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


Lt. John Kirkham, WWII bombardier/ navigator & POW
2nd Lt. John A. Kirkham

Bombardier - Navigator
379th Bomb Group - 525th Bomb Squad

Stalag Luft I
North III - Barracks 306 - Room 2

I am sorry to report that John passed away on December 10, 2008.

Click here to email John's family


       I was on my 35th mission, flying in a B-17 as bombardier-navigator on 30 Nov 1944.  The target was Zeitz, Germany.  Most of the way in No. 2 engine was giving the pilots trouble.  After several attempts to control a runaway prop the engine was feathered a few minutes before the IP.  At the IP No. 3 engine was hit by flak and began to lose oil.  In order to stay with our group over the target we decided to change our position from the lead squadron, which was pulling away to the low squadron.  We followed the low squadron until it broke up in a barrage.  At this point No. 3 engine went out completely and we salvoed our bombs.  A turn to the right was made and No. 1 engine was hit by flak.  We jettisoned the ball turret guns, flak suits, etc. and flew on the remaining engine for 20 minutes in an attempt to reach the allied lines.  A crash landing was made in a plowed muddy field in the Hartz Mts. near Erfurt, Germany.  As a result of the landing our radio operator suffered fatal injuries and died later the same day.  The rest of the crew suffered only minor sprains and cuts.  There were several civilians in the fields when we crashed, by the time we dug ourselved out of the plane and removed the injured man, German soldiers arrived on the scene.  We were taken to Erfurt and on the 2 Dec were moved to Frankfurt (Oberursel) for interrogation.  From the 4th to 19th Dec. we were at Dulag Luft, here the officers and enlisted men were separated.  The pilot, co-pilot and I were sent to Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany arriving there 14 Dec. 1944. I remained at Barth until liberated by the Russian force 1 May 1945 and flown to Rheims, France on 13 May 1945 by the USAAF.




Pilot 2nd Lt. Raymond D.Alderman
33 Sunrise Ave.
New Britain, Connecticut
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Curtis R. Henning
3601 N. Lovers Lane
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Bombardier. - Navigator. 2nd Lt. John A. Kirkham
2832 Northern Parkway
Baltimore, Maryland
Engineer T/Sgt. Leo Christianson
746 Main Street
Berlin, New Hampshire
Radio Operator T/Sgt. Robert W. Staudinger
9038 South Bishop Street
Chicago, Illinois
Nose Gunner S/Sgt. Edward A. Aulman
989 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, New York
Tail Gunner S/Sgt. Norbert J.  Zagacki
8236 Montlieu Ave.
Detroit, Michigan
Waist Gunner S/Sgt. William Page
1015 Dawson Ave.
Long Beach, California
Ball Turret Gunner S/Sgt. Ludger  Desmaris
158 Mill Street
Winchenndon, Massachusetts



YMCA Log Book Entries

30 November 1944

Crash landed in vicinity of Erfurt.  Captured at landing by Germans.  Taken to Luftwaffe post. Relieved of 1 pound 15 sterling.  Transferred same night ot Erfurt.  Searched and confined at Erfurt.  Injured Back and ankle.

2 December 1944

Left Erfurt for Frankfurt

3 December 1944

Arrived Frankfurt and marched to Oberursel and interrogated.

4 December 1944

Left Oberursel by train for Wetzler

4 December 1944

Arrived Wetzler  (Dulag Luft)

10 December 1944

Left Dulag.  Feet Frozen (or frost bite) en route

14 December 1944

Arrived Barth (Stalag Luft I)
Barracks 306 - Room 2     6484

9 March 1945

Typhoid Booster

30 April 1945

Dug trenches.  Jerrys evacuating and demolishing installations.

1 May 1945

Americans take control of Stalag Luft I

2 May 1945

Russian forces arrive. Orders of Russian and American commands conflice.  Preparations made for march to Rostockmade.  Fences and guard towers torn down.  Jerry warehouses ramsacked.  POW's stream into Barth. Uter chaos.

3 May 1945

POW's allowed to stay.  Chaos continues.  Saw German suicide victims (3 women, 2 children).  POW's leaving camp in large numbers against orders. Tents, fireplaces and various odd sights spring up.  Reports and rumors of POW's being shot pour in.  Flak school and Barth off limits but POW's ignore in some cases.

4 May - 6 May 1945

Chaos subsides gradually.  Many are sick from overeating.  POW's continue to leave but in smaller numbers.  Fish, chickens, sheep, deer, eggs and food of all sorts pouring in.  Food supply arrived.  Swift evacuation promised.

7 May 1945

Russian show preformed for Kriegies. Singing, music and dancing.  All excellent particularly the dancing. Groups consisted of Red Army men and women.  Russian, English and American present.  English contact made.  An English officer promises air evacuation in a few days.  Kriegies put on impromptu (First Priorities).

Fireworks display.  Reports of and promised  visit to concentration camps in area.  Collection made for victims of German atrocities.  Several fights in camp.  Showers started.

8 May 1945

Oder more or less restored, visiting parties to airport started. Fireworks and bonfires  WAR ENDS

9 May 1945

Walking trip to Barth, airport and concentration camp.  Much filth and disorder.  Talked to liberated French.  Saw atrocity victims graves being dug.

11 May

First definite info on evacuation

12 May

Evacuation starts

13 May

Evacuated by B-17 (379 Gr)  Flew over Rhur, Dusseldorf, Essen, Hamm, Gelesenkerchen, Cologne, etc.  Landed at A-77, took truck to Rheims.

14 May

Saw Rheims catherdral from air.  Flown to Le Harve by C-47's.  Turck to Camp Lucky (RAMP Camp 1  St. Valery) Strike (Vittefleur).  Utter confusion in camp.

17 May

Walked to Vittefleur

18 May

Ran into Les Hairson

21 May

Walked to Camp,  Hitch-hiked to Le Harve

1 June

Paid 5000 Francs  ($100.00)

9 June

Embarked at Le Harve   (USS Hermitage)

17 June

Debarked New York - Camp Shanks

18 June

Fort George G. Meade -  HOME


Roommates  at Stalag Luft I

North III - Barracks 306 - Room 2

William L. Cassel
2710 N.W. 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

(Deceased - 11  March 45 Leukemia)

2nd Lt. B M
John M. Conroy
311 Norwalk Ave.
Buffalo, New York
2nd Lt. P M
Michael Blakita
179 Lewis St.
Buffalo, New York
1st Lt. P S
Milton S. Fox
30  Ellwood St.
New York, New York
2nd Lt. CP M
George E. Reedy
2900 45th Ave. So.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2nd Lt. B S
John S. Richardson
4012 Longfellow Ave. So.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1st Lt. P S
John J. Hockery
Brookside Hotel
Kansas City, Missouri
Capt. F/P S
Frank J. Zmudka
442 Central
La Salle, Illinois
2nd Lt. N S
Robert D. Puckett
Tulelake, California
1st Lt. P M
Charles A. Appel
Gillette, Wyoming
Capt. F/P S
Walter S. Smith
Route 1
Lumberton, North Carolina
Capt F/P M
Charles J. Ingraham
1324 Briarcliff Rd. NE
Atlanta, Georgia
2nd Lt. N S
Daniel W. Finlayson
406 Lamont
San Antonio, Texas
2nd Lt. B M
Donald M. Childes
202 W 37th St.
Anderson, Indiana
2nd Lt. CP M
Woodrow Cornelison
118 Fourth Ave.
Columbia, Missouri
2nd Lt. P M
Marion A. Pitts
Scottsville, Virginia
2nd Lt. P S
Gilbert A. Meyer
7510 Halliday Ave.
Oakland, California
2nd Lt. P M
Frank A. Spady Jr.
Chuckatuck, Virginia
1st Lt. CP S
Daniel W. Snow
1817 Cactus Ave.
Silver City,  New Mexico
2nd Lt. P M
David B. Coleman
215 Nesbitt
Jonesboro, Arkansas
2nd Lt. N S
Charles H. Pedrotta
4877 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, California
2nd Lt. CP M
Thomas C. Guest
1763 Dixwell Ave.
Hamden, Connecticut
2nd Lt. B S



Chocolate Pudding:
     D-Bar, Cracker or pre-mixed cereal, Klim, Sugar, Oleo, Raisin

Prune Delight:
    D-Bar, Prunes, Klim, Oleo, Sugar, G-GI bread crumbs

Salmon Loaf:
   Salmon, salt, Oleo, G-GI bread crumbs, cheese

   Meat and beans or chopped luncheon meat, or cheese and pate, P-powder, Klim, Oleo

Rhudebaker Loaf:
   Grated rhudebaker, sugar, salt, G-GI bread

     1 - G Cottage cheese, American cheese, Pineapple jams, Klim, Sugar
     2 - Pate and cheese
     3 - Prune jam


Red Cross Parcel

1 - 1 lb. Tin Klim (powdered milk)

1 - 1 lb. Tin Oleomargerine

1 - 1/2 lb. Box Sugar

1 - 2 oz. Tin Coffee

1 - 6 oz. Tin Jam

1 - 16 Box Prunes or Raisins

2 - 4 oz. D-Bars or 1 -  8 oz. Tin Cocoa or 2 - M&M Candy

1 - 7 oz Box C-Biscuits

1 - 12 oz. Tin Meat & Beans

1 - 12 oz. Tin Luncheon Meat

1 - 6 oz. Tin Pate or 1 - 8 oz. Tin Peanut Butter

1 - 8 oz. Tin Processed Cheese

5 - Pks. Cigarettes

2 - Bars Soap

1 - Box Vitamin Pills

1 - 8 oz. Can Sardines, or Tuna Fish or Salmon

(1 Pack Salt & Pepper - confiscated by Germans)



Sketch of layout of Stalag Luft I  Sketch of Campsite
(Click on image to enlarge)
Dulag Luft ID card for John Kirkham Dulag Luft ID card
RAMP (Recovered Allied Military Personnel)  ID Card RAMP (Recovered Allied Military Personnel)  ID Card
issued at Camp Lucky Strike on May 30, 1945
Western Union Telegrams from WWII Telegrams:

Dec. 20, 1944 advising MIA status

Jan. 21, 1945 confirming POW status


Follow up MIA letter in WWII Dec 27, 1944 letter from War Department to his parents

Letter to parents of POWs instructions for mailing letters and packages

Jan. 30, 1945 letter from the Director of the Prisoner of War Information Bureau to parents confirming POW status and instructions for mailing letters and parcels to their son.

War Dept. correspondence to parents

Feb. 27, 1945 letter informing parents the names and addresses of the others crewmembers(and their next of kin) that were on plane with their son when he was reported missing.

NOTE:  Upon receipt of this standard letter many crewmember families would begin communicating with each other offering encouragement and support.

POW notification to parents of airman shot down in WWII

April 11, 1945 letter informing parents their son is interned at Stalag Luft I in Germany.

Misc. German documents from Stalag Luft I

German documents - picked up after liberation.






Connie & Rich Kupchunos and Wanda & John Kirkham - 2001:

Lunch in Salzburg during recent POW trip - Connie and Rich Kupchunos (daughter and son-in-law) of Wanda and John Kirkham
John Kirkham at Stalag Luft I Memoiral in Barth, Germany September 8, 2001 - John at the Stalag Luft I Memorial in Barth, Germany.
John Kirkham with his original crew
John with his original crew

Standing L to R:  John Ray, radio operator--Al Baldazzi, waist gunner--Carl Helmreich, ball gunner--Russell Johnson, engineer--Melvin Spencer, waist gunner--David Rust, tail gunner

Sitting L to R:  George Long, pilot--Virgil Grotsky, co-pilot--James Webb, navigator--John Kirkham, bombadier


Return to POW Stories

Return to Kriegies



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