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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Lt. George Lesko, WWII co-pilot of Ginger

2nd Lt. George Lesko  
Cleveland, OH
446th Bomb Group
Co-pilot of B-24 - "Ginger"
Stalag Luft I, North II Compound. 

It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that Col. George Lesko passed away on June 30, 2008.  He was the best!   I will miss him terribly. Rest in peace my friend.

George was shot down on August 26, 1944 on a bombing mission to Ludwigshaven, Germany.  In August, 1998, the French village of Schoeneck, France, where "Ginger" crashed, erected a granite monument to honor George and his crew for their efforts to liberate France.  It was around this time that George learned that four of his crewmembers had been executed by the SS shortly after bailing out of their plane in 1944.  The SS men responsible for this were tried in the Nuremburg process at the end of the war.  They were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.  

    George remained in the Air Force and retired as a Colonel at Whiteman AFB in Knob Foster, MO. During his service he received recognition as an Air Force Command Pilot and was awarded membership in the B- 47 1000 hour club.  He also received the highest grade average in the Air Training Command Missile Supervisors and Planning course.  George was awarded the Air , Purple Heart, Congressional Prisoner of War, WWII Victory Medal, three Theatre of Operations, Germany Occupation, and Good Conduct Medals.    

    In 1992 he moved to Lee's Summit, MO where his son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren live. Currently his business card reads that he is a board member of "Livewell, Dolittle and Sitmore".

    On March 11, 1999 the House of Representatives of the State of Missouri issued House Resolution No. 378 honoring George Lesko for his lifetime achievements.

    George was with the group of former POWs to return to Barth, Germany in April 2000 and at that time he fulfilled a wish he had made to himself on that day in May 1945, when he was flown out of Barth.  That wish was to pilot a plane back into Barth one day. See photo below.


George Lesko landing plane in Barth, Germany - 2001

George landing plane in Barth - April 18, 2000!

Click here to read newspaper account of the village of Schoeneck, France honoring George and his surviving crew in August 1998.

Crew of Ginger - WWII B-24 shot down

The Crew of "Ginger" 

1/Lt.    Ralph V. Schaffer --------- KIA
2/Lt.    George Lesko -------------- POW
F/O     Norman Phillips ----------- POW
Sgt.    Jack W. Staton ------------ KIA
T/Sgt. Charles E. Wyatt ---------- KIA
S/Sgt. Frank W. Loichinger ---- MIA
Sgt.    Albert H. Lang ------------- POW
Sgt.    Ted Zemonek -------------- KIA
Pvt.    Jack A. Maxwell ----------- KIA
Sgt.    Willard R. Fetterhof ----- KIA

Phillips, Lesko and Lang with LaSalle

As heroes who risked their lives in the liberation of France, Phillips, Lesko, and Lang rode in the 1940 LaSalle that the American Embassy owned in the 1940's, and were treated like royalty by the French citizens of Schoeneck

Memorial to Ginger Crew in France

Surviving Ginger crew mates together again

"Ginger" crewmembers, Norman Phillips, George Lesko and Al Lang together again.


Stars and Stripes article - November 11, 2001 - The Return to Stalag Luft I


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