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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Ted Ansfield - Kriegie #1670 - RAF Pathfinder Force Observer and POW at Stalag Luft I

A. E. "Ted" Ansfield  of  Isle of Man, British Isles.
Pathfinder Force Observer - Royal Air Force
Flying Lancaster Mk. 111.   JB 303.  MG-F
Stationed at Number 7 Squadron RAF - Oakington, Cambridgeshire 
Stalag Luft I, Barrack #6, British Compound.
Ted was shot down by a Bf 110 nightfighter on the night of 26/27 November 1943, on his 16th mission (his 5th one on Berlin).  Only rear gunner and Ted escaped.  After six days of evading he was captured and sent to the interrogation center and then to Stalag Luft 1.  Ted recounts his evasion in the story that follows on this page.

Ted left the RAF in 1947 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.  In 1974 he and his wife Ethel moved to the Isle of Man where he took up the position of General Manager and Executive Director of the Island's leading timber importer and sawmillers.  He retired in 1988.   He and Ethel, pictured at left,  have a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.   Click here to send an email to Ted's family.  

I am sorry to report that Ted passed away in December 2000.  We will miss his e-mails and friendship... Rest in peace, Ted. 

Attack on the Run


       We were attacked by Oberleutnant Albert Walter of Gruppe/Nachtjagdgeschwader 6 flying a Bf110 G-4 #720187 at 20.12 on the night of 26/27 November 1943. He was subsequently killed in action along with his radio operator Uffz Otto Meyer on the night of 24/24 February 1944. His gunner baled out and landed safely. His attack on us was a copybook one. He took the engines and fuel tanks out and sent us down in flames. 

      The order to ‘bale out’ was given and a few seconds later there was a blinding flash and I knew no more until I woke up in a forest almost one and a half hours later numb with cold. My parachute lay open beside me. It must have either been blasted open or I had subconsciously pulled the ripcord whilst falling. Apart from a severe head pain I appeared to be in one piece. I hid my parachute and Mae West and struck off in a southwesterly direction. 

     After a few hours I collapsed and revived at 06.00 stiff with cold. The ground was frozen. When I got up and looked around I was surprised to see a parachute draped over a bush about 100 yards away. I went to investigate and found the body of my engineer. I covered him with his parachute and after checking my escape map continued walking. I had turned my electrically heated waistcoat inside out so that it appeared to be more like a civilian jacket. 

     Towards nightfall it started to rain which turned into a continuous downpour. I had to lay up under bushes, as it was impossible to make any progress in the extreme dark and now boggy conditions. The following day was no better; it just continued to rain and prevented me making any progress. I found that I was having difficulty in orientating myself; unbeknown to me I had sustained a fractured skull. 

     For a while I laid up in an abandoned quarry hoping the rain would abate, but it didn’t. Later in the day I made a further attempt at cross-country walking but the fields were now flooded. I had a narrow escape when a Fieseler Storch passed overhead at treetop height apparently searching for escaping airmen. From the cover of bushes I could see someone scanning the countryside through binoculars. I eventually reached a river, presumably the Lahn. It was in full flood and the only available bridge was carrying an unhealthy volume of traffic so I hid up until darkness fell. 

     I remained on the roadway which helped to speed up my progress. By the fourth day I had almost worn through my flying boots which was making walking even more difficult. The rain never ceased and I was suffering from severe head pains. As it grew darker I came across a wooded slope. I had climbed about half way up when the ground gave way beneath me and I slid down into an abandoned quarry some 20 – 30 ft deep. Shaken by the fall I decided to stay there until daylight. I awoke some hours later to a strange warmth. The rain had turned to snow and I was almost buried. I was now beginning to feel weak and ill and realized that the snow had further reduced my chances of evasion. 

     I had hopes of getting to Paris where I had contacts with persons connected with the ‘Resistance’ who would give me every assistance. I pressed on and eventually came to a railway, which appeared to be going in the right direction. I followed the tracks for about a mile when I came to a railway station. Avoiding railway workers I hid up and awaited a train going in the right direction. After a while I was rewarded, a freight train was approaching and slowing down. I crossed the tracks and as it got to me I stood up and leaped at one of the wagons. I found a handhold, was dragged off my feet, but before I could haul myself on board my strength gave out and I almost fell under the wheels. My best chance had gone. 

     Through the falling snow I followed the tracks for a few miles and collapsed beside them, not waking until dawn. I left the tracks and picked up a road running parallel. It took me to a small town. In all of my six days as a fugitive I had never dared to come into close contact with people. I now became incautious, wrapped my scarf around my head to cover my growth of beard and entered the little town. In the main street I noticed a policeman talking to a man in a long leather coat and felt hat. I watched their reflections in a shop window and noticed that one was pointing in my direction. I casually sauntered down the street and out of the corner of my eye I could see that I was being followed.

     I came to what appeared to be a small cinema, the doors were open so I quickly darted inside, ran down the aisle between the seats and out of the rear exit and back into the countryside. On a hillside above the town I again collapsed. I was exhausted and terribly weak. I could only be a few miles from the Rhine. A burly farmer driving a horse and cart spotted me and challenged me. He jumped down from his cart and helped me to my feet. This was the end; it was 2nd December 1943. He took me back to his home where his wife gave me a cup of ersatz coffee and a piece of bread. The police arrived and I was force-marched to the police station where I was thrown into a stinking dungeon. 

     I lay down on a filthy bunk and fell fast asleep only to be wakened after a very short time. I was dragged from this filthy hole into the police station where a female interpreter commenced to question me in the presence of the police chief and my escort. I would only give my name, rank and service number. My escort threw me to the floor and said in a strong broken American accent “ Smart guy eh, vot vud you say if ve hang you”? I burst out laughing and told him, politely, that under those circumstances I could say a damned sight less. He realized his error and just as he was about to put his rifle butt into my ribs in walked a Luftwaffe Lieutenant who stepped smartly between us and floored the guard. He helped me to my feet and apologized. For me this part of the war was over. My escort to captivity had arrived.

German nightfighter squadron briefing. Albert Walter

The picture above,  I consider to be a real 'gem'.  It is of the briefing of the German Nightfighter squadron which shot us down; #1./NJG6. The pilot responsible was Oberleutenant Albert Walter, subsequently killed in action, and is seen to be standing at the Extreme Rear Right with his back to the blackboard

Ted and Ethel Ansfield - Isle of Man

Ted and Ethel Ansfield

Pictured at right is Philippe Dufrasne, the Belgian researcher  retrieving a piece of Ted's Lancaster JB 303 after 56 1/2 years being buried. 

Ted is extremely grateful to Mr. Dufrasne and Mario Isack (a young German researcher) who volunteered  their time and at their own expense located and sent him a large box of metal parts from his plane that had crashed in the village of Winkels in 1943.


Phil Dufrasne w/ parts of Ted's Lancaster from WWII crash

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