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
Shot down on July 19, 1944. was assigned to the North II
compound, Block 4, Room 12 of Stalag Luft I.
in Grosse Pointe, MI and is married has 5 children and 12 grandchildren.
Bruce recently attended the 55th Anniversary of the Liberation in Barth.
Click here to send email to Bruce.
When Bruce arrived at Stalag Luft I he found
his cousin Ernie Bockstanz assigned to the same room as him !!
Pictured below are 10 of the 18 Kriegies of Stalag Luft I, North II
Compound, Block 4, Room 12. This photo was taken on one of their last days
Front row: Ernie Germono, R.L. (Pancho)
McNichols, Bill (Mushmouth) Tate, Ernie (Bugs) Bockstanz
Back row: Ralph (Bluto) Rinard, Ray (Sam) McCormick, George
(Sully) Sullivan, Dick (Rollo) Reedy, Bruce (Big Bocky) Bockstanz, and
Andy (The Gump) Lohman.
Note from Bruce: Everyone in the POW camp had a
nickname. Even with 18 in a small room they still enjoyed each
others company and Bruce is convinced that adversity brings out the best in one.
Roommates - North 2 - Block 4, Room 12
Charles E. Quinby
Ernest L. Bockstanz
George J. Sullivan
Richard C. Winston
Thomas W. Bonds
Guy M. Carter
Raymond A. McCormick
Richard W. Reedy
David R. Snaars, Jr.
William M. Tate
Ralph J. Rinard
Robert J. Keylock
Earl W. Newton, Jr.
Dennis J. Brennman
Robert A. Marmaduke, Jr.
Bruce K. Bockstanz
Highlights of a young American during World War II.
From his carefree civilian college life to the Army Air Corps training as a
navigator. From there it's off to England and the Air War in Europe until he is
shot down and finds himself in a German Prisoner of War Camp.
Read Bruce's well documented and detailed memoirs:
Highlights of Life -
excerpts from letters written to and from Bruce during the years 1940 thru
Bockstanz Hometown: St. Clair, MI Sent: 11:24 AM - 6/18 2000
On this Father's Day 2000, my thoughts are of how lucky I am to have my
father (Bruce Bockstanz) around to share his experiences with me and the rest of his
family. The time we have left together will be cherished. I am grateful
for the interest you have shown in his remembrances of his time spent
at Luft I and am looking forward to the addition of his story to your
wonderful site. I hope everyone that reads his accounts will realize the
personal toll each of these prisoners paid for all of us to enjoy the
life we have today. Your efforts are a great service for future
generations to be able to relive the sacrifices of war and realize the
heroism that all servicemen showed in the face of ultimate sacrifice.
Bockstanz Hometown: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI Sent: 4:00 PM - 6/2
On this day in 1944 I was navigating a brand new B-17 from Gander, New
Foundland to Valley, Wales - on my 22nd birthday!
BOCKSTANZ Hometown: GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI Sent: 5:54 PM - 5/31
I just finish reading the new section to this great web site - 'Rescue'.
Raymond Darling's recollections as a rescuer brought tears to my eyes as a
rescuee! I will never forget my feelings of utter elation when those big
birds - those b-17's - those flying fortresses, swept down on that
airfield at Barth. We were free at last!
On one point I question Mr. Darling's recollections.
He said that we were haggard and skinny and our eyes were glazed. Like we
were in a trance. If our eyes were glazed, it was because we were
anticipating our return to the states and those that were waiting for us
there (with maybe a warm-up stop in Paris)!
As for 'haggard and skinny', we had been eating well
since Easter, about two months before. About that time our hosts began to
realize that 'for them the war was over' and that they better start
treating us better. They found that they did have some Red Cross food
parcels after all. Most of us put back the weight that we had lost during
a tough winter. Then when the Russians arrived, they rounded up all the
nearby cattle and drove them onto our peninsula. So while waiting for the
airfield to be prepared, we gourged on hamburgers and milk.
As evidence that we were in good shape and raring to get on with the
things that we had missed, look at the photo of my roommates and i under
'kriegies', elsewhere in this web site. This was taken just after the
German guards had left and we were waiting for the Russians. Do our eyes
look 'glazed'? Or is that the joy we felt shining through.
We said at the time that in later years, we would forget the rough parts
and remember the better moments. That's what I’m experiencing today. While
I’m in the mood, I just called my pilot, Chuck Quinby and started
arrangements to meet him at the 8th air force reunion in Salt Lake city in
Name: BRUCE BOCKSTANZ Hometown: GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI Sent: 8:33 AM - 3/20/2000 I
was a navigator on the B-17, The Silver Slipper. It was the first
non-painted fortress to fly in the ETO. We were stationed at the 96th bomb
group at Snetterton Heath.
On July 19, 1944, we were hit by two flax bursts just after dropping our
bombs on the ball-bearing plant at Schweinfurt. Escorted by P-38's, we
dropped out of formation and flew for an hour on two engines. We bailed
out over Reil on the Mosel River. After interrogation, we spent the rest
of the war in Stalag Luft I, Barth, Pomarania, North compound II, block 4,
Am currently trying to find out more about the ceremony at Barth in April.
Anyone planning to attend?
Bruce was chosen as Grosse Pointe's Pointer
of Interest on July 13, 2000
Bruce was a Navigator with the 96th
Navigation cadets were sent to flying school following preflight where they
spent from 15 to 20 weeks in training. Emphasis was placed on precision
dead-reckoning navigation with basic proficiency in pilotage, radio, and
celestial navigation. A navigation cadet logged approximately 100 hours in the
air but for every hour of flight, he spent five hours in the classroom.
The demand for navigators required a constant expansion of the training
program through 1943 and by VJ-Day, more than 50,000 had been graduated. The
elimination rate was approximately 20%
Upon completion of training, navigators usually were sent to operational
training units to become part of a flying crew being readied for combat
“The Navigator Graduate”
By Marvin C. Petersen
I’ve won the right to wear these Silver
and see the many awesome sights of
which the poet sings.
I’ve earned a place among the gods of
under the sun’s and moon’s eternal light.
I now can join that group so proud
who can look down upon a cloud
And find their way across unmarked space
where for them alone there is a place.
I can now join that honored fraternity
whose members look into eternity,
Who fly beyond the fetters of the earth
and see at once, yesterday’s death and
I stand today upon duty’s threshold here
where opportunity is shining clear
And know that what tomorrow brings
depends on how I guide these Silver Wings.