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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‘Good Buddy’ Goes For Good Purpose


 Drawing by B Arct - From his book "Prisoner of War My Secret Journal"


Wherever you are, Good Buddy, Bill White’s got a confession. 

He ate your cat about 56 years ago!

It was during what U.S. Prisoners of War in Germany’s Stalag Luft I called ‘Hungry March’.

One of the POWs was a fellow from Arkansas.  Every time he saw you, he’d say: “Hi, good buddy.” So it was natural that he came by the nickname ‘Good Buddy’.  His gray cat was also called ‘Good Buddy’.

 “Well, March 1945 was special.  Even the German guards were hungry” recalls William M. White, bombardier graduate of Childress class 43-10 (15 Jul 1943).  Bill as his B-17 crewmates knew him, had been on his sixth mission with the 508th squadron of the 351st Bomb Group in “Piccadilly Commando”, a B-17F Flying Fortress when flak and fighters forced their crew to ditch in the north English Channel waters.  Their entire crew was captured and interned by the Germans.  The officers went to Stalag Luft I, “on the snowy German Baltic coast near Barth.”

White continued his comments.  “Pet cats began disappearing inside the camp.  In those Gotterdammerung days of the Third Reich, German civilians also ate cats.  They called them “roof rabbits.”

One particularly hungry day, 1st Lt. Richard W. “Dick” Speers, navigator of the ill-fated B-17 crew, entered the barracks room, opened his jacket and Good Buddy hopped gingerly to the floor.

“Good eats,” said Speers.

A flyer, identity not remembered, but who was a butcher before the war, “wapped the cat on the head.  Another wap.  The cat sprang like a helicopter and zoomed around the room,” said White.

The starving prisoners caught, dispatched, skinned and boiled Good Buddy for hours.

“We deboned the cat; mixed in some powdered milk saved from a Red Cross parcel; and,  My it was tasty,” said White.

Bill was a prisoner from New Year’s Eve 1943 until May 1945.  During this time his weight dropped from 170 to 126 pounds.

“The kid from Arkansas kept coming around ‘Anyone seen my pet?’ Hi, good buddy, you seen my cat?’  No one had the heart to tell him…Till now,” says Bill White.

The ‘now’ referred to occurred recently when Bill White received a package from Guernsey, a 25 square-mile isle in the English channel, off whose shores White’s aircraft was ditched.

The package contained the metal bombardier’s instrument panel from the nose of ‘Piccadilly Commando’ and a 50-caliber bullet – all retrieved by Guernsey scuba divers who had located and made several salvaging descents to the watery grave of the rugged Fortress.

The scuba divers doggedly sought to learn the names and locations of any survivors of “Piccadilly Commando” (G.I. for London hooker).  Their patience and perseverance paid off after some two years of research!

White “reckons now all can be told. Even a confession to Good Buddy.”

He concluded, ‘My wife, Mary Jane, and I got a cat.  Named it Morris.  Morris loved Mary Jane, but that cat wouldn’t come near me!  Don’t know why.  I never called it Good Buddy!”

  Roof rabbit during WWII Germany


Article from the September 1990 magazine "Crosshairs"

From the Editor – It is hoped that no cat lover is offended.  Hungry people will eat almost anything to stay alive. 

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