collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I
If you are a former Prisoner of War or a next of
kin of a POW, we invite you to sign and leave your email address so others that
come may find you. Please mention camp, compound, barracks and room numbers if
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this photo he is shown sitting by the Camp Orchestra - "Round the
Benders" looking at clipboard. (click on photo to
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
contact info available - Check with American Ex-POWs -
www.axpow.org if you would like to
contact his next of kin.
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
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
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.
Edwards, Wilson V.
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
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!
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.
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
Do you know who the artist was in this sketch of him and his
plane "Minnie the Moocher"?
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
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"
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 I’m 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
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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."
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.
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) -
The Luftwaffe visits North 3 drawing
by Bill Hogan
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.
Joyce, 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,
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.
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
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.
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
Mann, Horace - Gordon Hemmings relates this story about
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
Reus, Joseph Henry -
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
Mostly German, but some English.
Click here to view.
Rinkenberger, Edwin Dale - Bombardier
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. FRYER.
Click here for more info
Thomas John - was 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.
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
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.
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.
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 slightclearing in the woods.I remember passing a shrine and took a second to say a prayer (a
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.
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.
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
World War II POW lauded posthumously
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
Whitman, Judson H. -
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.