn A. Johnson and his Bombardier George F. Peters.  They were shot down on March 8, 1944 as the lead plane in the 2nd daylight raid on Berlin.  All crew members survived.
 

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Rasko, John - was in South Compound, Barracks 3, Room 4.  He was from Iowa and married to Betty Bonebrake in New Mexico, shortly before going overseas during World War II.  He was the son of Opal and John Rasko.  He had two sons and one daughter.  He worked as a meat cutter for a number of years until he retired.  While he suffered from health effects from his time as a POW, he almost never spoke of his experiences.  He drowned while ice fishing with a friend in 1992.

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Reichle, William J. (Bill) - was a bombardier with the 454 bombing group and shot down March 19, 1944 near Vienna.

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Reid, Harvey W. "Bill" - was imprisoned in Stalag Luft One from February of 1944 through the liberation of the camp.  Bill passed away on February 6th of 2005 but he left us with many stories of the time when he was "a guest of the German Army".  Lieutenant Reid was captured after his 8th mission over Germany as a co-pilot flying B-17s from Grafton-Underwood with the Eight Air Force, 384th bomb group, 547th squadron.

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Reus, Joseph Henry -   Joseph Henry Reus - German Prisoner of war photo IDof Baltimore, MD. was with the 703rd Bomb Squad, 445th Bomb Group (B-24 outfit). The Luft Col. Von Beck  gave Joe his WW1 issue Lugar pistol after the Soviets took over the camp.  German TV interview with WWII researcher Horst Jeckel.  Mostly German, but some English. Click here to view. 

Joseph Reus at German TV interview


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Rice, D. Paul - was a B-24 pilot with the 15th AAF before he was shot down over Bolzano, Italy on 12-19-44. 

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Rinkenberger, Edwin Dale - Bombardier in a B-17 "MARY ELLEN",  385th Bomb Group, 550th Bomb Squadron, shot down Oct 20, 1943.  Like many other POWs, he shared very few war stories with us.  The Navigator was Lt. John DURAKOV, the Pilot was Capt. FRYERClick here for more info


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F/O Thomas John Roberts, RCAF - Prisoner of war ID photoRoberts, Thomas Johnwas a "resident" of Stalag Luft I from April 8th, 1944 until liberation.  He was with the Royal Canadian Air Force, a navigator with 418 City of Edmonton squadron.  He was held in the South Compound, Block 6, Room 19 at Stalag Luft I.  He passed away in 1998.

 

T.J. Roberts POW ID card - World War 2

 

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Roman, Joseph E. passed away on January 9, 2000 at the age of 74. He was a nose gunner on a B-24 and was shot down over Vienna, Austria on Oct. 13,1944, and held in Luft 1, Barth until liberation. Joe is survived by his wife, Marilyn, 1 son, 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren.  

No contact info available - Check with American Ex-POWs - www.axpow.org if you would like to contact his next of kin.

Sacks, John - I was a POW at Stalag Luft 1 September 27, 1944 - May 13, 1945 - #5587.  My wife and I visited Barth August 20-21, 1998.  Helga Radau was just great as historian.  A few days earlier, we also visited the village (Bebelsheim) where I parachuted September 13, 1944 after being shot up over Ludwigshafen in a Pathfinder B-17 from the 96th BG, but leading 490th BG who had just converted from B-24's to B-17's.  At Bebelsheim, I spent 3 days with the soldier (Ignatz Merz) who had captured me.  We now correspond regularly as friends. Anyone who would like further information about travel or accommodations in Barth based on our experience there, send us an e-mail.  Also, if anyone would like to share experiences during the POW era, contact me. (Does anyone remember the song about Ashland U?)

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Schlueter, Glennon Joseph - Glennon Schlueter was a Navigator serving on a B-24 Liberator in the US Army Air Corp. He parachuted after his plane was shot down near Vienna, Austria, during a bombing raid. He commented that he was fortunate that the German soldiers rounded him up, as the local farmers, who were angry at the destruction from the bombers, were known to kill his fellow American Airman with their pitchforks.  His family resided during the war and later in Glen Crossing, Illinois, which is located about three miles directly south of Edwardsville, Illinois. After the war, Glennon Schlueter obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and worked many years for a major agricultural products company in Chicago and Kansas City.  He died of cancer in the summer of 1995 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
 

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Smithers, H. Brett - B-17 pilot shot down near Memingen on July 18, 1944.  Ruel Burnham (also a Stalag Luft I POW) was his navigator and roommate in North 2.
 


Smyth, James Courtney "Red" - was a Captain and a P-38 Pilot.  He was shot down July 1944 and was a prisoner at Stalag Luft 1, North 2 compound, Barracks 7, Room 11. His family has a drawing of him and the caption reads "Barth representative of Hart, Schaffner and Marx.  Red was a 1942 graduate of V.P.I. with a B.S. degree in chemistry.
 
He was commissioned in June of 1942 and spent the early part of his short career at Edgewood Arsenal (Aberdeen Proving Ground) in Maryland before being shipped to an area near Anniston, Alabama where he was massively involved in this country's Chemical Warfare development and deployment.  His best friend in those days was August J. Bischoff a fellow chemist from Texas A & M.  The pair of them decided they were not doing enough to win the war and approached their commanding officer, a "bird" colonel and asked to be transferred into the Army Air Corps flight program to be trained a fighter pilots.  The colonel was nonplussed.  "You are the two best damned chemists in this entire Chemical Warfare Section," said the colonel.  "Because I know that the Pentagon will never approve of your transfer, I will sign your request but you may feel certain that it will be bucked back to me and marked 'Disapproved' and you will continue doing what you are doing for the duration of this war."  Two weeks later, they were sent to begin their flight training.
 
Red and Bish stayed together in every phase of their training until they were deployed to Italy and placed into separate squadrons and each was issued a brand new P-38 Lockheed Lightning.  Each flew 24 successful missions and each had earned four Air Medals.  Bischoff was killed on his 25th mission as he dragged a wingtip on a rail of the German munitions train he has just strafed and destroyed.  His remains were identified after the war because some kindly Austrian farmer had removed a spinner from his P-38 and used it as his headstone.
 
Red was shot down by an ME-109 on 26 July 1944 and eventually wound up in Stalag Luft #1 in Barth.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and, I believe, the Distinguished Flying Cross.  At the time of his capture Red was attached to the 15th Army Air Corps, 14th Fighter Group, 37th Fighter Squadron and was flying out of Triolo, Italy.  We lost this wonderful man in 1988 and are seeking information from anyone who may have known him and we promise to cooperate with anyone similarly situated.

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Sneeden, Ralph J. -    As told by Ralph J. Sneeden to his wife and son on February 24th, 1998. Ralph died on June 9,1999 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.  His wife, three children and nine grandchildren are all living in New England.

 
THE DAY MY LIFE WAS SPARED
 
The day....February 24th...the year...1944!  Somewhere over Saltzburg in the Austrian Alps, our B-17 had just taken quite a bit of flak.  Since we were the "tail-end Charlie" in the formation, we were very badly hit.  About one hundred ten enemy fighters used coordinated attacks firing cannons and rockets.  With our right wing on fire, we knew we had to get to the escape hatch.  The hatch was frozen and jammed.  Three of our crew were dead at their stations, so we headed for the bomb bay inching our way along a 6 inch wide walkway. The radio-man was "frozen" at the order to bail out.  He finally jumped and I bailed out last at 21,000 feet.
 
It was snowing very hard, and as I floated downward I was amazed at the silence and unmistakable feeling of tranquility.  I will always remember that feeling of peace and quiet...just the silence of wind whirling around.  In a matter of seconds, this quietness left and in its place was the whirring of an engine above me.  As I looked over my right shoulder I could see a German fighter.  (I believe, it was a Foch-Wolf 190).  As he dipped his wings and came closer, I was able to see the pilot's face.  At that very moment, I thought my life was coming to an end.  Thoughts of Mom, Dad, sisters, home, table settings flashed across my mind.  In that split second...that German Pilot saluted me and took off into the heavens, probably to rejoin his group.  Whatever the reason was for the change in plans, I'll probably never know.  Perhaps his thoughts were exactly the same as mine.  It was an act of mercy, and at that very moment I felt that my life had been spared.
 
I knew from the stories and reports we had heard that they were shooting down some of the men even before they landed.  If they landed in trees...you can be sure they were shot.   Tumbling over and over in the snow, I quickly gathered up my parachute and headed for a slight  clearing in the woods.  I remember passing a shrine and took a second to say a prayer (a short prayer).  Only minutes passed, when I was aware of voices in the distance.  I was immediately surrounded by some farmer and a few young boys.  They all had rifles and motioned to me to follow them.  I was walked to a farmhouse at the edge of the woods, and after being questioned, I was later told I was in the village of Amphwang, Austria.  My captors were a part of the Austrian Home Guard.  This was the beginning of my eighteen months as a Prisoner of War in Stalag Luft One in Barth, Germany.

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Swift, Bob -           Newpaper article on Bob Swift - WWII POW

Newpaper article on Bob Swift - # 2 - Stalag Luft I prisoner of war

Newspaper article on Bob Swift # 3 - World War II POW

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Villanueva, Valentine - was a POW at Stalag Luft 1 from December, 1944 until his escape in April, 1945. He was in North #3, Compound 8 Barracks #308. He was a Top Turret Gunner on the "Blonde Bomber", 447th Bomb Group, 710 Squadron, shot down in November,1944. He was one of the boxers from the boxing photos on the website, the boxing match was held on April 16, 1944. Hub Zemke initiated these matches and got approval from the Germans to improve camp morale.


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Walker , Ernest Frank
- was shot down over Linz, AU on December 3, 1944 and was captured by the Germans. He was sent to Stalag Luft 1 and became POW # 7791. 

World War II POW lauded posthumously

David Madrid
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 8, 2005 

Air Force Tech Sgt. Ernest Frank Walker was wounded in World War II when he bailed out of a B-17 Flying Fortress during a mission over Linz, Austria. Forced to jump when his B-17 took heavy fire Dec. 3, 1944, Walker lost one of his boots and suffered a cut to his head. He landed in enemy territory, where he tried to elude German soldiers.While burying his parachute, though, he looked up through the blood dripping from his head wound and was surprised to see he was surrounded by German troopers pointing rifles at him. So began his six-month incarceration at Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, Prussia.

Walker's military service didn't end with World War II. He also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. He was in the Air Force for almost 21 years, retiring as a master sergeant.
On Sept. 26, which would have been Walker's 83rd birthday - he died in October 1995 - his family and Luke Air Force Base officers attended a ceremony on the base at which Walker received the Purple Heart and POW medals posthumously.  Luke occasionally holds ceremonies where former Air Force members are awarded medals long after they earned them.

Walker's son, Keith F. Walker of Glendale, accepted the awards on behalf of the family, which includes Walker's daughters, Jill Nelson of Glendale, Carol Soper of Phoenix and Brenda Light, a Lake Montezuma resident. "My father would have been content with having these honors sent to him in the mail," Keith Walker said in a short speech. "He would have opened them, taken a look at them and then placed them in a closet. That is the way he went about life, a simple life without fanfare. But he never hesitated on doing the right thing. That was his approach to his duty to his country and his family."

Keith Walker said that even though his father was only 5 feet 6 inches tall, he was a giant of a man. He was kind and never said a disparaging word about anyone, he said. Ernest Walker, who was born in Texas, "transferred his roots to Arizona" by spending two tours at Luke, Keith Walker said. Walker's second daughter, Carol, was born at Luke.

Col. David L. Orr, vice commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, awarded the medals.  "We have so much to learn from the stories of Ernest Walker, don't we?" Orr said. "We've learned the stories of heroism and sacrifice."  Orr said Walker would go out on a mission assuming that a quarter of his bomber force would not come back.  "He was a hero, an absolute hero, and a man of unbelievable character," Orr said.

During World War II, Walker was assigned to the 2nd Bombardment Group, 96th Bombardment Squadron, 15th Air Force. He was a B-17 flight engineer and manned the craft's top turret guns.   Walker completed 24 missions. In the European Theater, the 8th, 12th and 15th Air Forces lost 18,000 planes. Of the 12,730 B-17 bombers built, 4,500 were shot down. There were 94,000 men killed, missing in action and wounded.  The day Walker was shot down, the Army Air Forces sent up 652 aircraft. One set of airplanes conducted harassing attacks against communications serving the Italian, Yugoslavian and Hungarian fronts. Walker's B-17 was in that group.

Light, Walker's oldest daughter, said she is thankful that her father was finally recognized for his service. "I would have liked to have heard more, but he wouldn't tell us," she said of her father's war experiences.  Soper said she learned a lot about her father at the ceremony that she didn't know.  "My dad was very quiet and reserved, so I only know bits and pieces of it," she said.   Nelson, the youngest daughter, said Walker would have been uncomfortable with all of the attention. "He would not have wanted any of this," she said.

The daughters agreed that for the family, it was a special day, and that their father deserved to be honored for his sacrifices for his country.

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Walton, Raymond -  was in the 392 BG out of Wendling. His B-24 was shot down over Cologne on 10/16/44. He was removed from Stalag Luft IV in February 1945, being wounded in both legs and being a "floor sleeper". He was transported by boxcar to Barth - Stalag Luft I where he remained for the rest of the war. His return stateside was capped by passing the Statue of Liberty aboard the Queen Mary.
 

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Westerfield, Henry Bertrand My father, Henry Bertrand Westerfield, Jr. was in North 1, Barracks 9, Room 12.  He died when I was just 6 years old. He was a bombardier on "Crew Chief" a B-24 shot down Nov. 13, 1943. He was stationed in Wentling, England.  I am interested in contacting anyone who knew him during the war, in the POW camp, or after the war before I was born.

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Whitman, Judson H. -  I was in 8th Air Force,  92nd Bomb group, 407th Squadron. Shot down September 11, 1944 on mission to Meresberg. The plane exploded in the air . Only four people got out. I was blown out in the explosion. My POW dog tag number is 5963.

 

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Birthday card made for Oscar while in Stalag Luft I  POW camp during wwII   Williamson, Oscar Handmade birthday card received on April 23, 1944 while a POW at Stalag Luft I  - signed by his roommates in North 2 compound.  Oscar was a B-17 pilot before being shot down.
 

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Miles C. Wood - Stalag Luft I photo ID  Wood, Miles C. - Captured in Italy, May 1944.    P - 51 Pilot ( Dive Bomber ) 


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