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.

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Attention Veterans -  John O'Shea will record any WWII veteran on compact disk and give them a free copy of the recording, so that they and their families can hear the veteran's words in their own voices telling of their time in the war.   This is absolutely free and The Library of Congress has helped promote this project.   A copy will also be sent to the Library of Congress.     Click here for more information.


Preserving Your History

Please consider saving your oral history, memoirs, diary, and/or letters home.   By leaving your oral history you will have done your country another good deed.   You will serve future generations as they strive to understand their world.

Advice from Stephen Ambrose:

Veterans often say that they don't need to do an oral history because they weren't in combat, or they don't feel that what they did was all that important. Well that's not true. Regardless of what you did or where you were stationed, your history is important. The history of WWII is only now being written. In the coming decades historians will ask lots of new questions. I don't know what those questions will be, but I'm sure they will be focused on a lot more than combat.

Please take some time to sit down with a tape recorder and talk about your experiences. It is vitally important.

Veterans often ask me how to do an oral history. The guiding rule is that you talk about whatever was important to you at the time. Begin with a description of who you were before you enlisted; include a discussion of where and when you were born. Then carry forward with your training. What was your specialty? When did you ship overseas and where did you go? Tell me what no one else can: about your emotions, about the taste, touch, and smell of daily life. Tell me all about the people you knew, your buddies, your unit.

As you relate what happened, remember that we are not simply interested in tales of combat. Tell me about your leaves, your recreation, your promotions, about all the days you spent in transit or simply waiting at a base. Tell me what you thought was significant. Tell us about the equipment that you used. Did it work well? Was the enemies' equipment better? Were you married before you left?

Of course, if you were in combat, I want to know. What happened on your first invasion? When did you get fired at? When did you first fire in anger? What happened in the campaign that followed? What did you eat? Who got wounded? How good was your C.O.? And the other officers? Where and when did you sleep? Charge forward? Receive a counter attack? Where and when did relief come and what did you do? After you've done that, gone on to the next engagement and so forth. Don't forget to add a bit about what you've done since the war and how you feel about your experiences now.

Take your time. Turn on the tape recorder and start talking. It seems to help having a daughter, a grandson, your wife, or an old friend in the room. I find that it usually takes an hour before the memories start flooding back. When you get tired, I suggest that you wait a day, then repeat the process. Pull out old photos; look at maps; call a friend from your unit; you're bound to add some more details.  See sample questions below.



Sample Questions you might consider answering when telling your story:


Military Action

What were you doing just before you joined the armed forces? Student? Working? Married? Single? Children?

Under what circumstances did you enter the armed forces? Were you drafted or did you enlist? How old were you?

Why did you join the armed forces?

What branch of the service were you in? Why did you choose the branch that you did?

What was the specific unit that you were assigned to?

What kind of training did you receive? What was the most helpful part of your training?

What was the mission of your unit?

What was your rank and your job?

What are some of the things from your training that stand out in your memory?

What was a typical day like in the life of a GI during the war? How much money did a soldier make?

Did you serve overseas during the war? Where were you?

Home Front

Did your parents approve of you serving in the military?

How did you feel about leaving home?

How did you communicate with loved ones on the home front?

What was different when you got back?

Frontline and Battles

Describe your living conditions while on assignment.

Can you describe your feelings during a mission or battle?

How did you cope with the fear of missions or battles?

What was your squadron/division/platoons job during the battle?

What was your job during a mission?


What was your happiest (funniest or saddest) memory of the war?

Were you afraid? What was your biggest fear?

What do you think your biggest accomplishment was?

What were you most proud of during your military service?

What impact did your unit have on the outcome of the war?

How did your experiences in WWII affect the rest of your life?

Pearl Harbor

How did you hear about Pearl Harbor?

Where were you when it happened?

What was your reaction?

What happened in the days that followed?

D-Day Invasion Only

How were you trained for the invasion?

How did you get to the Normandy beaches?

What was your job on D-Day?

What were your experiences in the first hours of the invasion?

How did your unit achieve its objective?

What is your most vivid memory about the invasion?


How did you hear about the bombing of Hiroshima?

How did you react to the news?


How did you find out about the surrender of Japan?

What did you do on V-E (V-J) Day?

What happened on the day you (or a loved one) came home?

What were the holidays like in 1945?

What were you hopes for the future?

Follow Up Questions

What would you want people to know about this time in history?

Tell me about any friendships you made during the war.

What would you have changed about your war experience if you could?

Did you ever doubt that the Allies would succeed in winning the war?

What mistakes do you think the military made, if any, during the war?

Do you think the war could have been prevented?

What had changed when you got home from the war?

Did anything happen during the war that affected you for the rest of your life?

What do you think the biggest misconception about WWII is?

Do you think the war was worth the price?

Do you think fighting in the war was the moral thing to do?


If you have anything relating to Stalag Luft I or Dulag Luft that you would be willing to share, (whether it be a photo, story, document, poem, drawing, artifact, listing of roommates)  please send it to us via email at  or inquire about our regular mail address. 

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