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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Stalag Luft I - E-mail us

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Ed Kamarainen

T/Sgt. Ed Kamarainen  
Iron River, Wisconsin
491st Bomb Group 853rd Squadron
Radio Operator on B-24
Stalag Luft IV, evacuated Feb. 6, 1945.
Hunger March until April 10, 1945.
Liberated Stalag XIB Folingbostle April 18, 1945

Shot down on his 20th mission, November 26, 1944 on a mission to Misburg, Germany.  This was his 20th mission. See crew listing below.


After the war Ed returned home and married Eva Rantala on Aug 25, 1945.   He was employed by Great Northern Railway now known as  BNSF Railway for 32 years, retiring in 1978.  He and Eva raised 5 children and they now have 13 grandchildren and 3 great grands. Currently he and Eva live in Renton, WA.  He is  a member of the Skyway WA VFW post 9430 and AX-POW  Seattle chapter. 

While on the Hunger March from Stalag Luft IV Ed's group had a representative named or nicknamed "Tex".  Ed shared his food and blanket during this march with a man named Ben and they became good friends.  Ed remembers Ben telling him of New York, his life in the Bronx, and Coney Island.   Ed was lucky enough to have an extra pair of socks and when Ben began having trouble with blisters, Ed gave him his extra pair.  Around April 11th Ed was having a lot of trouble with his legs and decided (even under the threat of being shot, should the German doctors decide he could have marched) that he could no longer go on the march.  Ben begged him to continue, but Ed knew he couldn't continue and he would just have to trust that the German doctors would agree with him, so he stayed behind when the others left.  The German doctors never showed up and not long after that the war was over. But one thing bothered Ed, shortly after Ben and the others had left to continue the march, Ed realized that after all they had gone through together, he and Ben had neglected to exchange home addresses and even last names, so now there was no way they could contact each other when they returned to the states.  So Ben if you are out there you owe Ed a pair of socks, but more importantly...  he would love an email or phone call!!  

2006 Update - I received an email from Ed, he informed me that he had finally located his Ben, his name was Benedict R Tieniber ,  he passed away in 1973.

Books on Stalag Luft IV -  Five books written by Joseph P. O'Donnell on Stalag Luft IV and the Death March across Germany. Available for purchase from the author.

Photos of Stalag Luft IV -  Here are some photos of Stalag Luft IV which were taken in the summer of 1944. 


Ed and Eva Kamarainen - September, 2000 
American Ex-Prisoners of War Banquet in Louisville, KY

Butler crash

Ed's 7th mission ended like this - on English coast. 
Pilot Butler got DFC for deadstick landing from 3000 feet

The crew on Ed's plane the day they were shot down - November 26, 1944

Ralph Bulter Pilot POW
Robert Ostrander Co-Pilot POW
Herman Bauer Navigator KIA
Stanley Yergey Bombardier KIA
Elmer Jones Flight Engineer POW
Robert Trombly Tail Gunner POW
Gordon Fuller Right Waist Gunner KIA
Victor E. Callicrate Left Waist Gunner POW
Ed Kamarainen Radio Operator POW



From our guestbook:

Name: Gini Giddiens
Hometown: Panama City, FL
Sent: 4.43 PM - 5/8 2001
Great page! Mr. Kamarainen sent me the site. My father Ralph Butler was pilot on his crew...

Name: Edwin E Kamarainen
Hometown: Renton Wa
Sent: 11.32 PM - 3/12 2001
Mary and Barbara! What a wonderful page you have built here. I was originally from Iron River Wi, but for last 27 years have resided in Renton Wa. I was radio gunner with Ralph Butler crew with 491st BG 853rd Sqdn and was shot down in mission over Misburg, in which the 8th AF suffered one of the greatest losses of the war Nov 26 1944.  I was looking for information on the web on whereabouts of my Pilot Butler and got a response from Mary.  Mary was searching for information about her Dad and after several emails it developed that her dad was shot down the same day over the same target as I was. Mary's dads group was 398th, a B 17 group, we were in B24 "Dorty Treek".I was taken to Dulag Luft for interrogation then road box car for several days to Stalag Luft 4.Feb 6 45 the camp was evacuated and I wound up on "Hunger March" until middle of April. We arrived at stalag 11B first part of April.  After a few days Germans moved us out again and announced if there was anyone that couldn't walk any more, they could fall out, and the German doctor would examine them, and if he decided we could have we will be shot. I had varicose veins in my legs and thought I would get by and fell out. My friend Ben, whom I had shared everything with during the march with begged me not go, but my mind was made up and fell out. We hadn't exchanged home addresses and didn't do it that day, and to this day I don't know where he is.   At that time he was from New York area.  If anyone knows where he might be please let me know. I had even forgotten his last name!  The German doctor didn't show up and we were liberated on April 16 1945.

Name: Ed Kamarainen
Hometown: Renton Wa
Sent: 3:58 PM - 11/5 2000
Thank you Mary and Barbara for putting my page in AXPOW Web, and for spreading the word of my search for Ben. If there is anyone in New York area POW Chapters that knows or has known a man by named Ben I would appreciate receiving this information.  Please Email me. This web is a wonderful means of communication among POWs searching for information about friends and loved ones.  Keep up the good work!

Name: Gail Saari
Hometown: Maple, WI
Sent: 1:00 AM - 11/2 2000
This is interesting history.   Ed Kamarainen is my uncle and I am so glad he made it home. I appreciate the men and women who served our country so much more, being able to visit this web site. Thanks to all persons who served in the military!    So many died to make our country free.

Name: Bruce Kamarainen
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Sent: 1:50 PM - 5/9
Hi!! My dad ( Ed Kamarainen) said I should check out this website. I think it is a good idea. He was also shot down over the same area. Before the German soldiers arrived he was beaten to unconsciousness by the local farmers. He has written a couple of articles for newsletters about his experiences 

Name: Edwin E Kamarainen
Hometown: Renton Wa
Sent: 4:27 PM - 3/24
Mary;  As we found out, your dad and I were shot down over the same target on the same date,  Misburg Nov 26 1944.    I was with 491st BG about an hour earlier.   Congratulations on your very informative sight   .Best wishes! Ed & Eva 



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