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


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 possible.

 Sign or view our Guestbook

Visit our
Online Store




If you would like to
  help us keep this website online, please click on the above PayPal link, where you may make a monetary contribution to this site using your credit card.  Thank you.



Stalag Luft I - E-mail us

Click to send us e-mail

Major Fred Bronson of Memphis, TN

Major Fred Ford Bronson of Memphis, TN
Pilot - shot down near the town of Honfleur in occupied France on July 7th,1944
Stalag Luft I POW - North II Compound

While at Stalag Luft I he was charged by the Germans with inciting American officers to disobedience or resistance or else to undermine the discipline of the German Army.  See story of his court martial as told by the German officer who accompanied him and the official charge report below.

He remained in the Air Force until his death from his second heart attack in December 1965, at the age of 49. He held the rank of Colonel when he died. He flew a B 26 in the Korean combat. In the early 1950's his family joined him in Tokyo during the occupation of Japan. He held various assignments taking the family to other locations in Europe and the United States. One assignment in the late 1950's was the War College at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL where he taught his former enemies, officers of the German Luftwaffe. One became a longtime family friend.


Click here to email his family

In April 2000, I went to Barth, Germany to attend the " 55th Anniversary of the Celebration of the Liberation of Stalag Luft I POW camp and the Concentration Camp Barth" .  While at this conference I met Fritz Osterman,  a German man that had worked in the administrative offices of Stalag Luft I during World War II.  He told of his experience with the camp and the POWs. His contact with the POWs was very limited but he had a particularly funny story which truly showed the humanity of man and how enemies can relate on a personal basis even in war.  He stated it began on January 20, 1945 at roll call when it was so cold the POWs of Block 207 in the North 2 compound, who did not have gloves, did not want to take their hands out of their pockets.  After being instructed to do so several times by the German guards (Oberstl. Jager and Hauptmann Blohm),  an American, Major Fred Ford Bronson, cupped his hands and yelled across the parade ground to the men of Block 207, "Put your hands in your pockets!",  whereupon all the POWs of Block 207 did so.  This was considered an act of insubordination and Major Bronson was promptly arrested and a court martial trial was scheduled. 

So Fritz Osterman, who was a private in the German military, was given a gun and assigned to transport the prisoner to Anklam, Germany where the trial would be held. The trip took a long time because of the poor conditions of the rail system, due to the Allied bombings. Fritz said that Major Bronson had a nice Red Cross parcel which contained canned goods, chocolate and cigarettes.  He was impressed and the American shared his parcel with him.  They finally reached the location of the trial and Major Bronson was assigned a German lawyer to defend him.  As the trial began, Major Bronson stood up and said, "I am a citizen of the United States of America and I demand an American lawyer to defend me."  With this his assigned German lawyer was highly offended and said, "Well then, I refuse to defend you." The judge then declared that the trial would be postponed indefinitely.

So Fritz and Major Bronson began their journey back to Stalag Luft I.  Along the way they were to pass through Fritz's hometown. He stated that he really wanted to see his family, but his English was not too good.  So he found another German to explain to Major Bronson that he wanted to stop by and see his family and asked that Major Bronson not tell on him.  Major Bronson agreed as he wanted to see what a German household looked like. So they went to Fritz's house and his mother opened the door.  She was very happy to see her son, but soon became very upset when she realized he had an American "terror flieger" (terror flyer) with him. She tells her son, "Are you crazy? The local head of the SS lives next door and if he sees this, he will execute all of us." Her son tells her that the American has chocolate and cigarettes!! This made her warmly welcome him into her home. They had a short visit and the American shared some of his Red Cross goodies. They then continued their return trip to Stalag Luft I.  He said he has never seen or heard from Major Bronson since then and would love to get in contact with him. He said Major Bronson was about 10 years older than him so that would make Major Bronson around 85 today.

 The official charge report of the incident

Western Union birth notification telegram MIA telegram
Bronson Crew Members Western Union daughter's birth notification Western Union MIA telegram
MIA notification letter Morris C. Caldwell, William L. Northern, B. M. Tate, G. P. Rye, F. F. Bronson, V. B. Buchman, F. E. Adkins and R. S. Hamby
MIA notification letter Western Union POW notification & newspaper article

Tennesseans Complete Basic Flight Training in 1941
Morris C. Caldwell, William L. Northern, B. M. Tate, G. P. Rye, F. F. Bronson, V. B. Buchman, F. E. Adkins and R. S. Hamby

Major Fred Bronson - POW ID card Liberation celebration at Peabody Hotel in Memphis News article about liberation celebration in Memphis
POW Identification card Liberation celebration at Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee with fellow Stalag Luft I POWs from Memphis.
Western Union Liberation telegram - May 1945 Klim Kriegie cartoon by Donald Ross
Western Union liberation telegrams Klim Kriegie by Donald Ross in Fred's wartime log. Major Bronson



Return to Home Page


Return to Kriegies


This site created and maintained by Mary Smith and Barbara Freer, daughters of Dick Williams, Jr.